Eating while reading combines two of my favorite pastimes. I often
read at home but one glance into my refrigerator will show you that I
don’t generally eat at home. So I go out.
If I’m dining solo, I like to bring a book with me. It gives me
something to do while I’m waiting, and makes me feel like I’m treating
myself instead of warranting curious stares from accompanied diners
Obviously there are better places to eat while you read than others.
You’ll want appropriate lighting—bright without being blinding, natural
and even. No evil flickering fluorescent light bulbs please.
You’ll need a relatively peaceful environment—exceedingly busy
establishments, or those with loud music and/or raucous drinking may
distract. Also, you’ll wanna be sure you don’t hold up a table in a
three-table joint, unless it’s during their off-peak hours. Comfortable
seating, casual service and extensive menus get bonus points.
Although not quite eat-readable in the evening—low lighting, limited seating, and busy—Java Jazz in
Honokowai during the day provides the kind of bohemian coffeehouse chic
environment that will appease your bookish and culinary desires.
They offer the usual snacks at their espresso bar, plus waffles and
omelets for breakfast. The lunch menu offers a condensed but eclectic
array of soups, salads and sandwiches, like the turkey, cranberry,
romaine and sweet Thai chili cream cheese on sourdough. Plus, nothing
inspires literary perusal like a birdcage stuffed with naked Barbie
The Pioneer Inn Grill & Bar in
Lahaina may seem a dubious choice for the ole eat-read. Who would think
to use Hawai`i’s second oldest hotel and one-time site of drunken
whaling sailor revelry as a place to read Mitch Albom’s latest
sap-riddled—er, I mean, inspirational novel?
But their menu utilized local ingredients on standard Pacific Rim
fusion cuisine and wide-appeal appetizers. Breaded calamari, spring
rolls and the like are only made better by an open-air lanai and vistas
onto Lahaina Harbor. Might make you wanna switch out Albom for
something by Melville or Michener.
An option for a late-night bite while booking would be Le Cafe Cafe
in Kihei. Here, you get to munch on simple fare with proper lighting
and friendly, read-welcoming service. Wireless computer access is a
Another coffee shop with a collegiate feel is Maui Coffee Roasters
in Kahului. With a fairly impressive sandwich, wrap and salad menu,
walls covered in colorful modern art, wireless access, natural lighting
and the buzz of caffeine permeating the atmosphere, you’re sure to
finish that 678 pages in time for your book report tomorrow.
For a laid-back read while people watching outside and dining on hearty Italian fare, check out Casanova Deli
in Makawao. Wood-fired pizzas, fresh mozzarella sandwiches and Caesar
salads somehow complement your current travel narrative nicely.
And while you’re lazily fantasizing your next trip to Tuscany, enjoy
the often-written about sights and sounds of the uniquely upcountry
artists, writers and rodeo stars who flock here. MTW