We recently took a trip to Maui, closing down Paizano’s for ten days.
After over two years of working 7-days a week, and thinking that working an 7-hour day is a “day off”, we finally took a vacation. We figured, hey, everyone else takes 52 days off a year… it’s called SUNDAYS.
As a bonus, we took our friends employees with us. Rules were that they had to be long-timers working full-time, so while we had originally planned for four of our crew, only three made the trip with us; Calhoun had already left for college, plus, he and his mom were already planning a trip that would conflict with our dates.
Whitey worked the lunch on our last day at work, and then went home to pack and try to sneak in a nap. I worked from 3 until 10:30, then raced home to pack and then pick up the crew in the delivery van. Flour was still in my hair from tossing pies, and I smelled of de-greaser and pizza. Nice.
We arrived in Kahului, Maui at 11:30 a.m. the next day, and we spent the entire day unwinding, stocking the fridge, and ridding ourselves a severe jet-lag.
Our first night, we grilled kal-bi & beef teriyaki, ate a huge meal, and everyone passed out at 8 o’clock to the sound of waves crashing on the beach.
Good thing we got a great night’s sleep, because the next morning we had to be at Ma’alaea Harbor at 6 a.m. for our departure on a snorkel tour. It ended up being one of the highlights of our trip.
We watched the sun rise as we were served homemade Cinnamon rolls and fresh brewed coffee.
When we arrived at Molokini, Kristen informed us that this would be her first time swimming. As in EVER. Oh, she’d been in a pool before, but never in the deep end. She was a bit terrified. A true Eastern Oregonian small town girl. 🙂
Our boat was anchored in 100 feet of water near the crater, and we’d be swimming towards the cliff-side wall to see the coral reefs.
It was absolutely breathtaking. Millions of tropical fish and gorgeous coral formations were only a few feet below, and the warm water was as clear as glass. The water is incredibly buoyant, and so by the end of our excursion, Kristen had let go of the boogie board and was only relying on a float belt. Charley was stung by a jellyfish, which was remedied fairly quickly with the first-aid kit.
I can’t impress enough how awesome this trip was. It was God’s personal fishbowl, with sea creatures the colors that are only found in CMYK. Insane purples, florescent yellows, emerald greens, and needle fish the color of shiny sterling silver.
The crew provided lunch of teriyaki chicken aboard the sailboat, then set off for our second destination: Turtle Town. By the time we reached it, though, a few clouds had settled in blocking sun, so the water was darker. We did see a couple of the giant beasts, and called it a day.
On our way back to Kahana, we stopped for shave ice, which is my absolute favorite treat from my childhood. No, it’s NOT a snowcone.
We took it pretty easy the rest of the day. The sun and swimming had taken it out of us, so we just relaxed at the condo. I made pupus (appetizers) before we went to out to dinner. Having fresh tuna so readily available is such a luxury.
I was so stoked that Kris, Jess and Charley were all so willing to try anything I put in front of them. “RAW fish?!?” asked Kristen. “Eww.” Charley casually offered that he has never liked seafood as I put the platter down.
But they all tried it, and then promptly inhaled it. Tuna poke, tako poke (octopus), fresh sashimi, fishcake, tobiko (fish eggs), lomilomi salmon… the plate was empty in less than five minutes. We cleaned up and headed out for dinner.
Charley ordered fish, which surprised me. He explained that he wanted to try everything that wasn’t readily available in Eastern Oregon. Way to go! Turned out that his dish was the best of all of ours.
Jessica ordered a seafood bucket filled with clams, mussels, lobster, crab & fish.
Kristen was in awe of watching the sun set on an outdoor lanai (patio), wearing summer clothes in late October. The girl had eyes the size of silver dollars pretty much the entire trip. Wide-eyed and bushy-tailed.
We stayed at my aunt and uncle’s oceanfront condo in Kahana, which is further up the coast from the more touristy areas of Ka’anapali and Lahaina. The condo has been in the family since I was a kid, so it’s very familiar to me.
We spent a lot of time playing in the ocean and swimming in the pool. I made breakfast almost every morning, usually fresh fruit (mangos, pineapple, starfruit, apple bananas, guava) and banana pancakes with bacon or fried Spam (a local staple in the islands). We spent some time at my aunt and uncle’s house as well, enjoying our downtime.
They live in Kapalua, and have a view that you would not believe. The minute we saw the infinity pool, the front girls pulled me aside and said that we had to “stop by” some afternoon to poach it. We did. 🙂
Whitey was able to golf two times while we were there, once at the Ka’anapali course and the other at the Kapalua course. He said the latter was the most challenging course he’s ever played.
When he golfed, the rest of us spent time shopping on Front Street in Lahaina, or taking a scenic drive to watch big wave surfers.
The water in Maui is the most amazing color of blue.
A friend of mine from Bend (who I’ve known for 18-years) happened to be in Maui as well, so we met up one day so that he could share his “secret snorkeling spot”. It was truly amazing – we saw so many turtles it was as if you couldn’t move without bumping into one! These beasts were enormous at about 400-pounds each. I’m not gonna lie; it was a bit frightening at times.
Near to the cove we were snorkeling in was a huge formation of tide pools, and a giant Hawaiian monk seal lay basking in the sun, waiting for the waves to wash over him during his stretch.
It was a really good day.
We ate pretty well on our trip. Our favorite breakfast outing was at the Plantation House restaurant, overlooking the Kapalua Plantation course.
Charley declared his omelet the “best breakfast I’ve ever had” and I had to agree. The crab Benedict was one of the best I’ve ever had as well.
The view from the restaurant is simply spectacular. We all agreed we could wait tables full-time there and never get used to the picturesque view.
We also spent more than a few meals up the street from our condo at the Maui Brewing Company & Ray’s steakhouse.
These were some of the best chili cheese fries I’ve ever put in my face! But the kicker was their ice cream float made with Coconut Porter beer.
Oh mama. It was so good. I’ve since looked online on buying their beer to ship to Baker City, and it was upwards of $35 for four cans (including shipping). Sadly, I just can’t justify the price. I’ve asked our local brewpub guys to please PLEASE try to mimic it for me, though. PuhLEEZE, Shawn. I’m begging you here.
The best meal we had on the island, by far, was our sushi night. We attempted to go to Sansei in Kapalua, having once been there five years ago and recalling it to be very good. When we arrived, however, the line was around the block.
We were told it would be over an hour wait, and decided to go with my aunt’s recommendation of going to Kai instead.
Kai is located inside of the Ritz-Carlton, and MAN was it stunning!
The sushi. was. amazing. No, better than amazing. Perfect. I’ve never had better in my life, and I’ve eaten a LOT of good sushi.
I was in awe at how gorgeous the presentation was, how fresh the flavors were.
I’m worried that the next time any of these kids eat sushi again, it will be awful. We were so spoiled this night. Whitey declared it one of his top 10 dinners of his lifetime, and then ordered one of each of the desserts.
My favorite was the green tea ice cream (above), but the chocolate cake and the creme brulee were both a near second.
We were stuffed, ecstatic, and didn’t want to go home yet, so we ventured over to the lounge.
Sitting fat and happy in our chairs, our server came over to get our order. Someone in our group mentioned that we were visiting from a very small town in Oregon, to which she replied, “Where? I’m from Baker City.”
We all looked up and it hit me; she used to work at our local brewpub, right about the time we moved to town. AUBREEEEE!
It’s a small world.
We sipped on our warm coffee drinks, then toured the lower half of the resort.
I thought that I was pushing it by soaking my feet in one of the hot tubs…
… until I heard giggling from one of the many pools nearby.
Coincidentally, the front girls were soaking wet when the valet brought our car around. Hmmm.
Halloween in Maui is notorious for being similar to Mardi Gras. The streets are packed with people dressed in outrageous costumes, and all of the restaurants and bars are at maximum capacity. Of course, we had to go.
We hadn’t packed costumes, so we scrounged up some cheap makeup at a local drugstore, and I painted the front girls’ faces.
If this pizza gig doesn’t work out, I could probably go into the face painting biz, eh?
The crowds were thick, yet we were all able to walk along the sidewalks fairly comfortably, gawking at all of the costumes.
It was chaotic, and luckily we were able to get home fairly early. We all passed out and woke up early enough to do one last crazy adventure.
What a TRIP that was! We were taken out on large speedboat, and let loose 1250-feet into the air! For 15 minutes, we floated in the sky and couldn’t hear a sound. The view was stellar. Whitey and I shared a tandem trip, and everyone else went as a trio. What a rush!
All in all, we ate, swam, napped, drank fruity cocktails and milked every minute of every day.
Taking our staff with us was a pretty nice gesture, yes, but it was also something that we did to make our vacation that much more fun. Watching them swim in warm ocean water, eat new crazy foods, and experience things that they’ve never done before — it was fun to share these memories with them. These typical things that I grew up with were completely foreign to them.
Next year, we’re going to my hometown of Kailua. I’m already planning it.