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Waking Up with My Cup of Tea – Coffee

Columns Ono, You Know

May 21, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Iknow it’s Sunday and you’ve probably just crawled out of bed, perhaps still lamenting the end of a great weekend. Need a quick pick-me-up? How about a nice cup of Joe to get your day started off right? Nothing, and I do mean nothing, beats the alluring aroma of freshly brewed coffee to awaken your senses.

And coffee is good for you! Recent studies show that coffee drinkers are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and dementia than non-drinkers. Also, coffee lovers are known to have fewer cases of certain cancers (prostate cancer for men, according to a group of Harvard scientists; breast cancer for women, according to a Swedish study) heart rhythm problems and strokes.

This week, I decided to get things started off right by gathering energy — and high levels of antioxidants — from the beloved coffee bean that we all adore. I now invite all of you to come along with me and wake up at the following “Ono, You Know” cafe stops, where the coffee tastes like freshly ground heaven!

Saigon House

  • The author and Mandy Nguyen (left), owner of Saigon House, say "cheers!" to Vietnamese-style coffee.
  • Saigon House's Vietnamese-style Coffee ($2) is a wonderful pick-me-up on those lethargic days.
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Mandy Nguyen, owner of Saigon House, knows exactly what it takes to give you that extra dose of energy to get you going on those lazy days (and trust me, we all have days like this that occur more often than we would like). According to Nguyen, if you grab one cup of Vietnamese-style coffee, you’ll be good to go.

“The special thing about Vietnamese-style Coffee ($2) is that the coffee itself is very strong, and then we blend it with sweetened condensed milk to sweeten it up some,” says Nguyen, who opened the doors to her South King Street eatery last December.

Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of plain black coffee, which is why Vietnamese coffee is the perfect choice for me. The creamy texture and sweet flavor of the condensed milk are a match made in heaven when combined with the extra jolt of caffeine.

“We serve our coffee hot or cold, so it’s always made to your liking,” she adds. “This is a very authentic Vietnamese-style coffee, and you would easily find something like this in Vietnam.”

Yet, I’m incredibly grateful that I don’t have to travel far to enjoy this exquisite blend of wake-me-up goodness. So, the next time you’re in need of an energy boost, put your faith in the coffee at Saigon House. Your weary body will thank you.

Saigon House
2743 S. King St.
(808) 942-4577
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JJ’s Bistro & French Pastry

  • Chef's Special Coffee ($4.50) from JJ's Bistro & French Pastry, has a hint of orange curacao to give it a unique flavor.
  • JJ Luangkhot offers patrons his Chef's Special Coffee, along with a vibrant tea that will give you the perfect boost of energy.
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Rub the sleep from your tired eyes and wake up to the delight of illycafe’s finest Italian coffee, served fresh at JJ’s Bistro & French Pastry on Waialae Avenue. Executive chef and owner JJ Luangkhot is known for his French pastry delicacies, but he also knows how to put the pep in your step with his famous coffees — whether it be a brewed coffee that you’re after, a French press, or perhaps something a bit more extravagant.

Does the Caffe Americano ($2.50) tickle your fancy? Or rather, the Caffee Macchiato ($2.75) with the welcoming aroma of illycafe’s espresso topped with foam milk? Truly, there are many options to select from at JJ’s Bistro & French Pastry.

However, the Chef’s Special Coffee is what really gets my attention. For $4.50, this cup of Joe provides a shot of extra energy during those mid-day slumps — you know, that exact moment when your desk starts resembling a pillow? Yup, the Chef’s Special Coffee will save you from your boss having to wake you from the sweetest of dreams. This exquisite drink features an irresistible latte with orange curacao topped with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Curacao itself is a liqueur flavored with the dried peel of the laraha citrus fruit, grown on the island of Curacao. Delicious!

“This particular drink wasn’t actually made on purpose,” says Luangkhot, laughing. “I accidentally added orange liqueur to my coffee and it tasted good. Now people love it!”

JJ’s Bistro & French Pastry
3447 Waialae Ave.
(808) 739-0993
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La Palme D’or Patisserie

  • La Palme D'or's Jelly Mocha Au Lait ($4.85) is a favorite among coffee lovers.
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Spoil yourself with the finest of pastries and an assortment of “sweet nothings” at La Palme D’or Patisserie, where owner Hiromi Tanaka and the rest of her talented staff, including head chef Akiko Kimura, present loyal patrons with a unique blend of French flavor and Japanese crafts-manship.

And while I love to treat myself to something delicious every now and then, it’s the delectable Jelly Mocha Au Lait ($4.85) that I am whole-heart-edly in love with. Yes, it had me at first sip!

This divine creation features coffee jelly au lait with La Palme D’or’s original iced chocolate made from the finest French-produced dark chocolate and rich creamy cocoa milk. It’s my drink of choice as it’s creamy and rich in flavor — yet not overpowering in the least — giving me just the right amount of pick-me-up. Call me an addict, but I can’t walk by the store without yearning for a sip of the Jelly Mocha Au Lait. It also can be made to your liking; whether you fancy whole milk, soy milk or sans milk — it’s up to you. La Palme D’or Patisserie has everything your heart desires, thus making your day all the brighter.

La Palme D’or Patisserie
Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
(808) 941-6161
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