Mellow Caffeine Buzz

I’m writing this from what has become one of my favorite places to hang out on the North Shore with Kendle: Coffee Gallery.  Maybe it’s just the Portlander in me, but there’s little that I enjoy more than filling a cloudy afternoon with deliciously complex coffee and a good book, and this Hale’iwa coffee shop seems to be the perfect place to do it.  Under the burlap ceiling or palm umbrellas, I simultaneously feel at peace with my inner Pacific-Northwesterner and a sense of belonging on this island in the middle of the sea…whew, that’s some pretty strong coffee.

In Hale’iwa (pronounced Hah-lay-eeh-vah for the off-island readers), there’s no rush, no bustle.  Though Hawaii obviously isn’t known for its fast-paced lifestyle, there is something profoundly relaxing about leaving Honolulu’s city streets behind and popping up to North Shore where there’s nothing  but your swim suit, slippers and the direction of the breeze to worry about.  What better backdrop for a cafe? Even the Philosophes of Enlightenment Europe would have been pressed to find a better spot for their caffeinated antics. I guess they had Paris…

The two vibrantly colored lizards who had been chilling out on my table  have gone into hiding somewhere on the lush patio where I’ve taken up residence with my notebook and cappuccino.   Perhaps, lured by the bitter smell of roasting coffee wafting from the cafe proper, they’ve ventured back inside in search of a taste.  After a sip of Kendle’s cup of cream and sugared Haleiwa Blend, I’m tempted to follow them in for a refill of my own.

Locals and tourists alike populate the funky interior of this coffee shop, all of us in search of the same buzz; a jolt to combat the siren’s song of the Hawaiian sun and our imminent afternoon naps.  The delectable macaroons and “world famous carrot cake” sold here don’t exactly help, but they sure hit the spot.  And though I haven’t had a chance to try the exotic healthfoods advertised on their bilingual chalkboard menus, my mouth is watering a just the thought of “pineapple vegetarian chili”. Perhaps that’s an adventure for another afternoon. For now, I’m satisfied with the bag of their signature blend that Kendle and I are taking home in hopes of recreating a little bit of this magic tomorrow morning.

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