Dining in Maui Vickie Meets Chef Wesley Holder

I was recently dining in Maui at Pulehu Italian Grill  and my taste buds danced with delight as I devoured every single bite of the wonderful food created by Chef Wesley Holder! 

 I reviewed the restaurant under a separate blog and you can see photos of the restaurant and details about my meal under that post:

Pulehu – An  Italian Grill is the Exotic in Maui. 

I returned to the restaurant my last day on the island and I was able to meet Chef Wes ( and enjoy one of his wood oven pizzas) before I had to catch my plane and return home.

Chef Wesley is so talented!  His food is creative in both taste and texture.  Visually, his food is absolutely delightful!

Chef Wes took First Place in the Maui Onion Festival May 5, 2012 for his Maui Onion Tortellini En Brodo. 

He proudly displayed his “Best in Show” award from the recent Ka’anapali Fresh competition.

Chef Wes also won the Farm to Fork competition in 2011.


The Chef and I discussed cooking in a wood oven.  I had a wood oven for many years and I hope to add a wood oven to my new home in the near future.  Chef Wes said he grew up with wood oven cooking and his skills are evident when you dine at Pulehu.

Vickie and Chef Wes at Pulehu Italian Grill

When dining in Maui, you will have lots of choices.  I highly recommend you check out this wonderful restaurant and Chef Wesley Holder.



Crab Cake Lunch on Kaanapali Beach

What could be better than a crab cake lunch on Kaanapali Beach?

Next week I will feature my Crab Cake recipe with the trick I use to keep the crab cakes from falling apart when I cook them.  Crab cakes are really very easy to make and you can either use fresh crab or canned crab.  My recipe uses canned crab since it’s not always easy to buy fresh crab.   

Here are the wonderful crab cakes I had for lunch on Kaanapali Beach.  I like how they served them on wilted fresh spinach and I’ll be using that same idea when I feature my Crab Cake recipe next week.  I also liked the grilled lemon half as an extra nice touch…

Here are some pictures of my beautiful walk along Kaanapali Beach….


I think a trip to Maui is really a trip of a lifetime!  The beauty is abundant.  Walks along the pristine beaches are invigorating and there is so much to enjoy in the nature around us.  Kaanapali Beach has a lot to offer in not only beauty but also things to do.  You can stay busy every minute if you want to.  The Westin has scenic helicopter tours, hiking trips, shopping tours plus much more.   I have decided not to do a lot of the tours and activities.  I just want to soak up some relaxation while I am here.  

Remember — Let’s make life special by sharing great food with our family and friends!

Pulehu Grill is the Exotic While Dining in Maui

Dining in Maui can be an adventure!

I was told that Pulehu is the best Italian Restaurant while dining in Maui , and after my dinner there last night, I would have to agree.   Pulehu is loacted at the  Westin Kaanapali Beach Resort.   From Elyse, who greeted me upon arrival to the final wonderful Tiramisu dessert which is house made – my dinner was exquisite.  Pulehu : pronounced pu-leh-hu, is Hawaiian verbiage meaning to cook on an open flame.  The restaurant has a beautiful wood oven which you can see through the glass enclosed cooking area.  Ancient Hawaiians would cook steaks, fish and wild game on campfires and Pulehu has continued that tradition in style.

 Elyse… A wonderful hostess….

She gave me a big smile and a warm Aloha Welcome when I arrived.  She seated me at a great table on the open side of the restaurant beside the Koi Pond.  The restaurant has eight tables beside the Koi Pond and it is worth getting there early to get one of these tables.  The restaurant seating is first come first served.  

Here I’m pictured with the lovely Elyse….. 

Koi Fish are known as a symbol for fortune and luck and the courage to attain high goals.  It was interesting to learn that Koi fish are like individual snowflakes – each patterned Koi fish is unique and exact colors and patterns are never repeated from one fish to the next.  Most Koi live to be around 35 years old but the oldest Koi on record was 226 years old.


I was welcomed by General Manager James  Hansen and given a demonstration of how even the water you drink with your wine can affect the taste of the wine.  Jim will be teaching the “Monday Mixology” class  which I will be taking this afternoon — so more on Jim in my next post.  Jim says he will be serving South American wines this afternoon and we will be enjoying food pairing along with insightful facts about the featured wines.  I can’t wait!!!!

I started off my dinner by selecting Orin Swift’s “The Prisoner” to enjoy during the evening.  I have wanted to taste this wine for a long time and I was delighted to see Pulehu offered it by the glass and by the carafe.  The wine was outstanding and complemented my dinner selection perfectly.


My server, Jonathan, was very attentive and made my whole evening very enjoyable…

Pulehu offers and prix fixe menu for early diners but I decided to sample the offerings from the main menu.  I started with the Wild Arugula and Roasted Beet Salad.  They use beets and onions grown in Kula from Kula Farms and goat cheese from Surfing Goat Dairy.  This was delicious….

My entree , the Molokai Sweet Potato Gnocchi , was recommended by Jonathan and his recommendation was perfect!  This entree was featured at the Kaanapali Fresh culinary experience this past weekend by Chef Wesley Holder.  Chef Wes was not in the restaurant last night but I plan on returning to meet him on Friday.  The gnocchi is tossed with wild boar bacon and spinach in a brown butter sauce; topped with large Molokai prawns.  It was garnished with a balsamic sauce, pine nuts and currants.  Words cannot describe how wonderful this dish was….

I finished the evening with the house made tiramisu and was not disappointed..

Notice the attention to detail with the garnish of Cocoa powder dusted over a fork and then the fork was removed before serving.  This is a great example of how we can do simple things in our kitchens that add that “special touch”…

I highly recommend Pulehu as an outstanding choice for dining in Maui.  It was very romantic and certainly priced right.  Pulehu is located at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas North.

This review was my honest opinion of this restaurant, the staff and the food.



Make Life Special
2 Cypress Rd Litchfield, IL 62056 US
Phone: 217-556-8297 Website: http://www.makelifespecial.com