Hawaii Edition Pt. 1: Monkeypod

When it came time to decide where to go for our annual vacation, I immediately knew I wanted to go to Hawaii again. I loved our first two times there and couldn’t wait to go back to tackle my To-Do list. My cousin also had just brought a house so we wanted to visit her as well. It seemed like the perfect decision! Although I had planned dinner for the days we’d be staying at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, I left the days we’d be spending with my cousin and her husband to her. She’s been there for about five years now so she definitely knew best on all the good places to eat.

The day we landed in Honolulu, she had made Happy Hour reservations for Monkeypod, located in Ko Olina. Monkeypod, which specializes in serving dishes made from local, organic and sustainable ingredients, runs their Happy Hour every day from 3:00-5:00 and then again at 9:00 – 11:00. All appetizers are 50% off, all pizzas are $9 and draft beers are discounted. Definitely make reservations if you’re interested in dining during Happy Hour because it was packed when we arrived.

We decided on appetizers to share and then entrees. We sampled the Lobster Deviled Eggs ($14.95 regular price), which feature Big Island lobster and Mikilua Farms organic, free-range eggs. The deviled eggs are okay – I didn’t think they were quite vinegary enough! It also came in an awkward amount for the table – we had five people but the dish only came with four.

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The Pumpkin Patch Ravioli ($13.95, regular price) was the highlight of the night, in my opinion. The ravioli is made with a Kiawe-roasted squash and goat cheese filling and topped with organic spinach, toasted, walnut sage, and pesto. The filling was so smooth and flavorful – I think next time I’ll order this appetizer as my entrée. We also split the Hamakua Wild Mushroom & Truffle Pizza ($18.95, regular price), which is a white sauce pizza topped with wild mushroom, truffle, parmesan and fresh thyme. The pizza was a really good size to share – we all ended up with one slice to try. It’s also a very good size for an individual pizza if a pizza is all you want. The truffle was super fragrant and meshed well with the wild mushroom and white sauce.

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Our last appetizer was the Garlic Truffle Fries ($9.95, regular price), which feature fresh French fries topped with parmesan cheese and served with whole grain mustard aioli and homemade ketchup. The fries were very tasty and piping hot. I really liked the mustard aioli because it had a bit of a kick without being spicy.

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For my entrée, I had the Kale and Wild Mushroom Gnocchi ($21.95). The dish features homemade gnocchi topped with Ma’o Farm organic kale, Hamakua Wild Mushrooms, tomato coulis and goat cheese. This was one of the best gnocchi dishes I have ever had – the gnocchi was light and pillowy. It practically melted in my mouth and tasted so good with the kale and goat cheese mixture. I highly recommend this dish.

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We were all so full after all the appetizers and entrees and that we couldn’t fit dessert. Next time, I’ll save a little room to try out their dessert menu. Service was quick and efficient – definitely on point considering it was Happy Hour. I must return for those pumpkin raviolis!

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