PEOPLE WATCHING . . . TV host, chef and foodie Andrew Zimmerman of "Bizarre Foods" on the Travel Channel recently dined with family at I'o restaurant at 505 Front St. in Lahaina.
"Zimmerman was just blown away by the diversity of the locavore menu items," says Chef-partner James McDonald. "He didn't eat anything weird since he wasn't on assignment. But I did joke with him I wanted to send him a spam musubi with durian sauce."
Pro bull rider and runner-up on the reality-television game show "Amazing Race," Cord McCoy, enjoyed dinner at the Waterfront in Maalaea recently with his new bride, Sarah McCoy, and other pals.
Bob Chambers (left) of Maui Dive Shop dines with pro bull rider Cord McCoy and his wife, Sarah, at the Waterfront in Maalaea.
Photo courtesy Bob Chambers
They included Patrick Gottsch, who founded RFD-TV, a $25-million enterprise. "When the Roy Rogers' Museum closed this last year, Christie's of New York auctioned off their inventory and Gottsch bought Trigger and Bullet, Roy's horse and dog," says their other pal, Bob Chambers of Maui Dive Shop, which also houses Pizza Madness in Kihei. (The animals are stuffed by a taxidermist.) "He paid $266,500 for them and he will display them in his Omaha, Nebraska, complex."
For those too young to remember, Rogers was a beloved screen cowboy, who rode Trigger in his motion pictures and "Happy Trails" TV shows.
Others much younger may remember Chef Alex Purroy, of the former Raffles and Seawatch. He's on island, visiting from his restaurant, Doce Lunas, in Kenwood, Calif. . . . Roger Dikon, one of 12 original Hawaii Regional Cuisine chefs who put our islands on the world food map, "Facebooked" me from Jupiter, Fla.
"All is well," says Dikon. "And, I still read your column! I access Maui News every now and then and read a few months at a time to try and keep up with the island scene. Still missing it, I guess we'll all be back in September for the Hawaii Hall of Fame induction (for chefs and restaurateurs) in Honolulu." (Last year's inductees included Kirk, Lynne, and Charles Toma (Sam Sato's), Curtis Takaoka (Tasty Crust) and Roy Yamaguchi (Roy's).
Speaking of the original 12 HRC chefs, Beverly Gannon will soon give up being "dining diva of the skies." We hear Chef Chai Chaowasaree will take over as corporate chef for Hawaiian Airlines in February. But Gannon is still in the wings as consultant for a celebrity series.
Jef Foster, executive sous chef of the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, has departed for Belgrade, Serbia, to run the kitchens of the Hyatt there. His wife, Christina Hoaeae, of Star Noodle, is joining him.
CULTURE AND CUISINE . . . Soon, we'll be able to enjoy dinner and a show at Maui Arts & Cultural Center's new Yokouchi Pavilion. For now, sit under the dining tent and enjoy food before the Shanghai Circus shows; service begins at 2 p.m. Monday and 5 p.m. Tuesday catered by A Saigon Cafe. Savor salmon in spicy-ginger sauce, tofu with curry and lemongrass, baked chicken or green-papaya salad. In addition, A Saigon Cafe's owner, Jennifer Nguyen, will host a party Jan. 29 at her Wailuku estate as a benefit for A Keiki's Dream. It's $300 per couple.
Stella Blues Cafe in Kihei will present Paula Fuga at its supper club Friday. The four-course dinner and show is $60 per person. Entrees range from pan-roasted fresh fish to stuffed pork loin.
BITS AND PIECES . . . Yes, it's is that time of year, when many of us are "low on dough." This is why the Maui Culinary Academy is partnering with Sodexo to offer $5 plates this semester downstairs in the Pa'ina Building at the University of Hawaii Maui Campus.
"Our new Pa'ina plates are $5 lunch specials created to add a fresh, healthful and very affordable menu choice at lunchtime," says Ed Costa, general manager of Sodexo. "We have new Piadine flat-bread sandwiches, and starting Tuesday, we'll offer these at all of our outlets in the food court, from World Plate to Farm to Table."
Beginning this Saturday, the Hana Hou Cafe in Haiku will be open for breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. every morning except for Tuesday.
Owners and husband-and-wife team, Laurent and Katie Thibault, are proud to promote local farmers and ranchers and buy as much organic produce as possible. This applies to the breakfast menu, too. Say "oh-la-la" to the new French Connection, which is ratatouille with poached egg on toast; and Croque Monsieur, which is ham and sauce Mornay on sourdough bread. Juices are fresh squeezed, and they even deep fry malasadas.
* You may reach Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342 or e-mail her at email@example.com.