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Giving My All for Green Tea

Columns Ono, You Know

June 2, 2012

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Green Tea. Mention those two luxurious words and a certain peace comes over me. Sure, you must think I’m exaggerating, but this is no joke. Whether it’s served hot or cold, green tea is one of my all-time drinks of choice. Who can resist the many health benefits that come along with it, including the belief that many regular green tea drinkers have a lower risk of developing heart disease and certain types of cancer, not to mention its benefits as an antioxidant?! Hello to younger looking skin and good health! In my opinion, green tea just may be heaven sent.

So, this week instead of brewing myself a pot of green tea, I decided to embrace my love for this tea leaf (green tea is made solely from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis) and search for some superlative green tea creations. And believe me when I say I found a few at the following Ono, You Know establishments that I went absolutely gaga for!

JJ Bistro & French Pastry

Green tea shenanigans are well under way at JJ Bistro & French Pastry, where executive chef and owner JJ Luangkhot’s remarkable works of art define pure and utter decadence. Here at this Waialae Avenue establishment, presentation is just so pristine that you’re almost hesitant to take a bite fearing you’ll destroy its captivating beauty. Luangkhot’s sweet Euro-Asian fare comprises the best in French cuisine with a dash of irresistible Asian charm.

“Green tea is very popular in Hawaii, and we have a couple of green tea items on our menu,” Luangkhot says. “The great thing about working with green tea is that even though it can be a bit bitter, it really goes well with sweet desserts because it balances out the flavors perfectly.”

Everyone knows I am addicted to sweets, and when enhanced with green tea flavoring, my oh my, I’m one happy gal! Here at JJ Bistro & French Pastry, I just had to sink my teeth into Green Tea Bavarian ($4.75). With a chocolate cake base, this sinful dessert is made with green tea-flavored mousse intermixed with a savory vanilla Bavarian. Trust me, it’s simply love at first bite — silky, smooth and sweet with a refreshing bite.

“Our Green Tea Bavarian is very light and a top pick with our customers, but Green Tea Cheesecake is just as good when you want something richer,” Luangkhot adds.

Priced at $3.95, Green Tea Cheesecake is a class above your average cheesecake. Luangkhot describes it as a basic New York Cheesecake embellished with green tea powder, and garnished with sprinkles of chocolate crumbs and a piece of chocolate for decor.

“When working with green tea, it can be tricky because you don’t want to diminish the flavor of the green tea — it’s very unique and light.”

Yes, it’s all about creating the perfect blend, and mind you, chef JJ Luangkhot is a pro!

JJ’s Bistro & French Pastry
3447 Waialae Ave.
739.0993
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Patisserie La Palme D’or

Patisserie La Palme D’or showers you with the sweetest nothings and has been doing so since 2006 when owner Hiromi Tanaka brought this exquisite Japanese pastry concept to Ala Moana Center. If you love decadent selections such as Palme Chocolat and Baked Cheesecake, this first-class patisserie is your heaven on earth. Head pastry chef Akiko Kimura is a whiz in the kitchen whipping up treats that are beyond compare as she incorporates only the best ingredients directly from Japan into her creations.

“What does Patisserie La Palme D’or offer when it comes to green tea?” I ask. Of course, I know it has to be good!

“We have Green Tea Roll Cake and La Macha ($4.45 each),” says Tanaka. “Both are made with green tea powder, which we get from Shizuoka, Japan, which is famous for its green tea farms.”

Green Tea Roll Cake ($4 per slice, $18 whole cake) features a green tea cream rolled in a light and fluffy green tea sponge cake. La Macha ($4.45 each) presents you with a layer of fine chocolate sponge cake topped with chocolate mousse, chocolate sponge cake, and finally completed with a layer of flavorful green tea mousse. Chef Akiko then garnishes it with cocoa powder and a morsel of decadent chocolate.

“Both desserts are well-liked by our customers,” Tanaka says. “Green tea is bitter, but in our desserts the green tea is not overpowering.”

Gift sets also are available for purchase and specialty cakes can be made to order. Simple elegance is what you’ll find here.

La Palme D’or Patisserie
Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
941.6161
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Kissaten Coffee Bar

Being the insomniac that I am, this 24-hour establishment is just what I need to satisfy my hunger at 4 a.m. Located on Piikoi Street and open daily, Kissaten Coffee Bar offers menus abundant with a fusion of cuisine that reflects your favorite comfort food with a gourmet twist.

And when it comes to green tea options, a visit to this renowned coffee bar wouldn’t be complete without a sip of Matcha Tea Latte ($3.50 small, $4 medium, $4.50 large).

“We start with the matcha (green tea) powder, which is a very concentrated flavor, and we mix it with milk and vanilla. It’s very natural,” says senior partner Neysa Taba. “Actually, Matcha Tea Latte is one of our most popular drinks, and perfect if you don’t want a lot of caffeine.”

You can opt to have your drink served hot or iced, and with summer just around the corner, I definitely recommend Kissaten’s Matcha Freeze ($4.25 small, $4.75 medium, $5.25 large), which is similar to Matcha Tea Latte, only blended.

Being that my body doesn’t always take well to tons of caffeine, these drinks are right up my alley. They’re a must-have for any green tea fanatic!

Kissaten is always adding new specials to its ever-expanding menu as well, so be on the lookout for that!

Kissaten Coffee Bar
88 Piikoi St.
593.1200
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