There are a few food-and-activity pairings I love.
Surfing and Spam musubis.
Watching sunsets and drinking moscato d’asti.
Hiking and Slurpees.
But it turns out that last one about hiking may now be adjusted slight.
It might prefer acai bowls to Splurpees — especially after having breakfast at the Hiking Hawaii Cafe in Waikiki.
I’ll be honest — at first I was skeptical. This is a cafe that’s paired with a hiking outfitter. You meet here for hikes to Makapuu or Kuliouou Ridge — and grab a chai latte or breakfast pizza while you wait.
It’s really a great concept, started by partners Crystal Evans and Fabio Vilela about a year ago.
And the best part — the cafe isn’t just for hiking clients. Anyone — like my friend and I who just finished stand-up paddleboarding in Waikiki (which ended tragically with an iPhone 5S on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean) — can stop by for an all-fruit smoothie or yogurt topped with housemade granola.
I’m always on the lookout for the Next Great Acai Bowl. (My favorite is still the one from Jewel or Juice in Kaimuki.) So when I saw this on the menu, of course I ordered it.
Hiking Hawaii Cafe’s acai bowl comes with a blend of acai berry and mango — different! — with guarana topped with blueberries, strawberries, bananas, honey and coconut (which I opted out of). This big bowl (above) was $8.25.
I couldn’t taste the mango much, except that the acai blend had a fuller taste and a little more tang. (Credit the mango?) But the consistency was great — I like mine a little thicker — and the toppings were better than at most other shops.
My unfortunate — and now iPhone-less — SUP partner got the pitaya bowl (above). Same concept as an acai bowl but with the trendy dragonfruit — called pitaya. Despite its vibrant exterior and color, the fruit is surprisingly mellow in taste.
It’s become the new superfriut — acai was called this once — because it’s low in calories, a source of beneficial dietary fiber, and rich in vitamin C, B and antioxidants. It’s even has vegetarian-brand omega 3 fatty acids.
But the cafe also serves hearty plates like pizzas, panini sandwiches and salads.
It’s a little hard to find and parking is lacking. But if you’re in the area and you’re craving a nice big bowl of goodness — and you don’t want to wait in line at Bogart’s Cafe on Monsaratt — this is the place to go.
And maybe book a hike while you’re at it.
Hiking Hawaii Cafe, 1910 Ala Moana Blvd. underneath Todai Restaurant in Waikiki. Hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Phone: (855) 808-4453.