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.
Green Tea Hawaii's supplements expedite the process of losing weight. The company’s flagship item, a nutrient-rich powdered drink, dissolves into water and becomes a slenderizing cocktail of green-tea antioxidants, natural caffeine, and amino acids. Each serving of the fruit-flavored drink boosts metabolism and unlocks the ability to smell colors. Green coffee bean extract and Montagna coffee also deliver a natural dose of caffeine, and raspberry ketones increase the body's ability to burn fat via fruit compounds. Various other powdered drinks soak into the body and replenish vital nutrients.
Meandering through rows of coffee trees in a Waialua coffee orchard, roastmaster John Alvarez gauges by sight alone the maturity of the trees and the ripeness of the berries peeking out from verdant leaves. Though the coffee aficionado follows his beans’ route from germination into each piping mug, his true passion lies in roasting. Back at his roasting site in the shadow of Mount Ka'ala, handfuls of beans cascade through his fingers, pouring back into the drum roaster’s cooling bin as he inspects their chafes and hues to ensure an even roast. Though he concedes each island’s orchards produce different flavors, it’s the slow-roasting process—featured on Hawaiian Grown—that accounts for his coffee’s smooth, sweet taste. “It’s like being a chef at a restaurant,” he says of his duties. “A lot of people take it for granted, but it’s what makes all the difference.” Just outside, amid the Ilikai Hotel's fountains and gardens where his coffee shop is located, people sit on the patio, take in the sun, chat, and sip on the signature coffee.
When Julia Morgan began designing the YWCA, she was the first woman architect to ever design a public building in Honolulu. Today, Cafe Julia pays homage to her by bearing her name, as it stands in the beautiful building she dreamed up back in the 1920s when it was built. Out on the breezy plaza-patio or inside the bright, beautiful dining room, chef Almar Arcano aims to delight diners with cuisine that's as elegant as the surroundings. Open for lunch and dinner, the menus are home to delicate and savory seafood crepes, hearty sandwiches, and old-school entrees such as slow-roasted prime rib served on a giant monocle.
The pastry chefs at Regal Bakery work hard to never stop surprising their customers, whether with bold new donut flavors, such as rocky road, berryblast, and green tea, or brand new foodie trends. Hot on the trail of the cronut craze, they created their own version of a croissant-donut and even experimented with bite-sized croissant morsels, dubbed “crototts,” which can be dipped in chocolate sauce, azuki bean crème anglaise, or bronze to put atop crotott-eating trophies. According to a profile of the bakery in the “Dining Out” section of the Star Advertiser, Regal Bakery stocks more than 20 donut flavors at a time and revives popular flavors from their past on Throwback Wednesdays.
Air Park Karaoke Lounge offers its visitors the chance to be a star, if only for a handful of hours. Each of the 11 rentable rooms contain a full karaoke setup, allowing friends to belt in private without the worry of Michael McDonald dropping in unannounced to add harmonies. In each room, a 55-inch HDTV shows video and lyrics, while the system's vast catalogue includes tunes in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean?with songs updated monthly. There's also a more public space in their social lounge area, featuring a 70-inch plasma screen and a full bar that serves up beer, wine, and signature cocktails. And despite there being a room and drinks themed around Hello Kitty, Air Park Karaoke Lounge only admits those 21 and older.