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Posts Tagged ‘hawaiian’

We read online that Mama’s Fish House was one of the best restaurants on the island of Maui. We’ve visited Maui a number of times now, but had yet to check this place out, mostly due to the cost. On our latest trip we were heading home along the Hana Highway and trying to decide on where to go for dinner. We didn’t have a reservation, but since it wasn’t quite 5pm we figured it might not be too busy yet. So we figured we would check it out while we were in the area. Since we didn’t have a reservation they didn’t have a spot in the main dining area (with the amazing ocean-view), but they did have a spot in the bar area which was fine with us.

The service was amazing! The valet staff entered our name into a computer, and by the time we got to the waitress station they were expecting us and had our table ready. Our waitress was fantastic, attentive, and friendly. Never let our water glass get empty.

There is an amazing beach right out front of the restaurant… what a view:
Beach at Mama's Fish House

We went over the drink menu, but after the long drive decided to stick with some pop. Shauna went with the iced tea, and Dan asked for a Root Beer. (Maui travel tip for pop drinkers… always order the root beer as many restaurants stock a brand of local Maui made root beer that is fantastic).The menu looked amazing! We had looked at the menu online so already knew what we wanted for an entree, but we decided to try the Papa’s Sashimi Trio Appetizer first – which consisted of Ono with calamansi citrus and Molokai pink sea salt, Ahi with ponzu, red sisho, and kukui nut salt, and Onaga with charred pineapple, pomegranate, and Hawaii Island black sea salt.

Papa's Sashimi Trio Appetizer

The entree we both decided on ahead of time was the Mahimahi caught along the north shore by Eric Nakamura, stuffed with lobster and crab, baked in a macadamia nut crust. It was also topped with asparagus and a small lobster tail. It was one of the most delicious entree’s we have eaten – fantastic!

Stuffed Mahimahi - Mama's Fish House

As we were finishing up our dinner the most fantastic looking dessert was delivered to the table across from us. The entire section stopped eating to have a look. The guy at the table next to theirs even asked to take a photo of it. So of course we had to order one for ourselves – it’s big enough to share. It was the Polynesian Black Pearl – a lilikoi chocolate mouse in a pastry seashell. It was amazing, just like everything else.

The Black Pearl - Mama's Fish House

Everything was so good that we actually considered making a reservation for a return visit a few days later, but weren’t sure what we would be doing just yet so decided to hold off. We ended up not being able to make it back up, but will definitely be back on our next trip.

View of the oceanfront dining portion of the restaurant:
Mama's Fish House

Beach at Mama's Fish House

Well worth the money at least once in your trip! Just remember to make reservations in advance!

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I had heard that Black Rock at Ka’anapali was one of the best snorkeling locations on the island of Maui. I wanted to check it out on a previous trip, but didn’t make it there as we always stay in Kihei. Shauna doesn’t like snorkeling, and I am not a big fan of shopping. So I made a plan where Shauna would drop me off at Black Rock for a few hours so I could snorkel while she went shopping at the Whaler’s Village. It worked out great for both of us.

The snorkeling at Black Rock was very good, with great visibility. However it was far too busy for my liking. Most of the turtles I saw were completely surrounded by people. There was one right near the shore that was pretty much getting swarmed by kids, until a large Hawaiian guy came down and shouted for them all to ‘get away from the turtle’. Overall it was a good place to snorkel, but I preferred my time at Honolua and the various Wailea beaches which were less busy with just as many fish and turtles. Here are some of my favorite photos from my day at Black Rock. It was overcast and raining while I was here, so the photos probably would have been better if it was sunny the entire time. Only one turtle photo as well, since I was trying out the video on my camera this time. However it seemed that I needed some practice as none of the video I took was usable. Fortunately I got another chance later in the trip, and got some great turtle video. More to come on that in a later post.

Kaanapali Beach - Maui

Black Rock - at Kaanapali Beach, Maui

Maui Fish

Maui Fishes

First Turtle of the Trip

Needle Fish

Beautiful Kaanapali Beach, Maui

A great day at the beach, and I was very happy to be back for another Maui vacation. Shauna had a great time with her shopping as well, so the day was a success all around. Stay tuned for more posts and photos from our latest Hawaiian Adventures!

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We have been to Maui three times now, with a lot of great experiences, memories, and photographs. So I was looking back and thinking about all of my favorite activities we have done.  So of course it made perfect sense to add a blog post with our favorite Maui Activities. Although it was a pretty tough list to narrow down, as there are so many amazing things you can do there. Since we mostly travel the island on our own, there are not many paid tours on the list (although we would like to take a helicopter tour some day). Anyhow, here is the list, hope you enjoy it, and as always you can click on the color links to see the full post for each:

#1 – Of course our wedding is first on the list. Such a perfect day at Secret Cove Beach, and our favorite memory of all. Getting married on the beach in Hawaii is the best thing we could have done:

Secret Cove (Pa'ako Beach), Maui

Sunset at Secret Cove Beach

#2 – Whale Watching with the Pacific Whale Foundation. It is definitely worth going out just to see and hear the humpbacks, no matter what the distance. We were lucky enough to have them swim right up to the boat. It was an unforgettable experience.

Pacific Whale Foundation - Maui Whale Watching

Whale-Watching

#3 – The amazing Haleakala Sunrise. We have been up to view the sunrise twice now, and will certainly go back up again on our next trip. I also enjoyed taking photos of the night sky. But watching the sun slowly rise above the clouds was a sight to behold. But be sure to dress warm for this one, as that wind is something else.

Haleakala Sunrise - Maui

Lookout Tower- Haleakala Volcano Crater Sunrise, Maui

#4 – The Old Lahaina Luau. Another amazing memory from our wedding trip of 2008. It was recommended online as one of the best Maui Luau’s. Whether you choose this one or another, a luau is definitely something to experience on any trip to Hawaii.

Old Lahaina Luau

#5 – Snorkeling at turtle town. I love to swim, love to snorkel, and love taking photos. So I spent a lot of time in the water with my new underwater camera on our latest trip. Turtle town near Wailea is one of my favorite spots. If you arent comfortable swimming from shore there are a lot of tour boat options that will get you here as well, to swim with the fish and the turtles.

Snorkeling with Turtles

#6 – Driving the Hana Highway. An all day adventure with as many side trips and stops as you can manage. So many sights and stops and adventures to be had.

South Maui Coastline

#7 – Honolua Bay – One of our favorite places on the island of Maui. On our first trip he heard it was a great snorkeling location. We didnt know about the rainforest out there however – what an amazing place. And the snorkeling was awesome (when the surf isn’t up).

Honolua Bay

Tropical Forest at Honolua Bay, Maui

#8 – Hiking the Pipiwai trail. An adventure that might be best done while staying in Hana. But we made an early morning drive from Kihei and hiked this amazing trail. From the Infinity Pool, to the banyan tree, to the Bamboo Forest, to the 400 foot waterfall at the end, this was such an awesome hike.

Maui Bamboo Forest

Makahiku Falls Infinity Pool - Maui

#9 – Watching the sunsets on the beach is one of our favorite (and free) activities on the island. We especially loved the views from Secret Cove and Big Beach. The perfect way to end yet another day in paradise:

Beautiful Maui Sunset

Kamaole Beach Sunset

#10 – Kula Botanical Garden. We spent a great morning walking through the gardens here. Its a self guided trail where you can wander the trails at your own pace, and view the great variety of tropical plants and flowers. Definitely great for photos:

Crazy Flower at Kula Tropical Flower Gardens, Maui

at Kula Tropical Gardens, Maui

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed the list. It was hard to narrow down as there is so much to do. We definitely look forward to our next visit, as there are many more activities we would like to try.

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We found the Coconut’s Fish Cafe on TripAdvisor while looking for restaurants in Kihei.

It is a relatively new restaurant, that wasn’t here during our previous trip. They did an amazing job decorating the place:

Coconut's Fish Cafe, Maui

We stopped here for lunch one day,  and were very impressed. I had the Ono burger, Shauna had the Mahi Burger, and they were both awesome. The fries were very good as well.

Fish Burger at Coconut's Fish Cafe

We also at here for dinner after our long day trip around the Hana Highway and the Pipiwai Trail. It was after 8pm by the time we got back to Kihei that day, so we wanted something that would be fairly fast, but also very tasty. Since we had been here a few days before, we knew it would hit the spot after a long day of traveling – and it certainly did. My mom and brother really enjoyed it here as well.

We ended up wishing we had tried this place earlier on in our trip, as we likely would have eaten there a few more times as well, to sample some of the other great dishes on their menu. It is definitely a place we look forward to visiting again on our next trip to Maui.

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As with my top 10 beaches list, these are my favorites, so this list may not be the most well known or famous restaurants on the island of Maui, but they are still some of the top rated ones on tripadvisor. We tend to stay away from the ritzy and expensive places; preferring to eat at places that are affordable while still offering amazing food. The list is somewhat Kihei focused as well, since that is where we have stayed on each of our three visits to Maui.

#1 – Sansei Seafood and Sushi. One of the first restaurants we go to, and definitely the one we visit the most on each trip (usually at least three times a trip). Their fresh Hawaiian fish and sushi is amazing. Especially the rainbow roll shown below:

Sansei Restaurant, Maui

#2 – 808 Bistro. A newer restaurant right next to our condo at the Maui Banyan (and right behind Fred’s Mexican). We decided to give it a try, and then ended up going back again and again. The food was awesome and the portions were good.

Pork Chops @ 808 Bistro, Maui

#3 – Cafe O’Lei. One we found on tripadvisor and had not tried on our first two trips. Not the cheapest, but certainly not unreasonable. Especially for the great food and fresh fish.

Asian Shortribs at Cafe o'Lei, Maui Hawaii

#4 – Coconut’s Fish Cafe. Another newer place that was not here on our first two trips. But what an amazing place it is. The decor is certainly unique, and the food was awesome. We didnt know that a fish burger could taste so good.

Fish Burger at Coconut's Fish Cafe

#5 – Maui Coffee Roasters – One of our favorite places for an affordable breakfast. And Shauna’s favorite place for coffee – best coffee on the island she says.

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict @ Maui Coffee Roasters

#6 – Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse BBQ. Another great restaurant in Kihei. Not a big place but the flavor is strong and the food is awesome. Cant wait to get back again for those ribs and baked beans.

Fat Daddy's Smokehouse BBQ, Maui- Ribs

#7 – Sea House – Decent food, and an awesome location. We have been here a few times for lunch. Eating here with the ocean breeze blowing and the waves crashing is something we look forward to once again on our next trip.

Update – we went here on a return trip and didnt enjoy it as much. But the view was still amazing!

SeaHouse Restaurant at Napili Beach

#8 – Paia FishMarket. Another great affordable place for fish and chips and fish burgers. Although we ate at Coconut’s listed above more this past trip, as Paia is a bit of a drive from our condo in Kihei.

Fish'n'Chips at Paia Fishmarket Restaurant, Maui

#9 – Waterfront Restaurant. We came here during our wedding trip of 2008.

Update – this restaurant moved, and has since closed.

Waterfront Restaurant, Maui

#10 – Kihei Caffe. A great place for breakfast. Their banana-macadamia nut pancakes are awesome. This place will definitely be higher on our next list.

Kihei Cafe - Banana Macadamia Nut Pancakes

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We heard about Cafe O’Lei on TripAdvisor prior to our trip. It was one of the top rated restaurants in Kihei, so we really wanted to try it out. We ended up eating there our first night since it was relatively close to our condo at the Maui Banyan. Although it was closed when we first got there, as it was only 4:15pm local time. We were pretty hungry after the long flight and had hoped to find an early meal. We went to the coffee/smoothie bar next door and had a nice cold smoothie to help cool us down – we were struggling to adapt to the +28’C heat since it was still below zero when we left home that morning. It was actually a pretty good find, and we went back here four more times during our trip.

We went back up the stairs to Cafe O’Lei at 5pm, and were one of the first groups to be seated. The waitress actually just took our drink order and had to leave for a bit, to take part in their pre-dinner meeting to learn the specials for the night. The special was the swordfish, which sounded good to me. Shauna ordered the Asian Short Ribs and my mom ordered the jumbo prawns.

Asian Short Ribs:
Asian Shortribs at Cafe o'Lei, Maui Hawaii

Our drinks came out quickly, and we happily enjoyed the fresh baked bread that was still warm. Since we were one of the first groups there, our food came out pretty quickly. It was amazing and we were certainly very happy to be back in Hawaii once again.

Swordfish:
Swordfish at Cafe o'Lei, Maui Hawaii

This was the first place we ate during our trip, and ended up being the last place we ate as well – not that we planned it that way.
My brother and I both tried the Ahi tuna on our last night – it was amazing. I wasnt sure about all the spicy sauces that came with it, so I got them on the side, while he ordered the way it was supposed to be. I ended up adding almost all of my sauce on to my plate anyhow, so I might as well have gotten it like he did. But I liked that the waitress offered to bring it the way she did, just in case.

We will definitely be back to the Cafe O’Lei during our next trip to Maui, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good meal in Kihei.

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We had heard that the Pipiwai Trail was one of the best hikes on the island of Maui. Unfortunately it is located on the far southeastern part of the island, a good distance from just about everything else on the island. It would certainly be helpful to stay in Hana. We were staying in Kihei however, and decided it was worth getting up early for.

We left our condo at 630am and headed out along the Hana Highway. We decided to go against the grain and head in a counter-clockwise direction, in the hopes of avoiding most of the traffic that is normally found along the Hana Highway each day. So we headed up through Kula and onwards towards the Haleakala Visitor Center via the Kipahulu highway. The views are very impressive as you ascend the Haleakala volcano, and we could even see the Big Island:

Looking back towards central Maui, you can just see the towns of Kihei and Wailea
Maui Panoramic

View of the lava fields and the Big Island in the distance:
Lava Field View

We arrived at the Kipahulu Visitor Center around 930am. The parking lot was pretty much empty, with only a few other cars. We stopped in at the visitor center to ask them about the trail conditions. The staff there was very helpful and gave us a good update, and directions on which trail to take. So we headed up the trail and across the highway. The first part of the trail is a bit of a climb, some of it through an open field with little shade. Within half an hour or so, we arrived at the Makahiku Falls Overlook, although as we had learned at the visitor center, the falls were pretty much dry and no water was flowing from the top. Still a pretty good overlook though into the valley below the falls. A few minutes later we arrived at a fork in the trail – to the left was the main trail, to the right was Makahiku Falls. Since we knew the falls were dry, we decided to check it out – despite the various warning signs. We definitely would not have gotten so close if the water was flowing, and looking back now might not have gotten so close regardless. I was pretty nervous while standing near the edge, as my survival instincts were telling me this was not a place I should be. I reached out with the camera and took a quick photo downwards. This one still makes me a bit nervous to look at:

Looking down the falls

I walked across to the other side, and made my way upstream, to get a better vantage point of the infinity pool at the top of the falls. What an amazing view, and a sight I will not forget:

Infinity Pool

From there it was back to the main trail. There were a few other small side trails along the way, leading to other small waterfalls and pools. We checked out most of them – some were worth it, some not so much.

One of the highlights of the trail that we had been looking forward to was the bamboo forest. We knew it was coming, but weren’t quite sure where it was on the trail. We came to a bridge, and the bamboo forest appeared before us:

Into the Bamboo Forest

It turns out it is near the mid-point of the trail, 1.2 miles from the visitor center:

Bamboo Forest

This was our favorite part of the entire trail. We could have made it this far, and turned around satisfied. There is a nice boardwalk throughout much of the bamboo forest. It definitley made for easier walking, although it seemed a bit slippery in places where the boardwalk was wet (it might be rather hard to walk on in the rain).

Pipiwai Boardwalk

Amazing Bamboo Forest

Pipiwai Trail

Pipiwai trail

We eventually made it to the end of the trail, and were treated to the view of Waimoku Falls. It had been dry for a while prior to our visit, so there was not a lot of water flowing. But with a drop of 400 feet, it was still an impressive sight:

Waimoku Falls

We stopped here for lunch, and ate while wading in the stream below the falls. There was a nice shady spot along the stream, but a large group of people had all the good spots taken. But we were quite happy to take a break and have some food and water. Bring lots of water… we barely brought enough, and were getting quite low by the time we reached made it back to the Banyan tree:

Banyan Tree

We knew that hiking in the heat would require a great deal of water however, so we had a cooler in the car full of water (as well as more food for the long drive home.

It was a great adventure, and one that I would certainly recommend. The overall grade of the trail was not that steep, and the boardwalks through the wetter areas were quite helpful (although somewhat slippery as I mentioned above)

One of the many spiders along the way (they really seemed to like the bamboo forest – stick to the trails)
Maui Spider

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