Best Laid Plans…
We had some pretty big plans for today. Mainly revolving around exploring the Wailea and Makena area. The plan was an early morning snorkel at La Perarouse Bay. The morning at Big Beach followed by Tacos from the legendary Jaws van. Then we would spend the day turtle hunting on the beaches of Wailea. We would hit the happy hour at Monkeypod kitchen then Finish off with one last BBQ.
Ground of the Monkeypod Kitchen, Wailea
That kind of all went wrong quite early. If you read yesterday’s blog you would see we hit the Mai Tai’s pretty hard at the Te Au Moana Luau. This meant we woke feeling pretty rough. The first alarm to wake us for our dawn snorkel was duly dismissed. We would have another chance tomorrow. We rose much later than planned and were groggy and tired. After a few mugs of Kona coffee, we failed to rouse ourselves into anything meaningful and simply diverted to the pool. A lazy morning in the quietest pool area we have ever been helped clear the haze a little and we tried to get the day back on track.
Having missed out on Jawz tacos we needed to still get our Taco Fix so headed to Maui Tacos in Kihei. 2x2xGrilled Fish Tacos ordered, Salsa bar Raided and we headed back to the Villa to eat on the Lanai. A perfect Maui Lunch.
Maui Taco’s on the Lanai
After this, we headed to Wailea in the hope of some celeb spotting. One of Kates’s favorite Celebs had been in Maui (Lea Michele) all week and if we were going to see celebs Wailea Beach is the place to do it. It’s also a fantastic stretch of beautiful sand. Perfect for sunbathing and relaxing. It also has rocky outcrops at either side which make for great Snorkel spots.
Kates hangover had still not lifted so gave the snorkeling a miss and just put in the final work on her tan while scoring the beach for somebodies. While there were plenty of people there who thought they were somebody she wasn’t able to actually recognize anyone famous.
The Snorkelling faired a lot better. The surf was making it fairly challenging for most people and there were very few venturing very far out leaving the ocean all to myself. Well myself and 5-6 Large turtles. I explored their ocean home while they drifted about munching on the algae. The rocky outcrops are quite shot on the left-hand side of Wailea and I quickly cleared them and headed around the front of the four seasons where I found my Turtle companions.
The water here is clear and unaffected by the sand of the beach. There is lots of healthy coral growth on the rock and fish life is abundant and mature. Lots of BIG unicorn fish, Bluefin Trevally, and parrotfish along with all the usual reef suspects. It was possible this would be the last snorkel of the trip so I was glad it was a good one to round off the trip.
After this, we relaxed on the beach enjoying the last of the Wailea sun. before heading back to the Villa to pack up prior to our evening.
Monkey Pod Kitchen Happy Hour
The Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman’s is one of the hyped-up restaurants on Maui. There is quite a buzz about this place and we had to check it out especially as it was just a short walk from our Villa. We have eaten at Merriman’s in Kapalua several times and have always enjoyed it and it has an absolutely incredible setting. It is however very expensive and quite formal. The Monkeypod promises a more relaxed bar-type vibe and more trendy cuisine, Pizza’s Burger’s Taco’s, etc. But still high quality and an extensive cocktail menu and wine list along with craft beers. It is also touted as having the best Mai Tais on Maui a claim we had to check out. As ever on Maui, we decided to hit the Happy hour as it always represents the Best value.
Happy Hour is 3-5:30 and offers half-price Appiseres $10 Pizza’a, cheaper beer and wine, and Cocktails at $9.50 instead of $14. We walked in and the place was BUSY. About the busiest, we have seen anywhere on Wailea. The Hostess broke the news that a Table would be over an hour. We have been on the beach all afternoon and it was now past 4:30 so we would miss the happy hour.
Instead, we just made a beeline for the bar and ordered a couple of the “legendary” Mai Tai’s while we waited to see if some bar seats became free. We were not far into our drinks when some seats at the bar became available so we shifted over and took in the atmosphere.
The Bar was very lively and packed to the rafters. We are sure this was mainly for the Happy hour but imagine it will remain pretty packed well beyond. It was a very lively place with lots of the younger crowd and completely different from Merriman’s.
Maui’s best Mai Tai? No, we don’t think so. The main drink was very sour and had almost no Ogeot taste. There was plenty of rum and it wasn’t a bad Mai Tai but just not incredible. The Honey-Lilikoi foam was the Unique selling point and it is utterly delicious and when it starts to incorporate into the drink it comes alive and provides the sweetness needed. But the Flavours muddle the Mai Tai even more and while it is a delicious drink it stops being a Mai Tai. So yes we enjoyed them but it can’t be the best Mai Tai when it isn’t really a Mai Tai. It would not stop us from ordering one again, however.
So What is the Best Mai Tai on Maui? One you make yourself from Our Recipe Obviously!
We had two juicy steaks at home ready to go on the BBQ, so we were only looking for a Light Bite. The Half Price Appetizers were perfect for this. The Wood-Roasted Chicken Wings, Pumpkin Patch Ravioli, and Garlic Truffle Oil Fries filled the hole and were all delicious. We also tried another Cocktail each as well.
Overall we thought Monkeypod to be just a bit overrated. While the food and drink were very good and the decor of the bar pretty great, the location leaves a lot to be desired. When you think about Merriman’s out on the Kapalua peninsular overlooking Napili and Kapalua bays, sitting out on the terrace is truly breathtaking and you feel fine about paying the premium. Here you are in a shopping center, up a hill with very little view. It’s just your typical trendy bar and we feel the prices do not reflect that. Our $65+tip bill for a few drinks and appetizers didn’t feel like a great deal. The same out of happy hour would be well over $100.
Still, we were in the very upmarket area of Wailea and you have to expect a bit of expense. Most people were ordering away with abandon and the bar is obviously doing very well. And despite the criticism, we would happily go back again for happy hour, but the regular prices may be pushing it a little for us.
BBQ and Hot Tub
Our Final Evening in Civilisation was finished off with a Steak BBQ and Hot tub evening. The quiet pool in the resort transformed into a pretty sociable area where many guests and owners congregated and chatted over drinks. We had a great evening just chatting away with new people over a few drinks. Before retiring to our villa to enjoy the night on the Lanai.
Tomorrow we head to Hana to spend the evening in the rainforest. We were really excited as the road to Hana is our favorite thing to do on the Island and staying in Hana makes it all the more special. Today hadn’t really gone to plan but we had salvaged quite a nice relaxing day with a fun end.