Brian and I went to Maui last month for our babymoon (last vacation without kids). I know, I know...I won't try to convince you to not be jealous, because you totally should be. It was an amazing and wonderful trip. We've been to Maui twice before and that was exactly the reason we wanted to go back. With me being about 7 months pregnant, we wanted to go someplace for our babymoon where we wouldn't feel pressured to "do everything." Maui was just what the doctor ordered!
We used vbro.com to score an amazing deal on an ocean-front, beach-front penthouse condo in Sugar Beach Resort in Kihei. This is my favorite place to stay in Maui. It's right in the middle of the island, so you end up with easy access to everything. I prefer a Hawaii that's a little less manicured and a little more natural, so Kihei is the perfect landing-spot in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for day trips to Wailea and Kaanapali, but Kihei just has a wonderful, cozy homeyness that always makes me feel so relaxed.
And how could it not, with this amazing view? Yep, this is the view from our condo's lanai. Rumor has it that this is the closest you can stay to the beach in Maui -- it's actually illegal to build this close to the ocean now.
Another reason I love staying in Sugar Beach, and using vrbo.com to book condos in general, is that we have our own kitchen. Brian and I have a tendency to eat ourselves stupid on vacation, so a kitchen allows us to have a little break from rich restaurant food and save a few bucks by making some meals ourselves.
We discovered an AMAZING local grocery store in the hippie town of Pa'ia called Mana Foods. I know it doesn't look like much, but inside this tired-looking building is a fantastic grocery store with aisle after aisle of unique and incredible treats. And the prices were extremely reasonable -- for Maui, that is. ;)
Needless to say, we made several trips to Mana Foods during our vacation.
The first meal I made was completely impulsive. I saw things that looked good and bought them. I ended up with snow peas, fennel, guavas, onions, mushrooms, crab legs, orzo (because it just sounded good), and an assortment of local jams and syrups.
The condo kitchen had a few basic supplies in it (salt, pepper, soy sauce, olive oil, garlic salt, and butter, among other things), so between those items and the ones I purchased, Brian and I ended up feasting like kings.
I started by mixing some passion fruit jam with soy sauce, olive oil, and salt and pepper to make a vinaigrette.
Then I sliced the snow peas, fennel and snow peas -- pardon the rough chop. The condo did not have a cutting board -- it's only flaw!
I sliced up one guava.
And tossed everyone together in the vinaigrette. I garnished the "salad" with some of the fennel tops.
I tossed my mushrooms in the oven to dry out. I think they were in 350 oven for 30 minutes....but I could be wrong. I didn't want to buy a bag of dried mushrooms, since we would only be in Maui for the week, so I just purchased what I needed fresh, and dried them myself.
Once they were dry, I pureed them using the coffee bean grinder in the condo. Don't worry, I cleaned the grinder REALLY well after I used it.
I melted some butter in a pan, and stirred in my pureed mushrooms. The butter in the condo was the salted variety, so there was no need to add additional salt.
Once the mushroom mixture had sauteed for a few minutes, I poured it over my cooked orzo, and mixed it together. This was a winner. So simple, yet so satisfying. The pureed mushrooms gave it such a wonderful unctuousness (currently the most overused trendy word on Food Network lately).
And last but not least (because this was hands down the highlight of the night), I made passion fruit butter to go with our crab legs. I melted butter with passion fruit jelly until they were combined and some of the water from the butter had evaporated. I pre-cracked the crab legs and heated them up, and we were ready to eat!
We ate at a lot of amazing restaurants while in Maui, but this ended up being one of the best meals we had. Super simple, with only a few ingredients.