There’s been a lack of posts lately because we spent four days at the beginning of the month on Maui, hosted by the Maui Visitors Bureau, attending some terrific events and eating. A lot. Like, every two hours. This was a work trip for Shake, and I got to tag along as his paid-in-desserts photographer. (I know; I’m the cheapest photog ever and totally participating in the death of the industry by selling my services for the price of a drink and a dessert at a posh hotel. Heck, I don’t even hold out for the posh hotel part all the time.) It’s taken me a while to pick through all the photos, dump the junk and process the good stuff.
I’m actually going to jump to the second part of our trip first: the Maui County Agricultural Festival. I dig farm fairs. I like seeing all the animals, even though they always smell kinda poopy. We got parking right near the animal pens, so I got to pet the critters coming and going. I don’t know why I’m so fixated on goats, but I think they’re so full of personality. One tried to eat my coat once, so you wouldn’t think I’d feel so kindly toward them, but I think they’re great. Check out this guy, standing in his lunch:
At this particular farm fest, I really enjoyed checking out all the great produce and added-value products that the local famers had to offer. I think Maui’s farmers and local businesses have done a fantastic job of working together to figure out ways that they can use each others’ products to create new things. For example, a local brewery (Maui Brewing—Shake likes their beer) announced at the festival that they have plans to make a new beer with breadfruit, using what’s produced by the Breadfruit Institute, located on Maui. (No, there weren’t any samples.)
Beautiful produce all over. I was tempted to buy some to bring home, but I knew it’d get banged up in transit and I didn’t really *need* it. This photo was actually a goof: I had been playing with light settings the night before and forgot, so I still had the camera set to Spot Metering instead of the normal Evaluative. A bit of a happy accident, as it resulted in this pretty shot that highlights just one asparagus spear. The farmer gave us a sample and tried to talk us into buying some, “Take some home so you can take more pictures!” It was very fresh, and very asparagus-y. Like, you know if you have that asparagus stinky-pee gene, you’re in trouble. To be honest, I didn’t like his asparagus as much as I like the Twin Bridge asparagus we buy at home. Those have very slender stalks, which is how I like them.
More pretty produce photos:
One of the big attractions of the festival was a competition between a dozen Maui chefs. Each chef was paired with a farmer and had to showcase the featured ingredient. Nearly everything on the plates was local, which is quite impressive! Here are some of the dishes (the ones that came out nicely in my photographs, anyway—some of the dishes that were reportedly the best-tasting, I didn’t get good shots of). Hover over the photos for more info on each dish.
Here’s a list of the competing chefs (in order of presentation). They’re all worth checking out, if for no other reason than their big-time support of local farming—but some of these guys are just incredible talents. (You can check out the list of all the dishes on page 7 of this PDF.)
- Jeffrey Heubschman, Whole Foods Maui (Farmer partner: Bill and Marta Greenleaf, Greenleaf Farm)
- Jennifer Nguyen, A Saigon Café (Farmer partner: Jamie Shishido, J. Shishido Farm)
- Joey Macadangdang, Roy’s Restaurant Kā‘anapali (no farm named)
- Marc McDowell, Mākena Beach and Golf Resort (Farmer partner: David Fitch, Mālama Farm)
- Chris Schobel, Hula Grill (Farmer partner: Wili Wood and Kekai Keahi, Lo‘i’s of Honokohau)
- Tylun Pang, Kō at The Fairmont Kea Lani (Farmer partner: Alex Franco, Maui Cattle Company)
- Sheldon Simeon, Star Noodle / Leoda’s Kitchen & Pie Shop (Farmer partner: Bobby Pahia, Ho‘aloha Farms)
- James McDonald, I‘O /Pacific‘O* (Farmer partner: Lynn and Russell DeCoite, L&R Farm on Moloka‘i)
- Riko Bartolome, private chef (Farmer partner: Ian Cole, The Breadfruit Institute)
- Wesley Holder, Pulehu, an Italian Grill at The Westin Kā‘anapali (Farmer partner: David Horsman and Manu Akana, Ho‘opono Farms)
- Ivan Pahk, Cane and Taro (no farm named)
- Jojo Vasquez, The Banyan Tree at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua (Farmer partner: Alika Atay, Maui Sweet Potato Company)
- Isaac Bancaco, Humuhumu at Grand Wailea*
*Chef Isaac Bancaco, whom Shake has met before and says is an outstanding chef, was unable to participate at the last minute. Chef James McDonald stepped in to take his place.
After the Ag Fest, we had some time before the next scheduled event, so we headed off to Kahului for….GURI GURI!! If you’re not from Hawai‘i, you’re probably asking, “What the hell is guri guri?” It’s not quite sherbet; it’s not quite ice cream. It’s somewhere between the two, in a state of delightful, creamy, icy, sweet goodness. In fact, that’s where the name supposedly derives from: “goodie goodie,” the name given to the treat, was pronounced by Japanese plantation workers as “guri guri.”If you Google it, you’ll find all kinds of home recipes. My mom had one that she used to make it for us when I was a kid. Some of the online recipes say to use guava juice (or strawberry guava juice), but the recipe my mom used did NOT have guava in it. Hers, like some of the others you’ll find, used strawberry soda. Actually, I remember that she often used Diamond Head Red Cream soda. Awesome stuff. Anyway, the real deal guri guri only comes from one place: Tasaka Guri Guri on Maui.
The family-owned and operated shop has been located in a small outdoor mall for decades.
The real recipe is a family secret, and they only have two flavors: strawberry and pineapple. Fortunately for Sugar + Shake, these are flavors that make us happy! I, of course, get just strawberry, while Shake goes for the combo. These photos are a bit washed out; the sun was hot and I didn’t want to waste time looking for a shady spot to snap a photo. The true colors are bright and vivid.
I’d originally intended to share the rest of our Maui eating adventures in this post, too, but it’s gotten rather long. So tune in next time to see what else we stuffed ourselves silly on!
For the full gallery of the weekend’s photos, click here.
Disclosure: Sugar + Shake were hosted by the Maui Visitors Bureau and the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua hotel. Travel and accommodations were provided by the hosts, but no compensation was received for this post, and the opinions expressed are strictly my own.