Aloha! I thought I might inaugurate this blog with a few words and pictures from The Valley Isle. Maui continues to be a wonderful “easy” destination for people because you can really style your own vacation here. You can choose from a diverse menu that might include being a “beach potato,” driving to Hana for a night or two of jungle bliss, exploring Up Country Maui, sunrise on the Haleakala volcano, a seasonal whale watch and tasting some wonderful food. Permit me a few suggestions.
You might have noticed the current banner photograph. This is a shot I took last night of the seared ahi appetizer at Colleen’s restaurant in the Cannery Building, in Haiku. http://www.colleensinhaiku.com Colleen Nicolas has been on Maui for many years and has a knack for creating recipes and finding the right people to prepare and serve to her customers. Colleen’s is one of my favorite places because it is a local haunt and off the beaten path a bit. They are open for breakfast (great omelets), lunch and dinner. Another favorite is the Mahi-Mahi Fish and Chips and the Kula Greens Salad with Roasted Local Beets.
If you are going to Haiku, you might consider making a loop from Paia to Haiku, then up to Makawao and back down Baldwin Avenue to your starting point in Paia. You could take a day doing it, and the sights and shops are lovely. Start with an early morning walk on Baldwin Beach, just west of Paia on the Hana Highway. Early mornings are best because the trades can pick up by mid-morning. Parking is easy and the beach walk is sweet.
After your Baldwin Beach march, drive into Paia and park. You might grab a bit at Cafe Des Amis (great crepes) or the Mambo Cafe, close to each other on Baldwin Avenue.
Another great place is the Paia Fish House, right on the corner of Hana Highway and Baldwin Avenue (the only stoplight in Paia). These folks know how to do it and the family-style dining, bring-your-order-to-the-table casual atmosphere is conducive to conversations, sometimes very international. The fish is always fresh.
Another fun local place in Paia is the long-standing and very high-granola Mana Foods http://www.manafoodsmaui.com/ where some great local organic greens can be purchased in a store seemingly filled with the hippest most blissed-out patrons I’ve ever seen. Groovy, man. Seriously, a lovely store with a great selection of healthy products.
And, by the way, if over-nighting, or longer, in Paia is an option, let me recommend the oceanfront Paia Inn, beautifully upgraded and staffed by the sweetest staff this side of, well, paradise. http://www.paiainn.com/
Next up, a Caesar Salad receipe, then, later, some more on Maui. A hui hou!