2919 Kapiolani Blvd.
Disclaimer: For this week’s article, I originally was going to check out Sweet E’s Cafe in its new space down the road from its former location in Kilohana Square on Kapahulu Avenue. I was looking forward to more parking and a bigger dining room, but the parking lot was full on Tuesday close to lunchtime and I couldn’t find street parking (i.e. I don’t know how to parallel park).
And so Metro social media manager Nicole Kato, staff writer Paige Takeya and I ventured a little further down the road to Market City Shopping Center, where we walked into Cafe Kaila and immediately were shown to a table. (I do still plan on reporting back to you soon about Sweet E’s new spot when I can take advantage of valet parking on weekends.)
Settling for Cafe Kaila hardly is settling, though. I’ve long had a love affair with the waffles there — so much so that when I revisit Parks and Recreation every few months and Leslie Knope professes her love for the waffles at JJ’s Diner or bites into one, I imagine biting into a waffle from Cafe Kaila, and then, you know, immediately want one.
When you think about it, waffles are a rather simple dish and yet, I only ever want them from Cafe Kaila. Theirs are light and fluffy, always perfectly crisp and sweet but not overwhelming. Plus, I always add fruits to give it some flavor and texture.
But for the sake of trying something new, I opted for a lunch item instead —yes, there is a lunch menu with salads, sandwiches and pastas, among other items, starting at 11 a.m.
The paninis all sounded good, and there was a pasta I was on the verge of ordering, but it was the Roasted Chicken and Avocado Salad that caught my eye. (I ate out the entire weekend and was looking for something light, OK?)
It was pretty much the best decision ever. Yes, it was “just” a salad, but it was loaded with grape tomatoes, cucumbers and avocado, and the honey Dijon dressing was light and tangy. Oh, and two pieces of toasted focaccia bread somehow made everything feel substantial and hearty.
The entire experience proved that Cafe Kaila certainly is good for more than just its waffles — though, come on, the waffles seriously are the best.
FOOD TO WATCH: COOKED
Debuting this weekend on Netflix is four-part docuseries Cooked. It’s based off of Michael Pollan’s 2013 book, which also was broken up into four parts — Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Each section details its importance to cooking as Pollan learned to prepare various foods as he sought to better feed his family.
Personally, I’m stoked, and I’d recommend cramming the book in before jumping into the series, which will be available for streaming today (Feb. 19).