Alive & Well in Kahului is one of the few places on Maui that’s actually taught me something about myself. I’ve only recently started to go there, but every time I’ve gone in, I’ve run into someone I know.
The first time it was my friend Krista and her father—I was walking in, they were walking out. Then a while later I was eating near the deli counter and saw my friend Kristen walk in and start checking out the menu. Not long after I saw Lena in ordering a smoothie. Then there was the time I saw Samantha, my own associate editor (okay, this one is only technically true, as she and I went there together for lunch one day, but you get the picture).
At first, I thought this was strange. I’d always thought of Alive & Well as a perfectly good health food store for hippies—free thinking nature lovers who embraced organic brown rice, hemp, and aisle shelves stocked with more teas than a person could try in a lifetime. In other words, not my kind of place.
Yet I kept running into people I knew there—people who shopped and ate there and didn’t seem even remotely hippie-like. Could it be that I had been wrong?
All this soul searching got started when Ohana Cafe—Alive & Well’s tiny Wailuku breakfast and lunch nook—closed its doors last month. I’d gone into this place—located just around the corner from the Maui Time offices—pretty near once a week ever since we’d moved to Wailuku Town last year. I couldn’t get enough of their triple-decker club sandwiches, garden burgers, roasted vegetables, papaya seed dressing, kim chee…
Anyway, when they closed, they posted a sign in the door saying Alive & Well was still up and running. So one day, I went. Inside I found—in addition to myriad friends and co-workers—an impressive deli counter stocked with a colorful variety of fresh food (as well as a wonderful sign reading “Please pay for food before you eat it. Thank you”).
They have sandwiches, salads, wraps, soups, sushi (made with brown rice), vegetables, quiche, meatloaf, jicama salad, pizza, soft serve ice cream, pies and a bunch of other stuff I can’t think of right now.
One day I ordered a turkey sandwich on oat bread. It came with about a half-inch of sliced turkey with lettuce, tomato, sprouts, carrot shavings, onions and mustard (you can also get mayonnaise and wheat bread, if you like). To that I added a small bowl of tasty roasted cauliflower and potato soup—which wasn’t too thick, thin or potatoey). Their other soup of the day was white bean and turkey sausage, but I’m pretty sure I made the right choice.
Another time I dove into a slice of their spinach pie, which though thick, didn’t flood my taste buds with all things spinach. That particular item’s so popular they usually have a few fresh slices already packaged on the deli case.
And they have desserts. Most recently I tried a slice of their cinnamon spice almond cake. Though not quite as sweet or interesting as their “raw vegan organic” mixed fruit pie (mango, kiwi, strawberries, coconut, pecans and hemp), it was outstanding.
What’s more, Alive & Well is open all day. By the time I learned that, I hardly missed the closed-after-2 p.m.-and-on-weekends Ohana Cafe anymore. MTW