Longs Drugs – Not your average drug store

longsdrugs

Groceries at the drug store?

At first glance, Longs Drugs in North Kihei seems like any other chain drug store, but slow down and take a closer look. Long’s has a local feel – particularly around the outside aisles. There are MANY Maui products at generally good prices.

 

 

Maui Beef2Check out the grass fed Maui raised beef at the back of the store. The ground beef is a full two dollars per pound less than the few other stores that carry it. Directly across from the beef coolers are shelves with locally grown produce at about half the cost as grocery stores. While prices are decent, see our blog on Rowena’s Farmer’s Market. Her produce variety and prices are even better.
Maui Burger Buns2

 

 

 

 

Don’t overlook the Hawaiian bakery products up front near the check-out stands, including some whole wheat buns to go with that Maui beef.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

roselani-ice-cream2

 

 

Also up front are half-gallons of awesome made-on-Maui Roselani ice cream (Mac nut is our fave, but the Kona Mud is pretty darn good also.)

 

 

 

Melona BarsAnother family favorite are the unbelievably delicious Melona Bars (go for the honeydew or mango.) Melona bars are actually made in Korea, but are not usually available on “the Mainland”. We won’t kid you, the non-sale price for ice-cream will send you into sticker-shock. If you’d prefer cheaper prices, see our posts under the category “Shop Like A Local.”

 

 

 

 

In other areas of the store, check-out the popular Maui Babe tanning lotion, flip-flops called Locals, books on Hawaiian fish, birds and cooking. There’s even a center aisle with many Hawaiian food products such as hot sauces, spices and dry goods. On Fridays, Longs receives a few bunches of world famous Hawaiian Protea flowers and sells them for just $6.  There are also tons of souvenirs, but they’re pretty much the same as what you’ll find at ABC Stores and WalMart…convenient, but nothing special and a bit higher priced.

Bring the whole family and let everyone explore the store. You’ll be amazed what they come up with. You can’t go wrong with Longs. It’s a local favorite and it’s not your average drug store. Hint: Longs is part of the CVS chain. If you don’t have a “club card” just ask for one and they’ll give you the sale price.

What to Buy at the Maui Costco

ImageMany Maui visitors like to swing by the Maui Costco right after they get off the plane. (At the first major intersection, look for the red stripe along the building on your left at Diary Road. ) Things cost about 10% more than at other Costco’s which is not bad considering you’re on an island. Although we’ve blogged before on the advantages of shopping at Costco, here are some specific things we like to buy:

  1. Coffee. At the time of this posting a two pound bag of Maui Coffee Roaster beans is $16. Other brands are also available at good prices. You can grind the beans near the checkout stands. Just ask your cashier. (We also keep a grinder in our condo for those that prefer a “daily grind”.)
  2. Booze. The liquor seems super cheap to us, but not the wine. Places such as Long Drugs and WalMart have better wine prices and a larger selection. Beer tends to be a bit cheaper at Costco.
  3. Sushi and poke’! That’s right. The Maui Costco has a sushi/poke’ bar. We like the Spicey Tuna. (see photo)  Hint: Buy something frozen (such as chicken) and use it to keep perishables cold til you reach your destination.
  4. Milk and yogurt. Cheaper at Costco, but in general, dairy products on Maui are very expensive. Think about whether you will really use the Costco sizes of these products in the tropics. You haven’t saved money if you end up throwing it away.
  5. Gasoline. You won’t need this when you first arrive, but if you need gas while here and you’re going to be anywhere near Costco, it’s a whopping forty to ninety! cents less per gallon.
  6. Juice and water. Hawaii has a five cent container deposit, so buy a few large containers, not a bunch of little ones. (Note: Maui’s water comes from the mountains and we find the water at our condo quite good. We do not buy bottled water and provide refillable water bottles at the condo.)
  7.  Fresh fish/meats/ lunch meats/cheeses…all a good deal.
  8. Pre-cooked pulled pork in the deli section. Just heat and serve. We like to make a bunch of cole-slaw and dress it with bar b q sauce on a hamburger roll. It’s Hawaiian!
  9. Bread/hamburger rolls/bagels. Much cheaper and very useful if your condo has a gas grill (like ours.)
  10. Chips and salsa!
  11. Pineapples! Maui pineapples are $3. Sliced and grilled is wonderful.

Like our list? Feel free to print it and take it with you to Costco. If there is there is something you’ve bought at the Maui Costco you think we should add to the list, please comment below.

When to Shop (Like a Local!)

RowenaWhen to shop is just as important as where to shop. First, consider the priorities of the day. If you are planning to go to the beach, shop in the afternoon when the trade winds kick-up. However, do not shop too late in the afternoon because you will be winding your way through very crowded aisles and long lines along with the zillions of other visitors going after the evening’s food and bev. If you’re going after fresh produce, see our other blog on Rowena’s Farmers Market and go in the morning when the selection is best.

In general, try to limit shopping to weekdays when the stores are less crowded. In fact, if you are going to Costco, consider going in the morning before the planes arrive from the mainland. It’s much more crowded after noon.

It only takes a few times of being in a grocery store at five pm and finding the farmer’s market closed in the late afternoon to fine tune when to shop.

COSTCO on Maui: so many reasons to shop there

If you don’t have a Costco membership and you are going to Maui, you might want to purchase one on-line before you go. There are SO many reasons why:

  1. A nice selection of high quality, reasonably priced, fresh, wild-caught Hawaiian fish such as Opaka Paka, Ono, Mahi Mahi, Marlin, not to mention Sashimi grade Ahi! Selection depends on the season.
  2. Car rentals from all the big companies are discounted when reserved on line through the Costco website. (See our post Where’s the best place to rent a car on Maui?)
  3. As of late 2012, gas at their brand new station was at least 30 cents cheaper per gallon than at most other places.
  4. Food and other items are almost the same price as those at our Costco in Washington State. (See our other postings in the category “Shop Like A Local” to understand how expensive food can be, but does not have to be, on Maui.)
  5. There is a large section of Hawaiian made items you can take home as gifts.
  6. Cheap booze!
  7. Aloha shirts are only $20!
  8. A HUGE supply of beach towels, snorkel gear, beach chairs, umbrellas, etc. NOTE:  you won’t need these things if you stay at our condo, Maui Vista 2418. We supply all that as well as detergents, cleaning supplies, and paper products from, you guessed it, Costco!

A word to those that love fresh local produce: Costco carries a few local items, but see our post Rowena’s Farmers Market is No Ka Oi (The best!). You can’t do any better than Rowena’s in our opinion. Otherwise, Costco is well worth a stop.

Where’s the best place to rent a car on Maui?

At Maui Vista 2418 we’re often asked, “Where’s the best place to rent a car?” The answer depends on your needs. If you want a shiny new car and the convenience of renting directly from the airport, we highly recommend going through Costco’s website. If you’re not already a member, the savings will probably cover the cost of your membership and then you can shop at Costco when you pass it on your way to our condo! (You can join Costco on line at www.costco.com .) Although renting from the airport is convenient, it costs more because the airport tax is added to the price and, after all, convenience costs money.

Alternatively, you might consider a local vendor with airport shuttle service. Kihei Rent A Car is a locally owned company with airport service. http://www.kiheirentacar.com/index.html Book early because this business is popular among those in the know and they do run out of cars.

The cars at Kihei Rent A Car are not sparkling new, but they do the job at a good price. Although it will be tempting to rent the oldest models, drivers are hard on rental cars and we recommend renting the newest model year available. We’ve also heard stories of Kihei Rent A Car not getting upset if you return the car with a small  scratch or bumper ding. This claim is supported on their website, something we’ve never seen on any major carrier’s site: 

“Fewer Fines ~ Realistic Usage Expectations Kihei Rent A Car is a truly unique car rental organization on Maui. Through our years of experience in the industry, we have found that customers who rent new cars (like those models offered by the larger mainland companies) often regret their decision. Hawaii’s many terrains can be very unfriendly to automobiles. Upon returning their vehicles, rental customers often encounter hefty fines for blemished exteriors and soiled interiors as a result of touring the wild Hawaiian environs. Since our cars are used, we are not as strict when it comes to small dings and scratches.”

Regardless of where you rent your car, if you’re a Costco member and in the area, buy gas at Costco. As of late 2012, it was thirty to forty cents per gallon cheaper than most other gas stations. That’s a savings of $5 to $7 per tank!

Rowena’s Farmers Market is No Ka Oi (The best!)

Rowena is located about a 12 minute walk from Maui Vista 2418 just north of Foodland in the Aloha Open Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Rowena

It is not unusual to see the farmers stopping by with boxes of dragon fruit, wing beans and many varieties of avocados. Another family operates it during the rest of the week, but we find Rowena has the best local selection at the best prices. Rowena stands by her word. A customer told her an avocado he bought a few days ago was bad, so she gave him another avocado. She said, “It’s hard to see inside and I am sorry.”

Whether you’re looking for locally grown shitaki mushrooms or tender butter lettuce (at half the price in the grocery store), you’ll want to get there early (she opens at 7) because it can get elbow to elbow in the afternoon and the best things are gone.

Maui Brewing Company – Good Local Brews

Entry to Maui Brewing Company

Up in West Maui, just off the highway 4 miles north of Kaanapali, is the nondescript Kahana Gateway Shopping Center. Its chief distinction is being home to the only local (and quite successful!) brewery on Maui. There are lots of good beers on the island, but only those made by the Maui Brewing Company are made on Maui. And many of them are very, very good.

Founded in 2005, the Maui Brewing Company has won numerous awards for beers with names like Big Swell IPA, Bikini Blonde, and Coconut Porter. If you like beer, you’re sure to find something that fits your taste at the Maui Brewing Company. We LOVE the Coconut Porter. Check out this list.

Maui Brewing Company Beer List (September 2012)

The ABV column in this list is alcohol by volume  – a pretty objective measure. The IBU column stands for International Bittering Units – a more subjective measure of the effect of hops on beer taste. You can see the brewing vats in action. It’s very casual with lots of TV’s, all playing sports. The food is decent pub grub with efforts toward a Hawaiian twist. We enjoy the variety of sliders at just $4 or $5 each. A slider or two, a side of fries and a home-style brew is well worth our drive from Kihei to Kahana. In fact, we wear our Maui Brewing logo shirts on Wednesdays and get a $3 pint!

If you can’t make it to the brewery, or if you’d perfer a nice Hawaiian view with your suds, ask your bartender what’s on tap from the Maui Brewing Company. Lots of places carry one or more of their brews. Many grocery stores do also, but we prefer it from the tap!

For exciting news about Maui Brewing’s plan to build a brewery and pub in Kihei, click here.