The other day my colleague Wendy and I decided to have lunch at Cafe Marc Aurel in Wailuku. On our way out the door, we ran into Samantha.
“Want anything from Cafe Marc Aurel?” I naively asked.
“Just came from there,” she said, still holding the coffee concoction she’d just purchased.
There’s no question that the Maui Time Weekly staff enjoys the cafe. I mean, we all liked it fine in the days when the office was in Lahaina.But now that we’ve moved into an office building directly across the street from it, we can see the cafe’s tables and hear the nightly entertainment from our balcony overlooking Market St.
It’s a wonder we don’t spend the whole day over there. It’s especially shocking given that in early May, Aurel considerably expanded his lunch menu.
Mediterranean Tacos? Baguette Sandwiches with Prosciutto, Black Forest Ham or Buendner Fleisch Air Cured Beef? Panzanella Marinara Italian Summer Salads?
The names and descriptions flew at Wendy and I as we stood at the counter looking over the menu. So many decisions, so much time…
Some of this stuff I’ve had before. The Salade du Saison, a simple mix of Kula greens and vegetables served with either lemonette dressing or balsamic vinegar is quite good, though the former dressing is a little too lemonette for my tastes. The baguette sandwich with turkey is also delicious, though the cheddar it comes with is a bit too overpowering a cheese for such an understated meat.
Then there’s the panzanella salad. It looks almost like salsa, but it’s so much more. It’s nothing more than chopped Roma tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, green onions, Kalamata olive and chunks of bread marinated in balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s stunningly tasty.
All of it is perfect cafe food—a solid but light dish that goes with a glass of wine or juice while sitting at a sidewalk table. But now I wanted something new.
Wendy opted for the Margerit sandwich, which is simply sliced mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, capers, onions, olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar stuffed into a baguette. It’s a simple, elegant little sandwich, and she loved it.
“The baguette is crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and not at all chewy,” she said. And that’s not a trivial point—too many baguettes are chewy, requiring nearly far too much gnawing when taking a bite.
I decided to go with the Mediterranean Tacos. They actually fall somewhere between a falafel and a taco: take a pita and top it with the panzanella salad, cucumbers, hummus, tzatziki (a Greek cucumber sauce) and feta cheese sprinkles. Add a dash of lemon juice and you’ve got quite a lunch.
Later, Aurel said the Margerit sandwich and the tacos are easily his best selling items. I believe it. MTW