Gourmet eats, premium drinks, uncommon gifts and special events worth sharing
There is nothing more satisfying than stumbling upon a hidden gem, especially where food is involved. Big restaurants widely advertised are easy to find and sometimes worth a visit, but discovering that independent establishment or that mom and pop shop that surprises and delights you – now, that’s an experience worth sharing.
Consider this your “stumble” upon Monkey House Café, a hidden gem with a gourmet menu at casual prices, an adventurous atmosphere with a lucky theme, and a human story with layers of interest.
Angeli Poon spent her childhood in Thailand. Eventually she would move to California and become something of a renaissance woman. She raised her four children, managed a number of commercial properties and founded a web development firm, all the while harboring a personal dream of someday curating a specialty gift shop where she could import rare and beautiful items from her native Thailand and the world. When her daughter Rochelle completed a degree in culinary arts, Angeli conceived of a way to fulfill both of their dreams: They would open a gourmet sandwich, coffee and dessert café featuring a gift boutique.
In Rochelle’s mind, the mascot for their mother-daughter venture was obvious. In Thailand, the monkey is not only a common household pet, it is a symbol of prosperity and luck. Angeli and Rochelle found a space on Beach Boulevard, between Ellis and Garfield, and Monkey House Café was born.
Today, Rochelle is involved in the monitoring and quality control of food preparation, creating menus and preparing food for events as well as handling baked goods and special occasion requests (including her specialty custom cupcakes and cookies). Angeli’s business partner – and son-in-law - Dan Untalan oversees all aspects of the day-to-day operations.
At Monkey House Café you’ll find a delicious and healthy lineup of original gourmet sandwiches served on freshly baked bread. Try the Turkey Cranberry on ciabatta; the Veggie Delight with mozzarella, tomato, roasted bell pepper, artichoke, sun-dried tomato and basil pesto; the Monkey Cristo with turkey, ham, swiss, mayo, lettuce and tomato grilled on egg bread… whatever your sandwich choice, pair it with homemade soup, a fresh smoothie or out-of-this-world potato salad and you can’t go wrong.
Rochelle’s passion for pastries and coffee led them on a search for the very best offerings. Monkey House Café serves a full menu of coffee and espresso drinks using the connoisseur’s coffee of choice, illy®, best enjoyed with one of a dozen delicate desserts. Try the raspberry almond or lemon bar, dark chocolate muffin, or the Royal Cookie (chocolate chips, macadamia nuts and coconut) – or all of the above!
If the food is a perfect blend of affordability and excellence, the atmosphere at Monkey House Café is a good blend of casual and comfortable, great for anything from a business luncheon to a friendly get-together to a quick pick-up and go. The visual centerpiece of the dining room is an enormous tree, fabricated to look like it has been uprooted from the Amazon and planted in the midst of the café, creating a fun ambiance without overwhelming your senses.
The Monkey House Café gift shop is Angeli’s labor of love and a surprising treat for café guests, filled with an eclectic offering of fine hand-rendered art, collectibles, jewelry, stationary and small furniture. Angeli personally selects beautiful pieces from around the world. What could be easier than lunching at Monkey House on a weekday and picking up a distinctive gift for a friend or loved one while you’re there?
It’s this kind of “beyond the café” experience Angeli always seems to be conjuring. The more you talk to her, the more you recognize the substance behind the offerings. Angeli is involved with the Huntington Beach community, supporting local nonprofits (Collete’s Home, Olive Crest, Soroptomist and Kiwanis and more) with donations of cash, food and her personal time.
With a concern for connecting with the community, a delightful dining venue, an expansive access to specialty products from around the world and a growing clientele, what’s a family business to do but begin hosting dynamic tastings? Once a month, the Monkey House Café management team will guide you through an exploration of premium wines of California and from other major wine producing countries of the world, paired with scrumptious appetizers and other fun activities including raffle prizes.
As hostess of the event, Angeli shares interesting facts about wines ranging from varietals, laws and regulations, history and much more of wine regions all over the globe. In addition to wine tasting, Monkey House Café showcases seasonal beerfests such as St. Patrick’s Celebration, Oktoberfest and special featured local micro-brews.
Corporate and Family Event Catering
Whether there are five or five hundred mouths to feed, Monkey House brings the flavor to the party with corporate and residential catering at its best – on location or off premises at your offices, corporate outings or event facility.
In fact, catering comprises such a major part of their business – with corporate clients that include Rainbow Disposal, HB Chamber of Commerce, Toyota of HB, Alta Med, Zodiac and PK Real Estate - that Monkey House Café has a professional catering team dedicated to helping their customers with any catering need – large or small. In addition to its extensive array of sandwiches and appetizers, Monkey House Café strives to customize the menu to accommodate their clients’ special requests and work within their budget.
In time for summer
Two summers ago, Monkey House Café introduced Lappert’s Super Premium Handmade Ice Cream with tantalizing tropical flavors such as Nuku Hiva (coconut-pineapple ice cream with brownie pieces and raspberry sorbet), Kauai Pie (coffee ice cream, chocolate fudge, macadamia nut and coconut), Manila Mango and Cookie Monter (kids’ favorite made with double oreo & cookie dough).
Speaking of sweet treats, did we mention that Rochelle’s specialty is her custom cupcakes and cookies? As a result of her passion for creating mouth-watering baked goods, Monkey House Café has garnered quite a following as one of Surf City’s premier dessert destinations for their daily fresh made cookies and assorted dessert bars (lemon, carrot cake, caramel brownie, raspberry almond, smores, pecan and more) which are especially decadent when served à la mode with a scoop of Lappert’s ice cream.
If you’re looking for a particularly inexpensive way to give Monkey House Café a try, consider visiting during happy hours (3pm-6pm daily), when sandwiches, smoothies and glasses of beer and wine are discounted by $1, and each bottle of wine is discounted by $2. It’s an experience you will want to share.
See and taste all that Monkey House Café has to offer by visiting 18862 Beach Blvd. #101,
Huntington Beach, 92648 from 8am-6pm daily, or call an order in for pick-up by calling