Malasadas in Makawao: Maui Upcountry Road Trip

Posted May 15th 2013 12:08 PMUpdated May 22nd 2013 09:58 AM

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Leaving Lumeria, I pulled my rental car out onto Baldwin Avenue, the two-lane road that runs from Maui's beach-oriented North Shore to the more agricultural island interior. The journey passes sugar cane fields of waving grass, with sloping hillsides up to Haleakala on one side and sweeping vistas down to the Pacific on the other. My next stop: Makawao and the T. Komoda Store & Bakery, the Upcountry place to come for malasadas, a Portuguese dessert made of fried dough.


Once known for its paniolos (cowboys), Makawao has reinvented itself as an arts destination, with trendy boutiques, galleries and restaurants popping up in its renovated plantation-style buildings. Drawn by the colorful giclees of island life propped up near the door, I stopped at the Kirsten Bunney Gallery, one of several art galleries along Makawao's main street.

Road Trip Starting Point:
Exploring Maui's Upcountry

Inside, a golden retriever named Jazzy snoozed in the middle of the floor as I chatted with Kirsten's husband, Scott. He told that me that while Makawao might seem like an off-the-beaten-track location, the town is one of the few places on the island where artists can still make a living, as high rents have pushed locals out of Lahaina. The concentration of artists has its benefits, he said, as Makawao now has enough critical mass to sponsor a third Friday art walk celebration, as well as an organic farmers market on Wednesdays.

Such gentrification can rejuvenate a community. But I was more interested in a Makawao institution that's been around for nearly 100 years. The T. Komoda Store & Bakery looks nondescript on the outside, with a Coca-Cola sign that's ragged around the edges. Skip the crowded aisles as your eyes adjust to the dim light inside the grocery and go straight to the old-fashioned glass case that's filled with several dozen varieties of baked goods.

I had read good reviews of the doughnuts, stacked five to six deep on a wooden stick, as well as the signature cream puffs. You can only consume so many calories, however, and I had mine reserved for the malasadas. At Komoda, these sweet treats are tossed in sugar and filled with custard or fruit; top choices include guava and coconut, which win raves for their freshness. I chose the latter, enjoying the flavors as they melded with the cinnamon-sweet dough. Some cravings are worth the wait.

Maui Upcountry Road Trip Stop Three: Lavender and Lunch near Kula >>
<< Previous Stop: Starting Healthy at Lumeria Sanctuary

Looking for more road trip ideas? Visit our Great American Road Trips home page.


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Filed Under: Food + Drink, Road Trips

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telopin

Having spent many a day in Makawao, there is a great mercantle store down across from the glass factory that sells some eclectic products and further up the street is a small cafe stick in the back of the shop selling clothing and art work -- great lunch and nice folks running the cafe. After going to Maui since 1989 this clearly is a stop (Makawao) we always make.

May 20 2013 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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