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Hawaii Food and Travel Blog: A Splash of Aloha — from Hawaii to the Big Apple and beyond bio picture
  • Aloha!!

    Welcome to my blog! My name is Su-Lynn and I love to travel and try new cuisines. I live in New York City with my wonderful husband of five years, Steve. I've had a love affair with Hawaii since I was young. My husband and I have been traveling to Hawaii every year since 2009 (sometimes twice a year if we are lucky).

    This blog will house all my Hawaii trip reports, as well as detail future trip planning...along with doses of yummy food from NYC and beyond (including Disney World!). Hawaii is a wonderful place to visit, filled with amazing food, scenery, beaches, history, and lots of friendly ALOHA. Although I do miss it when I'm not there, I always try to find a little ALOHA in my daily life. Thanks for reading! I'm continually adding new Trip Reports from our past travels to Hawaii. Click here to read more about this blog and me.

    If you're planning a trip to Hawaii, I'd start by reading the Hawaii Help links and then my Hawaii Trip Reports. Hopefully that will help get you started but please feel free to drop me a line to ask a question or two . I can't promise I will have the right answer, but I'll let you know what I think it should be. Aloha! :)

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Maui 2013 – Ocean Vodka Distillery Tour

Before we left for our trip back in October last year, I made reservations for the tour and tasting at Ocean Vodka Ocean Vodka Farm and Distillery. Tours are easily booked online here. The great news about the tour was that they had just recently started vodka tastings at their facility. Now you could finally taste the product after seeing how it’s made. The tour costs 10 dollars a person and includes the tasting and a souvenir shot gass, but if you visit Ali’i Kula Lavender farm like we did here, pick up a flyer there, and save 5 bucks per person! Also if you mention you saw their add in Hana Hou magazine (on flights on Hawaiian Airlines), they include a free chocolate truffle tasting. Also follow them on Facebook or Twitter for some special recognition. Love the power of social media for saving money and getting extra goodies! It doesn’t hurt to try!

Mention the ad from Hana Hou magazine for a free treat!

It was our last full day on Maui (sad face) at that point, and we had 10am reservations at their facility in Kula. At 9:30 we drove to Kula from Wailuku, where we had breakfast, and checked into their new facility.

We showed the super friendly proprietress our vouchers, coupons, etc. and she was just as excited about them as I was! The free truffles we sampled were a unique treat. They were made with Surfing Goat Dairy cheese and a splash of ocean vodka. I think I got the lillikoi one. The chocolate was rich and the filling creamy with a hint of goat cheese and lillikoi (passionfruit).

Tour check in facility and gift shop

Checking in for the tour

Truffles in the refrigerated case and other vodka gifts

Close up of one of the truffles which were quickly devoured.

We started our tour inside the gift shop (where you check-in) with a sampling of two types of fresh sugar cane. You chew the bark of the cane and suck out the juices. You then can throw away the fibrous pulp. The sugar cane was juicy, sweet and refreshing. Mmmm.

Little samples of fresh sugar cane

We then headed outside for our tour. The weather was really crazy today, but you could still see the views were amazing at the factory. Our super tour guide took us around the different sugar cane trees and explained the history of the company and the types of cane they are growing. They are proud to be a certified organic farm which equals organic vodka!

Samples of sugar cane varieties grown on the farm

Cane stalks blowing in the wind

They have events at their beautiful farm, too bad the weather was a little windy and rainy that day!

After touring the grounds outside, we went into the distillery itself to view how they produce and bottle the vodka. It’s interesting to see that the water they use is Hawaiian Deep Sea water which is supposed to have a lot of minerals. Our tour guide was fantastic, she was really informative and super friendly too.

The facility where the distilling and bottling happen

Deep sea water used in their vodka


The bottling station

Then came the part everyone was waiting for…the Tasting!

There was a cute little tasting stand set up and they poured vodka into tall shot glasses, They had us taste together different ways one just to get used to the spirit (which was strong), then we added some (deep sea) water, and you could taste the various nuances of the vodka. I’m not a vodka expert but I thought it was good, and probably really nice in a mixed drink!

The tasting facility is on the right. Wild chickens everywhere!

Pouring the shots


Mahalo Ocean Vodka for a great time!

BTW, the tall shot glasses were for the tastings only. Back in the gift shop you could pick up your free smaller shot glass.

Shot glasses included with the tour

Despite the crazy weather we had a super fun tour made only better by the tasting! I highly recommend this if you like your vodka…or just foodie tours in general. On the way out you can leave gratuity for your guide as well as pick up your shot glass at the gift shop. I love tours with food or drink. Right up my alley!

Ocean Vodka Organic Farm and Distillery, 4051 Omaopio Rd. Kula, HI 96790

Open 7 days a week from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Tours booked here.

 BTW, a big MAHALO to all – my blog has reached a milestone 10,000 visitors! I never thought I’d get 100 let alone 10,000 visitors. Thank you!! ALOHA!

Cheap Eats Maui – Part 3

Here are even more cheap eats on Maui! (Part 1 and Part 2)

Honokowai Okazuya & Deli

One of our favorite take-out places on Maui, Honokowai Okazuya serves ups delicious restaurant-quality plate lunches that can be easily eaten on the beach or on your lanai. I think it is slightly pricier than your regular plate lunch, but I think the quality of ingredients justifies the cost. Everything is prepared to order so it’s not sitting around on a steam table for long. Here are some of the delicious eats we’ve gotten there:

Teriyaki Steak plate

Mahi mahi with an outstanding lemon caper butter sauce. It is just out of this world.

Hamburger steak plate with a delicious rich brown gravy

Since the meals are prepared to order, it can take a while especially during prime lunch hours, so I’d call ahead for pick up. There is minimal seating on a small counter inside the restaurant and maybe 2 small tables outside.

Honokowai Okazuya and Deli, 3600D Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761


Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop

Even in Maui, you cannot keep me away from pie. My favorite is the classic apple pie with a flaky crust but I do have a soft spot for anything labelled “coconut cream pie.” Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie shop has been on my list since it opened a few years ago, so I was really happy to try some of their offerings on our last trip. We went here one night right before they closed so we were happy to discover all their pies were 50% off! There was only a few mini-pies left, and the last coconut cream pie was there with my name on it. Perfect! We also tried some of their sandwiches which were made using their freshly made bread and locally-sourced ingredients. Even though a sandwich can be over 10 bucks,  I thought to include it in Cheap Eats because compared to a lot of other places on Maui, this can be a lovely meal with fresh ingredients that won’t break the bank, especially with 50% off pie:)

The outside of Leoda’s

The interior has bright modern plantation-style decor

Usually long lines during peak dining hours but was empty close to closing

The slim pickings because they were close to closing…they were 50% off though!

We ordered at the counter and then got a number for our order and sat down. We got to take our pies with us though!

My coconut cream pie (mini) and Steve’s key lime pie (regular size)

For our meals, I got the BLT, with thick-cut bacon, lovely tomatoes, and lettuce grown locally. I forgot to order avocado so went back up to get some on the side and they basically gave it to me for free! GREAT service! The bread I chose was “hapa” which is a half whole wheat and half white blend. It was soft and delicous.

BLT on house-made “hapa” bread

Steve got a burger on a house-made bun. It was simple and tasty.

Good burger

The food was great and everyone was friendly. The pies were good! Very rich and buttery so the mini size was good for me. When we were leaving Lahaina we also stopped here before heading to the airport.  I got a sandwich and a scone to go. It was a yummy meal before our flight home!

Cheddar and chive scone

A yummy meal before the plane

A turkey avocado sandwich on hapa bread.

Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop, 820 Olowalu Village Rd Honoapi’ilani Hwy Lahaina, Hawaii 96761


Aloha Mixed Plate

Tucked away on one end of Lahaina Front Street, Aloha Mixed Plate is a Maui staple. Prices are cheap and the food come with a view. What’s not to love?

Signage at Aloha Mixed Plate


We came here for breakfast and decided to split a loco moco and a fresh papaya with lime.

Papaya with Lime, and a tradional loco moco

I was surprised that the papaya was one of those red ones. I actually like the golden-flesh papayas that are grown locally. Not that I think this one wasn’t…it’s just that I’ve seen more of the golden ones than these strawberry ones in Hawaii! The food was tasty and cheap. It can get warm though sitting outside in the sun!

Aloha Mixed Plate - 1285 Front Street, Lahaina, HI 96761  (808)661-3322


Pizza Paradiso

Located in a strip mall in Honokowai, next to the Times Supermarket, Pizza Paradiso serves a tasty Margherita pie! I am skeptical of pizzas in general…outside of New York, that is. I am a true New York style pizza lover. So I was surprised that I really loved this pie. We’ve only had the Margherita here but we’ll try another flavor next time. I liked the crisp crust, fresh ingredients like tomatoes and basil, and I especially enjoyed the drizzle of balsamic reduction. It added a unique flavor!

Pizza Paradiso

Margherita pie with yummy toppings


That’s part III of my Cheap Eats Maui series! I’m looking forward to trying even more on our next trip to the Valley Isle. Are there any other cheap eats you like that I should try?

Next up I will show you some of our favorite snacks on Maui!


Maui Oct/Nov 2013 – Slappy Cakes

This was a breakfast eatery recommended to us by the concierge at the Andaz for a fun interactive meal. I was initially going to file this under the Cheap Eats series I was doing on Maui (part 1 and part 2), but after a while I realized that breakfast at Slappy Cakes can be pricey especially if you do the D-I-Y pancakes as the fillings and toppings can add up. But it is definitely less expensive than a resort breakfast buffet and I do recommend it as I think it’s unique and fun, plus the space is large and airy which is great for larger parties. 

Slappy Cakes is located right next to the Honua Kai complex just north of Kaanapali Beach. It is technically walkable from the Honua Kai but why not just drive?:)

Entry into Slappy Cakes

lots of booths and tables for groups

We went here at around 7am and it wasn’t crowded at all. But it did get more crowded later as we were leaving.

Lots of space

Pancakes are their namesake and obviously their most popular choice in the restaurant.

Ther menu has the DIY section of pancakes or you can order a regular entree – including different eggs benedicts and other savory and sweet breakfast offerings.

I selected the DIY pancakes and chose my batter: I selected whole grain (to be healthy). My fillings were fresh berries, pineapple, and mac nuts (sooo ono!!). For my topping I chose creme fraiche which would add a nice tang to the sweetess. I topped it all off with coconut and maple syrups they had at each table.

The griddle in the table

All my ingredients were brought to me to DIY….so here goes!

 Batter first, then fruit, then mac nuts…grilling my first 2 pancakes!

adding more batter on the second side so it will cook more evenly when it’s flipped.

I was able to flip them over with not much issue.

The finished result! creme fraiche, coconut syrup, completes the fruity pancake. Each order comes with enough batter to make about 5 regular sized pancakes.

Steve opted go with one of their entrees which prepared in the kitchen. He got the crab and steak benedict which sounded better than it tasted.

Crab and steak Benedict - was not bad, but I think it was only ok in flavor.

Overall, it’s a fun breakfast spot in West Maui.

Hope you’ll give them a try!

Slappy Cakes, 3350 Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761

Open 7am-2pm