Universe Juice Café harnesses solar energy to blend and squeeze organic fruit into refreshing drinks that complement a menu of fresh, healthy fare. The Mantra smoothie mixes together berries, bananas, papayas, and positive thoughts ($6.75), and the Malo Man swaggers out of the blender with banana, ginger, pa'i 'ai, and noni ($6.50), and refuses to ask directions to the nearest glass. Signature poke bowls layer spicy or shoyu-style Hawaiian ahi over rice ($8) and kale ($10.50), as savory naan flatbread paninis embrace vegetable and turkey fillings ($8.50+). Universe Juice Café's warm-colored walls and intimate café seating abut a wood-topped juice bar, creating a cozy atmosphere for dining, drinking, and blending in time to live music showcases.
After falling in love with Wahiawa upon his first visit, master coffee-brewer Mike Richards quickly plotted a way to join the community’s eclectic crowd on a more permanent basis. The fruition of this aim, Perk-A-Lot Coffee & Sandwich Shop, marries Wahiawa’s uplifting spirit with a low-key ambiance and delicious coffeehouse fare. Since opening its doors in 2011, this up-and-coming spot has evolved into a cherished hangout for locals and coffee connoisseurs on pilgrimages from nearby islands. Mike and his friendly staff of baristas prepare café beverages behind simple wooden counters, pairing iced or steaming drinks with handmade wraps and sandwiches. When they aren’t sitting down to enjoy pastries such as lemon scones and fudge brownies, visitors can walk across the café’s checkerboard floor to view the local art that adorns the walls. On Friday nights, local poets and musicians stage performances for crowds, who signal their approval by snapping and pelting the stage with packets of sugar.
VG Addict fulfills dragon-slaying and Formula 1–driving fantasies with a virtual treasure trove of new and used video games, DVDs, and accessories. Customers can stop by the retail store to bask in a glorious assortment of classics and new releases for systems from Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 to Nintendo Wii and handheld consoles. Gamers are encouraged to test-drive games before they buy, ensuring games are in working order and haven't been exposed to damage by previous owners.
Aloha Crepes serves dessert all day. Of course, it's in the form of a crepe, so the light treat seems somehow appropriate for breakfast, even if you order the Aloha crepe?loaded with Nutella, a sauce of sour cream and brown sugar, strawberries, whipped cream, and powdered sugar. For something more savory, crepes can be stuffed with portobello mushrooms or grilled chicken or made into pizza-like envelopes that, with the correct postage, the US Postal Service will deliver. For a lighter dessert option, Aloha Snowflakes promise a treat that's part ice cream, part shaved ice with the consistency of frozen cotton candy. Snow ice comes in a variety of flavors made from fresh fruits, juices, and extracts with added milk.
Despite its thin and delicate appearance, the crepe is a stronghold, capable of holding delicious bundles within its soft shell. At Delice Crepes, these bundles range from savory combinations of chicken and mozzarella to the sweet Keiki crepe, stuffed with peanut butter and blackberry jam. Each of these crepes is made from scratch?a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that the kitchen is a vintage red-and-white Volkswagon.
Owner and chef Jonathan Pajot, who grew up in France, prefers to use gluten-free buckwheat flour for the savory side of the menu. He also seeks out organic ingredients, including fresh avocados, bananas, tomatoes, and spinach. Just steps away from the food truck, a few tables dressed in checkered cloth serve as an outdoor dining room, saving patrons the trouble of bringing their own table and chandelier from home.
Chef JJ built himself an empire out of sugar, complete with chocolate pyramids covered in cocoa powder. He wanted to bring all things European to Hawaii, so he founded JJ Bistro & French Pastry, where he crafts delectable desserts and a menu of entrees fusing French influence with local ingredients. His baked lamb wellington features crisp bell pepper within a shelf of flaky pastry, and his seafood brioche combines the daily catch with shiitake mushrooms and black-pepper sauce. In addition to the aforementioned chocolate pyramids, he crafts key-lime tarts, chocolate-banana confit, and black-currant cassis in individual servings. He just uses bigger mixing bowls to create the same mouthwatering cakes for birthdays or weddings.
Despite the general European flair, the chef can't resist showing off local cuisine in all its glory with his daily specials of fresh-caught seafood. The mini seafood menu features shrimp, mussels, crab, and lobster, cooked to order and bedecked in one of four sauces, such as garlic butter or J'Jun sauce, Chef JJ's blend of Cajun spices with seldom-used contractions.