Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: MariposaRestaurant Insider
March 20, 2022
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: Anne Lee
ANNE LEE speaks with Hawaii Agricultural Foundation executive director DENISE YAMAGUCHI
Helping our local restaurants and businesses is more important than ever with the pandemic impacting our community eateries, as well as local farmers, fisherman and purveyors. With the kickoff for Food-A-Go-Go Week (March 23-April 6), our local community can support the food industry in more ways than one. I spoke with Denise Yamaguchi, executive director of Hawaii Agricultural Foundation, as we shared chef Lawrence Nakamoto’s special dishes and talked more about this annual event that foodies look forward to year after year.
AL: Tell me more about Food-A-Go-Go Week?
DY: Food-A-Go-Go Week will join a yearlong public awareness campaign called Localicious Hawaii that highlights restaurants and businesses that use locally sourced ingredients or products in their offerings. We have over 160 businesses and restaurants participating this year.
AL: What is the goal of Food-A-Go-Go Week?
DY: Our goal is to drive traffic to businesses and restaurants that support our agricultural and fishing industries. By participating in Food-A-Go-Go Week, they will have a special menu or local products available for customers to purchase/order for dine-in or takeout. Proceeds of this campaign will benefit HAF’s K-12 ag education programs, which have served over 18,000 students since 2014.
HAF’s educational programs spark an interest in agriculture among the children at an early age and encourages careers in the field, as the average age of a farmer in Hawaii is over 60 years old.
AL: How can our readers participate?
DY: Readers can go to foodagogo. org where they can find a list of our participating businesses and restaurants to see what specials and promotions are being offered.
AL: Tell me about the dishes that you have prepared for us to try and the special entrée created for Food-A-Go-Go Week.
LN: I’ve created the Arare Crusted Kona Kampachi ($36), which includes baby bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, tomato, ogo and butter. We also created a special cocktail — Lilikoi Mojito — in celebration of our launch of the Sunset Lounge (3:30-6:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays). This will feature a special menu of sharable plates and nice wines, and you can enjoy one of the best sunset views on the island.
The Mariposa Poke (market price) has fresh local tuna, Maui onions, crispy garlic, green onions, chile soy, wasabi mayonnaise, kabayaki and puffed rice. The Grilled Ahi Sandwich (market price) is served on toasted brioche with crispy onions, butter lettuce, Kamuela tomatoes, yuzu kosho aioli and crudités. The Macadamia Nut Pie ($10) has macadamia filling, whipped cream, toasted coconut, rum and caramel sauce.
AL: Can you name a few specials that other businesses and restaurants are offering?
DY: We have a wide range of businesses and restaurants participating from mom-and-pop establishments to fine dining. There’s something for everyone:
• Goen Dining + Bar by Roy Yamaguchi has a Maple Leaf farms Breast of Duck, Ahiki Farms Assorted Roasted Vegetables, Maple Glaze.
• Kapena Tequila will feature a Kapena Hawaiian Chili Infused Tequila
• Rokaru Shabu Shabu has a Crispy Calamari Salad, Rokaru Set, and Miso Garlic Kauai Prawns
• KOHO will do a Macadamia Praline 6-piece Seeker, Lilikoi Caramel 6-piece Seeker, and Hawaiian Sea Salt Caramel 6-piece Seeker
• Zigu has a Hawaiian Tuna Cutlet ($23), Local Vegetable Chilled Moringa Noodle ($18), and a ZIGU Roll ($24).
For a full list of participating businesses and restaurants, visit foodagogo.org.
AL: What do you see for the future of businesses and restaurants in 2022?
DY: With more people getting vaccinated and mandates lifting, the future is optimistic. With travel to Hawaii coming back and the strain between residents and visitors growing, we hope this campaign and our yearlong public awareness initiative Localicious Hawaii helps make our visitor and local communities more aware of supporting businesses that use locally sourced ingredients.
This will, in turn, help our local agricultural and fishing industries, which will make a positive impact in securing a more sustainable future for our islands.