NEIGHBORLY ISLAND . . . Big kudos are due to acclaimed chefs and Hawaii Food & Wine Festival cochairs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong for putting together a stellar event on Oahu last weekend with 60 chefs at numerous properties. Of course, Mauians were there in full force.
The festival planners want to expand to one of the neighbor islands next year, and Maui is the first choice, but where on Maui is not set in stone.
We spotted Shep Gordon at the Modern with his latest client, Roy Choi, aka "the Father's of Food Trucks," who has been named the top chef in LA as well as being featured in Travel + Leisure this week.
Shep Gordon gives the shaka with chefs Roy Choi and Roger Dikon (from left) at the recent Hawaii Food & Wine Festival on Oahu.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Choi's Kogi Korean Taco Food Truck took the world by storm and it's not to be confused with the Gogi Korean food truck in Kahului.
"We're talking about bringing the trucks to Hawaii, but only in conversation," says Gordon, who is now offering 25 percent off to kamaaina all night long at his popular Mala Wailea restaurant.
"We are also very excited to be adding an amazing new Mark Ellman dish - seafood paella, cooked in our brick oven with a Spanish saffron lobster broth with fresh island fish, clams, scallops and lobster."
Got restaurant / dining event scoop? Call Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former Maui chef Roger Dikon was also spotted at the HF&WF. He and his wife, former Maui publicist, Mary Dikon, moved to Oahu after years away from the islands and Roger is now executive chef for Roberts Hawaii cruises, pumping out 1,000 meals per day.
Ed Schultz, president of Honolulu Coffee Co. with a store in Wailea, was there, too.
"Honolulu Coffee Co. is excited about opening its second location in Maui on the Kaanapali coast. Our cafes feature 100-percent Maui coffee served daily, as well as locally fresh baked morning pastries."
Others spotted at the HF&WF were Michael Jokovich, GM of Hyatt here; Karen Christenson, owner of Mama's Fish House; and Brandi Romaine, the GM of Merriman's Kapalua, who is planning a four-course Burgundy wine dinner extraordinaire for Oct. 27.
And, winemaker Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat tells me he wants to appear at a Maui event and to get the word out!
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BITS AND PIECES . . . Sorry to hear about the recent closing of David Paul's Island Grill in Lahaina. We also are sad to report that Big Wave Cafe has closed in Kihei, and that Timba nightclub has closed its doors at 505 Front Street in Lahaina.
On the other hand, we hear Maui Brick Oven has opened in Kihei, next to Long's Drugs. Its pizzas are 100-percent gluten free. "We specialize in gourmet pizza cooked in the custom brick oven," says owner Leanne Covington. "At dinner time there will be additional dishes with chicken, fish and pasta, which will be a treat for those with wheat allergies and even those who don't!"
In addition, it's looking like Cafe 808 in Waikapu may open in the next week or two, according to chef-owner Aaron Heath.
Love the outdoors? Then come to the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust annual picnic at Waihee Refuge, its 277-acre wilderness preserve, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for a community day and barbecue lunch.
Toast to retiring executive director, Dale Bonar, and enjoy the free barbecue as well as a day of exploration, talk story, cultural demos and music and more. But do RSVP, if you want to attend.
The preserve will also set the stage for the Kupu Maui pop-up dinner Friday. Starting at 5:30 p.m. with limited seating, it costs $59 per person. Call 244-5263.
Heading to the St. John's Kula Festival Saturday and ono for Hawaiian food? The Keokea Hawaiian Farm Lots Association will reprise its 2010 sellout plates of kalua pork and cabbage and laulau with chicken long rice, lomi salmon, rice and haupia.
This evening, Il Teatro garden-level restaurant at Hotel Wailea is presenting Roberto Stucchi, owner-winemaker of Badia a Coltibuono in Italy, and Urs Vetter, export director of Alois Lageder Winery, to pair their wines with the chef's five-course feast.
"Coltibuono was the first winery to plant Sangiovese in Tuscany and is also famous for its cooking school," says wine educator Jim Powlan.
Last but not least, the Wines That Rock are now on the shelves of Foodland stores. Impress your friends with the Rolling Stones 40 Licks Merlot, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon Cabernet Sauvignon, and more.