My Maui posts are almost over. Actually I think there is going to be one more after this one, showing you some amazing vegan options on Maui. This time around I thought I would show you some of what I made while there.
Within the first two days of being there, I hit up Whole Foods, Costco, & the farmer’s market in Makawao. I loaded up on goodies as I had a few things in mind I wanted to make. I knew I wanted to make both Hawaiian inspired quick breads from Eat the Love, a vegan version of Hawaiian sweet bread, a vegan Hawaiian burger, and some of the taro recipes from an old issue of VegNews.
I decided to start with the Honey Mango Orange Bread from Eat the Love. I replaced the 3 eggs with 3 tsp dry Ener-G Egg Replacer (NOT mixed with water) and it came out excellent. Very moist, loaded with Hawaiian mango, humane organic Hawaiian honey, local navel oranges and Maui grown organic vanilla beans (which you can get for a little less than $1 a piece!).
I had to smuggle some vegan white chocolate chips over on the plane to make the White Chocolate Ginger Papaya Bread from Eat the Love. I used a Hawaiian strawberry papaya and subbed out the butter for Earth Balance. I replaced the eggs with 3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer and replaced the yogurt with So Delicious Dairy Free Yogurt. This turned out to be a moist and delicious bread. It was difficult deciding if this bread or the mango bread was better. I loved incorporating the papaya seeds into the bread batter.
Here is my Hawaiian Sweet Bread attempt. The flavor was right, but the texture was far too dense. Going to try again and hopefully have a recipe for y’all.
The only taro recipe I had an opportunity to make was the Taro Poke from VegNews. It was excellent. I loved it so much I have made it since being home. I’ve also made the Pineapple-Taro Smoothie since I’ve been back, using some of the Maui Gold Pineapple I brought home.
This guy showed up while I was photographing the Poke.
And then there were these Hawaiian Burgers, with a not so great patty, but with amazing Maui Gold Pineapple, mashed Big Island avocado, sauteed Maui sweet onions, and homemade Teriyaki Aioli made with Kupa’a Organic Farms amazing Elephant Garlic. Now I don’t want to trash talk, but I happened to have a coupon good for some free Gardein. I enjoy their “chik”n” products, so I thought I’d give the burgers a try. They’re not terrible, just incredibly similar to a Boca Burger, and I know we’ve all had better veggie/vegan burgers than those. So, def try it if there are no other burger options, but this burger would be great with a homemade patty or some of those crazy good ones from Costco whose brand name escapes me. Don something….. Despite the so-so patty, the rest of the burger was great. The aioli I invented was so good, that my friend and I snuck some into a restaurant in Lahaina to jazz up our veggie burgers there. 😉
Since I need to get my blog up to speed I thought I would throw in this here Saturday post!
One of my most favorite places on Maui is Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm located in….you guessed it….Kula. I kinda love Kula in general because it’s farm country. It’s green and beautiful. You can often see cows and horses roaming the hillsides and the flowers, oh my the flowers. Ali’i Kula Lavender farms grows 45 different species of lavender and lots of other beautiful flowers and plants. It’s basically a botanical garden, the best botanical garden ever. The first time I visited the farm the admission was free, but now it’s $3. Still worth it to go roam around their gardens for a while, inhaling all of the lavender smells and taking in all of the magic.
If you happen to visit this farm, do not pass up their gift shop. They have the world’s best gift shop. They sell all kinds of lavender goodies, from basics like lotion, essential oils and lavender buds to amazing lavender spices and syrups and jams, jellies and more. My favorites are the lavender lemonade and herbal tea though. You’ll want to buy two of these, drink half of one and then mix them together for a Hawaiian lavender Arnold Palmer. Yum.
Kula Country Farms has the BEST produce stand. The woman working was super nice and friendly. I bought a few things from her and the produce was fantastic. The stand is also stocked with locally made baked good (none vegan though–boo) and locally made preserves and such. I had already bought a bunch of jams and such, so I didn’t grab any preserves–but next time for sure.
Last of the farms is the dreaded O’o Farm. Located right down the street from Ali’i Kula. I signed up for a farm tour at O’o because they made it sound amazing. It was also going to include a farm to table lunch created by one of Maui’s best chefs. I had explained that my 2 friends and I would require a vegan lunch and they assured that would be no problem. Well, we arrived and listened to a lovely talk by the chef where he showed us some of the wonderful veggies they grow on the farm. That was the best and most interesting part of the tour. We were a bit shocked though to find out that the farm to table lunch was a buffet though. Family style I could understand, but a buffet? Sorta tacky. My friends and I then approached the chef as we had some concerns. First, there was a tofu dish (vegan) and a fish dish. We explained that we were a bit concerned because it was a buffet…..meaning that if we were not first in line then we may not get our share of lunch. Everyone else had two choices, tofu and fish and were encouraged to eat both. We were only limited to the tofu and for the cost of the tour, we were not too jazzed about maybe getting to have one piece of tofu…..
Then we asked the chef about the dessert. It was a dark chocolate truffle and we asked about the dairy content. The chef had no idea what was in the chocolate. He said he gets in out of a “bin” at a food supply…..That really blew me away. Here they are touting that this farm grows produce for Maui’s best restaurants and how this chef is amazing etc etc and he doesn’t even know what’s in the food he’s feeding people…..I mean, we were not asking him for a list of every ingredient, just is there dairy or no dairy? Absurd that he didn’t know. So, basically we were not guaranteed a satisfying lunch or dessert, which had me a little annoyed. I was also annoyed that I explicitly asked if they could accommodate vegans, was assured they could and then the chef didn’t even know. We were all still willing to give this place a chance and continued on with the second part of the tour which was lead by a farmer. And wow…..he was the worst tour guide and public speaker I have ever seen. The tour was boring me to tears and the more boring it got, the more and more annoyed I became. Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows that I frequent farms. It’s a hobby of mine and I’m into it. This was just the WORST farm experience I’ve ever had. After listening to a 20 minute lecture on compost, the farmer lead us to the smallest crop field I’ve ever seen and said we could pick things for our salad. We had a choice of mint, mustard greens and were told that there may or may not be some green beans left to pick. Again, wow…..for a tour with like 15 people on it I thought this was absurd. I guess this is the kind of experience for a person who knows absolutely NOTHING about plants, farming, vegetables, compost etc. Even if you’re just a gardener you’d find this boring. So, I had finally had enough and asked my friends if they wouldn’t mind just leaving. I’m not trying to sound like a dick, but I’m not the type of lady who is going to pay on the better side of a $100 for something so terrible. The only good thing about the farm was that it was pretty. We decided to head down to Paia and grab a delicious vegan pizza from Flatbread. Best. Decision. Ever.
The best part of O’o were these horses from a neighboring property. No worries though, we definitely turned our day around in Paia…..which is the best little town ever. Again, one of my favorite places on Maui. We did a lot of eating there which I will talk about in the next Maui post! 🙂
I was gone for a minute, I know. I abandoned MoFo and went to Maui. We have some property over there and I hadn’t been in years. We rent both of our units (3 bdrm in Kahana, 1 bdrm in Kapalua if anyone is interested!) and I manage them. I haven’t had the best year….actually, in my memory I look back on most of 2012 as a series of unfortunate events. And….that’s a bummer man. But I am SO glad I decided to go away. It was off to a rocky start (took some of bad juju from CA to HI). I reserved a rental car 6 months in advance and when I got there, they wouldn’t let me rent the car. !!!!! I’m 27 and I have only rented a car once from Enterprise. I had no issue at all. When I’m on Maui, alone, trying to get my car from Dollar, they tell me over and over that they will not rent me the car because my credit card is a debit card. You know, a check card. It has a Visa logo, but is directly tied to my bank account. And me being me, I have ZERO credit cards. I have a couple (Nordstrom, gas station) but no Visa, Mastercard or Amex that isn’t tied to my bank account. I don’t know….I don’t like spending money I don’t have, so I don’t use credit cards. I thought I could do everything with my debit/credit card because of the Visa logo, but apparently NOT.
So, I am at the airport (at least an hour drive from my destination in Kahana) and none of the other rental car places have any cars. Le sigh….I found one car at National, which was $951 something for the trip. Compared to the $400 rate I was supposed to be getting from Dollar, I could not bring myself to spend an extra $550 of my vacation money for a bullshit car. So, I sat and cried and freaked out. I then got the idea to check for other rental car places on the island and found a car at the Enterprise in Kaanapali, which is about 10/15 min south of Kahana. I took a cab ride that cost me $100+ but was just glad to find a car. The awesome dude at Enterprise took pity on me and gave me a really great rate too—actually lower than Dollar.
Relief. Okay–fast forward to the next night. I’m sitting talking on the lanai with two friends who arrived the night before. Suddenly, loud sirens start going off everywhere. People start running out of the condos with suitcases and we’re like wtf….? Someone stops and tells us there’s a tsunami coming and we have to evacuate like RIGHT NOW. Our condo is right on the beach, so there’s no way it’s safe. We start running around grabbing everything we can, hop in our cars and got to higher ground. We sat in our cars on a hilltop for over 4 hours waiting for the tsunami to come. Everything ended up being fine. It was scary, but so glad everything was okay.
Then, my trip was almost perfect. Just some rental car bullshit, quick evacuation and tsunami scare and then finally….FINALLY…..bliss. Now I’m going to show you some pictures of one of my favorite days ever; my visit to the Maui Gold Pineapple Farm and Packing House.
Awesome pineapple fact: You can slice off the top of your pineapple and plant it to grow a new pineapple plant. Pineapples can grow in CA, but need to be planted indoors in a minimum 5 gallon container. They cannot handle cold temps and they need TONS of sunshine. Like, get a 5 gallon tub on wheels because the plant will need to be moved to wherever the sunshine is.
Pineapples grow on a stalk. They were named pineapples by the first people who discovered them, because they looked like pine cones but were sweet like apples.
Maui Gold pineapples are the best. They have an acid standard! Maui Gold pineapples are 15% acid at the most making them sweeter than any other pineapple. They even have a little testing station inside the packing plant to test pineapples at random to see if they are keeping with that standard.
And what may be one of the coolest things about being on a pineapple farm, Maui Gold in particular, is that you get to taste these luscious golden yellow gems. You can only get pineapples this yellow near the farm they grew up on. Once picked, they only keep for a day or two before being spoiled, so they cannot be shipped anywhere. They were tender, sweet and probably my favorite our of the 3 I tasted. The tour that I took was all you can eat. There were only 3 of us, so me and this one lady went to TOWN. What I didn’t know, was that if you over do yourself on pineapple, you will grow the most grumpy canker sores ever. The bottom right side of my mouth experienced a cluster of the worst canker sores I’ve ever had. They peaked when two of them formed a canker bridge to merge into one giant sore. The right side of my face hurt and even my glands on that side were tender and swollen–that could have been a complete coincidence though. Eating for the remainder of the trip was interesting!
The pineapple farm is highly interesting. I learned a ton and will probably only buy Maui Gold pineapples from now on. I had had them before, but after touring the farm and tasting them again I have decided they are superior to any other pineapples out there. I got to take one home to the condo and I also took one home with me to California. The only complaint I have is that I kept hearing mixed info on whether or not a pineapple counted against your number of carry-ons. The verdict is that they are a special item which has to be marked and they do count as a carry-on item. I carry on my luggage so that was a problem for me. The people at Hawaiian Airlines made me check my pineapple…..sigh….But, what was awesome was that the woman who was helping me said to me in a bit of a snotty tone that I would still have to pay…you know, the ridiculous $25 they make people pay for checking bags? Because air travel is horrible and sort of disgusting nowadays….but they don’t take payments at the counter. I assumed she meant that they would charge my card–the one I used to buy tickets. Well, that card expired right before my trip and I was issued a new one with different numbers. The joke is on you Hawaiian Airlines….My pineapple safely made it on to a connecting flight and through baggage. I can’t believe my tiny pineapple traveled with luggage and cargo and survived. May have been those fresh macadamias I had also shoved into the box.
I would recommend visiting the farm if you’re on Maui. Also, if you’re looking to buy Maui Gold pineapples, they do sell them on their website. They’re a little on the pricey side to order online, but they usually do have them at Costco stores for a good price. On the island, avoid farm stands unless there is a farmer’s market going on. Many of the farm stands also charge a ton for the Maui Gold pineapples and other produce like papaya, avocados etc. You can get decent pineapples and other produce at a lot of the grocery stores around Maui and at the many amazing farmer’s markets. One of my favorites was in Makawao where I got coconut pineapple jam, homemade brown rice miso, macadamia pesto and guava jam. I miss Maui already.
Okay, that’s it for today’s really, really, really long post. More to come.