HICravings' pitaya and acai bowls JAIMIE KIM PHOTOS

HICravings’ pitaya and acai bowls JAIMIE KIM PHOTOS

2463 S. King St.
Honolulu, HI
Phone number (808) 679-8010

Last week, I sampled the best acai and pitaya bowls I have ever eaten in my life. Ever.

See, I had kind of given up on these bowls. Like frozen yogurt and other faddy food trends, these bowls seemed the same everywhere I went.

But I’ve long heard great things about HICravings (formerly Jess Da Best Acai Bowls), and truth be told, I’m rather late to the game on this one. Its founder Jessica Kamanao has been offering her creative take on the trend since October 2013.

Jessica Kamanao utilizes fresh ingredients

Jessica Kamanao utilizes fresh ingredients

On most days, you can find her on the west side, where she operates out of Kapolei. But for a little more than a month now, she’s been popping up in town at Jugo Life Juicery on Wednesdays.

So I thought to myself, “Eh, why not?”

It was, I repeat, the best acai and pitaya bowls I have ever eaten in my life. It had nothing to do with the basic component of the bowl and everything to do with what Kamanao puts on top of it all. Because it isn’t just the usual addition of granola and fresh fruit — and she does include a lot of that — but also one very not-so-secret ingredient.

Two words: cookie dough. Yes, you read that correctly. This one is safe to eat, since Kamanao has perfected a recipe designed to consume raw. You can get the dough plain, or with chocolate chips and other additions.

To anyone I have ever offended by saying cookie dough is gross, I apologize sincerely. I get it now. Though I suspect it’s really just Kamanao’s cookie dough I’m willing to eat. It’s soft, and ever-so-slightly grainy with sugar. I had mine with white chocolate chips and honestly, if I could order just the cookie dough balls, I would.

Besides these unusual accompaniments, Kamanao makes stuffed strawberries and offers other specialty toppings (like bee pollen, and deliciously thick Lehua Honey). I enjoyed my s’mores strawberry and everything else on my acai and pitaya bowls, but seriously, I cannot stop thinking and reminiscing about and craving those cookie dough balls.

It’s a combination that shouldn’t make sense, but it does. Trust me, and if you don’t just try one for yourself.


This Italian-style café recently celebrated the grand opening of its newest location downtown. A little hidden from street view, Aroma Caffé is on the first floor of Davies Pacific Center.

In a building that feels so obviously downtown, Aroma Caffé manages to create a quaint and cozy spot for itself.

Drink options range from the usual espresso offerings to the seemingly strange. Its Nero Aroma, for instance, promises flavors of a blackberry dark chocolate mocha. Ultimately, I couldn’t find that distinct blackberry flavor, which wasn’t a bad thing. It tasted exactly as promised — a slightly sweet and fruity mocha.

Another strange one I was too afraid to order: Dolce Banana, essentially a banana chocolate mocha. For those who are interested though, my friend who works in the building tells me it is good.

Also at Aroma Caffé, you’ll find a case of the usual assortment of café offerings: muffins and other pastries, along with paninis, croissants and bagel sandwiches.


HICravings owner Jessica Kamanao and Jugo Life Juicery owner Tommy Oh

HICravings owner Jessica Kamanao and Jugo Life Juicery owner Tommy Oh

Jessica Kamanao will tell you she’s been making these bowls since forever. She started with the goal of providing cus

tomers with more variety, a concept that still is evident now. Instead of only using a few fruits as toppings, for instance, Kamanao offers as many as eight at her shop (fewer when she is traveling).

“You can customize your food from the bottom up,” she says. “It’s nice to be able to

It comes as no surprise then, that when Jugo Life Juicery owner Tommy Oh had a taste of Kamanao’s bowls, he liked them so much that he sought an opportunity to collaborate. It began, says Kamanao, with the two of them messaging back and forth on Instagram.

And now, Wednesdays, from about 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., customers may stop at Jugo Life Juicery for a bowl from Kamanao and juice from Oh.

Keep up with both on Instagram, where it all started: @jessdabestacaibowls and @drinkjugolife.