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Go ‘Big’ when it’s time to chill

Inside Feature

January 26, 2020

Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: Mahina & Sun's

When the spirit is willing, but the flesh starts fading shortly after sundown, where can you go to boogie?

Head for The Big Chill at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club! This daytime dance party, which features ’50s, ’60s and ’70s music, takes place on the first Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s held at Mahina & Sun’s, the hip, groundbreaking restaurant inside The Surfjack, which offers a delicious brunch to provide fuel for all that dancing.

As general manager Lynette Eastman explains, the monthly party, launched in June 2019, was inspired by nostalgia for a similar event of the same name.

“Before it closed, Rumours, the old nightclub at Ala Moana, used to have The Big Chill every Friday night,” Eastman says. “I’m an old person with a young soul, so I spent quite a bit of time there,” she adds with a chuckle.

Held on the first Saturday afternoon of each month, The Big Chill at The Surfjack is a little friendlier for an older crowd. “People can come for brunch and dancing, then go home and take a nap and still have time to go to a movie or dinner later on,” says Eastman.

“All ages are welcome, and that’s fun — a lot of moms and daughters come, and families bring their parents to enjoy the music,” says Jordan Kilgore, director of experience for The Surfjack. “We have three different groups that have flown over from Maui just to attend The Big Chill. And our guests have been making their own connections with each other — we’ve celebrated birthdays and anniversaries. We wanted to create a community.”

Additionally, the event gives malihini hotel guests — people from out of town — an opportunity to interact with locals. “Our guests say they want to do what the locals are doing. We tell them they don’t even have to leave the hotel!” says Kilgore. “They can meet kamaaina and talk with them, learn and have fun.”

Bart Da Silva from 107.9 Kool Gold hosts the party, and DJ James Cole spins the biggest hits from the era. There’s valet parking for a nominal fee. For a delectable brunch followed by a delightful daytime dance party for all ages, head for The Big Chill at The SurfJack.

BULLALICIOUS CHILI ($10)

Perfect fuel for a daytime dance party, the Bullalicious Chili is made by Bulla Eastman, husband of The Surfjack general manager Lynette Eastman. With hamburger, Portuguese sausage, onions, garlic, chorizo, Redondo hot dogs, black beans, green peppers, pinto beans, green chilies, jalapenos, barbecue sauce, honey, maple syrup, and Worcestershire sauce, each bowl bursts with flavor. It’s not too spicy, but it’s got some kick.

SURFJACK BURRITO ($13)

Put a little salsa in your boogie! The Surfjack Burrito, stuffed with scrambled eggs, rich purple sweet potatoes, chorizo poblano, cheddar cheese, and pureed charred salsa, was a big hit at BrunchFest 2019. A Smokey Maria cocktail (tequila or Mezcal, charred Kamuela tomatoes, Hamajang hot sauce, chili pepper water, and citrus) is the perfect accompaniment for this south-of-the-border delight.

PORK ADOBO FRIED RICE ($17)

Mahina & Sun’s compact but diverse brunch menu includes dishes like Dark Choco Butter Mochi Waffles with local jam and black sesame gelato, and the Ahi (Yellowfin) Mahina Bowl for those who love poke. The Pork Adobo Fried Rice, made with avocado, pickled mushrooms, sesame kale, kimchee, and an overeasy egg, is a highlight on a menu that includes plenty of them.

SURFJACK BREAKFAST ($17)

Another delectable local-style variation on a timeless classic, the Surfjack Breakfast includes two eggs cooked any way you like, plus your choice of Portuguese sausage, bacon or roasted mushrooms (or you may substitute the fish of the day for an additional $6). It’s accompanied by hapa rice or toast, tossed or macaroni salad, and kimchee.

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