Maui Wowee - a long overdue trip report

Old Aug 17th, 2012, 06:41 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
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We just booked our first trip to Maui - for spring 2013, plenty of time to figure out what to see and do over nine days. Thanks for this great trip report - I am bookmarking it, so we can refer back.
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Old Aug 24th, 2012, 10:46 PM
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Just wanted to share the pictures I took during this trip This should be all of the them including some I shared previously. Enjoy!
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Old Oct 9th, 2012, 01:58 PM
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I am attempting to finish this report before our next trip to Hawaii! I currently am thinking about a birthday trip to Oahu and Maui in February of 2013. I must say that even though it is a good 4 months away a lot of the condos that I've seen are booked solid through March! So, we have some slim pickins. But while I plan, here is day 7 of our trip report:

Maui Wowie – A Trip Report Part VII

Our last full day on Maui…sadly our vacation was coming on an end, but we still had a full day and most of the next ahead of us, so we got up and enjoyed breakfast buffet again at the RC. Today they had changed up some of the items, instead of regular breakfast sausage they had Portuguese sausage. My favorite! Anyone know how I can get this back in New York (aside from someone bringing it back from their Hawaii trip)? Regular Linguica just doesn’t cut it…

Since the beach at the RC had too much of a high surf for swimming, we were thinking of heading over to Kaanapali, to the Blackrock beach in front of the Sheraton. This is also where the Whaler’s Village shopping complex was. On the way down we decided we’ll have lunch on the beach, so we stopped at the Honolua store to pick up a plate lunch to share: breaded mahi mahi and kalua pork with rice and mac salad.

Blackrock beach was fabulous. Granted there were more people here than at other beaches we’ve seen but I can see the draw here. The snorkeling was wonderful! We saw a giant sea turtle that swam so close to us we could totally reach out and touch it (we didn’t of course, but I think others weren’t as polite). It was so used to seeing people that it didn’t seem scared. I think I was more scared than the turtle! Pretty awesome sight. I had never seen a giant sea turtle before this trip and now I had swam with 3 of them within a week. The beach is also really nice, wide with golden sand and easy entry into the water. Having lunch here was great after an afternoon of snorkeling. BTW, there were only a few free parking stalls here next to the walkway to the beach. We managed to get one but on subsequent trips were weren’t as lucky and we just parked in Whalers Village. If you buy anything you can get your parking validated.

Walking back to the car, we decided to take the long route and walk through the Whaler’s village shops. I stopped by Mcdonalds to get something to drink and I couldn’t resist getting myself a cup of saimin (ramen noodles in a cup) because I wanted to take a picture of it to show people back home. I find it really fun go to go fast food places and order stuff you can’t get anywhere else. I did that once in Singapore with a curry mutton pizza at Pizza Hut…anyhoo, the saimin was kind of bland and not the greatest, but my friends on facebook were surprised when they asked what was in the container. They thought it was oatmeal.

I also really loved the retro t-shirt shop that was on the 2nd floor (can’t remember the name!) but their t-shirts had a really great vintage appeal. They were pricey but they seem to last a long time. My husband really loves the ones he got there. I thought they were nicer than the Crazy Shirts (which I also like, especially the Sharka ones)

After cleaning up and relaxing back at the RC, we headed out to dinner at Merrimans. It’s located in the Kapalua complex itself so we didn’t’ have far to drive at all. The restaurant was fairly new (when we were there in 2009), and it had beautiful elegant plantation-style décor. We started off with a glass of wine and I actually tried a merrimans mai tai. I am by no means a regular mai tai drinker so I wasn’t sure where this stood in terms of mai tai greatness but it was pretty good, but I’ve decided I’m not really a mai tai drinker ( I do love lava flows though!). We got the appetizer sampler which consisted of a crudo of island fish (ahi) and kula tomato, kalua pig and sweet onion quesadilla, kona kampachi sashimi with miso marinated calamari salad and a lobster bisque. I was full just from looking at the large sampler plate they set in front of us! But I truly love the variety we got. They even were agreeable in swapping out the goat cheese salad which was originally there for the lobster bisque. I guess I felt I had too much surfing goat cheese already.

For my entrée, I got the Big Island Butterfish misoyaki, which was just delectable. It was served with shimeji mushrooms, baby bok choy and young ginger broth. There was a side of mac nut brown rice too. Some of my favorite flavors are in this dish and it did not disappoint. My husband chose the Merriman’s Mix Plate – Crispy day boat mahi with local citrus ponzy, maui cattle beef filet with mushrooms, and wok charred ahi with brased kula romaine. His fishes were good, but his beef was overcooked. I really hate to send food back , but his steak was just completely well done and we ordered medium rare as we always do. So, they whisked off his steak and brought back another, perfectly cooked one. Whew! Service really was quite extraordinary too.

For dessert we got the pineapple upside down cake, a good solid dessert. When the bill came, we were surprised that we got both entrees comped as a gesture for the overcooked steak. We were not expecting this at all since they did rectify the mistake. Our server said that he also thought we waited too long for our food, which I guess thinking about it, our entrees did take some time to come but we were grateful for that because our appetizer platter was so filling, so in essence was not a big deal. In any case, the service was outstanding, and they apologized profusely for the steak. Next time I would like to come to Merriman’s during sunset so I can really appreciate the view!

Next up, our last day in Maui before we fly back home!
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Old Nov 6th, 2012, 12:04 PM
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Maui Wowie Part VIII

Waking up on the day of departure was bittersweet – it’s our last day of vacation (sob), but it was also the day I had planned our last meal at Mama’s Fish House before our flight back home and I was looking forward to that as well as my facial at the spa.

We had breakfast buffet for the third time and laid out by the pool again before my morning spa appointment. My facial was wonderful and the spa there is really top notch, but yes it is a pretty penny. Yay for resort credits. We were offered late check-out at 1pm with our package so we stayed at the pool until the last minute before checking out and packing up the car again. Ahh we were really going to miss this. Goodbye beautiful Ritz Carlton!

We headed out and stopped by Honokowai Okazuya for what I thought was one of the best mixed plate lunches on the island. We split the teri steak over vegetables, mac salad and rice. It was flavorful and some of the best quality you’ll see in a plate lunch. Definitely worth the “higher” prices for take-out food, but portions are generous. We ate outside on the picnic table, although we could have carried it to somewhere more picturesque…next time. Next door was also Bad Ass coffee which had some great iced kona coffee. I really enjoyed my iced coffee, yum!

We made our way around the island slowly – our flight was not till later at 9pm so we took some time on the drive back around from Kapalua. We stopped, took pictures at every outlook and did a bit of shopping – souvenirs for family and friends, and some more manju from homemaid bakery for me. We also stopped at that one mall in Kahului, which wasn’t very interesting but it was nice to experience Maui like a local. I remember going into the Sanrio store and buying some exclusive Hawaii Hello Kitty stuff for my sister who loved it.

Since we had some more time to kill before dinner we went to the Sugar Museum – it is not terribly thrilling and the museum is old so I would say skip it, unless you REALLY want to see it. But the nice thing is now that I get those “sugar in the raw” packets in delis or coffee shops I always look for the wording that says, Made in Maui.

Our dinner at Mama’s fish house couldn’t come sooner enough! Upon getting to Paia and to Mama’s we immediately jumped out, checked in and took pictures. It was right at around sunset so I wanted to capture all the available light. The beach area in front of the restaurant is really picturesque, tall palm trees and vintage canoes…they were pretty.

The restaurant itself was a lot more romantic and elegant than I thought. Back then, when you went to the Mama’s Fish House website, it was extremely cheesy. (It has since improved). I was expecting a little more kitsch. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of vintage Polynesian decor here, but the ambiance is true old Hawaii and is just wonderful. I really thought this was the best place to end our trip. The surprising thing was when I made a reservation I put down we are celebrating our anniversary and they gifted me with a fresh flower lei! How sweet. Too bad I’d have to give it up in a few hours.

Since we don’t like to drink a lot before long flights, I believed we shared a cocktail (can’t remember what but it wasn’t a mai tai), and dug into the cut your own bread that is served with the meal. For an appetizer, we shared the seafood soup with coconut broth. It was lovely. I love anything coconut! For entrees, I got the whole wok fried moi served in a lychee black bean sauce served with coconut rice. The dish itself was pretty good. I don’t think the moi (which was fantastic) needed such a robust sauce, but I like lychees. The husband’s dish though, was amazing. He got the traditional mac nust crusted mahi mahi tolled with a stuffed lobster claw. This was the most delicious variation of this dish that we’ve ever eaten! It’s quite common to see this dish on menus in Hawaii but the freshness of the fish and the delicate nature in which it was prepared was wonderful. I liked his dish better than mine . Service was excellent and we had a great time.

Since we were really full after, we couldn’t get a full dessert so we settled for mango strawberry sorbet. They also gave us a complimentary chocolate ice cream for our anniversary. Both were outstanding, even something as simple as sorbet and ice cream tasted divinely homemade. 4 thumbs up for Mama’s Fish House! Definitely a splurge meal but not to be missed.

Alas our vacation was over. After dinner we headed to the airport where we returned our convertible and checked into our flight back home to New York.

What an amazing first anniversary trip to Maui. Since that trip we’ve been back to Hawaii 5 more times: Kauai in Jan 2010, Big Island and Maui Nov 2010, Oahu Oct 2012, Oahu and Big Island June 2012, and we’ve currently booked a trip to Oahu for March 2013. We look forward to spending our 5th anniversary back in Maui and possibly to Kauai in November 2013. We obviously love Hawaii and consider it our go-to destination. We’d rather take less short trips during the year to other tropical places now so we can take one longer trip to Hawaii.

I hoped you enjoyed this trip report and allowed me to relive our wonderful trip. Once again here’s the full set of pictures from our trip.

And a series of reviews I did on Yelp:
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Old Nov 6th, 2012, 02:06 PM
Join Date: May 2012
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Love your photographs! (but would like them more if you had a place name of some of those beach shots) Thanks for sharing. We're planning 11 nights on Maui next spring, and there's lots of useful information here.
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Old Nov 6th, 2012, 04:20 PM
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22tango, you're right, I've updated the captions with some locations. Hope it's helpful!
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Old Nov 7th, 2012, 06:37 AM
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Great report and it reminded me of several of our trips to Maui. Definitely do take something warm when greeting the Sun God up at Haleakula and loved your dining reviews, replete with pics.

Definitely one of the best trip reports have read in here.

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Old Nov 7th, 2012, 02:34 PM
Join Date: May 2012
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Thanks so much, tifa2276; you really didn't have to do that. But it did save me some research. And now it appears that we'll HAVE to do the Road to Hana.
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Old Nov 7th, 2012, 06:53 PM
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22tango - not a problem, I actually had captions when I shared with friends on facebook but never got around to updating on my picasaweb. I agree it's definitely helpful for myself as well. I used my captions from facebook to help jog my memory for the trip report! And I agree that you should do the RTH. Although I didn't think I'd redo it after the first trip, the more I think about it, the more I want to do it again!

Tomsd - thank you very much! I appreciate your kind comments. Mahalo!
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