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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

A Kiss Around the World

Posted: March 9, 2008
by: Mark Stine

A recent vacation and birthday celebration trip to Hawaii turned into an art hunting adventure coupled with fun dining around the island of Maui, sponsored by friend and software guru Wayne, celebrating his impending 40th birthday.

An overnight in LA and a dinner at the Encounter restaurant and bar in the landmark theme building in the center of the airport features early 60’s space age design, ubiquitously featured in 70’s and 80’s TV shows when they wanted LA to look moderne…suffice it to say, if you are between flights it makes a fun stop for drinks and appetizers...dinner however was less inspired…But if like me, you have flown in and out of LA for decades and never made the stop...its fun from a nostalgic standpoint.

The next day, the morning flight to Maui landed uneventfully and it was off and running for a week in the sun…ok so it rained four days, who really cares when you are in paradise! Now the things I love about Maui are the diversity… beaches, upcountry highlands, populated with ranches, protea farms and eucalyptus groves, with yes… a wonderful vineyard to visit.

Tedeschi vineyards makes a variety of wines using local tropical fruits as well as wines and a sparkling wine made in the traditional méthode champenoise.


The Tasting room is described as historic according to the Tedeschi Vineyards web site. “Located in one of the most historic buildings on the island of Maui. The King's Cottage dates to 1874, when it was built specifically for the visit of Hawaii's monarch David Kalakaua and queen Kapi'olani. During his turbulent reign, which began that year and lasted until his death 1891, Hawaii’s last king often came to Ulupalakua to find peace of mind The centerpiece of the Tasting Room is an eighteen-foot-long bar cut from the trunk of a single mango tree.  Shelves are stocked with Hawaiian-made products and specialty foods and gifts Today the ranch is a destination for visitors exploring rural Upcountry Maui. They picnic here and learn island history by touring the grounds”.


Guided tours are available at 10:30 am,1:30 and 3 pm and well worth the time from both an historical perspective and for the views….or check them out at www.mauiwine.com.

Well wine and champagne tasting seemed high brow enough, so we next tackled the art galleries of Lahaina…the best stop of all was Vintage European Posters, featuring original posters from 1890 to 1960, where General Manager Franck Soler (Franck@europeanposters.com) personally waited on Barb (Rhubarb Barb from earlier blogs) and I in our endeavor to find the perfect vintage poster. The search took about an hour and we each found the right one for us. Franck in his wonderful French accent regaled us with historical facts on vintage posters, their rising value and diminishing availability. Franck also explained they do not maintain a website, as the world’s largest European vintage poster, they sell too quickly to scan and post. So if you want one, plan on a trip to Maui or email Franck for some great recommendations.


Mark and Franck with P.L. M – Arles-St. Remy poster, a lithograph from 1910 by Georges Dorival.

I found a wonderful old vintage poster from 1910 mounted on linen to preserve and stabilize the old paper.  Barb also found a French poster from 1921…a stone lithograph... which had hung in an old French rail office…and never having been exposed to the outdoors, hers was in pristine condition! Titled Chemins de Ferdo L’Etat …Excursions in Bretagne, with the town of Dinan, from the Emerald Coast of France. A town coincidentally that I once visited in 1990 with my friend Isabelle from Rennes, France, so a connection was immediately established with the poster.

Ahh…but the French Connection continued. In concluding the sale, Franck kissed Barb on each cheek, one for her and one for a” free dinner” if she delivered one of the kisses to his father who runs, along with his charming wife, the restaurant Le Gazan. At 3 rue Gazan in the city of Grasse known as the parfum capital of France.

And since my French friend Isabelle is planning her 40th birthday party in Provence this July and had taken me to the city of Dinan in 1990..or was it 91 and Barb unknowingly bought the vintage French poster about Dinan and since both of them will get to meet each other in Las Vegas, in March at my home, due to an unexpected business trip Isabelle will be making from Montpelier, France after a 15 year absence of being able to visit….whew….well based on all of these psychokinetic connections , we are planning to go to Grasse, France and collect on that free meal when we head off for Isabelle’s 40th bash! And then Barb can deliver the “Kiss” from half way round the world to Franck’s father and mother. What a nice custom! Bon Appetit’!

And to continue our “French Connection” in Maui, we brunched in the upcountry at Le Provence…a hidden away treasure in the eucalyptus scented highlands in upcountry Maui. Not even a decent roadside sign to spot this gem. I stumbled on this spot quite by accident years ago and am always pleased to be able to introduce friends to it. With views of the island and the ocean spread out below, with strong Kona coffee and chocolatines, and several really great and light and fluffy quiche…it’s a wonderful and peaceful spot for any meal. Le Provence – The French Eater, can be found at 3158 Lower Kula Rd. in Kula the upcountry in Maui  (808) 878- 1313.

Jumping whales spouted right off our ocean front room in Ka’ anapali and one night we dined ocean front in Lahaina at our hosts choice for his birthday dinner. Wayne recommended

I’o at 505 Front Street (iomaui.com) where the ocean front and patio view was exceptional. The appetizers are wonderfully prepared and the entrees were delicately seasoned, with all of the fish dishes exceptionally fresh, as one would expect in Hawaii. A hint…the Cowboy ribs appetizer went quickly in our group, as did the Thai curry asparagus soup. The entrees and desserts were equally as impressive, with Wayne’s favorite , the I’o trio of seared fresh catch with lobster curry, petit filet mignon and petite osso bucco with a braising demi and mushroom risotto. (www.iomaui.com)

All in all it was a wonderful trip. Wayne turned 40 with no visible trauma….I bought art…Barb bought art…a new French friend was made…whales jumped and spouted and the sun set...as only it can in Maui.


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