I live in Lahaina Town, so I’m constantly surrounded by aloha print-wearing, sunburned tourists armed with cameras and fanny packs. It can be frustrating to make your way through crowds of strolling visitors straight off the cruise ship day in and day out, so one day my guy and I gave up and decided to join in and spend the morning playing tourist.
I threw on a bright blue dress and some oversized sunglasses, grabbed my camera and headed down to Front Street. The first stop on our tour was Lahaina Harbor, which was already bustling with families and elderly couples trying to soak up the historic vibe. After wandering around, reading the plaques that described the birthing stone and the patterned foundation relic of one of King Kamehameha’s wives’ homes, we stopped in the Historic Pioneer Inn Grill and Bar for some breakfast.
The inn was built in 1901 in the style of a plantation house. We walked through the swinging saloon doors into was once the Pioneer Tavern. An enormous nude painting hung above the long wood bar top in the small but bright room, and we opted for a seat outside on the shaded veranda overlooking the harbor.
It was well before noon, but since we were on vacation for the day, I ordered a champagne mimosa. My guy opted for a spicy Bloody Mary.
We perused the short menu, which included traditional egg dishes, served with a choice of ham, bacon or Portuguese sausage and rice or home fries. Omelets were available with American, jack or cheddar cheeses, breakfast meats, mushrooms, tomatoes, grilled zucchini, and onions. The Mowee Wowee Omelet came stocked with jack cheese, Portuguese sausage and pineapple.
Many of the selections, though typical of breakfast, enjoyed a particular local flavor—like the Hawaiian sweet bread French toast, mahi benedict or Big Kahuna pancakes. In true Maui style, loco moco took star position on the menu under local favorites.
After a discussion over how much food was too much for breakfast, we decided to share the traditional eggs benedict with home fries and the macadamia nut pancakes. I’m a firm believer that you can tell if a restaurant is good for breakfast based only on the quality of their eggs benedict. It’s an easy dish to mess up.
Ours came out very close to perfect, with crispy, toasted English muffins tucked beneath thin slices of honey ham. The poached eggs were deliciously runny, but not overly so, and the hollandaise was sweet and creamy with a hint of tart lemon. The huge side of potatoes was puffy and fried to a crispy and light, golden brown.
But my eyes bulged when I saw the pancakes. Two of them completely covered a large dinner plate and came smothered in powdered sugar, then sprinkled with lots of chopped up, toasted mac nuts.
Our server brought maple and coconut syrup to the table and I doused my cakes with butter and maple. They were light and fluffy, but I knew if I made it through that whole plate I wouldn’t need any lunch.
When we’d stuffed ourselves to the breaking point and pushed our plates away, I looked around at the tables of tourists examining maps and guide books, writing on postcards and discussing plans for their upcoming days of vacation. I guess it’s a privilege to live in a place that visitors flock to, and I’m glad that I can always take a mini-vacation any day of the week. MTW