Returning to the road in New Mexico in pursuit of making art.
IN THE LAND of endless ocean views obstructed only by neighboring islands; lavish resorts that cradle curvy, expansive pools; and bucket-list golf courses, there is, understandably, a deep instinct to anchor oneself in the water or on a sandy beach — and stare.
As for Maui hotels, it’s par for the course that a Mai Tai, something frozen and boozy, or a glass of bubbly is always within reach. It’s compulsory to order a poke bowl; it’s almost mandatory to walk the beaches at night. Do all of that, yes — but don’t be afraid to also leave the resort nest and explore Maui’s food and drink experiences out and about.
Here are some places to start: Enjoy craft cocktails and fresh sushi at Vana, just below the Paia Inn, in the town of Paia on the northern flank of the island. Stop for a meal at The Pint & Cork, an elevated sports pub with great food in The Shops at Wailea. Order a bowl of dreamy udon at Star Noodle in Lahaina. In Kihei, indulge in more traditional sushi presentations at 1054 Togoshi if you can snag a seat. Marlow, a wood-fired kitchen in Pukalani in Maui’s Upcountry, serves up Neapolitan-style pizza. And if you see a collection of food trucks like those in Lahaina near the Safeway off of Honoapiilani Highway, or in Pukalani on the way to the Haleakala Crater, stop and check them out. You’ll be amazed by the creative fusions of Hawaiian culture and food truck classics.
Many resorts in Maui took advantage of the pandemic months when forced closures meant that, for the first time in decades, there were no visitors. Millions of dollars have been poured into renovating pools and hotel rooms. Resort restaurants have overhauled their menus, and there are more outdoor dining experiences than ever. Kitchens all over Maui are stuffing their menus with dishes that highlight local ingredients.
For example, Hua Momona Farms, which sits on a 1,100-foot bluff overlooking the island of Molokai, grows 30 varieties of microgreens and a host of vegetables, and delivers its bounty to over 60 restaurants across Maui. Almost daily, the farm’s first delivery is to The Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua, where several dishes at the resort’s Banyan Tree restaurant incorporate ingredients from Hua Momona. And the farm is building a commercial kitchen in a mobile shipping container with an adjacent pavilion, with plans to offer multicourse meals and chef collaborations throughout Maui.
When the waters are too choppy for snorkeling or sportfishing, and you’ve done the nature hikes, national parks, and volcano visits, traipse through a cacao farm, visit a winery, or tour the sugarcane fields at a distillery. This guide showcases those very experiences, a mix of mainstay and off-the-beaten path dining options, and how to live it up at two renovated resorts and one hidden valley retreat.
Jonathan Cristaldi is an established wine writer with more than a decade of professional experience. His articles on wine, spirits, and beer appear in both local and national print and digital platforms, including Decanter, Food & Wine, Departures, the SOMM Journal, Tasting Panel Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Thrillist, and Time Out Los Angeles. He lives in Northern California with his wife, Amanda, and daughter, Penelope. When Cristaldi isn’t visiting vineyards in the Bay Area, he’s on the hunt for a great McIntosh apple.
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