By Stephanie Nelson
So, we know we don’t love the parking, or the lack thereof. (Or those mean stares you get from the Charley’s lot parking attendants as they assess whether they can catch you heading up Baldwin to Mana despite the No Parking for Mana Foods signs. I feel like I’m on a covert operation, stashing my shopping bags and heading into other stores first as a diversion.) But there are plenty of reasons to love Mana Foods. You likely have your own reasons. These are a few of mine.
1. Personally, I love the small, narrow aisles; they remind me of big city corner delis. Plus, I’m not as overwhelmed by all the choices. (The cereal aisle in those super-sized supermarkets can be downright intimidating.) Nor do I get lost, which I find quite comforting.
2.Gluten-free products galore at excellent prices, including Pamela’s Pancake Mix (a must-try no matter your gluten intake preferences).
3.Vosges Haut-Chocolat: While it’s an expensive candy bar for sure, it costs less than a massage (or therapy!) and comes in interesting flavors like milk chocolate with almonds and sea salt, and dark chocolate with chilies. There’s even one with bacon. Aren’t you just a little bit curious? The candy bars make a lovely, little gift…and won’t break your gift budget.
4. Freshly baked croissants, flakey on the outside, light and sweet on the inside.
5. The vitamin room with its many naturopathic remedies, plus yummy soaps and Dr. Hauschka’s face products. (Careful, though. You go in thinking you’ll just look and you come out with incense sticks, peppermint foot lotion and American Apparel shorts.)
6. Lots of local goods from produce to grass-fed beef.
7. Princess Cake. I grew up on this quintessential Swedish cake, being half-Swedish and visiting family there many a summer. A yellow cake filled with jam and whipped cream, and covered in chewy, green (yes, green) marzipan is a very hard cake to find. So imagine my surprise when I found it in a small, Hawaiian surf town. Home sweet home.
8. When I’m in Costco., I could be anywhere in America. But in Mana Foods, with its sandy surfers, sun burnt tourists, yogis, and barefoot locals, I know exactly where I am. And that’s pretty nice.
Stephanie Nelson is a writer who spent decades stalking Manhattan's restaurants and keeping silent about her opinions. Now living full time on Maui, she finds it hard to keep quiet about food. Stephanie is always on the lookout for the next delectable treat.