“The Best of Maui” 2014

Aloha!

Every year, the Maui News (www. mauinews.com) runs the “Best of Maui”, billed as “Your guide to Maui’s premier restaurants, activities, and more…” and voted on by Maui’s own residents and visitors alike.

The 2014 Results are In!

Restaurants:

Best Overall Restaurant:

Mama’s Fish House (also voted #1 for Service!)
799 Poho Pl.
Kuau… 579–8488. (Paia, really)
http://www.mamasfishhouse.com

Honorable Mentions:

Lahaina Grill
127 Lahainaluna Rd.
Lahaina… 667–5117
http://www.lahainagrill.com

Honu
1295 Front St.
Lahaina… 667–9390
http://www.honumaui.com

Best New Restaurant:
Ka’ana Kitchen
Andaz Maui at Wailea
3550 Wailea Alanui Drive
Wailea. 573-1234
http://www.andaz.hyatt.com

Honorable Mentions:
Migrant
Wailea Beach Marriott
3700 Wailea Alanui Dr.
Wailea. 875-9384

Morimoto Maui
(same info as Ka’ana Kitchen above)

A side note: We tried a new restaurant in Paia called “Jazoo”. Their ad states, “Evolving Pacific flavors with a little Seoul.”
We were meeting friends there, and found it exceedingly noisy because there is no acoustic control with the tile floor, or on the ceiling. Also, their small plates were good but seemed overpriced for what we got. We had a big steak eater in the group and he was not happy. None of us were happy because we had to SHOUT to hear ourselves talk! I like to “dine,” I really hate the open kitchen concept. Which leads us to…

Best Ambience…
#1….
5 Palms
2960 S. Kihei Rd.
Kihei 879-2607
http://www.5Palmsrestaurant.com
(This is one of my very favorites during whale season, because the whales hang out right out front. Plus it’s got old-school half -round booths, which I love for their comfort factor.)

Honorable Mentions:

Merriman’s Kapalua
1 Bay Club Place
Kapalua. 669–6400
http://www.merrimanshawaii.com

Mama’s Fish House
799 Poho Pl.
Kuau… 579–8488. (Paia, really)
http://www.mamasfishhouse.com

Best Appertizer:

Hali’imaile General Store (yes, it’s a restaurant. What won? The sashimi napoleon. Yum!)
900 Hali’imaile Rd.
Makawao… 572–2666
http://www.bevgannonnrestaurants.com

Honorable Mentions:

Ko
The Fairmont Kealani
4100 Wailea Alanui…875–2210
http://www.korestaurant.com

Lahaina Grill
127 Lahainaluna Rd.
Lahaina… 667–5117
http://www.LahainaGrill.com

We have eaten everywhere but Ko, Migrant (don’t care for Filipino food) and the two new ones at (the also new) Andaz Maui Hotel. We hear they are very expensive. Hands-down, our ultimate favorite is always Mamas Fish House. If you’re planning a vacation here, make that restaurant reservation plenty early! Just be prepared for the prices.

More next time…

A hui hou. Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage, or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Reader Asks About Electric Costs on Maui

Aloha!

A reader wrote to ask:

My husband and I just returned from our visit to Maui. We have been tossing the idea about of just moving there. We live in Northern CA where it reaches above the 100 mark. It was warmer this visit, but not unbearable….we had left where it was up to 102+. Although there are some costs that are not real out of the ordinary, the electric is three times what we pay here. My question to you is…..if you have the solar or photo-voltaric (sp?) what would the average cost be for an average 1200 sq ft home in upcountry or kihei? Thank you 🙂

Answer: If you follow this blog, you know that we had a photovoltaic system put on our roof at the end of last year. On the news yesterday they said we have had over 90° heat for 15 out of the last 17 days in Hawaii. And for the first time in many years, I feel like I can run the air conditioning. (Thank goodness, because otherwise I would be Miss Crankypants that no one would want to live with.) Before the photovoltaic, our electric bills were running almost $400 per month, and that puts a dent in anyone’s budget. (We just didn’t run the air conditioner.) Add to that the high cost of food, the high cost of gasoline, and the high cost of housing, and living in Maui can become a luxury that many people decide they can’t afford.
As far as the cost for the system, loans are available. They charge by the panel, based on your electrical useage. Our home needed 19 panels, at $1,000. per panel. Our friends, who have two small houses on their property plus an art studio, paid $36,000 for their photovoltaic system.

image

But here’s the caveat: even with the state and federal tax breaks, it takes 3 to 5 years to break even. So our bill has dropped to between $18 and $30 per month, and our friend’s base rate is $36 per month. This is supposed to be the rate to “tie-in” to the system.
BUT, and this is a large but: Hawaiian Electric Company on Oahu has seen their intake drop dramatically due to homeowners putting in these systems. They are now asking for a rate hike to a minimum of $50 per household, even for those with a photovoltaic system. So essentially, private homeowners are funding their own electricity, and now the electric companies want a piece of that.

How long can it be before Maui Electric company follows suit?

Also, you are fortunate if our electric rate (killowatt per hour) is only three times higher than what you pay. Where I came from, Maui was five times higher. Living in Kihei is hotter than Upcountry. But the higher you go up Haleakala mountain, the colder it gets…

Haleakala Mountain, note the VOG!

Haleakala Mountain, note the VOG!


and then you end up figuring out how to HEAT it. There is no natural gas on Maui.

For those planning to move to Maui and rent, ask about the electricity costs, if it is not included in the rent, because you are definitely going to want to budget for it. I make it a practice to ask to see the electricity bills when I buy a house, too.

Thanks for the question, and thank you for reading along!

A hui hou. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage, or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Lava Flow Moves Closer to Homes

Aloha!

The June 27 lava flow from Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii is named for the date it began erupting from a new vent. What does this mean for those of us living on Maui? A new vent equals more VOG (volcanic organic gasses)–and the attendant asthma and breathing problems.

image

And for those of you planning a trip to Hawaii, consider this: I had a conversation with a woman whose husband had had lung cancer. Guess where they decided to go for him to recuperate? Yep, a nice trip to the Big Island. This was before this latest vent had opened… and she said it was “the dumbest thing we’ve ever done!”

The USGS says the lava could now reach Pahoa town in eight days, and is just 1.7 miles upslope from Apaha Street. The flow has narrowed from 100 feet to 50 feet, causing it to flow faster.

image

You can read more about it here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/lava-flows-on-hawaiis-big-island/2/

Tell me, do you get these same news reports on the mainland, or is it only regional?

A hui hou! If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage, or to the right. Mahalo for reading along!

Aloha, Jamaica

You Know You Live in Hawaii When…

September is the hottest month!

Aloha!

I don’t know what it’s like where you live in September, but people should know that September is the hottest month in Hawaii, particularly if they’re planning a trip here. (My sister just wrote to say it’s supposed to be down in the 30’s tonight just outside Chicago, where she lives.)

It’s currently 86° inside our house with 71% humidity. It’s a steambath, and I wear a sheen of sweat like a second skin. All I want to do is go to a pool or run the air-conditioner, but I settle for three showers a day.

Normally I’m a “get it done” kind of person, and how slowly things move in Maui can make me crazy at times.

But every year, September wins.

I am a slug.

You know how France just shuts down for the whole month of August? That should be September in Hawaii. People should either be in a pool, in the ocean, at the movies, or in air-conditioning.

Hollywood says that the weeks after Labor Day are the slowest time at the movies. I’m willing to bet that’s not true in Hawaii…FREE air-conditioning!

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage, or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

The Psychology of Place

Aloha!

Hold on – this isn’t as esoteric as you might think.

I was watching the writer’s commentary for the hit TV series “True Detective” (the show got nominated in every major Emmy category for which it qualified, 12 in all, including a best drama nomination for writer Nic Pizzolatto.) In the commentary, Pizzolatto mentioned the “psychology of place,” in this case, New Orleans, where the series was filmed.

Many writers talk about place as a character, and I most enjoy movies where the sense of place is very strong. So part of what has intrigued me is that 1) I’ve never been to New Orleans and 2) all I knew of it was Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street, mostly from movies.

Kind of like that’s the only way some people know Hawaii.

But this series showed the gripping underbelly of the Bayou – a whole different world… an insider’s world, as the writer is from there.

So I started thinking about the “psychology” of any place. A girl I know on Maui is from the upper Peninsula of Michigan, the “U-P” as it is known – -another place I’ve never been. Her assessment of her home: “Everyone drinks, and everyone hangs out in bars, because that’s all there is to do there.” It’s winter most of the time, and there’s nothing to do. To her, that’s the psychology of the place.

So what is the “psychology” of the place where you live? And what do you see (as a visitor or resident) as the psychology of Maui? Of Hawaii?

Please send me your thoughts. We’ll discuss this for the next couple of posts…

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage, or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Job Postings on Maui

Aloha!
So you think you can dance? Parade magazine recently reported that the job of “dancer” has the highest relative concentration in the state of Hawaii as compared to other states.

We are back on Maui, and I’ve been plowing through a month’s worth of mail and backlogged newspapers. Readers constantly write to me about moving to Maui, and inquire about jobs. So here, from August 10, were some job postings in the Maui News. (Alison, some of these are for you…)

At the Kaanapali Beach Club…
Director of Food and Beverage
Server
Host/hostess
Sales manager
Vacation counselor
Activity concierge
Hospitality agent

For Valley Isle Excursions…
Hana Tour Drivers.
They make 38,000+ per year with paid time off, paid medical, and paid training. Sounds good, right? Here’s the caveat: “Must have lived in Hawaii for five years, prefer Maui restaurant residents. Must be able to work weekends and holidays!

For the Hawaii State Judiciary…
Court reporter II
Forensic Interview Specialist
Social worker I, II, III and IV

For Child and Family Services…
Case Management Specialist II. B.A. or Masters in Human Services or related field required.

Hawaii Health Systems Corporation…
Chief Executive Officer. Graduate-level education or equivalent and at least 15 years of progressive senior-level hospital executive, administrative, and leadership experience required.

Enterprise Rental Car Company…
Management Trainees/ Bachelor’s degree required.
Customer Assistance Representative, part time.

So, we know some people who moved to Maui and the husband got a job on Haleakala with the Pony Express. How? Because he had a clean abstract, a heavy equipment operator’s permit, and was a horse wrangler. How’s that for specialized?

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage, or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica