I’m an enthusiastic fan of Arancino’s lunch and dinner offerings, especially their spaghetti ai ricci di mare (uni pasta) and spaghetti al nero di seppia (black squid ink pasta). When I’m craving a taste of Italy, Arancino is where I go (in Hawaii). Their Napoli-style Italian food is always on point. Breakfast at Arancino, though…I’ve never tried…until now. It didn’t disappoint.
I once complained to a friend of mine about the lack of independent coffee shops in Hawaii. My buddy, Carlos, had just taken me on a coffee crawl throughout New York City. He introduced me to the wonders of a properly constructed latte and I even had my first taste of legit cold brew. We stopped at Everyman Espresso, Stumptown Coffee, and Third Rail Coffee. All of these coffee shops were located in walking distance from one another in New York’s East Village. My eyes were open and I was abuzz from all of the caffeine. And I found myself feeling extremely jealous of New York’s coffee scene.
Kapolei might not automatically pop to mind when thinking of breakfast hot spots. However, one little cafe, tucked between a Jamba Juice and a Papa John’s, in a tiny strip mall next to a gas station, is trying to change that.
Kaimana Cafe is open from 8am to 4pm and features an all day menu, with both breakfast and lunch items. It’s the latest restaurant to open up shop on Kapahulu Avenue, in the small space that was formerly home to Chef Robert McGee’s Meatball. The cafe, which just opened late last year, is the latest to promote sustainability and the use of locally made organic products. The small space is a bit of a mash-up between Goofy Cafe & Dine, Heavenly, and The Nook. The vibe is definitely familiar: repurposed wood, chalkboard menus, and ornate mason jars. Cute, sure. But how did the food stack up?
I’m not gonna lie, the only reason that I had for visiting Tucker & Bevvy was so that I could have Tim Tams and ice cream for breakfast. The newest Tucker & Bevvy, a breakfast concept, popped up late last year, and is sort of the big brother to their smaller picnic food shop at the Park Shore Hotel on the corner of Kalakaua & Kapahulu Ave.
Ever since I fell in love with Goofy Cafe & Dine, I’ve been looking forward to their sister restaurant opening at the Shoreline Hotel in Waikiki. Heavenly has been open for nearly two months now, and Michelle and I finally had a chance to taste their menu. We actually tried to swing by during opening day, which they had posted about either on Instagram or Facebook, I can’t remember. As we casually walked into the small cafe, construction workers were still making last minute adjustments, a florist was busy dropping off flowers, and designers were still figuring what went where. Apparently, we had showed up a day early. It took us nearly two months to find our way back to Seaside Avenue. Hopefully, they had worked out their opening day kinks.
The last day of the 4th Annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival arguably featured two of its biggest events: Battle of the Brunch Showdown at the SHOR restaurant on the 3rd floor of the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa and the grand finale, It’s A Food World After All at Ko’olina Beach. Exploration: Hawaii was fortunate to have eaten our way through both events.