KIHEI IS COOKING . . . If you are still looking for someplace to take your ku'uipo or "sweetheart" for a Valentine's date, do check out the new provincial-style eatery, Chez Meme Baguette Bistro, below Eskimo Candy in Kihei.
The Bakery in Lahaina bakes all of the baguettes and the brioche served at Chez Meme, it's got beautiful garden views, and it will serve a special a la carte Valentine's brunch menu Saturday and Sunday.
"We wanted to open a place full of aloha," says owner Ryan McElroy, who hails from Cafe O'Lei, another place spilling over with the most coveted of Hawaiian feelings. "It's peaceful, my mom makes all of the jams Upcountry, and we use fresh and local ingredients."
Chez Meme Baguette Bistro owner Ryan McElroy savors jarret (lamb shank) baguette, beef bourguignon baguette and French toast with Canadian maple syrup.
The Maui News / CARLA TRACY photo
The chef is Carlos Francisco, who makes eggs Benedict with Black Forest ham; and salmon and poached eggs with Hollandaise. French toast comes with pure Canadian maple syrup and free-range organic eggs.
While Chez Meme is only open for breakfast and lunch (with breakfast all day long), you may rent the entire place at night for private parties.
Another hot new place that just opened Monday in Kihei high-tech park is Cafe Carmen. Situated ground floor of the shiny, black-mirrored Premier Place (the first building on the left driving into the park), it's open for breakfast and lunch and it has a liquor license.
Got restaurant / dining-event scoop? Call Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342; or email email@example.com.
The owner-operator is Lynn Stettler, who originally hails from Singapore. She's done a bang up job of decorating the place with recycled aluminum roofing, palette board, doors as table tops, and wine-bottle lamps. Enjoy floor-to-ceiling views of Elleair Golf Course.
Some of you may recognize Lynn as the wife of Roger Stettler, executive chef of Four Seasons Resort Maui, who is her consultant.
"Cafe Carmen is named after our daughter," says Roger. "Lynn was a restaurant manager in Singapore, and she moved with me to the Caribbean before here, where she also managed restaurants."
Highlights include Hainan chicken rice bowl, a traditional Singaporean dish; Cafe Carmen salad with hearts of palm, Kula corn and Upcountry cherry tomatoes with grilled fresh catch; and meat lasagne using a recipe by Roger's grandmother in Italy. Wine flows from kegs, and this is one of Maui's first restaurants to use this system. Sip from Costa D'Oro to Sherrer on tap.
Rumor has it Dana and Michael Pastula, surely the most prolific restaurant couple in Maui's history, are expanding their reach to take over all of the food and beverage outlets at Maui Coast Hotel in Kihei. But rest assured, their Cafe O'Lei Kihei at Rainbow Mall down the street remains intact and popular as ever.
BITS AND PIECES . . . Wine lovers will want to hop aboard the first Passport Wine Dinner Series at Pineapple Grill in Kapalua, starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23.
"Chef Isaac Bancaco's first dinner in the series is pushing off, and the first stop is Italy. We have sourced some of Italy's most prized and very difficult-to-get wines from the most elite wine regions of that country and chef has created an amazing Italian-inspired menu that is sure to please," says Managing Partner Chris Kaiwi.
In addition, save the date of June 8, when Pineapple Grill will present a benefit affair with acclaimed San Francisco chefs Gary Danko and Nancy Oakes, along with winemaker Pax Mahle of Wind Gap and Rajat Parr, wine director of Michael Mina restaurants.
Of course, they heavy hitters in the wine and culinary world will be on island for the 32nd annual Kapalua Wine & Food Festival, to be uncorked at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua June 6 to 9.
Speaking of wine, Makena Beach & Golf Resort will flow with a five-course wine dinner featuring Richard Rossi of Banfi Vintners Feb. 21.
The Best of Wailuku will be held at 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Old Wailuku Grill as benefit for A Keiki's Dream foundation. About nine vendors are involved such as A Saigon Cafe, Maui Cattle Co., Asian Star and Takamiya Market. Cost is $300 per couple or $150 per person. You may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lobsterfest 2013 will be snapping from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24 at Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului. Come and enjoy lobster and more, Nawlins style along with a Dixieland jazz band.
Phillip Smith and the Gentlemen of Jazz, featuring the vocals of Ellen Belarose will keep your feet tapping while you eat steamed lobsters, dirty rice, Louisiana potato salad and sip French Quarter Hurricane cocktails. Chef Ralph Giles and his team from Soup to Nuts will do the catering for the Wailuku Rotary party, with proceeds benefitting its chosen organizations.