Revitalizing Wailuku – “One Bite at a Time”
By Connie Harrison
Pop-ups, those whimsical specialty food events that spring up at a moment’s notice are all the rage on the mainland, but until now, they’ve been few and far between on Maui.
That’s about to change as the Vineyard Food Company hosts six new weekend pop-ups in Wailuku during July.
They are designed, says Chef John Webb “to revitalize Wailuku one bite at a time.”
Three Family Friendly Fridays
The Friday events on July 13, 20 and 27 are family friendly and so is the tab: just $15 for adults and $8 for kids. For that you get an entrée, choice of sides, beverage and scrumptious desserts baked by VFC co-owner Dan Southmayd.
Menus change each week and features fare likely to appeal to diners of all ages. It is traditional comfort food. That means – in order of appearance: meatloaf on the 13th, spaghetti on the 20th and burgers and hot dogs right off the grill on the 27th. Vegetarian options are also available.
Three Sophisticated Saturdays
Saturdays, however, are distinctly upscale. Each one of these themed menus has four full courses and the price includes the gratuity.
Chef Webb, (recently returned to Maui after getting his master’s degree in Management and Hospitality from the famed Cornell Hotel School) pulls out all the stops: There’s plenty to tempt the discerning – just get a load of these descriptions:
Sat. – July 14: BORN ON THE BAYOU
This Louisiana-themed feast brings the best of Cajun cooking to the local scene. The meal begins with Boudin balls, a pork and rice sausage croquette served with cayenne aioli. Segue to poached shrimp accented with fried sweet pickles and glazed shallots.
Finish with chicken and seafood gumbo in traditional Cajun style. Dessert is chocolate brioche bread pudding served with bourbon sauce. ($50 per person)
Sat. – July 21: DELICIOUS DUCK DINNER
Start with a duck charcuterie plate – this is cold duck sliced wafer-thin prosciutto style accompanied by confit of duck with watercress and mint. The second course is warm duck salad – a blend of shredded red and Napa cabbage with duck breast and sherry vinaigrette.
You haven’t lived, says the chef, until you’ve tasted homemade pappardelle pasta with duck ragout in the Tuscan style. Save room for dessert: warm cherry clafoutis topped with crème Chantilly. ($60 per person)
Sat. – July 28: A PROVENCALE FEAST
The third offering in the series begins with a traditional salade Nicoise (ahi, olives, artichoke hearts and hard-boiled eggs on butter lettuce) followed by a fragrant ratatouille – a medley of fresh local summer vegetables.
Then bring on a Provencale fishmonger’s stew featuring catch of the day in a rich fish broth. Dessert is tarte Tatin topped with vanilla ice cream. ($50 per person)
Vegetarian alternative are also available for each of the Saturday meals.
Both Webb and Southmayd hope that the six pop-up dinners will bring some culinary excitement to Wailuku after dark. In the evening, they point out there’s plenty of free on street parking. If they’re successful they hope to make them ongoing.
Whether you’re bringing the family for a night out on Friday, or treating yourself and a special someone to a deluxe Saturday night, seating is family style and adult patrons are encouraged to BYOB- beer or wine only – there is no corkage fee.
Friday seating begins at 5:30 and is first come first served. For Friday reservations are encouraged. Saturday seating is at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 with reservations a must (243-3663).
The rest of the time the Vineyard Food Company is open for lunch (M-F from 10 -2. It is and is also the home of the popular Soup to Nuts Catering).
Vineyard Food Company
1951 E. Vineyard (Between Market & Central0