If you are one of those folks who adhere to the been there done that philosophy, i hope you don’t live here. Maui is one of those places where your experience may be in the re-experience of it all, especially since we are on an island.
One of my recent re-experiences was taking visiting friends, Maui ex-pat Sam Campos, AKA Holoholo Girl, and her significant Andrew DeAngelo, Harborside Health Center, and one of the stars of the new Discovery series Weed Wars, to see Willie K at Mulligan’s on the Blue.
Sure I have seen Willie K before and it sounds cheesy to say that each time is special, but its true. Each show is always different. His range is far reaching, and he plays so many different genres its hard to box him in. At his Mulligan’s show Willie plays with Jerry Byers who plays the bass guitar. This night Willie starts with some mellow stuff, playing Gershwin’s Summertime and reminiscing about the music he listened to with his dad.
As we chatted over ketel one and soda, Holoholo Girl: “Maui has gone on without me,” Me: “Hardly, I still field whiners who pine about how great your column was”, we perused the fantastic 3 course menu. The menu is always good, the chef changes it weekly. You have your choice of appetizer, main and dessert. We sat outside under the mellow Wailea weather, deciding between braised short ribs, fresh catch and chicken cannelloni, life was good. (See below for an example of last week’s menu).
DeAngelo and my husband go deep in conversation about the politics of medicinal marijuana, social media connotations and the upcoming Discovery Weed War show while Sam fills me in on their stay at the controversial Modern Honolulu, formerly known as the Waikiki Edition the recent victim of a corporate tussle. Over mouthfuls of our Irish taquitos and caprese, Willie K charmed us with his stories of growing up, working in restaurants and being one of 13 kids.
When Willie brings up his youngest daughter to sing Marley’s “Don’t Worry,” I got to see the proud papa come out in him. He says, “This female version of me is a great payback” as he explains she is a natural performer that loves to be onstage. Later his older daughter comes out and dances hula. As he starts in on the Kamakawiwo’ole version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, my 5 year old daughter loses it, its her favorite song. Willie says he is a huge fan of Wizard of Oz and scolds non believers in the crowd.
Meanwhile we are digging into perfectly braised short ribs and fantastic fresh mahi. As we devour the last of the house made tiramisu the crowd is totally into the his Hawaiian ukulele rendition of Pavarotti. Willie is at his best in front of this crowd, having completely enamored them. Whats more we have even impressed our big city visitors. As I sneak off to the back of the kitchen to give my regards to the kitchen crew, I know I will totally do this again. Reservations are highly recommended, and seating starts at 5:30. Willie K’s Wailea Nights are Wednesdays, but this month he has added special Thursday shows on the 15th and 29th. Call 808-874-1131 for your spot.
WILLIE K THREE-COURSE DINNER
Curried Yam Soup
Feta Cheese, Toasted Pecans, Sliced Apples, Lemon Vinaigrette
Asian Slaw, Sweet Chili Aioli
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
Mashed Potatoes, Maui Vegetable Medley, Gremolata
Parmesan Crusted Stuffed Chicken Breast
Mashed Potatoes, Maui Vegetable Medley, Roasted Red Pepper Cream
Fresh Catch of the Day
Sautéed Oyster Mushrooms and Creamed Leeks,
Jasmine Rice, Maui Vegetable Medley
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Whiskey Caramel Sauce
BIN ENDS/WINE SPECIALS
Redtree, Chardonnay, California, 2009 $28/Bottle
This chardonnay opens with underlying aromas of lime and kiwi fruit and just a touch of
French oak. On the palate, the wine is balanced with fresh fruit flavors of peach, pear and apple.
Canyon Road, Cabernet Sauvignon, California, 2010 $28/Bottle
This cabernet has fresh blueberry and black cherry flavors accentuated by brown spice,
mocha, hints of vanilla and a velvety smooth finish.