Fourth Time’s Not the Charm: Mala Ocean Tavern (Lahaina, HI)

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I guess going to Mala for brunch two days in a row was a little too much.  After our meal here this morning, I’ve fallen a little out of love with Mala.   Why, you ask?  Well, we discovered the hard way that if you decide to order things separately (eggs, bacon, etc.), you’ll get ripped off.  For example, I ordered the Great Start Breakfast ($12): 2 eggs cooked to order, hash browns, grilled health bread, jam, butter, and your choice of bacon, prosciutto, or lamb sausage. 

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I chose 2 eggs over medium, lamb sausage, and subbed out the hash browns with some fruit salad (for an additional $2 charge) so my final cost for this breakfast was $14.   Expensive, but a price I’m willing to pay for good food.

Fitbomb didn’t want to the hash browns or bread so he ordered a side of bacon ($7), a side of 2 eggs ($5), and Alii mushrooms ($12). 

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Yes, we should have asked how much the items would cost by themselves (it wasn’t listed on the menu) but we didn’t think his breakfast would be $24!  Next time, we’ll just get the Great Start Breakfast and waste the hash browns and bread.

Plus, we had to wait a long time for our food, our portions were smaller, and our waitress was really ditzy.  Maybe we were cranky because we were leaving Maui but our final experience here left a bad taste in my mouth.

Oh well, all will be forgotten when we return in a year.

Brunch at Mala (Lahaina, HI)

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Yep, this is the third time this week we’ve dined at Mala Ocean Tavern.  This time we came for brunch and the setting and vibe were perfect for a lazy Saturday in paradise.  Before leaving the Bay Area, we had checked the 10-day forecast and had braced ourselves for rain on our last two days here.  Lo and behold, today we have nothing but sun and clear skies.  Woo hoo!

After a lazy morning spent snorkeling at the beach and building sand castles under the direction of a very pitiless taskmaster (5 year-olds are real slave masters), we headed to Mala for some grub.  Here’s what we ordered this time:

Fresh Maui Gold pineapple boat with baby coconuts and balsamic vinegar:

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Teddy’s Loco Moco: Kobe beef patty, 2 eggs fried over easy, green onion, and mushroom gravy.   Fitbomb requested no organic brown rice and the server visibly balked.

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Omelette of the day filled with Kula cherry tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese.  I asked to sub out the hash browns with a small side salad.

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Side of house made lamb sausage:

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I found these patties a tad under-seasoned but I’m a salt fiend.

Our favorite side on the island: BRUSSEL SPROUTS!

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Mala really is one of favorite spots here in West Maui.  We’ll definitely return – maybe one last time tomorrow for brunch!

It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again : Another Lunch at Mala Ocean Tavern (Lahaina, HI)

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I knew we’d be back but I didn’t think it would be within 24 hours.   What can I say? We love Mala!  I tried not to order the same stuff as last time but we had to get another order of Brussels sprouts because they’re damn good. 

(To clarify, when I say that I’m eating Paleo when dining out I’m just trying to avoid grains, starches, and refined sugars.  I know that most restaurants use sugar, starches, and soy in their marinades and sauces but I just pretend I don’t know.)

Here’s what we ate at lunch today:

Cucumber salad with furikake:

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Stir fried Brussels sprouts with sesame seeds, fresh mint, and crispy wontons (we ate around the wontons):

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Ahi Burger (house made) with romaine, tomato, tartar sauce, and fries.  I asked them to hold the bun and my kids ate my fries.  Bad paleo mommy!

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Avalon seared sashimi with spicy shiitake ginger sauce:

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I have to admit that  the sashimi was not one of my favorite dishes.  I expected it to be more Japanese-y instead of Chinese-y.  Plus, there was a huge dollop of mashed potatoes on my plate that wasn’t advertised on the menu.  WTF?  Who pairs sashimi with mashed potatoes?  I forgive you, Mala, but it better not happen again. 

Who am I kidding?  We’ll probably be back in the next few days.

Oldie but Goodie: Mala Ocean Tavern (Lahaina, HI)

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Mala Ocean Tavern is one of our favorite places to eat in Maui.  The vibe is super chill, the food is yummy, and you literally can eat right next to the water.  In fact, my kid was complaining about how the ocean mist from the crashing waves kept spraying his face. This place is packed at dinner but it’s pretty empty for lunch and brunch so call for reservations at dinner time and request a table near the water. 

Up until this year, we used to love their seared ahi bruschetta, assorted dips with lavosh and grilled pita bread, and assorted flatbreads.  Do you sense a theme here? CARBS!  

Today, we returned for lunch (and after studying the menu ahead of time of the website), this is what we ordered for lunch:

Big Island Hamakua Ali Mushrooms with garlic and parsley a la plancha:

Stir fried brussels sprouts with sesame seeds, fresh mint, and crispy wontons (that I didn’t eat):

Farmer’s salad with added grilled mahi mahi (with dressing on the side):

Snake River Farms Kobe beef cheeseburger with smoked apple wood bacon, carmelized onion, romaine,and tomato (hold the bun):

I love this place.  We’ll probably return later this week.