HEART AND SOUL . . . It's amazing just how many people embraced and are still commenting on the inaugural Kihei Fourth Friday Town Party last month. I'll admit, I was a little skeptical at first, because if there ever was a town spread far and wide with diverse interests, it's Kihei.
Now we hear round two will kick off as a big block party from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Azeka Shopping Center Mauka, the "heart and soul" of Kihei.
"Following in the success of Kihei's first event, the second town party will be festive, with even more food, art, crafts, and plenty of great shopping deals to be found," says publicist LuAnne Yapp. "Other highlights will include the popular Keiki/Youth Zone and top-name entertainment such as Nuff Sedd, the headliners.
Dibs on Da Ribs owner-chef Mike West will sizzle some baby back pork ribs and his wife Sharon will bake banana cornbread muffins at the Kihei Fourth Friday Town Party this week.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
Piikea Avenue will even be closed to all vehicular traffic from the new roundabout down to Azeka Mauka - just like Market Street in Wailuku is for its own popular town party.
"There will be a large food court area with many local taste treats," continues Yapp. "Food vendors will include Kihei Caffe, Maui Samosas, Mama's Ribs & Rotisserie, Vietnamese Cuisine, Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods, Wow Wow Waffles, Three's Bar & Grill, Ono Gelato, Maui Wedding Cakes, Luca Chef (Massimo), Vidad's Paradise Tropical Ice and Dibs on Ribs.
Dibs on Da Ribs made its debut last month. The owners are Mike West, who grills some mean baby-back pork ribs in coconut-mango barbecue sauce; and his wife, Sharon West, pastry chef and owner of Hawaiian Cakesations. She bakes sweet-potato macadamia-nut pie, chocolate-ganache zucchini bread, and banana cornbread muffins; The couple movedhere recently from Anchorage, Alaska.
Maui Abalone is also listed as a food vendor and there is a company that also sells jewelry with the same name..
In addition, Azeka Mauka sports a variety of eateries such as Coconuts Fish Cafe, Diamonds Ice Bar & Grill, Java Cafe, Jawz Fish Tacos Island-Style Grill, Panda Express, Peggy Sue's, and Stella Blues Cafe.
There will also be 10 Food Trucks such as Jawz Fish Tacos, Aloha Juice Hut/Shaka Pops, Outrigger Pizza, My Office, Kinaola Grill, Pulehu Plates, Da Falafel Kingdom, Osaki's Ono Kau Kau, Keoki's Taco Truck, & Gogi Korean BBQ.
Acclaimed winemaker Pax Mahle of Wind Gap Winery in Sonoma told me at the Wailea Wine Food Festival that Jawz Fish Tacos is his favorite pick for a Mexican restaurant on Maui. He said it even rivals those in California, which is quite an endorsement.
Getting back to vino, Wailea Wine is now selling Oregon's hottest pinot noir, Evening Land, from the famed, biodynamic Seven Springs Vineyard.
BITS AND PIECES . . . More news about the Kihei Fourth Friday Town Party continues to roll in. Maui Wedding Cakes will launch its Sweetie's! line at the event with chocolate mac-nut cookies and almond and espresso truffles by its award-winning Pastry Chef Casey A. Logsdon.
"In addition, we have translated some of our most popular cake combos into gourmet cupcakes," says co-owner and Cake Artist Cheryl Logsdon. "These include vanilla flavor with lilikoi and Tahitian vanilla-bean butter cream; vanilla mac-nut with chocolate ganache icing; and chocolate cupcakes with mocha and kahlua butter cream or with raspberry-swirl icing. We will be selling items a la carte as well as a Sweetie's! sampler plate, so revelers can enjoy a little bit of everything."
At Kukui Mall, you'll find a beefy new eatery that's called Stewart's Burgers. It's an 850-square-foot spot that produces made-from-scratch burgers comprised of beef from the Mainland as well as Kauai and the Big Island. Owners are Stewart and Trina Pinsky, who say they strive to use as many local ingredients as they can.
Heading to Tommy Bahama in The Shops at Wailea? The restaurant just introduced "Be My Clementine" cocktail to get you sweet on Valentine's Day.