After our whale watching adventure earlier in the morning, we decided to drive up the west coast of Maui to a spot north of Lahaina - the tourist mecca for Maui - to have breakfast at The Gazebo. Someone who Cindy knows back in Iowa told her that we had to go to this place for breakfast at some point, but she also said that we had to be prepared for a wait as it can sometime be 45 minutes before you can get seated. We had the address and I punched it into the GPS and took off up to Napili.
Actually, The Gazebo is part of the Outrigger Napili Shores rental condos on the northwest side of Maui (see map). We were a little confused in that we pulled up to the address we'd programmed into the GPS and there was this hotel, but no restaurant in sight. Finally, Cindy noticed a small sign under the main sign for the Outrigger that simply said, "The Gazebo". We finally figured out that it was behind the condos near the shoreline. We parked in the lot of the rental condos and made our way back through to the pool area. Just beyond the pool area was the restaurant.
And yes, there was a line to get into the place. It was small and definitely not set up for a place to put your name in and just wait. You had to be in line and hanging around just to get in. But it afforded us both some time to individually step out and look around at the property. Actually, from what we could see from open curtains in some of the condos, it was a pretty nice place. And the views of the ocean didn't suck, either.
There's also a little gift shop area set up outside The Gazebo where Cindy was able to get her morning fix of coffee while we waited in line. Hawaiian coffee smells so good and I'm sure it tastes good, but caffeine makes me jumpy - and considering I haven't had much caffeine in the past 18 months, it would probably make me more jumpy now.
There's a great view from the point just beyond The Gazebo that looked out into Napili Bay and across the straits to the island of Molokai. Counting the two islands we were on and the two off-shore islands we'd already seen on Maui, Molokai was the fifth of the eight Hawaiian islands we'd seen on our trip. (We had a layover in Honolulu on Oahu, so we saw six of the eight islands during our trip.). It was a warm, yet windy morning that day with low clouds hanging over the east side of Molokai.
We finally got up close enough to the front to take a look at the menu that's encased in plastic near the front steps. The Gazebo opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 2 p.m. serving both breakfast and lunch. They're famous for their macadamia nut pancakes, a concoction that was first served up years ago by original owner Kimo Kiakona. Thousands of tourists over the years have tried the macadamia nut pancakes which have a heavenly whipped topping that some say is a combination of homemade whipped cream, maple syrup, sugar and chopped macadamia nuts. Some reports I've read on the stuff says that it's addicting with people coming in with jars just to scoop the topping off the pancakes into jars to take home with them.
The current owners of The Gazebo, Lucy and Jerry Corson, continue the macadamia nut pancakes along with a number of other breakfast specialties such as a combination of their macadamia nut, banana and pineapple pancakes, omelets and different variations of Eggs Benedict. Their lunch menu is pretty standard with salads, burgers and sandwiches.
The Gazebo is not large - seating possibly 55 people - so it's no wonder there's always a significant wait to get in. But like most of Hawaii, the pace on Maui is slow and no one's in a real hurry to get anywhere. It was actually about 35 minutes from the time we got there around 11 a.m. to the time we finally sat down. We figured a big breakfast would take care of us for both breakfast and lunch that day.
We were seated in a back area of the restaurant at a small table that looked out into the bay and across to Molokai. The chairs were the cheap plastic kind that are uncomfortable to me and sort of flimsy - even with my weight loss. Most of the restaurant is open-air, but we had louvered windows at our table that helped keep out the gusty winds from the Northeast that blew strong all week while we were on Maui.
Cindy had to go with the macadamia nut pancakes with white chocolate chips and she wanted a side of The Gazebo's fried rice. Their fried rice is unique in that they fry the rice up with Portuguese sausage (cured pork sausage with onions, garlic and paprika), ham chunks, peppers and instead of scrambling an egg with it, they put the egg on top - your choice of an omelet, or a fried or scrambled egg. She got the omelet on top of the fried rice. Cindy said, "This may be too much food, but if this is the last meal we'll have until tonight I may need it."
I went more simple - I got a Supreme omelet with three eggs filled with Portuguese sausage, bacon, mushrooms, onions, green pepper and Swiss cheese and a side of bacon. I figured that would hold me for the rest of the day.
Now, I've said in many of my earlier posts about our trip to Hawaii that breakfast is big on the islands - and the portions are equally as big. When they brought out our food and set it on the table, we barely had room for the large plates of food. This is Cindy's order in the above photos. The fried rice was a HALF-ORDER! It could have been enough for two meals.
My omelet was also good sized and it came with a side of fried potatoes and whole wheat toast. My bacon was a little too crispy for my taste, but edible. Portuguese sausage is an interesting concoction and it was pretty good with the omelet. But the Supreme Omelet was pretty good and I was happy with it. And, yes, that's a ton of black pepper on top - I like pepper on my eggs.
Cindy bit into a combination of the whipped macadamia nut topping and her pancakes. Her eyes lit up and she said, "Oh, my God! You've got to try this."
I can see why some people say the whipped topping The Gazebo puts on their macadamia nut pancakes is addicting. It was a rich and vibrant taste sensation. It was sweet, but not overly sugary. It did have sort of a maple syrup flavor to it, or maybe it was the combination of the maple syrup Cindy put on her pancakes along with the whipped topping. Either way, the macadamia nut pancakes were outstanding, definitely a taste explosion in the mouth.
Cindy soon found that her pancakes alone would have been sufficient for breakfast. I made short work of my omelet and bacon, foregoing the the toast and the fried potatoes just to help her finish her pancakes. They were so good that I wasn't going to allow them to go to waste. She made a little bit of a dent in the fried rice, leaving the bulk of it on her plate. I tried a couple bites of it and it was pretty good. However, sort of like biscuits and gravy, I don't get the appeal of fried rice as a breakfast dish. I'm sure it's popular in Hawaii because nearly every place we went to for breakfast had some sort of variation of fried rice on the menu. But it wouldn't be the first thing I'd get. Sort of like the Loco Moko that I got at the Hawaiian Style Cafe on the Big Island. Yeah, it was interesting, but not something that I'd get again for breakfast.
I'd say The Gazebo was above average average compared to some of the breakfast places we'd eaten at during our trip. My omelet was good, but not the best I've had. The macadamia nut/white chocolate pancakes, however, were everything they were said to be - rich, huge, filling and wonderful. You certainly don't get cheated on portions at The Gazebo. And while I don't like to waste food, I was happy to leave a large portion of the fried rice on the table. The service was good, the view was excellent and if you can get around the pesky - and brave - sparrows who try to dive in to steal a morsel of food off your plate, the ambiance of The Gazebo was wonderful. I'm glad we made the trip up to the northwest side of the island for breakfast that day. It's sort of tough to find, but well worth the trip if you can go.