June 14, 2014
June 07, 2015
If you haven’t heard of Jess Da Best acai bowls, you are missing out. They have more than 18,600 followers on Instagram, so the bowls must be good, right? Well, this Kapolei operation occasionally does pop-ups in Honolulu. The bowls are beautiful and topped with an insane amount of fruits. The $9.50 pitaya bowl typically includes strawberries, coconut, honeydew, watermelon, pineapple, honey and granola. There are a range of fruit add-ons that include pineapple and sometimes grapes, apples and blueberries. The most popular add-on is a homemade egg-free cookie dough, which you eat raw.
525 Farrington Hwy, Kapolei, 808-561-9386
March 23, 2015
Posted on March 23, 2015 by Jamie Kim
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.
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.
Jessica Kamanao will tell you she’s been making these bowls since forever. She started with the goal of providing customers 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
Keep up with both on Instagram, where it all started: @jessdabestacaibowls and @drinkjugolife.
BUSINESS // ENTREPRENEURS
Customers Bring Business Back To Life
Posted on May 21, 2014 by Christina O’Connor | Email the author | Entrepreneurs
When Jessica and Kalani Kamana’o moved to Kapolei from the east side, they had a difficult time finding a place that served tasty, quality acai bowls. So Jess started making them herself. Her friends and family loved her twist on the standard acai bowl – hers includes a wide range of toppings – so she started selling them out of her home last October.
“From there, it just took off. It went crazy,” recalls Jess
The business, now called HICravings (formerly Jess Da Best Acai Bowls), quickly drew in a slew of customers to her home or other drop sites. The wait could be more than an hour, but customers didn’t seem to care. But because Jess and Kalani were operating out of their own kitchen rather than a commercial one, they were shut down by the state Department of Health in February. For a while, they weren’t sure about the fate of their homegrown business. But the couple was determined, and after weeks of scouting potential venues and raising funds HICravings opened its first store earlier this month at 533 Manawai St. unit 304 (bottom level) in Kapolei – complete with a commercial kitchen.
“Since the first day, we have had a line out the door,” Jess says, adding that people begin lining up well before the store opens. “We were so anxious to get back to serving everybody.”
-- Kalani and Jess Kamana‘o --
These dedicated customers were crucial in HICravings landing a permanent location. It was their support via a crowdfunding campaign that allowed Jess to raise enough money to rent the space.
Acai bowls standardly come with banana, granola, and maybe strawberries and blueberries, and while HICravings’ bowls are brimming with all of those ingredients, options also include mango, watermelon, kiwi, pineapple, vanilla or chocolate chips, specialty honey and homemade cookie dough. (That might sound like a strange combination, but it all goes together incredibly well, in my opinion. The cookie dough, especially, is a surprising treat.) In addition to acai, HICravings also offers pitaya (dragon fruit). All fruit is cut fresh daily. Prices start at $7.50.
If its customers’ dedication is any indication, HICravings does seem to have a downright addictive product. Jess and Kalani report that they have customers drive in from town, North Shore and Kailua. Mary Miyamoto, one of Jess’ early customers who now works in the shop, says that after trying HICravings for the first time several months ago, she “had to have it again and again.”
“It was just so delicious that I wanted it every day,” says Miyamoto. “I am just hooked.”
Call 561-9386, or visit facebook.com/JessDaBestAcaiBowls or instagram.com/jessdabestacaibowls. HICravings is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Closed on Wednesdays and Sundays. Catering also is available.