It's the oh-so famous Brazilian berry that packs a punch as a modern-day superfood. Acai (ah-sigh-EE) is known for the dark purple colors it leaves on your tongue and teeth, and of course, the just as colorful health benefits for your body. Loaded with antioxidants and fibers, the tiny berry-like fruit may help with weight loss and anti-aging, research suggests. And it's even been given the thumbs up by Oprah, so it must be a good thing, right?
Acai berries can be mixed and mingled into many different tasty treats, like the acai bowl.
Now for some acai in Ha-wai-i. It's everywhere – in juices, chocolates, frozen fruit bars and most commonly in the acai cup or bowl. If you get the bowl, then you'll find even more good-for-you-stuff, like granola, honey, strawberries, bananas, blueberries and bee pollen.
I used to be obsessed with acai bowls, having one at least three times a week – after a run, a surf or for dinner. Earlier this week, I caught up with some friends over a few refreshing bowls of the purple goodness. I guess you could say this was an equivalent to a coffee date, as most spots offer comfy seating areas to add to an already chill vibe. The blend of sweet, tangy, crunchy and chewy is instantly addictive for anyone. When you're in the islands, check out some of these go-to acai in Ha-wai-i spots.
Catching up with friends is always better with a mouthful of acai.
1) Lanikai Juice / O‘ahu: Kailua, Kahala, Hale‘iwa / www.lanikaijuice.com/hawaii
Despite its name, this place has expanded to almost all sides of O‘ahu. They use 100 percent fresh juices and organic ingredients whenever possible, taking the acai bowl to a new level by adding chocolate to the mix. Lanikai Juice has been recognized by numerous publications and featured on Oprah.
2) Diamond Head Cove Health Bar / O‘ahu: Honolulu / www.diamondheadcove.com
A popular spot for surfers, runners and families that frequent the Diamond Head area. Their acai has lots of mana (power), especially in "Da 'Mana' Cove Bowl." But for an ultra native fix, try "Da Hawaiian," which is made with Waiahole Waikane kalo.
3) Blue Hawaii Lifestyle / Ala Moana Shopping Center and Downtown Honolulu / www.bluehawaiilifestyle.com
A juice bar and cafe in one, Blue Hawaii Lifestyle sells acai bowls, coffees, teas, juices and books. The acai bowls are affordable and good-sized portions, topped with a load of granola and fresh fruits.
4) Jamba Juice / Throughout Hawai‘i / www.jambajuicehawaii.com
One of Jamba's newer menu items, the acai addition comes blended in a cup, bowl or as a superfruit shot. They use real whole fruit and other natural ingredients to make your taste buds go bananas.
5) The Coconut Cup Juice Bar & Cafe / Kaua‘i: Kapa‘a / www.coconutcupjuicebar.com
On the way to Kaua‘i's many beaches, stop by for a refreshing acai bowl. They use all organic ingredients and put coconut, vanilla soymilk and papayas inside, too!
6) Jewel or Juice / O‘ahu: Kaimuki, Kailua / www.jewelorjuice.com
This hole-in-the-wall in Kaimuki has expanded to a second store in Kailua. Check out their new deluxe acai bowl with goji berries or some of their handmade jewelry.
December 30th, 2011