SUGAR-COATED . . . Dessert lovers will want to mark calendars for Nov. 9, when the fourth annual Life is Sweet returns to the Shops at Wailea.
The fundraiser for Best Buddies Hawaii is from 2 to 5 p.m., and celebrity hosts will be Maureen McCormick (aka Marcia from the classic '70s sitcom, "The Brady Bunch") and Oahu comedian/actor Andy Bumatai of the new TV show, "In The Car."
Cost is $50 for your fill of gourmet desserts and savory entrees created by some of South Maui's top chefs. Call 242-6962 or visit www.bestbuddieshawaii.org.
Keaton Jones (from left), Emily and Joshua Henkel and Shelby Fontanilla take a tour of Andaz Maui, led by Pastry Chef Erin Preston.
Best Buddies photo
Mana Foods in Paia will celebrate 30 years Sunday through Halloween with samples, pasta demos, deeper discounts than usual and daily raffles. In addition, while supplies last, anyone who spends $200 will receive a swag bag of goods. The staff will dress in costumes on Halloween and give away healthy treats for the keiki, too.
Head baker Dave Rasmussen whips up creative cupcakes, you'll find items from 400 to 500 vendors storewide, and produce is 90 percent organic.
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Got restaurant / dining-event scoop? Call Dining Editor Carla Tracy at 242-6342; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BITS AND PIECES . . . Tucked away in Kihei at Maui Research & Technology Park is Cafe Carmen.
Owned by Four Seasons Resort Maui's Executive Chef Roger Stettler and his wife, Lynn Stettler, it features farm-to-table fare, along with vegan and vegetarian offerings and stellar wines on tap.
Tonight, Cafe Carmen will launch dinner from 5:30 to 9 p.m., and will expand days to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner Saturdays and brunch Sundays. Dinner items are vegan legume patties, petit filet and island catch, and pork belly. Cafe Carmen will unveil the Maui Innovation Series from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday with the tech park. The free monthly affair will offer short dialogues by island innovators, and attendees will get 10 percent off food and wine.
Aloha Week in Hana culminates with Ho'ike Night on Saturday at Hana Ballpark with Hawaiian music, tons of food, hula, poke and pohole contests, and the Kahanu Garden ulu (breadfruit) cook-off.
Of course, Travaasa Hana hotel will get in on the action with food and drink and ulu maika, a Hawaiian bowling game with coconuts as pins. Derek Watanabe has just been named executive chef. He's cooked at Four Seasons worldwide, from Jakarta to Shanghai, and he credits Alan Wong as his most influential mentor.
Last chance to get tickets for Saturday's annual Noble Chef benefit for Maui Culinary Academy at Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui in Wailea. This year's theme is "The World on a Plate." For seats, visit, www.noblechefmaui.hawaii.edu.
Ocean Vodka Organic Farm & Distillery in Kula plans to tap into a new sampling area with spirited sips of its Maui vodka along with other brands that CEO Shay Smith and his family are now creating.
Ocean Vodka is also now booking private events at The Point, its 22,000-square-foot grassy vista with unparalleled views of north and south Maui.
Molokini Bar & Grille in Makena will offer the Taste of Sonoma at 6:30 p.m. today with wines and pupu for $40 per person. Call 875-5888.
Clank your steins at Oktoberfest from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa's Napili Gardens in Kaanapali. Food, beer and live music will flow, and the Hyatt will offer $199 room rates for event goers. Visit www.pacificcancerfoundation.org to attend the benefit.
Three's Bar and Grill in Kihei will once again host Maui AIDS Foundation's annual Halloween Bash. It will shimmy and shake from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Saturday, and 15 percent of food and beverage will support Maui AIDs Foundation.
Wednesday, Hula Grill will host the Night Before Halloween with 25 percent off food, and keiki and adult costume contests.