Waipio Cookhouse Restaurant

April 13th, 2017

I am so very excited to be sharing with you today my newest discovery, Waipio Cookhouse. The restaurant is an outdoor cafe near the end of the Mamane Street before you reach Waipio Valley on Hawai’i Island.

As I sit here trying to order my food and shake off the frustrating start to this day I notice I am still overwhelmed by the drive out here to Waipio area. The drive is so beautiful. The skies are sunny and clear. The ocean is not rough and not flat. The ocean is doing what the ocean does at its best. It’s just beautiful. Sitting here at the cookhouse surrounded by red and green tea plants, various ferns and palms, you feel yourself surrounded by Hawai’i.

I start with the Ahualoa Farm coffee. It is wonderful. Seldom do I find a coffee that is beyond reproach. This is one of those. It has good body, great flavor, and is very smooth with no acidic bite. Further, it has the notes of cocoa, caramel, and vanilla which the Hamakua Coast coffee is known for.  I ordered the Kalua pig loco moco to eat. The local term is seldom “pork”, always “pig”. Loco moco is a local dish consisting of rice, steamed or fried, a hamburger patty, topped with gravy, and fried egg on top. It is a hearty Hawaiian man-sized meal. Do not expect to run a marathon afterward but it is good. I am famished and really excited. The loco moco has become the chile relleno of Hawaiian food for me. If a restaurant can get loco moco right they know what they are doing and almost everything else will be great.

The loco moco is fantastic. The white rice is steamed and fluffy. They’ve added sweet onions which are a nice addition. The gravy is more of a white gravy versus a brown gravy. The pig is full of flavor and very tasty. Not too salty. That is often a problem in some restaurants. My attention suddenly shifts to a white egret which slowly flew in and landed in the tree in front of me as I relax looking out passed it to the ocean as the light cool trade winds of the Hamakua Coast come gently off the ocean and caress my face.

This is a perfect day.

The coffee is so smooth it is relaxing to me. The non-food combining meal is bringing on the Kanak Attack. Kanak attack is the Hawaiian equivalent of a food coma. Now it is time to take off the shirt, soak up the sun, and drift off into food heaven. I love Hawai’i.

Visit this place,

Eat here,

Soak up the mana.

Zzzzzzzzzzzz…

… This place, this space, this day is so perfect that I find myself still here 4+ hours later. I enjoyed the sun and a brief nap in the Adirondack chairs facing the ocean. Then, as happens in most parts of Hawai’i on the windward side, stick around long enough and you will feel the first few drops of rain. Putting on my shirt and finding shelter from the potential of rain and wanting to protect my iPad I reposition myself at the tables under the long tent. I was not ready to leave yet. So I order another cup of coffee and dive deeper into my mobile devices. Luckily the cafe has wifi. There is no cellular service out here. I love that feeling of being disconnected from the world.

Eventually, I return myself to you and finish this blog. I order banana lumpia and two more cups of coffee. One for now with the lumpia and ice cream and one for the road. Banana lumpia is fried banana in an eggroll wrapper. In this case, served with cinnamon and “farm honey”. I chose the option of the local brand Tropical Dreams Tahitian Vanilla ice cream. It is a fantastic mix and is complimented wonderfully by the fresh brewed Ahualoa Farm coffee.

The red headed finch and the saffron finches hop and flit about increasing the peacefulness, pleasure, and playfulness of this day. I started with a bad attitude this morning and Madame Pele delivered a perfect finish to this amazing day. And it’s only 2:30 in the afternoon. How much better can this day get? I love Hawai’i.

The outdoor atmosphere here is so very relaxing and the food is good quality and thus I will be back again. The “Farm to Table” theme of using locally grown produce brings the freshest ingredients and helps support the local farmers and economy. This is local Hawai’i and it’s best. For ambiance, I give Waipio Cookhouse 5+ out of 5 surfboards. For food quality, I give 5.0 out of 5 surfboards. For service, I give 4.5 out of 5 surfboards. Overall I give it a 5.0 surfboards.

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