Monkeypod Kitchen – Wailea, Maui

Since it’s almost Friday and much of the country is stuck in Polar Vortex 2, it seems like an appropriate time to profess my love for Monkeypod Kitchen on Maui. Oh, how I wish there was a Monkeypod Kitchen just down the street. And that it was 78 and sunny with a light tropical breeze.

Peter Merriman is one Hawaii’s most recognized, celebrated and well-known restaurateurs. Credited for developing the locavore concept in food, his work to elevate the farm to table concept is a big contribution to Hawaiian cuisine–and to locally grown, harvested and simply prepared foods all over the world.

After a tip from a server at Merriman’s in Kapalua, we made a beeline to Monkeypod Kitchen to burn off that awkward time when you have to check out of your hotel (weeping) and it’s much too early to sit at the airport in Hawaii when it’s so incredibly gorgeous everywhere you look.


So, off to Monkeypod Kitchen for happy hour we went. Wow. This place puts the happy into happy hour.

IMG_1204For starters, there is the Monkeypod Mai Tai. Old Lahaina light rum, Maui dark rum, lime, orgeat, orange curacao, honey-lilikoi foam. Did I mention honey-lilikoi foam? Unbelievable. Luckily, I wasn’t driving to the airport. The handcrafted culinary cocktails are imaginative, reflective of the Hawaiian setting and yummy. What’s not to like?

Then, there are the appetizers and salads. The pumpkin patch ravioli was delicious and more than enough to share.IMG_1208

The wood fired pizzas were hand tossed and with a variety to choose from such as Hamakua wild mushroom & truffle, roasted butternut squash, bourgeois with Big Island lobster, mushrooms, white sauce, parmesan, thyme. To top it off, they had live Hawaiian music and a beer list featuring high-quality brews from top breweries and microbreweries from around the world. Although I am not a beer expert or a beer drinker, I know quality and selection when I see it.

Gotta go! Time to search for some flights to Hawaii.IMG_1211


The first day of fall, on the lookout for whales in the Hawaiian waters

Although the change of seasons may not seem dramatic on the Hawaiian islands, it’s still there. And while the temperatures may not fluctuate in drastic ways, seasonal changes abound.

One sure sign of fall is the return of the humpback whales. Each year, humpback whales migrate from Alaska to the warm waters of Hawaii for breeding. This is a photo I took of a humpback whale with a baby calf in early March near Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.

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Typically, the whales are first seen in the Hawaiian waters in late September or early October. The peak whale watching season is usually in February and March.

This is my amateur photographer’s shot from the beach in Wailea, Maui in early March 2008.


They were everywhere–playing and frolicking right off shore. On a whale watching tour, you’ll learn about the different behaviors, such as breaching–when the whales lunge out of the water. The whales often do this repeatedly. It looks like they are having a great time and it’s magnificent to watch. During the winter months, you’ll often see them right off the shore. Even in a professional’s photo, it’s difficult to capture the wonder of the whales, but I plan to keep trying.

Winters in Hawaii? I think the whales are into something good.

Maui sunset

Maui sunsetIt’s snowing again where we live. The forecast from the U.S. National Weather Service this morning includes this: “A new storm system will begin to affect the region late Saturday night into Monday morning. A wintry mix of snow, ice pellets, rain and a chance of freezing rain will be encountered with this system.”

So, on this Aloha Friday, I will take a moment to remember this Maui sunset. This photo was taken in Wailea. I think this sunset is reason enough to plan another visit to Hawaii’s second largest island, also known as the Valley Isle.