This past Friday night was girls night out! The weather was perfect; it had finally cooled down a bit in the city, so my girls and I hopped in an uber and headed into Wicker Park in search of some poke and piña’s. What we found at Mahalo did not disappoint! The whole restaurant has an open air concept, and it’s decor is a beachy urban vibe. It was so nice out that we opted for a corner high table with open windows on both sides. I thought we might be chilly, but the drinks seemed to ease my worries. The drink menu offers a range of wine and bubbles, specialty cocktails, draft beer and cider. Three of us started with rosé, two sparkling one still. Jessica got a margarita with the coolest lava rock sea salt. Claire tried the Pele’s Curse, a mix of rum haven coconut, rock saké, egg white, lime juice, and demerara syrup. I think this one was the hit of the night! I stuck with my bubbly rosé.While we sipped our cocktails we composed a shared menu for the table, four gluten-free items to share, and one glutenous one for everyone who could enjoy it. (Aka everyone but me.) I had to quickly snap a group shot when the food arrived before everyone dug in! First up we tried the poke trio- tuna, octopus and shrimp with the fried wontons on the side. The octopus was easily my favorite. The flavor was on point next to the other poke and the octopus was tender. Next up was the the Kalua pork fried rice, which was quite possibly my favorite dish of the night. The egg on top with the fresh cilantro makes this dish extremely satisfying. When I go back, this will be my main dish. There wasn’t a lick left on the plate when we were finished with it, and we almost ordered a 2nd! To keep us feeling healthy, we ordered the papaya salad to share as well. This sounded better than it was.I skipped photographing the glutenous crab dumplings (out of jealously, I’ll admit) but the quiet smiles all around the table told me that they were as good as they looked. You can get a couple peeks of them up in the previous photos. I also didn’t snap the fries with wasabi mayo because, well they were french fries, but I regret this. The fries were amazing. AND they were safely fried in a dedicated fryer. In fact, all the items with the * on the menu are prepared gluten-free no matter who orders them. A nice way to keep a kitchen safe in my opinion. Way to go Mahalo, way to go! Claire splurged for a Mahalo Mai Tai as the girls ordered a 2nd round of glutenous dishes (again- they were raved about).
And Jessica finished her meal with the Island Piña Colada, a truly delicious drink. I may have snagged a couple sips!A truly wonderful evening, full of phenomenal food and amazing friends. We kept the party going to Bub City and danced off a few of those french fries!
A word to the wise- be ready to wait if it’s busy. Seating didn’t take too long but it got a little hectic at the end and we waited quite some time in between ordering courses. Just grab a drink and enjoy the breeze. Maybe if you close your eyes and sip your piña you can convince yourself you’re on the beach!
Have you been to Mahalo yet? Want to go? Checkout their website here for any additional info you may need!
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