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We Are Windward O‘ahu: Big-City Vibes, Small-Town Aloha

(Sponsored) On the other side of the Ko‘olau Mountains, over the Pali Highway, is a community buzzing with small-town charm. With lush hiking trails, turquoise beaches, sandy bays and a vibrant array of local business, Windward O‘ahu offers something for everyone.


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Lanikai Beach

 Photos: David Croxford and Aaron K. Yoshino

 

Good Eats

Post-beach bites, award-winning pancakes, gourmet Island fare. Enjoy all the ‘ono grinds the Windward Side has to offer, served with a generous side of aloha.

 

Cinnamons eggs benedict

 

Though the restaurant now boasts a location in Waikīkī (as well as Japan and, most recently, Las Vegas), many Honolulu diners still drive the extra miles (and brave a few more minutes of hunger) to eat at the OG Cinnamon’s in Kailua. Though you can’t go wrong with lunch, it’s the breakfast menu that people write about. Last year, Time Out USA listed Cinnamon’s guava chiffon pancakes among the top 15 best pancakes in America, saying: “This breakfast-food specialist is home to the island’s most creative pancakes … but it’s the tropical rendition featuring a beloved local fruit that deserves a spot in the pantheon of best pancakes.” This is the restaurant’s most iconic dish, and fans know the secret is in the syrups—one decadently creamy, the other refreshingly tart—which, when poured over a stack of fresh, fluffy pancakes, make a memorable treat. On the savory side are Cinnamon’s award-winning eggs Benedicts, equally as satisfying and creative as its pancakes, with flavor twists that include crab cake, kālua pork and corned beef, all topped with housemade Hollandaise sauce. No matter what you order, owner and longtime Windward resident Norman “Puna” Nam says, at Cinnamon’s, you can always expect fresh, wholesome ingredients and service with aloha. “Seeing the smile on our customers’ faces as they leave and hearing them say ‘we’ll be back’ is the best part of my day.”

 

Cinnamons pancakes

Guava chiffon pancakes

 

“This breakfast-food specialist is home to the island’s most creative pancakes … but it’s the tropical rendition featuring a beloved local fruit that deserves a spot in the pantheon of best pancakes.” —Time Out USA, top 15 pancakes in U.S.

 

Kalapawai

 

KKalapawai​ailua Town has grown a lot over the past few decades. Credit part of the neighborhood’s evolution to the Dymond family behind Kalapawai Market and Kalapawai Café & Deli, especially the late beloved Don Dymond. Since opening in 1932, Kalapawai Market has been the place to grab a coffee, a bite or to stock up on snacks for a day out, thanks to its ultra-convenient location just a stone’s throw from Kailua Beach. If you live in the area, you’re almost guaranteed to run into friends and neighbors there. “It’s a community gathering place,” says son Lindsey Dymond, who has spent nearly his entire life around the market. “Most of our regulars are neighbors and friends. We like to think of this as a second home for them.” The opening of Kalapawai Café & Deli gave residents an even better reason to stop by and talk story. By day, the restaurant keeps it casual, with groups in rubber slippers and beachwear refueling over sandwiches, salads, pizzas and grab-and-go meals. In the evening, Kalapawai transforms into a cozy, gourmet spot serving delectable dishes: Nalo greens dotted with bacon-wrapped figs and manchego cheese; fire-roasted Spanish octopus; and pillowy-soft sweet-pea and chèvre ravioli. All dishes are made with local ingredients and line-caught fish whenever possible. 

 

“Most of our regulars are neighbors and friends. We like to think of this as a second home for them.” — Lindsey Dymond, Kalapawai

 

Zia's caffe

Moloka‘i Sweet Potato Ravioli

 

In 1998, the Dymond family opened Zia’s Caffe in Kāne‘ohe. Since then, the restaurant’s Italian-inspired menu and friendly, casual atmosphere has been a popular neighborhood choice for lunch, dinner and pau hana. Zia’s holds true to the Dymond standard, and each dish, from the spaghetti and meatballs to the Moloka‘i sweet potato ravioli, is made with high-quality, fresh ingredients sourced locally whenever possible. The most recent addition to Zia’s offerings includes a weekend breakfast menu—best enjoyed with any of its morning “eye opener” cocktails, of course.

 

Konos

Fast break: Refuel with perfect, post-surf eats.

 

WKono'se’ve seen people getting inked to commemorate kids, spouses, even pets. But restaurants? Now that’s love. Kono’s in Kailua, offering healthful, fast-casual dining with a surf-inspired atmosphere, gives anyone sporting a tattoo of its logo—a surfboard-riding pig—25 percent off for the rest of their lives. And there have already been several takers. “Kono’s food and service with ‘extra aloha’ really make it stand out,” says Anna Piergallini, director of sales and marketing. “Some patrons love coming here so much that they do become part of our Tattoo Crew.” The proof is in the photos: Fresh, classic ingredients (including its signature 12-hour slow-roasted kālua pork), post-surf portions, and an award-winning menu of breakfast burritos, wraps and handcrafted milkshakes have patrons hooked. However, it’s the outstanding customer service that keeps them coming back.

 

“Some patrons love coming here so much that they do become part of our Tattoo Crew.” — Anna Piergallini, Kono’s

 

Noa Noa

The Ginger Dress

Sun, Surf, Style

Near the entrance to Kailua Town and across the street from Kalapawai Café & Deli, Noa Noa Hawai‘i’s newest storefront shines with breezy, beach-chic fashion in custom-printed patterns. Owner Joan Simon Smoyer designs each print, drawing inspiration from traditional Native Hawaiian tapa and cultures around the world. She creates fade-resistant prints rich in color and depth using the batik method. These beautiful and versatile prints help Smoyer’s pieces transition seamlessly among surf, work and weekend. Last year, Noa Noa debuted a new swimwear line—offered in a wide range of styles and coverage, from the darling Mana one-piece to daringly tiny separates—which, in addition to its selection of unique, hard-to-find home goods from abroad, jewelry, and styles for men and children, gives shoppers yet another reason to stop by.

 


 

Kailua

 

Community Matters

Convenient urban offerings and lush tropical surroundings have made Windward O‘ahu an attractive choice for Island residents. Despite an appearance of big-city living, neighborhoods still have plenty of small-town aloha, preserved by community-minded individuals and businesses who call this special place home.

 

Pali Momi

Beauty: Look and feel your best at the new Pali MediSpa

 

Trying to balance work, a personal life and health can get complicated fast. Thankfully, Pali Women’s Health Center offers comprehensive health care and services for O‘ahu’s women. Founded in 1984 by board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Susan Chapman, the center’s medical services offer pregnancy care, family planning and birth-control options, well-woman visits and treatment for gynecological problems. Now, the center’s newest service, Pali MediSpa, offers women even more options to look and feel their best through laser and cosmetic procedures. 

 

“Our collaborative team of board-certified, all-female physicians concentrate on being an invaluable resource for women,” says Chapman. “Now, it is gratifying to be able to combine beauty and health to make women look and feel good through the science of cosmetic and laser surgery.”

 

Treatments offered by the OB-GYNs at Pali MediSpa include vaginal rejuvenation, removal of fat cells, skin tightening, body and face contouring, treatment for acne, surgical scars, stretch marks, pigmentation irregularities and hair removal.

 

There is a lot of confusion about what constitutes cosmetic surgery and/or laser surgery, Chapman says, and part of the physician’s job at Pali Women’s Health Center is to educate patients on available procedures and offer the best options for each woman’s specific issue. Mostly, she wants to assure their patients that cosmetic and laser surgery is safe, and most procedures are noninvasive and performed in-office. 

 

Trinity Christian School

 

A good education should do more than help students land a job. It should also teach the values and skills necessary for leading a balanced, mindful and inquisitive life. Using the classical method of teaching, the fully accredited Trinity Christian School encourages students to be lifelong learners, thinkers and doers beyond the classroom and workplace. Serving preschool through 12th grade, students learn from and build upon a variety of classical subjects throughout their education, all of which leads to a 20-minute senior thesis that must be defended to a panel of judges during the final year of schooling. Not surprisingly, Trinity students have an impressive record in Hawai‘i’s speech and debate tournaments, and students regularly qualify for state and national championships. As a capstone to the classically based curriculum, seniors travel to Europe, including England, France, Italy and Greece, for a two-week study tour with their classmates.

 

Small class sizes at Trinity, with a cap of 18 students per class for grades PK–6, and 15 students per class for grades 7–12, provide students with all the individualized attention they need to thrive. An intimate learning environment, in addition to the guidance of passionate teachers and a Christ-minded curriculum, have led Trinity graduates into bright, global futures pursuing college degrees, volunteering for mission trips and traveling abroad.

 

Aloha Yoga Kula

 

In addition to permanent forehead wrinkles, stress can also have a big impact on your mental and physical health. Over time, you’re left exhausted, achy and unhappy. When life gets tough, melt away stress and restore inner balance at Aloha Yoga Kula. The studio’s 20-plus instructors provide skilled hands-on adjustments, personalized attention and his or her own unique teaching style to every class. More than 40 classes, including vinyasa, restorative, prenatal and even aerial yoga, for students of all ages and ailments, can be taken at Aloha Yoga’s two ultra-serene studios with garden and outdoor settings in Windward O‘ahu. And it’s more than just great exercise—each class includes elements of meditation and mindfulness to help students maintain stress levels and acquire a sense of well-being beyond the studio.

 

The best part? At just 10 bucks per class, Aloha Yoga is also very affordable. “The majority of class proceeds go directly to the teacher. Only a small portion is used for rent and advertising,” says Martin Doluz, one of Aloha Yoga Kula’s lead instructors. “The studio is set up to support our instructors, allowing them to build their classes and teach yoga as their primary profession.” That means classes are paid for that day, in cash, and memberships are nonexistent. You pay for what you get. 

 

READ MORE STORIES BY MARISA HEUNG

 

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