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Tag Archives: Memories

The Day Pacific’O Saved us from Hurricane Lane, a Restaurant Review

You simply can’t go to Hawaii without attending a Luau. This past August, we were very excited to be heading to the 50th state for 10 days of sun, beaches, snorkeling, wine tasting (what, you missed our blog about MauiWine? You can fix that by clicking here), and of course, a proper Hawaiian Luau on the beach.

For weeks, we had read reviews of the various Luaus around Ka’anapali, Maui, where we would be staying. We finally selected The Feast at Lele. It promised authentic food, including a pit-roasted pig, music, dancers, and the all around romance of a sunset dinner on the beach. We were really looking forward to it!

Upon our arrival on Maui, we were alerted to the impending doom that would be Hurricane Lane. Honestly, we’d had no idea. Our three days on Oahu had been stunning, with brilliant sunshine, and warm tropical waters. Though apprehensive, we were committed to enjoy our stay no matter what the weather brought. Afterall, we were in Maui!

Hurricane Lane

Yea, that’s a pretty big deal.

As Hurricane Lane churned toward the Islands, it became apparent that, although she would not make landfall on Maui, the outer bands of the hurricane would affect the island. Hawaii, the Big Island, took the brunt of the damage, but the storm skirted Maui to the south. Nevertheless, all necessary precautions were taken. The staff at the Westin Ka’anapali were amazing in their diligence, keeping us updated several times a day with voicemail messages, and literally going door-to-door handing out flyers with the latest storm conditions, forecasts, and precautions. Our parasailing trip was cancelled. We dutifully filled our bathtub, and ventured out the the market to stock up on provisions for what could be several days without power.

The town of Lahaina pretty much shut down, including most of the restaurants. This is understandable, considering many of the people who work in the town commute some 45 minutes to and from the north side of the Island, on a sometimes narrow, twisting road. Still, the resort bars remained open, so we got our fair share of Mai Tai’s! And the Feast at Lele held out, determined to treat their guests to an experience of a lifetime, despite an approaching Hurricane.

The day of our scheduled Luau arrived. We called to confirm, and the Feast of Lele said the Luau will go on, unless we were otherwise notified. With winds increasing in intensity, we grabbed a Resort Shuttle into Lahaina. Our driver informed us that, depending on conditions, the shuttles may stop running before we were done for the evening, so we should be prepared to catch an Uber or Lyft back to the resort.

We arrived at the venue about a half hour before they were ready to receive guests. So, naturally, we set out to find somewhere to relax with a glass of wine before the Luau. As luck would have it, right across the walkway, we spotted Pacific’O restaurant. As we found two seats at the bar, we were greeted by Manager Cory Brownfield, who was manning the bar that evening. A very personable man, we enjoyed chatting with Cory as we sipped our wine and waited for the Luau. Cory gave us the inside scoop: don’t rush over right when they open the doors. We’d be crammed into a “holding pen” until they were ready for us to go down our tables on the beach. There would be plenty of complimentary Mai Tai’s and Pina Coladas to go around, so we sat and visited with Cory a bit longer.

Finally the time came. We left Pacific’O and walked across to the Luau. We could see the nervousness on the faces of some of the staff, as the winds continued to build, and rain clouds loomed overhead. We grabbed a Mai Tai and waited for our turn to walk down the ramp to the beach. Despite the tension of the impending Hurricane, the vibe was energetic. At last, we took our places in line and walked down the ramp. As we reached the bottom, literally at the moment we were adorned with our lei’s, the skies opened up! This was it! Hurricane Lane was upon us!

The staff hustled us back inside. For a few minutes there was confusion, and it was unclear if they would try to hold the Luau indoors. After a few passing moments, however, we saw one of the most horrific sights we’ve seen in our lives: the barbacks started dumping Mai Tai after Pina Colada down the drain! It was clear the Luau was cancelled. Kent tried to rush the bar in a quest for a to-go cup, but the staff held firm. Our money would be refunded, and the Luau was cancelled.

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Oh, the humanity!

As Kent waited a moment for the details on the refund (hey, he is an accountant) Robyn, always forward-thinking in times of crisis, made a dash back over to Pacific’O to secure us a table before the throngs of other disappointed cancelled-Luau guests got the same idea. Although there were no tables available, there was still room at the bar, so we took our seats and resumed our pleasant interaction with Cory.

Alas, the deluge was not the fearsome Hurricane itself; only a passing squall from an outer band. In fact, within 10 minutes, the rain had stopped, the clouds thinned, and we enjoyed one of the most spectacular sunsets we got the see during our trip!

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Cory continued to be the consummate host. He gave us recommendations, and we were treated to an exquisite meal. Of all the Mai Tai’s we had during our time on Maui, the one at Pacific’O was far and away the best!

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The one on the right was their Farm Cocktail of the Day. It was delicious, but I don’t remember what was in it; I didn’t think to bring my notebook.

The pictures really don’t do justice. The portions look small in the photos, but they were more than enough for the two of us! Exquisite ceviche – the fish can’t get any fresher! Buttery seared scallops and prawns with mushrooms and rice. Everything was delicious, and more than made up for our missed roast pig and poi. (Do they still serve that at Luaus?)

We survived the hurricane, obviously. There was some damage as you can see, but thankfully, Hurricane Lane wasn’t as destructive as early predictions suggested; at least on Maui. Hurricane Lane did put a damper on our vacation, but they way we see it, it’s hard to be disappointed when you’re in Maui. Besides, it gives us an opportunity for a mulligan!

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Hurricane Lane Damage! The Struggle was Real!

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If you happen to be in Lahaina, be sure to stop in at Pacific’O. They’re located on the beach, at 505 Front Street, Suite 114, Lahaina, Maui, HI 96761. If Cory’s working, tell him Kent and Robyn from the night Hurricane Lane almost destroyed the Island, say “Aloha!”

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Thanks for the Memories – #MWWC34

I am certainly glad I read Jeff The Drunken Cyclist’s Saturday Reminders post this morning. In his post, Jeff offers an ominous warning that the deadline for this month’s Monthly Wine Writing Challenge (#MWWC34), is this Monday! The theme for the challenge this month is “Memory.” Had it not been for Jeff’s nudge, I may have forgotten to write my entry! (See what I did there?)memoryHow embarrassing would it have been for me to forget to write my post, since the theme, Memory, was my idea! As the winner of last month’s challenge (a heartfelt thank you to all who voted for my entry), I had the honor and distinction of selecting this month’s theme. I had originally proposed “Memories”, because I have many fond memories of many great wines, and I was interested to hear about the wine memories of other bloggers. However in a discussion with Jeff he floated the idea of broadening the theme to “Memory” as this expands the interpretation, and accordingly, the fun! Hopefully. Since Jeff is a smart man (he has a Ph. D, after all) and a very successful blogger, I agreed with his idea. (Hey, it never hurts to suck up a little.) With the revised theme, I’m anticipating entries that will range from describing the medicinal benefits of wine, to poetic waxing of fond memories of wines, to humorous stories anecdotes about wine’s ability to affect one’s memory in, shall we say, not so favorable ways. (Disclaimer: I do not encourage or support the overindulgence of any alcoholic beverage. But we all know it happens once in a while, and sometimes the results can be rather hysterical!)

When it comes to memories about wine, I’m something of a savant. I can remember, with vivid clarity that is often annoying to my companions, the exact setting in which we enjoyed a particular bottle. Even if it was several years ago, when I see a familiar label, I can recall where we were, and with whom we enjoyed the wine. That, however, is where this uncanny, photographic memory ends. The name of the restaurant? The answer is hazy. (Especially the further back in the memory banks I must go!) What food we paired with the wine? Not a clue. The weather? What we wore? The music playing? Nope, nope, and nope.

Hook & Ladder

Well, there is one exception to the music part. Several years ago, when my son was in high school, he was a member of the Jazz Choir. The Folsom High School Jazz Choir is highly regarded, and has won multiple awards from Downbeat Magazine, as well as Grammy awards. During his time in the Jazz Choir, my son had the opportunity to meet Julia Dollison, a professional jazz singer and, at the time, co-director of the Jazz Program at nearby California State University, Sacramento. One particular evening, Ms. Dollison was to perform at a restaurant across town. So we made reservations, piled into the car, and went off to enjoy an evening of dinner and jazz. The restaurant has since gone under, and the location has changed names a number of times, so the possibility of ever recovering the name from my memory bank is next to nil. However, the meal was delicious…I think. The jazz was exquisite…I specifically recall. And the wine…oh, the wine! On that memorable evening, the adults at the table enjoyed a delightful bottle of Hook & Ladder “The Tillerman” Red Blend. This was in the days before I had a smart phone, and I wasn’t quite so into wine as I am now, so I didn’t take notes, so I don’t recall the vintage or the details of the wine, except that it was tasty and memorable. But the point is, even after all these years, I can recall the when and the where of this particular wine. Whenever I see a bottle of Hook & Ladder wine, I go back to that evening.

Oh, I have other examples of this freak-show ability; too many to count, in fact. As I mentioned, I’ve been told this superpower can be annoying, but I don’t understand why. Who wouldn’t want a companion who can store useless information, and have it readily available, so you can use your grey cells for more important things, like knowing the square root of 3,479 (its 58.983 in case you’re wondering) or remembering to pick up wine on the way home from work. Now that’s important!

Lavender Ridge

Sometimes, when the event is more recent, my wine memory is much more detailed. Most recently, my friend and I had been out wine tasting in Murphys, California, in the heart of Calaveras wine country. Among other tasting rooms, we stopped in at Lavender Ridge Vineyard, where we fell in love with their white blend, Cotes du Calaveras Blanc. It is an enticing and refreshing blend of 51% Marsanne, 25% Rolle, 12% Roussanne, and 12% Grenache Blanc. We had to have it, so we bought a bottle, among our other purchases. A few weeks later, we took my dad to lunch for Father’s Day. Yes, mom came along, too! My friend suggested we bring the Lavender Ridge bottle to share.Manderes As luck would have it, the restaurant, Manderes, waives corkage if all at the table order a full entrée. No problem there! I had the Steak Salad, one of my favorite entrées there. My friend and my mom both had the Asian Chicken Salad. And dad? He had the Angus Burger with Onion Rings, thank you very much! Despite my dad and me violating the cardinal rule mandating red wine with beef (of course, I spurn silly wine-pairing rules, but that’s a topic for another post.), the entire meal was amazing and the white blend complemented every bite! It was a fun, fantastic meal, and the creation of fond memories for all of us.

What are some of your wine memories? Share your tale in the comments, or better yet, write a blog post about them!

Cheers!