A quick handshake turned into a hug and a smug mug. And then I found myself hopping into a Mercedes and zooming under a canopy of Monkeypod trees with the always enthusiastic Kathleen Costello, the Wailea Resort Associations Destination Diva. Kathleen of course gets mad respect for having one of the most ingenious career titles and it is a fitting one. Her snappy charismatic lust for life is well suited for a woman who spends her every hour promoting Maui’s most luxurious resort.
She zoomed us along Wailea’s pristine properties which play home to top notch condo’s, glitz and glam haute couture shopping malls, five star hotels and rolling golf courses. We spent the afternoon lunching at one of the islands favourite restaurants Monkeypod Kitchen. The name is a fitting one as it pays homage to the whimsical trees which line the street that leads to Wailea. The restaurant features a breezy patio and cool interior for those looking to find a break from the mid-afternoon heat. Guests are greeted by a long 30 foot curved bar where fantastic cocktails are prepared and 36 craft beers flow to quench the thirsty.
For over twenty years Chef Peter Merriman has served as a culinary pioneer in Hawaii, famously hailed as the “Pied Piper of Hawaii Regional Cuisine,” by the LA Times. Peter is known locally as an original locavore as he was the first Chef in Hawaii to go directly to local farmers and ranchers to source his menu.
Mademoiselle Destination Diva and I spent the lunching hour chit chatting about Wailea while quenching our thirst on oh-so-refreshing cocktails. Every dish that whisked itself under our nose was a real winner. The fare here is hearty, fresh and creative without being pretentious. Highlights include Pumpkin Patch Ravioli, Smoked Taro Hummus, spicy Bulgogi Pork Tacos and a decadent Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi paired with pineapple relish, jasmine rice and a creamy lemon beurre blanc.
Monkeypod Mai Tai
old lahaina light rum, maui dark rum, lime, orgeat, orange curacao, honey-lilikoi foam
cazadores reposado tequila, clement creole shrub, sour
hendricks gin, pimms no. 1, kula strawberry, ginger syrup, lemon, grapefruit bitters
Handcrafted Jalapeno Poppers
fire roasted upcountry tomato and pineapple salsa
Pumpkin Patch Ravioli
kiawe-roasted squash, chevre, spinach, toasted walnut sage pesto
Smoked Taro Hummus
upcountry organic romaine, cucumber, radish
Roasted Butternut Squash Wood Fired Pizza
bechamel white sauce, caramelized onions, rosemary, pine nuts
Bulgogi Pork Tacos
handcrafted kimchee, jalapenos, asian pear aioli, corn tortilla
Organic Macadamia Nut Crusted Fish of the Day
mahi mahi, maui pineapple relish, jasmine rice, lemon beurre blanc