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The Pineapple Room

When “local” became the buzzword for cuisine, Alan Wong was already years

ahead of the game. When farmer’s markets began vending organic produce

to the masses, Alan Wong was already creating “Hawaiian-style” dishes that

represented not only the unique culinary traditions of the 50th state, but also

its rich ‘aina, or land. Sharing this philosophy of Hawai’i Regional Cuisine (HRC)

along with thirteen other chefs, Alan Wong has paved the way for both fine and

casual dining in the islands, proving that it’s fully possible to enjoy locally grown

food that’s delicious, affordable, and most importantly, sustainable.

After the immense success of Alan Wong Restaurant, tucked away on the third

floor of an office building on King Street, both Chef Alan and Chef Lance Kosaka

sought to create a more casual dining experience while still maintaining Chef

Alan’s vision of HRC.

Just around the corner from the women’s swimsuit section on the third floor

of Macy’s in Ala Moana Center, sits an unassuming, toddler of a restaurant: The

Pineapple Room. Much like its senior location, the majority of the menu items

feature produce and meats that are grown right here on the islands, and are

prepared to appease the “local” appetite, with dishes ranging from the infamous

Loco Moco (ranked one of the best in the state), made with Maui Cattle Company

Beef, to the Filipino-style Halo Halo, complete with coconut shave ice, sweet corn,

and azuki beans.

“We’re supporting our local community,” says Chef Lance. By purchasing the

freshest ingredients from local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen, Chef Lance

believes that Hawai’i could become a more agriculturally self-sufficient state,

leading not only to a boost in the economy, but also a decrease in the carbon

footprint left by overseas imports.

Aside from the implicit advantages of using locally produced foods, the more

blatantly satisfying indicator that local is simply better is the taste.

“Everyday that fruits and vegetables are picked from the earth, they lose their

nutrients,” says Chef Lance. The fresher the product, be it fruits, vegetables, beef,

or fish, the more beneficial for our health and our taste buds.

In order to fully inform patrons that their meals are made of the best-possible

ingredients, the chefs at The Pineapple Room not only supply menus that mention

the origin of the produce or meat, but often employ side-by-side tastings that

challenge the pallet. As a feature on the dinner menu, the side by side tasting of

Ron & Lita Weidenbach’s farm-raised North Shore tilapia comes with two pieces

of fish, cooked to soft, supple perfection, one boasting grilled, slightly crispy skin

while the other without. The dish also features Ma’o Organic Farm’s organic baby

kale (located in Wai’anae), and Hamakua Springs heritage eryngi mushroom

(located on Mauna Kea of the Big Island).

“Local” doesn’t stop at produce and meat; the Waialua dark chocolate tart, a

feature on the dinner menu’s five-course Farmer’s Tasting, is made from cocoa

grown right on Oahu’s North Shore, and paired with the rich, dense, Waialua

Coffee Ice Cream, will quench any one’s desire for sweets after a meal.

The Pineapple Room is open everyday for lunch, Monday through Saturday

for dinner, and Saturday and Sunday for breakfast.

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