If you think you're having a bad day, someone in Lahaina has it worse.
I'm not having a bad day. Was going to take a surfing lesson, but the waves were so rough that the shop called the whole thing off, which was, frankly, a relief, as I'm not the surfing type and would have made a fool of myself. I went parasailing instead. I'm not the parasailing type either, but it's harder to make a fool of yourself 1200 feet in the air. No, tragedy is the downside of parasailing. I was thrilled to try it once and relieved when it was over.
After that: lunch at Aloha Mixed Plate, a shacky place by the beach where I would be happy to eat every day.
This delicious and rib-sticking meal cost less than $9 and included a mountain of kalua pork, which tastes like a cross between carnitas and South Carolina barbecue; 2 scoops of rice; a scoop of macaroni salad; smoked salmon and tomato salad (no salmon discernible); and haupia, a gelatinous coconut pudding that was hard to resist.
There was also poi, but it's easy to resist poi. Doesn't it look like plum baby food?
In any case, I had to save room for shave ice.
After some internet research and asking around, I discovered that two West Maui shave ice shops come highly recommended: Ululani's and Annie's, which are a few blocks away from each other in Lahaina. After lunch, my intention was to try both.
First: Ululani's, which is so hidden back behind a cluster of shops on Front Street that I almost couldn't find it. Working the counter was David, an Oahu native who is married to Ululani.
That's his arm. I should have taken a picture of his face and done a proper interview about shave ice -- like, how exactly do you make it? who invented it? are you aiming for grainy or velvety? what goes into the syrups? -- but I was bashful in the moment. Maybe I'll call. Instead, we just chatted. He rued the cost of food here on Maui, that an 18-count box of eggs costs almost $5. I told him he should get chickens. He didn't seem to believe me, which means he is smart. He told me I wouldn't like the salty plum shave ice. I thought I would. He gave me free cream on top of my shave ice and said to come back later and try more flavors
I wish I could. This shave ice is hands-down the best I've had in my life, which is to say, in the last 36 hours. The texture was like powder snow, the flavors, bright and pure. I couldn't stop eating Ululani's shave ice and by the time it was all gone I was too full for Annie's.
drive by Annie's and though it looks very cute
I have to leave tomorrow and won't be able to try it.