I rolled up to the shady little bungalow in the Lahaina Square parking lot because I’d heard that’s the place to go for Indian curry. Lori LeeMayne, who owns and operates the take-out cafe with husband and distinguished chef Hans, warmly greeted me.
Curry in a Hurry caters to the local population, with a strong contingent of regulars, some who even come twice a day for meals. “You want a kick, you come here,” Lori Lee said.
The Maynes work 15-hour shifts in their teeny-tiny cafe, cooking from 7 a.m. to noon and taking care of customers until 8 p.m. Lori Lee told me of their aspiration to franchise the store across the country, believing it would be a hit in college towns and plazas. For a moment I shared Lori Lee’s vision of “a Curry in a Hurry across from every McDonald’s in the world.”
Unlucky for me, Friday equals “super spicy” day. My sensitive palate prohibits me from enjoying anything above mild, but Lori Lee gave me some samples of her Santa Fe black bean chili and South Indian Mung Bean soup—aptly dubbed the “Mighty Mung” for its 26 grams of protein per cup. It was yummy but sizzled my tongue.
There are two homemade vegan soups and four vegan curries every day, as well as a selection of pastries and gourmet desserts. Everything comes in two portions, small—which is really small—goes for $4.50 and large for $8.50. They take pride in having no microwaves, prefab or frozen foods, preservatives and use mostly organic ingredients.
For fear that my mouth would burst into flames with a whole order of curry, I decided instead on a vegetable pastry. About five inches square, it looked like a little pillow full of Maui onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and eggplant baked into a flaky puff pastry. It was delicious and more importantly, didn’t cause my head to smoke. My pastry was one of a small batch made that morning in a minuscule kitchen by a couple that cooks their health philosophy and culinary know-how into their food.
Lori Lee creates a whole family of pastries, veggie-burgers, veggie lasagna, veggie crepes, falafels, tofu tandoori and spanakopita. It’s all very edible. Every day features a special grouping of soups, salads and pastries that a person could definitely arrange their calendar around. Lori Lee suggested I come back on a Monday or Tuesday when her curry specials come a bit milder.
Since I’m a firm believer in dessert, I ordered the Hawaiian mango-lime cheesecake with macadamia nut crust. A very rich little delicacy, it brought my lunch full circle in having gone to a curry cafe and eaten everything BUT curry. Oh, the plight of enjoying Indian food but being a wimp! MTW