Posts Tagged ‘brazil’

Açai in Ha-wa-ii – Part II

September 1, 2008

Part I | Part II

And… I’m spent!

Ho, for you guys, I travel the globe (State actually) and boy are my arms tired. Yeah, bad joke. But seriously, I do this to bring all y’all the best in Hawaii’s eats. You’re welcome! ;P

I actually don’t mind it at all though. Me loves to eat, travel, take photos and write, so as you can guess, this combination is right up my alley. The last two months of stuffing my face with Açai was actually a nice little treat to my tummy. So I, instead, thank YOU. 🙂

With that longest-intro-in-history out of the way, let’s get going shall we?

Lanikai Juice

Located in the Kailua Shopping Center in the heart of Kailua town, this smoothie joint has been a long time favorite of many Kailuans. Eventually, word got out and its popularity now stretches further than 96734.

My softball team conveniently has its games at nearby Kailua District Park, so before a game last month, I stopped by to see what all the fuss was about.

Lanikai Juice Sign
Lanikai Juice Sign

With young, vibrant girls working the counter and a clean, colorful interior, it wasn’t hard to figure out the lure.

Inside Lanikai Juice
Inside Lanikai Juice

I got the standard Açai Bowl, plopped myself on a stool outside and took in the fresh Kailua air as I enjoyed my treat.

Açai Bowl - Açai, strawberries, blueberries, banana and apple juice, topped with organic granola and sliced bananas - $5.85
Açai Bowl – Açai, strawberries, blueberries, banana and apple juice, topped with organic granola and sliced bananas – $5.85

Optionally, you can ask for honey (yes, it doesn’t come standard), but it’ll cost ya an extra $0.52. Here’s what it looks like with honey, honey.

Close-up of Lanikai Juice Açai Bowl with honey
Close-up of Lanikai Juice Açai Bowl with honey

The Açai portion of their bowl has an icy flavor reminiscent of shave ice, but it was filling nonetheless. The perfect amount to energize me for my game.

Closeup of Açai and granola
Closeup of Açai and granola
Lanikai Juice
600 Kailua Road, Room 101
Kailua, HI. 96734 (map)
(808) 262-2383
lanikaijuice@cs.com
Mon-Fri 6AM-8PM
Sat & Sun 7AM-7PM

The Wedding Café

You would never have guessed that our next stop would be a place in Ha-wa-ii for Açai, but that’s what we’re here for: To turn over every leaf out dea for you. 🙂

Açai Bowl outside The Wedding Café
Açai Bowl outside The Wedding Café

Tipped on by the lady, after one of her many research driven trips there, the Açai Bowl is a pleasant surprise in a place that is supposed to otherwise be scary for us men.

All kidding aside, the Wedding Café at Ward, not only serves as an all-in-one, wedding research superstore, but they also serve up some good kine grinds while you’re there.

In addition to their Açai Bowl, some of their other must-tries, according to co-owner Tanna Dang, include the chicken walnut sandwich, the Lychee iced tea and of course their Pumpkin Crunch.

But why Açai?

Dang explains, “We all LOVED the freshness and healthiness of Açai!! It’s seriously ADDICTING… It’s a great meal alternative and SO yummy after a good surf session or workout.”

You be the judge…

Açai Bowl - Organic Açai topped with strawberries, bananas, blueberries, organic granola, and drizzled with a hint of honey - $6.25
Açai Bowl – Organic Açai topped with strawberries, bananas, blueberries, organic granola, and drizzled with a hint of honey – $6.25
The Wedding Cafe
1050 Ala Moana Blvd # 8
Honolulu, HI 96814 (map)
(808) 591-1005

Kalypso Island Bar & Grill

Not to be outdone, the peeps of Kauai got a go-to bar up north that serves up some mean Açai. Hanalei’s Kalypso Island Bar & Grill is the place.

On a recent trip to Hanalei, we noticed that it always seemed crowded at Kalypso’s. Knowing that the best way for eating success is to follow the crowds, we asked around. It turns out that they have great food to go along with a great vibe, and they serve Açai to boot. We immediately knew where we were heading for breakfast the next morning.

Kalypso Island Bar & Grill in Hanalei
Kalypso Island Bar & Grill in Hanalei

Though we ate a mean blackened mahi mahi benedict, we’ll save that for a future article. Today, it’s all about the Açai, and Açai we did a try-ee.

Açai Bowl - Refreshing blend of Açai & banana served with local made Anahola granola - $7.95
Açai Bowl – Refreshing blend of Açai & banana served with local made Anahola granola – $7.95

Since you can’t really get a good glimpse of the Açai portion of the bowl, let’s mix things up and give y’all a look at the inner-workings.

Yes, we were hungry...
Yes, we were hungry…

$7.95 was a bit costly for what we got, but it was great to sneak in an Açai fix outside of Oahu.

Kalypso Island Bar & Grill
5-5156 Kuhio Hwy # G4
Hanalei, Kauai, HI 96714 (map)
(808) 826-9700

Jewel or Juice

IMHO, we’ve saved the best for last.

Right on the corner of Waialae Ave and Koko Head Ave, this half jewelry, half juice joint (hence the name) is an absolute must. And though they do feature jewelry from one artist (Flora Lu from Lucoral Museum), their forte is obvious: it’s the Juice!

Jewel or Juice on the corner of Koko Head and Waialae
Jewel or Juice on the corner of Koko Head and Waialae

The lady and I actually had the darndest time trying to get here, as our “going to town for errands” day is usually Sunday, the day they just so happen to be closed. On the 3rd attempt, we were finally able to crash the Jewel or Juice party, and boy are we glad we did.

Inside Jewel or Juice
Inside Jewel or Juice

Ever since graduating with a business degree from HPU, it has always been a dream of owner Chris Chan to open a unique store like this with personality. With the help of family and friends, including brother and partner Alec, Jewel or Juice has been flourishing now for 3 successful years.

According to Chan, their Warrior Bowl is the best seller.

“Most people mistaken the Warrior Bowl as another Açai Bowl with different toppings. In fact, it is a special blend that is remarkably refreshing. Most customers find it addicting and comes everyday for it.”

Yes, this idiot author did not order the best seller... YET!
Yes, this idiot author did not order the best seller… YET!

The quality in the ingredients they use is evident. And the passion these brothers have for perfecting their business is obvious. It honestly makes you want to return just to support this enthusiasm.

Deluxe Açai Bowl - Açai blends w/strawberry, banana, and apple juice, topped with bananas, seasonal fresh berries, Goji berries, honey & organic granola - 16 oz.: $6.99, 24 oz.: $8.25
Deluxe Açai Bowl – Açai blends w/strawberry, banana, and apple juice, topped with bananas, seasonal fresh berries, Goji berries, honey & organic granola – 16 oz.: $6.99, 24 oz.: $8.25

 

Close-up of Deluxe Açai Bowl toppings (strawberries, blueberries, Goji berries and bananas)
Close-up of Deluxe Açai Bowl toppings (strawberries, blueberries, Goji berries and bananas)

In my email interview with Chris, he displays this fervor by teaching me how to make a quality Açai Bowl.

“My opinion for a good Acai Bowl, just for reference…. since you are writing about it

  1. Make sure there is no Ice Cube Added. It dilutes the flavor and gives it a blank taste
  2. No ‘previously frozen’ fruit topping is acceptable. If you promise ‘Fresh’, it better be fresh!
  3. The Açai blend cannot be ‘running’, it has to ‘stand up’ tall in the bowl.
  4. Açai Juice vs. Açai Berry Puree is a big difference. Juice is weaker than Puree for sure
  5. The granola has to be Organic and Flavorful. Not too soft and not too hard.
  6. If honey is used, make sure it is pure honey, not honey flavored syrup
  7. Açai Bowl cannot be pre-made, it has to be made in front of your eyes, your ears and your nose”

If it tastes anything like the one we tried at Jewel or Juice, you can bet I’ll be following intently from 1 through 7…

Animation of our damage
Animation of our damage

And… I’m spent!

Jewel or Juice
3619 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816 (map)
(808) 734-1700
Mon-Sat 8:30am-7pm

Part I | Part II

Açai in Ha-wa-ii – Part I

August 1, 2008

Part I | Part II

With the hot summer months upon us, there’s no better way to cool off than with an ice cold, refreshing treat. And since we’ve already covered some of the more popular shave ice joints across the state why not go with the latest health trend in Ha-wa-ii… Açai!?

Açai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee), is a small, berry-like fruit that grows on the Açai Palm native to the rainforests of Central and South America. Most popular in Brazil (cumprimentos!), it is widely known to be an uber healthy superfruit, carrying with it powerful antioxidants, amino acids and essential fibers and fatty acids. Heck, Oprah even gives it the thumbs up, and we all know that her word is gospel. *grin*

Today, you can find Açai all over Hawaii (and the United States for that matter) in juices, frozen fruit bars, vitamin supplements, chocolates, and most commonly in frozen smoothies known as an Açai cup or bowl. This month, we’ll explore the places around Oahu that serve up this special treat. Excelente!

Blue Hawaii Lifestyle

Located on the second floor of the new Nordstrom wing of Ala Moana Center, this health specialty store doubles as a juice bar/café, serving packaged foods, coffees, teas, fresh-made juices and even books and music.

Blue Hawaii Lifestyle products
Blue Hawaii Lifestyle products

For $6.75, you can enjoy their Small Açai Bowl topped with bananas, berries, honey and granola ($8.75 for the regular size), which, incidentally is their number one seller.

Ed’s Tip: Unless you’re a monstah eater, a small bowl should suffice as a snack for two peeps.

Small Açai Bowl topped with bananas, berries, honey - $6.75
Small Açai Bowl topped with bananas, berries, honey – $6.75

The presentation was just as good as the taste. Loved the use of fresh fruits and their surplus of granola!

According to PR point person Matt Olson and founder/CEO Michael Zhang, Blue Hawaii LifeStyle plans to expand to mainland China by the fourth quarter of 2009. “Beginning in Shanghai’s Xintiandi Shopping Center, we will continue the expansion to Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, bringing our concept of the active, healthy lifestyle found here in Hawaii to a new demographic.”

A great way to start guys…

Blue Hawaii Lifestyle
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 2312
Honolulu, HI 96814 (map)
Tel: (808) 949-0808
Floor Map of Ala Moana: Flash | PDF
Monday-Saturday 8:30AM-9PM, Sunday 9AM-7PM

Diamond Head Cove Health Bar

This surf-vibed, smoothie/salad bar is located on Monsarrat Ave and features an assortment of smoothies, juices, salads and wraps.

Diamond Head Cove Health Bar
Diamond Head Cove Health Bar

Most of their ingredients are local, including the fresh fish used in their salad and wraps. They also serve traditional organic Hawaiian Awa, three types of Açai treats (which is why we’re here! 😛 ) and have live music on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

But enough about that… let’s get to the Açai baby! They have three of ’em (two bowls and one smoothie), which includes the Da Cove Bowl (Açai, Bananas, Strawberries, Granola & honey for $7.50), the Mana Cove Bowl (Açai, Bananas, Strawberries, Blueberries, Granola, Beepollen & Honey for $9.25), and the Açai Smoothie (Açai Bananas, Strawberries, Mixberries for $7).

Diamond Head Cove Health Bar inside menu
Diamond Head Cove Health Bar inside menu

A slight word of caution. There may be some discrepancies between the menu outside and the menu inside (which I hope they’ve fixed by now), so inquire within. Based on what I read inside, I was hoping to get “Mixberries” with my Da Cove Bowl, but was disappointed when it didn’t have any. On the way out, I read the board outside which did not list any berry besides strawberries (twice!).

Diamond Head Cove Health Bar outside menu
Diamond Head Cove Health Bar outside menu

The presentation wasn’t the greatest, likely due to the mad rush (see below), but the taste was pretty good nonetheless. It probably could’ve used a little more granola and a little less honey though.

Da Cove Bowl (Açai, Bananas, Strawberries, Granola & honey) - $7.50
Da Cove Bowl (Açai, Bananas, Strawberries, Granola & honey) – $7.50

Ed’s Tip: Try to avoid the peak times here. Besides the very limited parking situation outside, they can get really busy up in hurr. We came when there was a big crowd and a shift change taking place, so they actually forgot/misplaced our order. 😦

Diamond Head Cove
3045 Monsarrat Ave #5
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815 (map)
Tel: (808) 732-8744
kava@diamondheadcove.com
Sun, Tue, Wed, Thu: 10AM-Midnight (kitchen closes at 10PM) – Live Music (Awa Nights)
Mon, Fri, Sat: 10am-8PM (kitchen closes at 7PM)

Jamba Juice

And finally… what’s a discussion about Açai without a mention of the mother of all smoothie hotspots: Jamba Juice!?

Jamba Juice Mililani
Jamba Juice Mililani

Introduced statewide right after Christmas last year, Jamba Juice’s Açai Cup is blended with pure Açai concentrate and soymilk, combined with bananas, strawberries and blueberries, and topped with organic granola and fresh bananas.

Açai Cup topped with fresh bananas (Brazilian Açai juice, soymilk, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, also topped with organic granola) - $5.25 for the sixteen ounce / $6.25 for the original size
Açai Cup topped with fresh bananas (Brazilian Açai juice, soymilk, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, also topped with organic granola) – $5.25 for the sixteen ounce / $6.25 for the original size

Here’s a close-up of the actual Açai portion of the smoothie:

Close-up of Jamba Juice's Açai Cup
Close-up of Jamba Juice’s Açai Cup

Here’s the much prettier, PR version of the Açai Cup. Dayem, those photographers are gooood! 🙂

Açai Cup ad (photo courtesy Jamba Juice Hawaii)
Açai Cup ad (photo courtesy Jamba Juice Hawaii)

My first exposure to the sweet Brazilian treat was actually via Jamba Juice’s Açai Cup. After tasting the way the other places do it though, I’m secretly hoping that they start drizzling honey over the top of theirs one day. 🙂

Jamba recently added two new drinks to their “Meal in a Cup” lineup: the Hawaiian Açai Cup, which blends Açai concentrate, mangos and guava juice and topped with organic granola and fresh bananas (Sixteen $5.25/Original $6.25), and the Chunky PB ‘n Jamba, a thick blend of soymilk, vanilla yogurt, organic peanut butter, strawberries, blueberries & organic granola and then topped with more blueberries (Twelve $4.50/Sixteen $5.25).

Ad for the Chunky PB 'n Jamba and the Hawaiian Açai Cup (photo courtesy Jamba Juice Hawaii)
Ad for the Chunky PB ‘n Jamba and the Hawaiian Açai Cup (photo courtesy Jamba Juice Hawaii)

The Hawaiian Acai is a spin-off of the original Acai Cup substituting guava juice and mangos instead of soymilk, blueberries and strawberries. The Chunky PB `n Jamba is a continuation to the delicious Chunky Strawberry which replaces the bananas with blueberries.

I know it’s not Açai, but since I got it recently, here’s a closeup of the Chunky PB ‘n Jamba FYI.

Chunky PB 'n Jamba closeup
Chunky PB ‘n Jamba closeup

Chunky Strawberry is the final “Meal in a Cup” drink in their arsenal. It blends strawberries, bananas, peanut butter, yogurt, soymilk, and organic granola and is topped with fresh bananas (Sixteen $5.25/Original $6.25).

Ed’s Tip: Stick with the traditional Açai Cup. My cubicle mate and I have both tried the Hawaiian Açai and though it’s good, we still prefer the original da bes’!

Since everyone’s probably already been to Jamba at least once in their lives, I had to inquire within to find a gem for you valued readers. One little undiscovered morsel that will come in handy next time we all go.

Enter Marketing Director Sheri Rigg. “One thing customers may not know is that ANY smoothie on the menu can be customized to their taste preferences, nutritional needs, etc. They can swap out fruits in the recipe, change the consistency of the smoothie (e.g. make it thicker), or add ingredients or nutritional boosts. All the new products mentioned above include organic granola made with flax and pumpkin seed. Customers really LOVE the granola and can top any smoothie with this granola or have it blended within to create a thicker consistency. Topping their favorite smoothie with additional fruit is also delicious!”

Sounds like a little “Have It Your Way” action if you ask me. Yes, I know that’s another company’s slogan, but you catch my drift. I think I’m gonna try that next time. I’m gonna customize my Açai cup with more blueberries, less strawberries. And maybe I’ll bring a bottle of my own honey. 🙂

Jamba Juice Hawaii
Numerous Locations (store locator)

Well, that’s it for part 1. Next month, we’ll hit up Lanikai Juice, Jewel or Juice and Wedding Café for more from the world of Açai in Ha-wa-ii. Adeus!

Part I | Part II