Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Maui 2013: Day 3 - O'O Farms Lunch/Sunset at "The Point"

"Food, for me, has always been an 

adventure." - Anthony Bourdain

One of my favorite places to visit in Maui is Up Country.

A few months back, while browsing through a copy of Maui Magazine, I came across an advertisement for O'O Farm

Our adventure began on the slopes of Haleakela in Waipoli and started with a tour of the O'O farm.  You could smell the eucalyptus trees as we arrived and began the tour.

We were greeted by Ansel, farm manager who takes great pride in his work on the farm including his new coffee crop.  He promised us fresh French press coffee after the tour and everyone applauded in joy! 

Greetings from Ansel

We were told to bring sturdy shoes and a light jacket (and a bottle of wine).  This may be our vacation, but on this day...we worked for our food.  If you don't mind getting a little dirt on your hands, you will be rewarded with an amazing memory.

Over the past 10 years, the 8.5 acre natural farm has flourished providing fresh local ingredients for two of Maui's famed restaurants, Pacific'O (in business for over 20 years) and I'O.

Depending on the season, the farms grows lettuce, cabbage, chard, fennel, asparagus, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, strawberries, plum, fig and onions (seriously, just to name a few things).

Chef JJ of O'O Farm

We toured the farm, and were introduced to our Chef, JJ Johnson from of all places, Seattle (Moses Lake, but close enough).  JJ enthusiastically introduced us to the items fresh picked from the fields that morning, including chioggia beets, daikon radish, carrots, chayote squash and three or four different kinds of greens.


He showed off his outdoor kitchen and briefly described the lunch menu.

Ansel took us over to his new coffee roaster and talked a bit about the new roasting house they are currently building. 

After our tour was finished (where we basically harvested our ingredients for lunch), our group of about 25 sat down outside, at a series of fully set tables, under wooden pergolas for lunch. 

We were told to bring wine, which we picked up at the lovely and quaint Kula Marketplace and Ansel kept it cold while on our tour and it was delightful with our meal.

Our lunch consisted of:

Pan-Seared Tofu and fresh root vegetables
Fresh Fish Stir-Fry with Maui Onions and mixed greens
Raw Vegetables
Farm greens with Oil and Vinaigrette
Fresh Baked Bread (which was wonderful)

As we sipped our wine and ate our lunch (I had seconds), Chef JJ hand rolled chocolate truffles lightly dusted with sea salt and Ansel prepared French press coffee.  I stopped at three truffles, but they were truly divine.

It was an amazing and unique Maui experience and a "must do" for any foodie!

It was sad to leave up country, plus it was at least 10-15 degrees cooler at the higher altitude.

After the tour, we headed back to West Maui.  One of our dining adventures last year in Maui was dinner at Merriman's in Kapalua.

It was an expensive outing ($300 for two), so we decided to compromise this year and enjoy "The Point" which overlooks Kapalua Bay, have a drink and some pupus.

Another treat at Merriman's is getting to hear Angela and Phil Benoit perform.  They play 3-4 nights a week all around the island and once again, we found them playing at Merriman's.

Angela and Phil have been married for 24 years and have been playing jazz standards (accented with a bit of the Island sounds) for more than a decade.

A treat was picking up their new CD "Golden Sun".  What a treasure to take home with us.

The sunset at The Point was amazing, along with a wonderful bottle of Chardonnay that Brian and I shared.  The beauty of Napili/Kapalua is stunning and this restaurant setting is one of a kind on Maui (in fact, The Point just won the Best of Maui award for having the best ambiance).

For dinner we shared Prime Filet and Applewood Bacon Sliders with Parmesan Truffle Fries and a Keahole Lobster, avocado and Kula tomato salad. An amazing way to end our day!

With the sun fully set, it was hard to pull ourselves away. This place has definitely won our hearts and I would describe the entire experience as magical (as did several wedding parties, including one couple who where married at the point a few hours before sunset). 

Tuesday was a full and fun day! Tomorrow we hit the high seas!