My second time at Greens & Vines, the newish raw vegan restaurant across Blaisdell Center, I’m trying to decide between living lasagna and zucchini pasta. One’s sun-dried tomato marinara and spinach pesto layered between zucchini strips and topped with a creamy mac nut “ricotta,” the other’s zucchini “noodles” tossed with marinara and olives. I choose living lasagna, but that’s not the point.
The point is that afterwards, craving homemade kombucha to complete my health-conscious lunch, I head down the same block to the newish Bluetree Cafe, the latest add to the Doraku Sushi empire, and I find — badump-bump — living lasagna and zucchini pasta!
What are the odds? I mean, how many places can you think of on the entire island where you can get these dishes, and seriously, how many people have even heard of living lasagna? Two new and completely separate restaurants open on the same block within weeks of each other, both serving different levels of vegan, vegetarian and health-conscious foods, and they’re both way better than you might think.
Greens & Vines bills itself as gourmet raw vegan, nothing cooked above 118 degrees to keep alive nutrients, enzymes and antioxidants for better digestion. If you know Licious Dishes from the farmers’ markets, this is Licious Dishes’ sit-down version, with a one-page menu of appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts and a three-page wine list.
Bluetree Cafe bills itself as delicious, organic and conscious. It’s a coffee and juice bar with Starbucks-style grab-and-go salads and chilled food (mostly uncooked, though there is a chicken sandwich), gluten-free, unbaked pastries, free Wifi and a younger vibe. It’s smack in between Doraku and the new Chai’s Island Bistro, soon to open in the Pacifica Building on Kapiolani Boulevard.
Here’s a taste of both.
Greens & Vines
Sampler Dips n Chips, $9.50
This, delish. Crispy, nutty, caramelized (dehydrated) oniony flatbreads with scoops of mac nut pureed with red pepper; a creamy triple-layer spread of sunflower seeds, guacamole and cashew "sour cream," and spicy coconut. A little pricey — these scoops are considerably smaller than ice cream scoops — but an app to order again, next time with white wine or a gentle sake.
Greens & Vines
909 Kapiolani Blvd.
Parking in building with entrances on Kapiolani and Waimanu
In the middle of the block: Bluetree Cafe, which belongs to the same restaurant group as Doraku. What's a coffee bar with vegetarian and vegan food doing alongside a fusion sushi bar with jam-packed happy hours? I'm getting older, says founder Kevin Aoki, and I'm trying to be healthier and support the community.
Not everything is vegan or vegetarian. Here, balsamic chicken sandwich, $9.25, is a modified caprese: mozzarella, basil and tomato with chicken breast and a balsamic vinegar dressing. Nice blend of flavors, but way bready.
1009 Kapiolani Blvd.
Parking in building, entrance on Kapiolani