Brunch at Tilia Exquisite Aloha, Honolulu

Tilia Exquisite Aloha is a cafe located directly beneath the yoga studio I teach at in Waikiki (Yogaloha). If you haven’t already surmised by the name, it is a very Japanese-targeted (and possibly/probably owned) place. When I saw it pop up on Groupon, I figured it was a good time to check it out. One weekend after my class, Kiyo and I went for brunch. It definitely felt like a tourist destination and I don’t enjoy the decor, which combines retail along the walls of the restaurant.


We split two items: a waffle sandwich (I don’t know… but their menu seemed to feature this oddity, so we went for it) and a pitaya bowl. The sandwich sounds like it would be good (turkey, lettuce, tomato, cheese, green apple) but it just wasn’t. So far, all waffle-sandwiches I’ve tried have been terrible (remember this one?) and this was no exception. It sounds like possibly a good idea to make a sandwich on a waffle, because you’d get salty and sweet, but it just doesn’t work. The salad and small side of fruit I liked a lot, except the dressing was way too sweet and ruined it for me.


Pitaya, also known as dragon fruit, has gained a lot of popularity lately in Hawaii. It can be used to make pitaya bowls, similar to the beloved acai bowl. Our bowl was awesome; it came with yogurt, granola, honey and lots of fresh fruit. I really enjoyed it, but it would have been pricey without our Groupon.

Tilia Exquisite Aloha

Location: 403 Kaiolu St., Honolulu, Hawaii 96815 Phone : 808-888-2011

Review: Moringa Powder

moringa leaf powder

When I read that moringa is a plant that has more vitamins, minerals, proteins, anti-oxidants and amino-acids than any other food in the world, my first thought was “I need to add this to my morning smoothies!” So I did.

Moringa powder

Moringa is a genus of shrubs and trees with multi-purpose uses: its leaves, roots and   immature pods are consumed as a vegetable. The leaves are used fresh or dried and ground into powder (from the Food & Agricultural Organization website). All parts of the moringa tree are edible; isn’t that cool?

The leaves are the most nutritious part of the plant, which is why Green Virgin Products uses 100% leaves in their moringa powder. It’s the only ingredient in the product; I love finding packaged products that aren’t loaded with additives and preservatives!


Just one package of this powder has 60 servings, which is great. Available for purchase on their website, the package retails for $49.95, which comes out to less than a dollar per serving. The super-nutritious powder contains:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Protein
  • Fiber

According to WebMD, the plant is used to combat anemia); arthritis and other joint pain; asthma; cancer; constipation; diabetes; diarrhea; epilepsy; stomach pain; stomach and intestinal ulcers; intestinal spasms; headache; heart problems; high blood pressure; kidney stones; fluid retention; thyroid disorders; and bacterial, fungal, viral, and parasitic infections. It’s basically a cure-all, and I love working items such as this into my daily meals.

FullSizeRender (2)

I made my smoothie with tart cherry juice, aloe water, lemon juice, acai berry powder, moringa powder, a frozen apple banana, ice and chia seeds. It looks like mud, I’m aware, but it tasted great! Even Kiyo, who usually holds his nose and chugs my green morning concoctions, made a comment that this is the best green powder I’ve used. I’m telling you, coming from him after two years of green smoothies, that means a lot! He noticed on his own; I didn’t even mention to him that I’d used something new. The moringa powder flavor is less intense than many other green powders I’ve used, and the texture is better because it’s ground so fine (you can tell in the first picture in this post). I know it’s probably hard to believe from this smoothie picture, but it does have a good taste. I’m definitely keeping this new ingredient in my morning smoothies!

Have you tried anything new and interesting lately?

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Dick’s Drive-In, Seattle

Dick's Seattle

Every city has one of those greasy, sometimes hated-on, but totally delicious local fast-food joints. In Hawaii, we have Zippy’s; in Seattle, there’s Dick’s. If you’re looking for the all-American burger, look no further. The location I visited is not technically a drive-in, but it has the vibe.


Obviously this is no gourmet restaurant, but it truly satisfies. They use beef that is never frozen, locally made buns delivered fresh daily, and real potatoes hand cut daily. Oh yeah, and the cheeseburger is less than TWO DOLLARS. Yep, it’s only $1.65 for a cheeseburger. Same price for the fries (which is “one size fits all”). So a full meal, sugary beverage included, is less than $5. This pricing is comparable to McDonald’s and beats them on quality… who knew it could be done!? Strangely, ketchup costs five cents, but when you’re getting such a deal, who cares?


The first Dick’s opened in 1954, and burgers were originally only nineteen cents. Nineteen cents! Although they rarely advertise, Dick’s is an award-winning joint that’s a favorite among locals; that’s how you know it’s good.

Dick’s Drive-In

Location: 500 Queen Anne Ave N Seattle, WA

Dick's Drive-In on Urbanspoon

What I Ate Wednesday: Astoria

WIAW instant coffeeBreakfast: Sorry to reuse some pictures from last week’s WIAW post, but this was the day after and so I had a few of the same things! Again, instant coffee with organic soy milk & stevia…

banana chocolate soy smoothie

Breakfast: I needed to finish up the rest of the soy milk so I also made a smoothie with it: I just used some dark-chocolate syrup and a banana, and it was delicious!

WIAW hummus

Snack #1: six rosemary / olive oil crackers and homemade roasted red-pepper hummus, again.

lemon detox tea WIAW

Snack #2: I had a detox tea and then went to a one-hour vinyasa yoga class.

photo 2 (1)

Lunch: leftovers! This time it was some homemade honey banana cornbread with butter, and homemade red cabbage cole slaw.

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Dinner at Ngam, New York

Ngam pad see ew

Ngam is a fun, high-energy restaurant in the East Village that serves “modern Thai comfort food”. They serve only hormone-free beef, chicken and pork as well as use organic and cage free eggs and dairy products; they are vegan and gluten-free friendly as well, and I love the way the menu really embraces a wide range of ingredients and some modern flair, while also offering traditional Thai fare.

Kiyo and I split two dishes; the first, and my favorite, was the “Pad See Ewe” – Smokey Wok Charred Noodles w/ Black Soy Sauce. A more vegetable-heavy version of the classic Thai flat-noodle dish, this had chicken, farm eggs, broccoli, kale and cauliflower. I absolutely loved this dish and didn’t want to share with Kiyo (but sadly I had to, since I’d already promised). My one complaint is that some items are a bit overpriced, especially when good Thai restaurants are a dime a dozen in NYC; this dish was $14 and the below burger was $16. However, we checked in (on Yelp, I believe) and each got one free drink, which made the total tab seem much more fair.

Ngam burger NYC

Our second split item was the “Sai Oor Farang” Thai Burger, a 7oz hormone-free beef patty with homemade “saioor” curry paste, cilantro lime mayo, green papaya kraut and Chiang Mai fries (kabocha pumpkin, sweet potato, homemade red curry mayo, sweet and sour peanut relish). The fries were almost like tempura and were amazing (I could have eaten even more than I did). The burger wasn’t much like regular beef burgers; the meat was more finely ground and tasted like lemongrass, which made it almost more like a gyro than a burger. It was good, and interesting, but it wouldn’t satisfy if you were in the mood for a real cheeseburger. And, I’d prefer my pad see ewe, which was just to die for.

A few items I’d love to go back and try:

  • “Prik King” Brussels Sprouts
  • Beet Dumplings – Farm fresh beet dumplings, homemade hand-rolled egg noodles, homemade kao soy curry, pickled mustard, shallot, cilantro
  • Pomelo Salad – Pomelo, tamarind & chili dressing, crispy shallot, toasted coconut, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, peanut
  • Lamb “Massaman” Roti Potpie – Locally raised lamb shoulder, cashews, sweet potatoes, homemade “massaman” curry, roti bread, cucumber “a-jard”
  • Papaya Pad Thai – Green papaya noodles, Ngam’s Pad Thai sauce, farm eggs, peanuts, garlic, chive, tofu. Choice of chicken, pork, beef, tofu, or vegetable


Location: 99 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10003 Phone: (212) 777-8424

NGam on Urbanspoon