Maui, part 1 - Paia, etc

In the interests of populating the Hawaii board, here’s part 1 of a not so brief rundown of my recent 10 day visit to Maui.

I usually stay on the north shore in Paia or Haiku, away from all the big resorts. This trip for variety I split my time between Paia and Kaanapali. In Paia I stayed in a vacation rental with a full kitchen, so all breakfasts and most lunches were “at home.” Actually, my standard pattern is more like first breakfast and second breakfast - something quick at around 6am before heading out surfing, and then a more involved meal post-surfing at 10-11am; that’s typically followed by an afternoon snack and then an early dinner. Anyways - on to the restaurants and other food-related places of note.

Whole Foods, Kahului: always my first stop to stock up. Yes, there are cheaper grocery stores, but I like their meat and produce departments (both with lots of local options), and the bulk food bins that enable me to buy small quantities of granola, nuts, cookies, etc. so that I’m not throwing away food at the end of the trip. They even sell individual local eggs - pack your own carton - for about $.60 each.

Mana Foods, Paia - legendary local health food / organic market. I find the produce to be just ok, but the salad bar and hot prepared foods are excellent (love the tofu preps), and some of the baked goods are outstanding, including the vegan chocolate cake which is one of the best chocolate cakes that I’ve ever had period, and I believe $4 for a chunk that’s easily 3 servings if one exercises any self control.

Hana Ranch Provisions, Paia -
Very new spot on Baldwin just uphill from Mana Foods. Bakery/cafe during the day and full service restaurant at night. Menu changes daily, and per the excellent bartender they source 90% of their produce from their own ranch in Hana (hence the name); a few items that just won’t grow in the Hana climate come from Kula. I wasn’t starving when I stopped in for dinner at the bar so I had two small plates - the burrata and fried eggplant, and a beef carpaccio that wasn’t on the menu as the chef had just come up with it an hour before. Dishes were indeed on the small side, but high quality ingredients and excellent flavors. 2 dishes and 1 glass of wine was about $40 before tax and tip. Definitely looking forward to trying more items on my next visit.

Flatbread Company, Paia -
some of my favorite pizza anywhere. It’s always busy at dinner time so I tend to get a pie / flatbread to go. They will do two halves with different toppings, including their nightly specials, which is great. I got half with the ohana (caramelized onions, mushrooms, mozzarella) and half a special spicy meatball with peppers and ricotta. Delicious as always. The smaller size ($14-$15 depending on toppings), is enough for at least 2 people, which also makes it one of the better bargains I’ve found in Maui.

Surfing Goat Dairy, Kula -
Took a little expedition up there one hot and sunny afternoon. definitely fun to visit, although I don’t know if I’d make the trek if I were staying an hour away on the west side. Maybe combine it with a trip to some of the other upcountry agritourism spots, or a late lunch /early dinner at Mama’s Fish House. Anyways, the $12, 30 minute tour was definitely worthwhile. You learn all about the dairy’s operations, feed alfalfa to the adorable goats, and sample half a dozen varieties of goat cheese. I was not a fan of the fruity / sweet flavors, but really liked the basic chèvre and the jalapeño one.

Sugar Beach Bake Shop, Kihei -
Finally made it here, after a surfing session in Kihei. I had stopped in once on a previous Maui trip but was disappointed to find that all they had left were pies, as I’m not a big fan of pie (especially individual sized ones, where the crust to filling ratio is inevitably off IMHO). This time they had a bigger variety of items, and i sampled the malasadas - wow - and a seasonal special pumpkin whoopee pie that was also delicious. Cake was moist and spicy and the filling was cream cheesy and not too sweet.

Shorter Kaanapali report to come!


Makes me want to take a trip to the Islands . First stop when visiting on Maui . Gaze at the fish counter like a kid in a candy store while in Foodland supermarket . I’ll have some Poke,wakame salad , and smoked marlin please .I like Kona, and other towns on the big Island also .:yum::yum::yum::yum::yum:

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Awesome report.

Can’t wait for Kaanapali.

@Plumeria needs to read this.

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Thanks for this, and I await the sequel! I’m headed to Maui (Haiku and Kihei) in January.

Snack time with surfing goats

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Was in Maui this summer. Had a pretty good meal at Milagros Food Company in Paia, sort of a Hawaiian take on Mexican food.

Milagros is a cute space and I’ve had a couple good meals there and one really bad one. I don’t remember exactly what dish I ordered, but the chicken was close to inedible - untrimmed, unseasoned and rubbery. Maybe just an off day in the kitchen.