FESTIVAL NEWS . . . Industry gossip bubbled over like champagne at last weekend's Wailea Wine & Food Festival.
Guava, Gouda & Caviar boutique cheese-shop owner Ann Tuomela, who presented top selections at the festival, says she is into stand-up these days. Not stand-up paddling, mind you, but being an upright comedian at Stella Blues Cafe in Kihei once a month. The next laugh-off will be at 10 p.m. Dec. 29. Wonder if she'll joke about her previous store, Who Cut The Cheese?
Mulligan's on the Blue owner Mike O'Dwyer was there, too. His Irish eyes were smilin' and so were his big, white pearly teeth. O'Dwyer says he'll open his next Fabiani's in Wailea Gateway Center in a couple of months. It will offer morningpastries and coffee and afternoon'evening pizza and pasta deliveries. In the meantime, his Fabiani's Bakery & Pizza delights diners on Lipoa Street in Kihei, baking the best whoopie pies on island.
Papa Hapa’s is the newest food truck parked on Beach Road near Kahului Harbor most days. Owner Jeff Bazzini shows off freshly made manapua.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
And, at Mulligan's, "Uncle" Willie K does a dinner show Wednesdays and Thursdays.
We also spotted Kihei Dermatologist "Doc" Martin with nary a spot on his face. He says he's rebranding his sun and skincare line very soon.
Wailea restaurateur Aaron Placourakis was glam as usual. Back in the day, he was voted "Best Dressed Man in Honolulu" by the former Honolulu Advertiser.
Got restaurant / dining-event scoop? Call Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342; or email email@example.com.
Aaron owns Nick's Fishmarket at the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui. It just underwent an extensive renovation and it also is as glam as it gets. Aaron's new venture, Manoli's, is undergoing a 1,300-square-foot expansion that will offer additional seating overlooking the golf course, a 30-seat bar, and flat screen TVs.
"During the build-out, Manoli's is temporarily open daily at 4 p.m." he says. "Once the new bar is open, we will serve lunch beginning at 11:30 a.m. daily."
Hawaii Regional Cuisine (HRC) chef Peter Merriman had his Monkeypod Kitchen in Wailea represented at the festival. We hear he'll open his next 10,000-square-foot, sustainable Monkeypod restaurant concept at the Ko Olina Resort on Oahu Dec. 20.
"I have always wanted to open a restaurant on Oahu," says Merriman. "Its farmers, ranchers and fishers produce great-tasting, high-quality foods."
Original HRC Chef Beverly Gannon was cooking up a storm at the festival. She'll throw a New Year's Eve bash at Gannon's: A Pacific View Restaurant with a late-night buffet, drink tickets, party favors and dancing to music by DJ Dan. Gannon's will also present an intimate evening with international, award-winning jazz artist Halie Loren and her band on Jan. 19. Beverly says it will be like a cabaret complete with cocktail service.
Wailea Film Festival director Barry Rivers was checking it out with daughter, Maya Rivers. He's doing FirstLight at Maui Arts & Cultural Center Friday to Dec. 30. See Page 8, for more details.
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BITS AND PIECES . . . Food trucks continue to make a splash on Maui like humpback whales on the horizon. Rob and Kristen Wheeler have two mobile catering trucks and now they hope to open Iron Imu BBQ Co. at Napili Shores on Dec. 20.
"We're opening up a Country-western family barbecue restaurant," says Rob. "We'll do Southern-style smoked meats. It's going to be a 100 seater and we'll be open from 5 to 8 p.m. every day. We'll do beer and wine only and we'll have a kiddie play room."
Come check out the Texas-style smoked brisket, Carolina pulled pork, Iron Imu food truck's famous ribs, and sides such as mac 'n cheese, corn casserole, and Uncle Cuncle's bacon green beans.
The new Papa Hapa's at Kahului Harbor does manapua and more on most days. Fillings range from ginger chicken to kalua pork to char siu, and you'll also find housemade pork hash (or should I say, "truckmade?"), along with stuffed pork chops, habanero-honey pork sandwiches, fried ice cream and pumpkin-pie manapua. The owners are Taryn and Jeff Bazzini. Taryn is the chef and Jeff works the "front of the truck," so to speak.
Darren Jones, owner of Alive & Well health-food store in Kahului and Rodeo General Store with locations in Kihei and Makawao recently took over the landmark Hanzawa Store in Haiku.
"It's been here for 100 years and we hope it continues for another 100," says Jones. "We're putting products on the shelves now, and plan to bring in fresh fish for poke and add to the Levis and rubber boots."
Italian Delight at Lahaina Gateway is West Maui's newest home for pasta, subs, calzones and New York-style pizzas. Dine in or take out.