It'll take you at least two and a half hours to drive the 52 miles from Kahului to Hana, going over 59 bridges (most one lane) and making 620 hairpin turns. You'll put the roof of your rental car down as you set off, only to quickly put it up again. This is a drive through the rain forest, where, it turns out, it rains quite a bit. There will be beautiful, rushing waterfalls. There will be freaked out tourists who drive 2 mph in front of you and jam the whole road. There will be locals who play chicken with you as you approach the one lane bridges. You will back down. And you will be thankful that you bought those motion sickness pills from the women at the sandwich shop in Paia.
When you finally arrive on the other side, nearing the tiny town of Hana on Maui's eastern shore, you'll probably want to congratulate yourself for not puking all over the interior of your rented convertible. So when you see a stand hawking homemade ice cream and coconuts for drinking, you'll stop, and shakily get out of the car.
Finding myself in this position, I ordered a scoop of coconut-lilikoi (passion fruit) ice cream at Coconut Glen's Ice Cream. As I dug in, Glen told me the not uninteresting story of his move from a being a culinary student in Boston to a sustainable farmer on the side of a hill in Maui.
The ice cream is made with nothing but local fruit—in fact the base of the "ice cream" isn't milk but rather coconut milk. Because of this, my scoop ($5) was a little icy, but it definitely packed a flavor punch. The passion fruit added a refreshing tartness that complimented the base of coconut. Tiny passion fruit seeds were strewn throughout, and I liked the cocoa nib-like crunch that they provided. Served in a coconut shell with a coconut shell spoon, it's definitely a unique experience. Glen says he's working on starting an internet marketplace for his products, but I say, use it as an excuse to make the trip.
Mile 27½ Hana highway, Maui Hawai 808-979-1168; coconutglens.com
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