LAHAINA - "Paper Plate Meets Million Dollar View." This logo given to Aloha Mixed Plate restaurant by the New York Times, still stands. And although genuine plates are now being used, the million dollar view remains!
Located oceanfront across from Lahaina Cannery Mall, Aloha Mixed Plate is a place where visitors can sample some truly local fare - and sample they do, for the restaurant was one beehive of activity when we visited recently to sample their new breakfast menu
"We have lots of repeat customers, especially from the Mainland," said charming Director of Marketing Kaala Buenconsejo. "Many customers come back daily for our hearty breakfast."
Chef Norman Williams displays four Aloha Mixed Plate Breakfast Menu items: (clockwise from top) Special Saimin Noodles, Fried Rice, Kalua Pig Hash and Eggs, and Kalua Pig Omelet. Photo by Rob Reed.
"Breakfast during the week is 60 percent tourists and on weekends, mostly locals," said Chef Norman Williams. "We usually have a line of people waiting to get in."
Chef Williams, the son of a Maui mother and a Michigan father, lived in Michigan until he was 15 years old, then moved back to his mother's birthplace on Maui.
"I took a Home Economics class in the fifth grade and found I really liked cooking," said Chef Williams. "My mom was a really good cook, and I learned a lot from her."
Chef Williams attended Maui Community College and operated his own restaurant for 16 years in Wailuku called Norm's Cafe and Fran's Island Grill.
Chef Williams continued his career as banquet chef at The Westin Maui, executive chef at Aston Hotels and executive sous chef at the Hotel Hana Maui.
"I love cooking. I put my heart into my food," said Chef Williams. "I loved having my own restaurant and hope to have another one day."
The origins of the "mixed plate" are from the early days of the sugar plantations, where lunch was a simple affair.
Plantation workers gathered in the fields for their midday meal. The Japanese would bring teriyaki beef with rice, their Filipino neighbor brought the traditional dish called adobo, the Koreans had their kalbi or marinated ribs, and the Chinese workers brought a rice noodle and veggie dish called chow fun. Hawaiians were known for their kalua pig roasted in an underground oven called an imu.
It wasn't long before they began sharing their food with one another, and it was here that the "mixed plate" originated.
With a huge bowl of house-made saimin noodles containing kim chee, vegetables, teri beef stick and roast pork, we began our breakfast sampling.
We next sampled the hearty Kalua Pig Hash with two egg that would impress a hungry diner, and the Kalua Pig Omelet with three eggs, stuffed with shredded kalua pork cooked in their imu. The omelet consisted of fresh spinach, onions and cheese.
Aloha Mixed Plate Fried Rice is Chef Norm's Signature Dish - a huge mound of delicious fried rice topped with two eggs.
All four entrees were gigantic servings of their local dishes that make this eatery so popular.
The Hapa Bread, a mixture of white and wheat flour, is a tasty product of Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop in nearby Olowalu.
Your off-island friends and family will enjoy the laid back ambiance of Aloha Mixed Plate's beach-side dining under umbrellas, palm trees and fragrant plumerias with a friendly staff to serve you - and yes, it's still a million dollar view! Call 661-3322.
Pau for now...