‘Thin-spired’ by Hummus

Columns Ono, You Know

October 7, 2012

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel

Happy Sunday, Ono readers! Recently, I’ve been eating like there’s no tomorrow. Oh, who am I kidding? We all know I always eat like there’s no tomorrow! Yes, I have no discipline. Well, guess what, folks? The battle of the bulge has crept up on me — my clothes aren’t fitting! So therefore, I must reactivate my gym membership and cut down on my portion sizes. And while you may tempt me with onolicious cuisine, I am being smart with my decisions. So, while I may crave with all my might the greasiest pizzas or cartons full of ice cream, I must go with my gut and pick the healthier — albeit delicious — options.

This week, it’s all about hummus. For those of you who don’t know, hummus is a Middle Eastern and Arabic dip or spread usually made from cooked, mashed chick-peas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Served with crackers, pita bread or veggies, hummus makes for a simple, low-fat meal that will leave your taste buds happy.

Therefore, if you’re a health nut or not, it doesn’t matter, come along with me and let’s get “thin-spired” by hummus at the following Ono, You Know establishments!

Kissaten Coffee Bar

Feeling sluggish and need a jolt back to life? Kissaten is the answer at all hours of the day and night. With morning, afternoon, evening and late-night menus to appease your hunger, this Piikoi Street coffee bar welcomes early risers and night owls with a cup of joe, and the office crowd with an outof-this-world grilled cheese sandwich and bowl of tomato bisque soup. But that’s just skimming the surface. Kissaten was founded in December 2010 by distant cousins Neysa Taba, Jon Ishimi and Sean Ishizaki. All three now serve as senior partners of the establishment, which centers around comfort food with a gourmet twist, featuring Japanese, French and Italian culinary influences.

“A Mediterranean favorite would have to be our Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Platter ($7),” Taba says.

A great choice for those who are health conscious, this dish is found on the salad portion of the menu and features fresh pita bread and homemade red pepper hummus.

“The hummus is zesty and tangy; comprised of garbanzo beans, garlic, roasted red bell peppers, lemon juice, chickpeas and olive oil,” Taba explains, adding that sliced cucumbers, olives, red onions and feta cheese also adorn the plate and pair well with the hummus.

Recently, hummus has been growing in popularity, and it’s perfect to eat on your own as a meal in itself or share with a group of friends as an appetizer. No matter how you choose to polish off this dish, there will be no regrets.

Remember, it’s BYOB at Kissaten, and for the complete Mediterranean experience, enjoy a glass of wine with the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Platter.

Kissaten Coffee Bar
88 Piikoi St.

Cafe Central

Steering away from corporate coffee chains and creating a niche all its own is Cafe Central, located in the First Hawaiian Center lobby in downtown Honolulu. Owners Mary and Max Suiter opened this hidden gem last November and say that Cafe Central is the holy grail of coffee.

First and foremost, we’re known for great coffee,” Mary says. “My brother-inlaw has been in the coffee industry for about 19 years and is our roaster here. We have special blends that are unique to Cafe Central, such as our Kona blend, which is our house blend, as well as our espresso blend.”

And when you have stellar coffee, you need superlative cuisine to go with it. According to Mary, each item is made to please you, be it the Classic Cafe Chicken Club, Asian Chicken Salad or Homemade Hummus Plate.

“People who have tried our hummus really love it, and they like that we make it fresh here,” Mary states. “This dish is a wonderful and healthy option on our menu; we also try to use local ingredients as much as possible. I love taking trips to the farmers market.”

Cafe Central’s Homemade Hummus Plate ($5.95) features warm pita bread, carrots and celery with a classic hummus. Egg, chicken and feta cheese can be added for an additional cost.

When it’s time to wake up and you’re hungry for hummus, know that Cafe Central’s Homemade Hummus Plate is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cafe Central
First Hawaiian Center lobby
999 Bishop St.


Things are heating up at one of Sheraton Waikiki’s most-coveted restaurants, RumFire. Executive chef Brett Villarmia describes the restaurant’s exceptional fare as “social comfort food,” which goes hand-in-hand with the picturesque setting overlooking Diamond Head crater.

Locals and tourists alike frequent the establishment to grab a quick bite to eat or to spend an entire afternoon taking in the tempting flavors of RumFire’s Yukon French Fries, Sticky Chicken Wings and Market Fresh Fish Tacos, to name a few.

While everything on the menu is divine, this time I opted for the healthy alternative, Crisps and Dip. Available on RumFire’s lunch menu. Crisps and Dip features garlic and kalamata olive crispy flatbread paired with Villarmia’s own edamame hummus. I was excited to sample this new take on hummus, and boy, oh boy, was I pleased.

“Edamame hummus is my local-style version of the traditional garbanzo bean hummus. It features fresh edamame, cumin, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil,” Villarmia says.

Although it seems like a no-brainer, I would have never thought of substituting garbanzo beans for edamame, which makes Villarmia a true genius.

“I grew up eating a lot of edamame as a kid, so I thought it would be a nice to incorporate it into the hummus for everyone to enjoy,” he adds.

Crisps and Dip is a very light and refreshing lunch option, and fortunately won’t give you that kanak attack if you have to get back to work. Better yet, the edamame hummus is low in fat and perfect for vegans.

Sheraton Waikiki
2255 Kalakaua Ave.

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