The Restaurant: The Beetbox Cafe 66-443 Kamehameha Hwy Haleiwa, Hawaii 96712 Located inside Celestial Natural Foods. Phone (808) 637-3000. Vegetarian + Vegan
The Dish: Portabella Stache’wich served with tortilla chips and salsa $11.00
The Rave: I guess I never thought about it before but a sliced mushroom does kinda look like a mustache, doesn’t it? This sammie is what all other portabella burgers wish they could be. Grilled portabella mushrooms get slathered with a Vegenaise based garlic aioli, tucked into a toasted wheat bun and topped with the crisp freshness of raw red onions, red bell peppers and sunflower sprouts. Every bite is a savory vacation to Umami Land. The toasted bun holds up well against dripping juices from the meaty ‘shrooms but you may have to opt for eating with a fork and knife near the end. Washed it all down with the Green Juice of the Day, a cooling mixture of apple, kale, dandelion greens and parsley, and left with a smile.
The Notes: Call to check hours before your visit. If you get there early, you might be lucky enough to try the vegan chocolate walnut cookies for dessert. The person in front of us took the last one, GAH! Vegetarians can indulge in the ice cream sandwiches (rumor is they’re awesome) to satisfy a sweet tooth. Or head down the road to Matsumoto’s or Aoki’s for Hawaiian shave ice.
The Caveat: Table seating is very limited. Dining in the cafe with a group of more than four will likely be impossible. There is no air conditioning inside the cafe and even in mild February weather, it felt swampy with 90% humidity in the small space. Either arm yourself with insect repellent or opt to take your food to-go like most of the locals.
It’s been fun to hang out with Hannah Kaminsky from BitterSweetBlog during her visit to Hawai’i. She ordered the Zen tofu scramble, packed with veggies and seasoned with curry.
While driving out to the North Shore of Oahu, we stopped at China Man’s Hat, La’ie Rock Bridge, Turtle Bay, Waimea and ended the day sipping on a fresh coconut at Sunset Beach. If you don’t have a personal tour guide, I recommend the *Oahu Revealed guide book to help you navigate the island. I like this guide because it lists the spots to see in the order you will approach them on your drive.
Disclaimer: *This post contains Amazon affiliate links