Tag Archives: Waikiki

FUUD: Hiking Hawaii Cafe in Waikiki

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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.

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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.

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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.

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5 Qs with surf champ Carissa Moore

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The first time I saw Carissa Moore surf, she couldn’t have been older than eight — and she was already ripping.

She would paddle out to Queen’s with her dad, Chris, and surf the inside reform section. She was bubbly and sweet and respectful, even though she was already landing airs and 360s and making the rest of us lifelong surfers look like hacks.

Now Moore is 21 and the best female surfer in the world, winning her second 2013 Association of Surfing Professionals Women’s World Title this October in Portugal.

And I’m still riding a 9-foot longboard in three-foot surf.

Anyway, I got a chance to catch up with the world champ (and her puppy, Tuffy) now that she’s back in town — and surfing Kewalo’s — for a story for an upcoming issue of HAWAI’I Magazine. And it was nice to see the fame and the glory hasn’t changed her. She’s still that sweet, smiley girl I remember. Just a bit taller.

1. You just turned 21. What did you do for your birthday?

My family totally surprised me. I was planning to spend the day with my dad. But then he drove down to the Sheraton (Waikiki) and my mom and sister came out. I wanted to tear up. We all haven’t been together since I was 10. (Her parents got divorced then.) We went on a canoe ride in Waikiki. It was just very special.

2. I know you started surfing when you were super young. When did you start to really love it?

I always had to be nudged, to be honest. I don’t think I started setting my alarm (to surf) until I was 17. In the early days, I would throw fits about going to the beach. I didn’t like the act of going there, but once I was there, I loved it. I actually loved just spending time with my family.

3. Surf’s up on the North Shore. You like surfing big waves?

I love Haleiwa. On a good northwest swell and it’s six feet, it’s so much fun. But there are definitely times, like when it’s 8- to 10-feet, I’m, like, no thanks. I’ll just cruise on the beach. But I know sometimes I have to challenge myself. You really have to want that and enjoy that to do it. You have to love the adrenaline.

4. If you weren’t surfing, what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t surfing, I’d probably be in school studying to be a teacher. I wanted to be a school teacher forever.

5. What are your favorite places to eat while you’re back at home?

I love the spicy chicken from Gina’s BBQ and Hale Vietnam in Kaimuki is so good. Oh, and we love Koa Pancake House. I order the ham and eggs and I eat my boyfriend’s pancakes. I think every girlfriend does that!

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Did This: Sailing with Hōkūleʻa

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I wouldn’t consider myself a full-on ocean person.

Yes, I surf. Yes, I swim. But that’s the extent of my ocean frolicking.

The main reason? I get seasick. I could probably get seasick watching someone else get seasick.

But when the opportunity to sail with the historic Hōkūleʻa came up, I jumped at the chance. Sick or not, I couldn’t pass up the chance to help crew on one of the most culturally significant and important symbols of Hawai‘i.

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For the past week, the double-hulled sailing canoe was docked at the Hawaii Kai Towne Center (above), where thousands of people — from schoolkids to kupuna — got to climb aboard, tour around and learn about the Hōkūleʻa before it embarks on an ambitious worldwide voyage starting next May.

Sunday’s sail was at the last leg in the Mālama Hawaiʻi statewide sail, where the canoe and its sister, Hikianalia, made 30 stops across the state including to remote spots like Kaho‘olawe and Kalaupapa on Moloka‘i. It was leaving Hawai‘i Kai, stopping in Waikīkī, then heading to Ko Olina, where it will docked for people to visit for another week.

Over the next four years, both canoes will travel to 28 countries and stop at 85 international ports, sailing more than 45,000 nautical miles around the world.

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On Sunday it left Hawai‘i Kai (above) with dozens of canoes, boats, kayaks and SUPs to escort her into Maunalua Bay.

They were here, like me, because the Hōkūleʻa means something to them, to our community. It was moving to see how many people turned up that early to meet the canoe and see her out to the open ocean.

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The mission of Hōkūleʻa and this worldwide voyage is navigate toward a healthy and sustainable future for us, for Hawai‘i and for the entire world — what the Polynesian Voyaging Society refers to as Island Earth — through voyaging and new ways of learning.

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Part of my experience on Sunday was to actually learn what the crew does. There are more than 300 people who will be trained for the four-year-long voyage around the world. (Here are two above.) It takes months of classroom and hands-on learning to train for the voyage.

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It took us more than an hour to set up the masts and sails before we could depart Maunalua Bay and head toward Waikiki. And it took all hands to help. It was really a larger lesson about community, about helping, about the meaning of mālama.

But the winds didn’t cooperate — too light and blowing in the southwestern direction — so we had to call the escort boat to tow the canoe toward the Maritime Education Training Center on Sand Island.

In the meantime, I got sick. Really sick. I sat in the middle of the boat, huddled up in a towel and hoping the sail would be over soon. I was miserable.

And yet, everyone on the boat stopped to talk to me, to rub my back and shoulders, to tell me stories or make me laugh to get my mind off my seasickness. This is what the Hōkūleʻa does — it makes people see the larger picture, to realize that “we” is stronger than “me,” and that we have to live in this world together so why not work together and love each other.

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Once we got to Waikīkī, we stopped and drifted a little so the crew could pay its respects to the folks whose ashes had been scattered in these waters. People like Pinky Thompson, Joanne Kahanamoku and Eddie Aikau who were instrumental in Hōkūleʻa, its mission and purpose. Captain and training coordinator Bruce Blackenfeld (shown at left) told us stories about them — a simple reminder that we must always remember and respect the people who came before us.

After we sang “Aloha Oe,” I suddenly felt better. I had already thrown up several times and thought I was going to be sick for the entire sail. But I perked up, and finally I found my sea legs.

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The last push was to the Maritime Education Training Center in Sand Island where Hikianalia was in dry dock and another crew was waiting to jump on Hōkūleʻa and head to Ko Olina. It took about half an hour to get there, and I was glad I felt better — I could actually walk around! — for the last few moments aboard this historic vessel.

It was more than just a great opportunity. It was a lesson in service, in gratitude, in survival (for me), in believing there’s something more and bigger out there and that we are all connected to each other. We live on this island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, yet we belong to the same Island Earth. And what we do matters. And what we don’t do matters, too.

So let’s do something. Even if it’s something that makes you uncomfortable or, in my case, completely sick. If it matters, do it.

Visit the canoe at the Ko Olina Marina from 3 to 5 p.m. daily through Friday. To learn more about Hōkūleʻa’s historic worldwide voyage, click here.

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These trolleys are driving me crazy

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The other day I snapped this photo (above) on Olohana Street, turning onto Kalakaua Avenue, in Waikiki.

I was stuck at the light on Kuhio Avenue for about 10 minutes, then this light at Kalakaua for another nine. Almost 20 minutes. Just to move a block. And it wasn’t even during rush hour.

The traffic situation in Waikiki has become almost unbearable.

I’m always in Waikiki. I work nearby, I surf there almost every morning, I run around Kapiolani Park. So I know how bad the traffic can be.

And for some reason, in the last few years, it’s been maddening.

I blame the trolleys and tour buses.

I have no hard evidence, but it seems — and this is only my observation — there has been a huge increase in the number of trolleys and tour buses in Waikiki. And many of them are aggravatingly empty. Yet, they clog up the roadways and stop at city busy stops, often backing up traffic on side streets for way too long.

Case in point: Olohana.

Even yesterday. I couldn’t get through the intersection of Olohana Street and Kuhio Avenue. I watched the light turn red four times. And I was waiting behind three trolleys and a tour van. I finally gave up, turned west on Kuhio Avenue to get back on Ala Wai Boulevard to get out of there.

Back in June, KHON reported about the growing traffic woes in Waikiki, pointing at trolleys as one of the main causes.

The story reported that the mayor’s office was already getting complaints about it.

“We have so many now and we need some form of control here or we’re going to create even worse problems, I believe. We’re getting complaints from a lot of the hotels because it’s affecting their egress and access,” Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said to KHON. “Because they serve a good function, but do we need as many? Do we need them stopping all in one place? How do we manage it? Because traffic flow is important in Waikiki.”

So what do we do?

Trolleys and tour buses are obviously supporting our visitor industry. But when does it become too much? How can the city control the traffic in an area that desperately needs some kind of help?

Anyone got any ideas? Maybe the mayor is reading!

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Today’s (un)Happy Shot

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More than 200 box jellyfish were found in Waikiki this morning. The influx should last all weekend. Stay out of the water!

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