Friday, October 06, 2006

Maui, Part 1, Section B: Saying "I Do" The Hawaiian Way--It's Wedding Day!

It was all a blur really.

I remember that I started out my day with a chocolate croissant that my brother had picked up for me the night before.

It was 5:30 in the morning as my croissant and I sat in the living room of our condo rental waiting for the sparks to fly. Everyone was still asleep, and the sound of waves crashing would serve as my "tick-tock, tick-tock..."

Not less than an hour later, however, curling irons were being heated up, hairspray was filling the air, multiple shades of concealer and eyeshadow were being applied, people were running around ironing clothes and getting dressed. The slight "click" of a camera's shutter could be heard every few seconds as my photographer worked the room, trying to capture all of this organized chaos.

And at 9am I was being whisked off to the Seawatch Restaurant on Wailea's Gold and Emerald Golf Courses to marry my best friend.

I remember sitting and waiting anxiously in the lobby, our coordinator and my family members racing around putting stuff away and making sure Isaac was in places where he wouldn't see his bride-to-be; I remember that the sky and water surrounding us were a gorgeous shade of blue--proof that
my Dad was with me the whole time. I also remember taking one last look at the photo of my Dad that I had pinned to my bouquet before my Mom & brother started walking me down the grassy "aisle"..."OK Dad, are you ready? Here we go..."

The chocolate croissant that I had eaten 4 hours prior was now starting to become history and by the time our short 15 minute ceremony was over, I was starving. Perhaps that's why all the hugging and kissing and congratulations and signing our marriage certificate to make everything official and group photo shots and the ride down to the beach with our photographer and back up to our lunch reception are somehow stuffed in a place way deep down in the crevices of my memory--I was just way too hungry!

i couldn't wait to make it back here because here=eat!

Fortunately though, when it was finally time to sit down and eat, we really got to sit down and of the greatest advantages of having a small wedding in my opinion. It wasn't so crazy that my family wasn't able to save us a plate of hors d'oeuvres even with all the mingling they had to do. The tiny bright reddish-orange smelt eggs seemed to pop one by one against my tongue as I put each seared ahi canape in my mouth. The peanut glazed chicken skewers looked a little overcooked, but were actually quite tender & tasty. I was able to savor the Thai chili vinaigrette that dressed my tiger prawn cocktail and remember that it gave the entire salad a nice kick. I was able to taste the black sesame seeds that were sprinkled over the three plump tiger prawns and crisp napa cabbage. Hey, and you know what else you get to do at small weddings that you don't get to do at bigger ones? You get to take pictures of your food with your very own camera!

seared ahi canape and thai chicken skewers

tiger prawn cocktail

I remembered that the organic greens salad was perfectly refreshing for a hot Maui afternoon but was dressed with a dressing that was a little too citrusy for my taste. By this time, however, my mai tai, dressed in stereotypical tropical resort garb, i.e. pineapple slice & bright drink umbrella, had started to kick in, so instead of savoring my petite filet of beef with burgundy demi-glace, I scarfed it down in order to absorb the rum that had entered my bloodstream. What I can tell you is that the filet was tender but a little too saucy, and the mashed potatoes were grubbin'--probably not stellar but perfect for a bride who was tipsy at 12 o'clock in the afternoon.

this salad was a'ight

afternoon mai tai+heavy chignon=danger

filet mignon...the perfect mai tai sponge

I also had a couple bites of my Isaac's Macadamia Nut crusted catch of the day, which on that day happened to be monchong, a type of Hawaiian pomfret. I recall it being very fresh but a little too buttery tasting; Isaac thought the rice was a little too much on the soft side. My Mom chose the broiled breast of chicken because she eats neither beef nor fish (I'm not sure I'm really her daughter); it was prepared in the same fashion as my filet but with radish sprouts on top rather than the caramelized onions. I never tried it, however--it's just broiled chicken, you know? Like our filets and mac-crusted monchongs though, the chicken according to Mom, was moist. The Seawatch, therefore, passed their test of true wedding food chow-worthiness--no dry food here!

macadamia nut crusted monchong

"just" chicken

Dessert was a 6" and 10" 2-tier white wedding cake with vanilla cream custard & lilikoi filling made by
Maui Wedding Cakes. I can't believe the markup places charge on (as George Banks would say) flour and water just because there's the word "wedding" attached to it, but it's an industry I guess. This cake, albeit delicious--very moist and not too sweet with a slight tang from the lilikoi-- and beautiful, cost us $200; the same thing in Chinatown would have cost $60. So maybe it wouldn't have had pretty pink and green cymbidium orchids draped elegantly down the side of its smooth white buttercream facade, but still.

let them eat cake!

By the time we left the Seawatch my head was pounding from the 5 lb. chignon that was anchored to the nape of my neck as well as from the afternoon mai tais that I had just consumed (DG and afternoon drinking do not mix, by the way)--this bride was about to get a massive migrane and still had to entertain guests at dinner that evening. What to do??? We went back to my Mom's condo where I pulled about 500 bobby pins out of my hair, tore my wedding gown off and just let it all hang out. *Aaaah...*

While everyone else took advantage of the free time between our wedding reception and our dinner by going to South Maui's beautiful beaches, I crashed for about 3 hours.

At 6 o'clock that evening, we were off to Ma'alaea, located halfway between Lahaina and Wailea, to see our guests off at a Farewell Dinner we hosted at The Ma'alaea Grill. As with
Cafe O'Lei, we were a little hesitant upon first seeing its location--it shares the same parking lot as the big aquarium the Maui Ocean Center, does that say enough? We have our reputations to protect and we did not want our guests to feel like they flew 2000 miles across the Pacific to be treated to Red Lobster, n'est-ce pas? And also as with Cafe O'Lei, we were pleasantly surprised --an airy room decked out in bamboo and teak with tall french doors that opened out towards the Ma'alaea Harbor. *phew!*

the inside

the outside

Ma'alaea Grill's table bread was not only good because it was nice and crusty on the outside and warm & fluffy on the inside, but also because it was helping to bring down the major caffeine high that I'd been on from the two Excedrin I'd popped earlier in the afternoon and all the Coca Cola I had started to down. (Hey, it's a known fact burping helps ease the queasiness of headaches, no?) And soon enough, our fried calamari with wasabi aioli and sweet chili dipping sauces was out on our two tables. The calamari was good--I recall them being a tad too much on the overly battered side, but the calamari itself was of a nice texture--tender yet with a hint of elasticity. An otherwise boring green salad was given a bit more kick with the addition of bleu cheese and basil vinaigrette.

fried calamari

green salad with bleu cheese

We are very creative people, Isaac and I, so instead of the chicken-fish-steak fixed menu as with our wedding reception, the menu choices at dinner were chicken-fish-shrimp. My macadamia nut crusted chicken was cooked "picatta style": pound chicken flat, coat in macadamia nut powder, brown, remove chicken, deglaze pan with wine, add lemon juice & capers & whatever else, return chicken to pan with sauce. It's a cooking formula we all know, but regardless, the Ma'alaea Grill executed it well. My three chicken breast fillets had a nice outer crust formed by the mac-nut coating which absorbed the slightly tangy, caper-infused sauce nicely. On the bottom, a bed of buttery mashed potatoes.

mac nut crusted chicken

The shrimp on my Mom's garlic grilled shrimp were plump and juicy, served on a bed of rice with a nice spicy basil pesto drizzle, grilled tomatoes and boring broccoli. I passed on trying that night's blackened mahi mahi selection, which was a colorful presentation with its papaya salsa and cilantro garnish and completely repulsive to me without even having tasted anything. Don't mind me though. Don't let my hatred for the pukey smelling ass-fruit and vile weed of death scare you away--everyone thought it was delicious--I'm just weird like that.

grilled garlic shrimp

blackened mahi mahi with ass and more ass

The Ma'alaea Grill is part of the Cafe O'Lei group of restaurants so it was no surprise that dessert was served in a similar fashion to that we had the day before at Cafe O'Lei Kihei. Tiramisu, fudge brownie sundae, creme brulee, lilikoi cheesecake and pineapple upside down cake were served on platters for everyone to share. The tiramisu was our favorite of the bunch, having a nice balance of chocolate, marscapone, espresso & liqueur. The creme brulee was decent. Unlike the pineapple upside down cake at Cafe O'Lei which was excellent, the one here seemed dry and bland; the lilikoi cheesecake, however, also unlike the overly sweet one we had the day before, was just fine here in Ma'alaea. The brownie on our chocolate brownie sundae was hard as a rock and completely inedible.


and more dessert!

Despite a couple of misses here and there, I was quite pleased with our wedding food. I mean, it was wedding food after all, and I didn't have super high expectations--this is not The French Laundry we're talking about here. But because there were no rubbery pieces of chicken, no dry rice pilaf and no bland and mushy veggies, and because everything was pretty tasty, our nuptial chow gets the DG thumbs up.

Finally it was time for everyone to say goodbye and for Isaac and I to start our much needed honeymoon on both Maui and Oahu. In what seemed like a blink of an eye, my wedding day was over. And somehow I still couldn't help but miss the bride in me. I liked twirling around like a little girl in my white gown with a colorful bouquet of flowers in one hand. I liked feeling like a queen with her court as people followed me carrying my train. I liked that there were pretty pink flowers and little green polka-dotted boxes tied with pink bows surrounding me. I felt like I was on a cloud--even if only for a few hours. But when the clock struck twelve, the carriage turned back into a pumpkin, the horse turned back into mice, and me...I changed back into comfortable clothing. But I still had my Prince Charming to keep forever and ever. And some wonderful memories to go with.

The Seawatch Restaurant
100 Wailea Golf Club Drive
Wailea, Maui, HI 96753
(808) 875-8080

Ma'alaea Grill
300 Ma'alaea Rd.
Ma'alaea, Maui, HI
(808) 243-2206


Christine D. said...

Aww! Congratulations DG! What a wonderful wedding. I'm so glad everyone enjoyed themselves. My aunt is getting married next year, so I hope that she'll have as great of a wedding as you had, even if it's not going to be on the beautiful shores of Maui.

Eww, i agree. Ripe papaya tastes like poop. But i do like cilantro!

Chubbypanda said...

Oh god. Oh god. Oh god.

I'm not getting married until next July. I wasn't spazzing before, but for some reason, I am now. Maybe the hugeness of the affair hasn't quite sunken in. We're doing a fusion between a traditional Western wedding and a traditional Chinese wedding because my fiancee wants to honor my family's heritage. It's really sweet, but thanks to her mother, the guest list is now huge. As I read your very well-written post and pondered all the things we're going to have to do for our wedding... *spazspazspazspaz*

Beautiful looking spread there. I think the pictures came out extra nice this time because of the glow coming off of you. Congratulations yet again.

- CP

Oishii Eats said...

Simply stunning! Congrats to you and Isaac!

ab said...

"Hey, and you know what else you get to do at small weddings that you don't get to do at bigger ones? You get to take pictures of your food with your very own camera..."

Girl, you crack me up as always! BTW, welcome back :-)


Anonymous said...

congratulations! your wedding sounds beautiful. wish you both long and happy lives!

Anonymous said...

You continue to amaze. You were able to take your own food blog pix at your wedding!? Dang woman! I'm glad to hear that your "perfectly sized" wedding went so well, and that you had plenty to time to eat and enjoy your friends and family.

elmomonster said...

I concur on what PE said. You *ARE* *THE* food blogger of all food bloggers. Amazing that you were able to be the blushing bride and still take pictures, *AND* remember every nuance of the food you tasted. I'm not just amazed...I'm awed!

Anonymous said...

Reviewing the food at your own wedding reception? That is the most hardcore thing I've ever seen in my life.

Daily Gluttony said...


Congrats to your auntie--I'm sure she will have an amazing wedding! And no, girl, cilantro AND papaya taste like poop. LOL!


Aww, you are making me *blush* Sorry, I didn't mean to freak you out! Don't worry, your wedding is going to be FAB...I love part Western/part Chinese weddings. It's the best of both worlds!


Thanks girl!!! Love ya!!!


See now aren't you glad you came so you could take pics of all the food too? I was so happy you were able to make it!! =)


thank you very much!! you are too sweet!


thanks! our photographer kept laughing at me b/c i called my little camera "pam cam" i'm surprised he didn't get a pic of me taking a pic! LOL!


geez, all you guys are too kind! having a small wedding was the best decision we've made and i guess the food pics & reviews prove it, huh?

j gold,

(if you really are j gold) in the words of wayne & garth: "we're not worthy!!!" LOL!