Top 5 Dive Restaurants In Maui And What To Order There (As Seen On TV)

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Maui has sooooo many good food options…seriously, we’ve been to Maui 8 times and I can only think of one epically bad meal in all of those 8 trips.  It was Beach Bums…don’t go there…it’s bad!  But, like I said there are so many good choices that it can often be hard to narrow down your options when it comes meal time.  So, in my next few blogs I will try to break them down into categories.  I do love a fancy meal…I am part time foodie…married to a foodie…and Thing 2 is an aspiring chef and full-on foodie…so there is that.  But my favorite types of restaurants are more casual and dive-like, with dishes I can try to recreate at home!  So, without further ado…in order…here’s my

Top 5 Dive Restaurants In Maui

  1.  Da Kitchen.  This place has been featured on Food Network’s Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives.  This is down-home cooking done island style in monstrous proportions!  It’s located just a mile or two from the airport and is a regular stop for us, usually as a last meal before we head to the airport on our way back home.  It’s a greasy little spoon with no view, but OMG I can not even begin to describe how amazing the food is here!  If it were sitting in a location with a view…you’d never be able to get a table…like ever!  We have ordered lots of different items from here, but hubs and Things 1-3 swear that the Saimin is possibly one of the greatest things to eat on the island.  Thing 4 is picky and always orders a burger because that’s a safe bet for him.  But for me it’s this…IMG_E2824the Loco Moco!  So, Loco Moco is available on lots of menu’s on the island…it’s a local favorite.  It’s basically a hamburger topped with a fried egg and then smothered with gravy, served on or with rice.  Yes, I know that may not sound appetizing to some of you…but I promise, it is HEAVEN!!!!  At Da Kitchen that onion and mushroom gravy is to die for and it’s served with potato-macaroni salad, another island treat that can not be missed!  This meal is so epically big…I’m pretty sure 3 grown adults could be satisfied from it…so feel free to split this one with whoever your dining with or box it up and take it back to your room for leftovers if you’re still staying on the island after this meal.  No matter what you do while you’re on your Maui vacation…DO NOT MISS DA KITCHEN!!!!
  2. Down The Hatch.  Down The Hatch has been featured on the Travel Channel’s Booze Traveler…small side note, if you are not watching this show…you are missing out….even if you are not a Booze kind of girl or guy!  It’s also been featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  This is easily Thing 4’s favorite place to eat, and it’s a favorite of mine and my parents as well!  It’s become a bit of a ritual to swing by Down The Hatch after playing golf on the south side of the island.  It’s Lava Lava Shrimp (kind of like Bang Bang Shrimp if you’ve had that), grown up grilled cheese sandwiches, like a lobster and crab stuffed grilled cheese or a spicy chicken grilled cheese, shrimp po boys, and Ahi sandwiches.  Quick easy food with a touch of a gourmet twist!  So good!  Anything you order from here is really yummy!  The bonus to eating here is that Breakwall Shave Ice is right inside, or next door???  Kind of hard to explain…so let’s see if these will help…photo (1)IMG_2755 (1)So, Down The Hatch is a block away from the Harbor in Lahaina…you walk down some stairs and it opens up to a large patio/courtyard type area.  You walk up to the counter…order your food…take a number and someone brings you what you ordered.   Well, right next door to where you order your food for Down The Hatch is Breakwall Shave Ice…you can kind of tell that’s what’s going on in the top picture.  The bottom pic and the pic at the very top of this post are of the BEST SHAVE ICE on Maui from Breakwall! Trip Advisor has this one wrong in my opinion.  Breakwall makes their natural flavors in house…so they are a tad bit healthier and taste so much better than any of the other shave ice places we’ve been on the island.  And for the record, shave ice is not a snow cone…do not go there!  Shave ice is so much better!  Plus, you can add ice cream in the bottom of it…mind blowing!  The consensus favorite in our family is the strawberry guava shave ice with macadamia nut ice cream in the bottom.  This place makes me want to buy one of those machines and open up a little place here in Oklahoma, just so that I can have one whenever I want!  I believe Breakwall is the only place on the island where you can add some adult beverages to your shave ice…we haven’t ever excersized our option to do that…but I can see the appeal for it, if that’s your thing.  Down The Hatch and Breakwall are local favorites, and Down The Hatch offers one of the longest happy hours on the island.
  3. Captain Jack’s Island Grill.  This restaurant was new to me on my last trip, and came as a recommendation from Thing 1, now a Maui resident!  We’ve always kind of steered clear of this place because it’s super theme-y (is that a word?) and felt a little cheesy.  I mean it’s as Pirate’s Of The Caribbean as it gets in there.  But, when I tried their Ono fish and chips and one of their signature drinks, I quickly got over it!  They probably have the best fish and chips I’ve tasted on Maui!  Hubs and I went during happy hour…which was a great value, and they had excellent live music, and a much cooler vibe than I would have ever imaged!  This place pleasantly surprised me!
  4. South Maui Fish Co.  South Maui Fish Co. is actually a food truck with a courtyard.  With the owner at the grill, this place truly felt like a backyard barbecue at a friend’s house.The owner of this place has my physician husband’s dream job!  Ha!  Hubs is an epic grill master in his own right!  But, this place was phenomenal!  The fish is fresh caught…you can even charter a fishing excursion with the fisherman that they get their fish from…his number was plastered on a cooler that held all the drinks that was in front of the food truck!  Doesn’t get much more dive-y than that!  But, like I was saying…fish is fresh, and grilled to order…hubs had the blackened catch of the day and I opted for the fish of the day curry style with rice…oh man was it good!  South Maui Fish Co. is in Kehei in a parking lot with several other food trucks…this was by far the busiest of all them out there…for good reason!  They open at 11am and close when they run out of fish for the day…so come early and come hungry!
  5. Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop.  This is a family favorite.  It sits right off the highway that takes you from the airport into Lahaina.  There is nothing but this restaurant, a general store and a fruit stand on a little stretch of highway after the public beaches, but before you get into Lahaina.  Do not get your fresh fruit from this fruit stand…it’s terrible! I’ve never see good looking produce there. But, Leoda’s is an amazing little breakfast and sandwich shop that also has a small bakery with the best and most beautiful little individual pies!  So, yummy!

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It looks like a cute little country kitchen from the south that they just plopped right down on the island!  The breakfast here is super yummy!  We usually do sandwiches at lunchtime…and grab pies for dessert for after dinner back at our condo!  DO NOT MISS the MAC NUT CHOCOLATE PIE!  The crust is so light and flakey…so good!!!  For sandwiches…the boys love the rueben and the pork, pork, mmmm pork!  Everything from here has been really good…I’d venture to say anything you ordered would hit the spot!

Honorable Mention

Without getting into much detail…there are a couple of restaurants that also need to be noted.  Top Chef contestant Sheldon Simeon has opened Tin Roof…we have not yet been there, but it looks amazing…I think that it’s just a pick up lunch kind of place, so that generally doesn’t work well for us…especially when we have all of the boys and my parents with us on our travels.  Sheldon also started Star Noodle, which is very popular.  It’s excellent…it’s a hard restaurant for Thing 4, but the noodle bowls and kimchi are amazing, and Thing 4 does love the pork buns, which are heavenly, but it’s literally the only thing we could find on the menu that he was willing to try. And lastly Aloha Mixed Plate…it’s been featured on the Food Network.  It’s tiny, but the food is good and it’s a great place to be able to try lots of local dishes.  It can be hard to get into because of it’s size!

So, that’s it!  Hope this helps you in your culinary endeavors on your trip to Maui!  Did I miss anything?  What are some of your favorite dive restaurants on the island???

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10 Must Have Items From The Grocery Store While On Your Hawaiian Vacation

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As my last post suggested, the best way to enjoy your Hawaiian vacation is in a condo, villa, house, apartment…something with access to a kitchen.  If your family is anything like mine, we love to grill out…so extra bonus if you have a place to stay that has grilling accommodations as well.  I’ve mentioned before that I have weird food allergies…I have some of the more normal ones like wheat and dairy, but then I also have things like pineapple and coffee that I don’t do well with either…it’s stupid, I know!  But, it is what it is.  At any rate, cooking for ourselves makes life a little easier for me.   We don’t do it every night…I mean who wants to be cooking and cleaning every night of their vacation, right?  However, I am super lucky that I married a good cook, and in a couple of years when Thing 2 graduates from Culinary School I will likely be kicked out of the kitchen all together!

Having a kitchen and being able to create your own meals not only saves you a little money, but it also gives you the opportunity to live like the locals a little.  I love a good grocery store or farmer’s market!  I highly suggest that you go to a local market for your produce and meats…you don’t want to miss out on that local goodness.  We often go to Wal-Mart to get some of our staples like bottled water for the room, bread, cereal, coffee filters, clorox wipes, and even toiletries because it is much cheaper there.  But, you definitely want to buy your produce and meats at either a farmer’s market like Kumu Farms on Maui, or a local grocery store.   I also highly recommend going to visit the Maui Farmers Market in the Upcountry on Saturdays, it’s a feast for your eyes in every way possible…some of the biggest and weirdest and prettiest produce I’ve ever seen…and the Upcountry Farmers Market tops my hippy list!  Ok, back to groceries…sometimes it’s hard to know which brands are good and which aren’t and food is too expensive in Hawaii to be playing that guessing game!  Maui has a variety of grocery stores…Foodland and Safeway are the ones we frequent most…and on Kauai, it’s only Foodland that we frequent.  So, without further ado…here is my ten must have grocery items from the Hawaiian grocery stores…in no particular order!

  1. Big Island Bees Honey.  Big Island Bees is the brand of honey.  They have several varieties, which come from the type of flower that the bees pollenated.  Macadamia Nut is our favorite flavor!
  2. Honey Cream Pineapples.  I have only found these at Foodland on Maui.  This is a varietal of pineapple.  It is much smaller than a regular pineapple and they have cut the leafy tops off.  The flavor is less acidic and more sweet than normal pineapples.  Also, if given the option on normal pineapples…Maui Gold over Dole…and generally speaking the smaller the pineapple, the sweeter.  If you need to learn how to pick a ripe pineapple, head over to my Girl You Tripping Facebook page and watch a video from a Maui farmer on how to do just that!
  3. Coconut Macaroons from the  Foodland Bakery Department.  You do not even have to be a fan of coconut to love these little macaroon cookies!  We love the chocolate dipped ones the best!
  4. Fresh Fish.  Please, please, please try local fish when you are on the Islands!  Try Ono, Wahoo, MongChung, Opakapaka…do not miss out on the stuff you can not get anywhere else in the world!  My very best tip for buying fish in Hawaii is to talk to the person you are buying your fish from…they know us mainlanders are clueless and they want to teach you about their fish and their food!!!  They will tell you about the fish and the best way to prepare it!  For fresh fish on Maui…this will probably only apply to the west side visitors…Lahaina, Ka’anapali, Kapalua…Safeway in Lahaina gets their fish in daily at around 8AM and most of the good stuff is gone by 2pm. There is also the Maui Fish Market in Kahana.  On Kauai, you’ve got to go to the Dolphin in Princeville!  It’s a restaurant, but they also run a fish market on the back side of it!
  5. Hawaiian Kettle Stlye Chips.  Orange bag…Luau BBQ Flavor!  I’ll throw Maui StyleMaui Onion Potato Chips in here as well…but they are not as good as the BBQ ones and you can almost pick those up anywhere in the states now…I saw them at Sam’s in Oklahoma last week.
  6. Hawaiian Sun Teas & Juices.  These come in 6-pack cans.  The boys favorites are Lilikoi Passion and both the Island and Tropical Teas.  I can not keep these stocked while we are there!
  7. Roselani Tropics Ice Cream.  Do yourself a favor and try any of the Hawaiian-y flavors…they are all delicious!
  8. Aloha Spice Company Sea Salt.  I swear by this stuff!  I promise it makes a difference in the taste of your food!  Lots of varieties…black, red, grey…all are fantastic!  I like this brand because of the packaging….I can take what I do not use home with me because it’s in a ziplock type container…no glass…and no spilling.
  9. Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts.  This is a no brainer…they are everywhere.  I’m gonna get a little specific with you though…if you like these with caramel…Hawaiian Host is your brand.  If you just like them covered in regular or dark chocolate I like Mauna Loa for the same reason I like that Aloha Spice salt…more packaging options and you can take home anything you don’t eat while you are there!
  10. POG.  My boys are POG hounds, and it is yummy!  For those of you that don’t know what POG is, it’s Passion-Orange-Guave juice.  Meadow Gold is as good a brand as any for POG.

Well, that’s it…my 10 Hawaiian grocery store must haves!  You can actually save a little bit more money if you enroll in the reward programs at the grocery stores.  Foodland rewards program will even let you link back to your Hawaiian Airlines account…meaning you can earn flight miles by shopping there.  Most stores have in-store specials and coupons that are available online…so you can print them out from the comfort of your own home before you even leave!  Hope this has been helpful!

What are some of your grocery store must have’s that I have been missing out on all this time?