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Friday, February 8, 2013

Blue Tree Cafe: a stylish new health-focused cafe

Blue Tree Cafe is the sort of cafe you'd find in LA: stylish with dark wood floors and brick walls, quirky with bicycles as wall art, a menu with kombucha, green smoothies and raw, vegan food. Restaurateur Kevin Aoki (son of Benihana founder Rocky Aoki) started this cafe as well as Doraku, located right next door.

There's much to be excited about—local coffee beans roasted by Downtown Coffee, a not too vinegary, lightly fizzy house-brewed kombucha, a miso lime kale salad, and a raw, vegan zucchini spaghetti, with long strands of the squash serving as pasta. Who would have guessed that two places serving raw vegan lasagna (the other being Greens and Vines) would open on the same block within months of each other?

Overall, however, the food and drinks are not as polished as the decor. A pineapple scone is dry with pockets of gumminess; the vegan protein bar leaves a soapy aftertaste. The Very Verde, a green smoothie including kale and avocado, is not cold, nor blended properly—bits of the vegetable and an entire stalk remain. "Minus 20 points!" says my token vegan friend who is usually just happy to be in the presence of veganness.

A house made, fresh-pressed almond milk shows promise, though a sourness and too many vanilla beans overwhelm the almond flavor (there are so many beans that they leave a layer of sediment at the bottom of my cup). Perhaps it's better in a latte.

There are lovely mugs on display. I wish I could have used them; on two visits, despite ordering "for here," I get my coffee in paper cups.

Hopefully all these little things can be fixed with training and time (Blue Tree Cafe has been open for a month and a half); the space is too pleasant to have to pass up.

Blue Tree Cafe, 1009 Kapiolani Blvd., 591-0101,

Posted on Friday, February 8, 2013 in Permalink

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About This Column

From five-star restaurants to hidden holes-in-the-wall, Biting Commentary will let you know what’s hot and what’s not. Find out the latest restaurant news—who’s opening, who’s closing, which chef is moving on, where the great special dinners are. Discover the best menu items, fabulous wines, stunning cocktails, hand-crafted beers. Be the first to hear about upcoming food events and festivals.

Food editor Martha Cheng graduated from Wellesley College with degrees in Computer Science and English. She's a former line cook, food truck owner, Peace Corps volunteer and Google techie. Follow her on Twitter @marthacheng.


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