When Maui calls, you have to answer. Since my last magical visit to the island, I’ve dreamed of nothing but palm trees and the warm breeze that greets when you when arrive. The solitude of cruising down a sunny two-lane, oceanside highway. The welcoming ‘aloha’, the thoughtful ‘mahalo’.

So when I received the call (or the email, rather) inviting me to participate as a judge at this year’s Maui County Agricultural Festival, there was little hesitation. Would I return to that beautiful island – and its people, food, historic Hawaiian culture – that had embedded itself in my heart and soul? Yes, yes I would.

Not only was the agricultural event a spectacular display of all the goods, wares, and fine hardworking folks residing on the Hawaiian island (more on that next week), as part of a food-filled week of media familiarization, our group of journalists dined and imbibed around the countryside, from Wailea to Lahaina to Wailuku – and found a number of dining destinations worthy of a second and third visit.

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Published on Daily Blender, April 2012

Images: Jennifer Heigl / Daily Blender