For some reasons, I did not have any acai bowls during my one week stay in Honolulu back in 2012. I was busy running after shrimp trucks, tropical fruit platters including super sweet pineapples, shaved ice, and some other Hawaiian and Japanese dishes.
It wasn’t until last year, in 2016, when I had my very first bowl. I tried some non-acai smoothie bowls in DC in spring 2016, which I really enjoyed. But it wasn’t until during a road trip from San Francisco to L.A. that got me hooked to acai bowls.
We found this place, Aloha Coffee and Cafe in Monterey, while driving down Route 1 back in September. It’s a decent sized space with a large window and lots of natural light. There were bar seatings by the window, as well as some bistro tables and high tables across the cafe. It was only open for a couple months at that time, a fairly new place.
We got here early in the morning and found ourselves the only 2 customers here. The shop owner, Mai, was nice and friendly and we chatted a little. She talked about life in Hawaii, the newly open cafe (they had no social media accounts nor a website back then!) and about her husband. The place was very welcoming with chilled vibe, exactly how you’d feel when in Hawaii.
I ordered my very first official acai bowl and was blown away! You know what they say, you never forget your first! My initial impression of the bowl was “Wow, it’s so pretty!!” It came in a cute wooden bowl, the acai was just the right texture, not too soupy, topped with a generous amount of banana, blueberries and strawberries, some granola and bee pollen add-on.
I was never a fan of bee pollen as a child. My mom used to force me to take some everyday, because it is believed to help with better skin. We have a family friend who owns a honey and bee products company, and the two sons from the family both have super smooth acne free skin. They were like the walking, living and breathing proof of benefits of bee pollen, plus, mom always got her hands on some top quality bee pollen from the family friends… However, younger me wasn’t a fan of the taste, color, and odd texture and took it with water as if it was poison.
Bee pollen 1, meerkat 0, for round 1.
That day at Aloha Coffee and Cafe somehow made me feel adventurous (I mean, that road trip by itself was already an adventure for me, why not try more new things?) hence the bee pollen add-on. The bee pollen actually tasted quite good when eaten with the acai blend and fruits. The next 6 months after that, I always requested bee pollen add-on for my acai bowls when available.
That made to order acai bowl kept me going all day, and did not give me any stomachache/cramps, which usually happens to me with breakfast. That’s how I got hooked, because I felt great!!! We all have read the benefits of acai berries, as well as other fruits that come with it. As a fruit lover with serious sweet tooth addiction, acai bowl is just perfect for me and that’s how my love of acai bowl began…
PS. They also have WAFFLES