All Good Things...Paddleboarding, Serenity Pool, Mama's Fish House & Good-bye to Maui

All good things must come to an end, including Hawaiian adventures.  But our flights were booked for 9 p.m., so we still had a full day to soak it in.  What's up with the Kahului airport by the way? One of my least favorites. But when you arrive there, you're in paradise, so I'll give it a pass.

The turtle I saw while PaddleboardingI had a stand-up paddleboarding lesson scheduled with the wonderful Rob (who took us scuba-diving) from Maui Undersea Adventures, on-site at the Four Seasons.  The water was choppy so not ideal for a beginner, but by the end, I totally understood why Giada de Laurentiis, Jennifer Garner and Jennifer Aniston are obsessed.
I *only* fell three times during our lesson, which felt pretty good to me.  When I thought I was going to fall, I would get nervous, lose my balance and fall.  But when I was calm, looked at the horizon and thought "You're not going to fall, just catch your balance," I stayed up. And Rob said he has heard a 1/2 hour of paddleboarding is like doing 1.5 hours of Pilates.  A good workout no matter what!  We saw three turtles along the way.

Brunch BuffetThe DUO brunch buffet is one to be savored-made-to order omelettes, pancakes & waffles, fresh fruit, croissants, muffins, granola, yogurt, eggs, Asian-inspired rice, and even a gluten-free selection.  Like all food at the resort, it spoiled us for what we have to eat when we leave.

Tables at BrunchBrunch MenuI have never been convinced of the value of a cabana until I tried a cabana at The Serenity Pool.  I still miss my cabana boy.  Fresh fruit, champagne, a flat-screen TV, doors to shut the world out and front-row seats to a magazine-cover (Conde Nast Traveler, June 2011) view.  It's adults-only, which is a nice change of pace from the many families at the main pool. 

The Serenity PoolIn the Cabana

 

The Best View from the Serenity PoolCabana ViewThe worst part for me is always checking out.  You have to prepare yourself to leave what I call the Great Hotel Cocoon.

Mama's Fish House
Our last dinner was at the famous Mama's Fish House just outside of Paia town, worth every bit of praise it's given.  Fish is caught twice a day and that's what's served.  Mine was Ono "caught by Alan Cadiz near the towering cliffs of Molokai," served with caramlized Maui onions, avocado and jasmine rice.  You have to get a table facing the ocean for sunset views.  Please, please don't miss Mama's.

Mama's Fish HouseThe Beach at Mama's Fish House

 

Fresh Off the BoatViewWe toasted to Maui and headed off to Kahului where we were in chaotic airport reality again.

Aloha!

The Best Bread I've Ever Had-Day Two in Maui

 

Maui Onion Focaccia from SpagoDay Two in Maui was the day I had the best piece of bread I've ever had.  If Food Network ever does a "Bread" show on The Best Thing I Ever Ate, it would be a crime if this delectable square wasn't included.  My sister agrees. So do all the diners I talked to at dinner.  It is the Maui Sweet Onion Focaccia Bread at Spago at the Four Seasons.  But, our day didn't start with bread.  We started carb-free with coffee and eggs at DUO's breakfast buffet.  They even took around smoothie shots to every table, this morning's being a frothy mango mix.  All good fuel for an introductory scuba lesson and dive with Maui Undersea Adventures!

Pre-ScubaI didn't think my heart would race and have trouble with the dive.  But I did at first, when we were in the pool learning the ropes.  Luckily, we had Rob Lohle as our instructor, the most calming, nice, wonderful man. "Remember, you were able to breathe like this for 9 months in your mother's womb." (SMILE) "You're fine, just slowly breathe in and out." "I'm not going to let you guys out of my sight."  Make sure and ask him about his many diving adventures around the world. Soon, slowly breathing in and out, getting rid of excess water in our masks, and hand signals were second nature.

Hali'Imaile General StoreAfter the dive, we were bordering on cranky wanting lunch, decided salty beach hair was the way to go and headed out to Hali'Imaile General Store for lunch.  A famous lunch spot on the island for its great food, we also loved browsing the colorful dishes & kitchen items for sale.  We stopped in nearby cowboy town Makawao for a quick look at the cute art galleries and funky shops before heading to Kapalua.

View of Molokai from KapaluaIt's fact that Maui has many micro-climates on the island.  When we got to Kapalua, the differences in island terrain were obvious. Kapalua is lush and reminded us of Colorado or Lake Tahoe with the pine trees, but is true Hawaii with deep blue water hugging the coastline.  Kapalua actually means "Arms embracing the sea."  It's cooler too, with a light breeze and million-dollar views of the island of Molokai.

KapaluaAnd then there was dinner.  12 courses at Wolfgang Puck's Spago back at the Four Seasons.  Executive Chef Cameron Lewark started in "Wolf's kitchen" at age 17 in Los Angeles and has been at the Maui Spago since the opening ten years ago.  Each dish was an unexpected meld of flavors-sweet and savory, mild and spicy.  Highlights for me were the swordfish with avocado slices, Thai Seafood & Pineapple-Coconut Red Curry and Hana Banana Kaiserschmarren (souffle with Hana bananas and Myer's Rum) for dessert.

SpagoAnd oh, holy heaven, come for the Maui Sweet Onion Focaccia Bread.  Each small square is golden on the outside and melts in your mouth on the inside with sweet caramelized onions baked in.  My sister said "It's sad that I won't ever have a piece of bread like that again."

Swordfish from Spago