Vanessa Wolf is a former head chef. She offers her frank assessments in the interests of honesty and improving Maui’s culinary scene.
By Vanessa Wolf
As you might recall, in earlier chapters of the story, the protagonist spends her time seeking out a wide variety of food venues across a magical land known as Maui.
From corner to corner, our heroine follows numerous woodland paths, sky-high beanstalks and white rabbits, only to encounter many a character along the way.
By now, you are familiar with the usual suspects: high-falutin’ resort types, clean yet divey locals, would-be franchises, glorified food trucks and hopeful, wide-eyed newcomers.
Today’s tale brings us to the south, where the loss of a breadcrumb trail leads to a tiny hole-in-the-wall establishment nestled amongst the ragtag offerings in the Azeka Shopping Center in Kihei.
You remember the fairy tale: “She took them both by the hand, and led them into her little house. Then food was set before them, milk and pancakes, with sugar, apples, and nuts.”
That’s right, gentle reader.
Much like the witch of Hansel and Gretel fame, Home Maid Café clearly aspires to lure you in and fatten you up… quite possibly to eat you later, although that part is merely conjecture.
Give in to your apparent fate and start out with breakfast.
The Breakfast Sandwich ($4) can be made to order with your choice of meat.
The soft, grilled bun arrives with mayo, a fried egg, a slice of American cheese and four slices of bacon.
There is no cardiologist on earth that would recommend this, but it sure is bacony going down.
The Breakfast Loco Moco ($6. Regular Loco Moco is $8.95) is exactly what you’d expect. A large mound of rice is topped with a hamburger patty, one over-easy egg and what tastes a bit like canned gravy.
It will render you fat and sleepy: just where she wants you.
Although Google Translate attempts to plead the Fifth, malasada is to beignet what maple bar is to cruller.
Don’t kid yourself. They’re all donuts.
A malasada ($.89 to $1.25 each) is a freshly fried, sugar coated donut, people, and the Maid requires that you order a minimum of three.
Three. Donut. Minimum.
The prosecution rests.
You won’t be rubbing elbows with high society here, but the atmosphere at the Home Maid Café (not to be confused with the Bakery or Bakery/Deli) is laid-back and pleasant. The staff is shy, but sweet.
Unless you’re into parking lots, there is no view whatsoever, but hey, we suppose it could be worse.
If you can’t take the stuffy heat inside, there are a couple outdoor tables should you prefer to enjoy the parking lot al fresco.
Lunch options are by and large local fare.
The Chow Fun ($6.25) is notably smaller than your typical “Hawaii” portion, but is fairly priced and still packs a calorie wallop.
It also took 30 minutes to be prepared.
Everything is made to order, which can – apparently – result in a lengthy wait.
On this particular occasion, other customers came, ate and left while we began to wonder what made our order so complicated. Maybe they had to run to the store for some more bacon?
Speaking of which, the Chow Fun arrives with noodles, cabbage, carrots, Spam and – yep – bacon.
The overall dish was greasy, but (who are we kidding? There was bacon in there) flavorful.
We finished and felt a tiny longing for more.
All this bacon kind of makes a person want to go native on Fatty Fat Island.
The Jumbo Burger ($4.75) finds the Maid up to her usual tricks.
Add cheese for $.75 and some mayonnaise-y mac salad on the side for another $1.25.
The burger is large and juicy and has clearly been hand-formed. It arrives with crisp lettuce and tomato on the same bun you encountered at breakfast.
There are both cheaper and more expensive burgers on the island, but this one lands solidly in “fair value for the price” terrain, minus – obviously – the lack of bacon.
The BLT ($5.25) has exactly two slices of fresh tomato, one piece of fresh lettuce, a slathering of mayo and four slices of (don’t pretend you didn’t see this coming) bacon on super smooshy untoasted white bread.
It’s uncomplicated, which we suppose for a meal with just three letters is about right.
In fact, if freshly made, greasy spoon diner-type food served in a no-frills environment is what you crave, Home Maid Café just might provide you – your cholesterol levels and kosher inclinations be damned – with something akin to a happily ever after.
Home Maid Cafe is open Mon-Fri 6 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Saturday 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
We welcome your feedback. Please let us know if you hear of any new restaurants opening or reopening, total menu overhauls, or simply know of a hidden treasure you want to share. Have a restaurant you want reviewed (or re-reviewed)? Drop us a line – Vanessa(@mauinow.com)