Acai Bowls: Happiness for Breakfast

From the Mainland to the Islands

 When I was finishing up my sophomore year in college my parents told me they were moving to Hawaii. Since I'd been living in the Appalachian mountains of Blacksburg, VA for the past two years with brutally cold winters, this was very good news.  It doesn't really matter who you are, what you're into, or where you're currently living, if you get that kind of news, you start packing your bags and masterminding how to spend your days under the Hawaiian sun.

So there I was, living in Oahu, Hawaii (with my parents), broke and clueless. I wasn't bummed though; I was excited and really believed I was there for a reason. Even if things didn't work out, I was still in Hawaii! I was surfing, going to school, and trying to figure out what to do with my life, so that had to stand for something right?
Living in Hawaii in 2008/2009 was tough. It took me a full three months before I discovered that coffee might be a cool industry, and that there may be opportunities for me in that industry.
Hawaii is the only state that grows and produces coffee, and if I was going to go down this rabbit hole, this seemed like the appropriate place to begin. 
So, I got a cafe job in downtown Honolulu working the register of this small roastery. As I worked, and learned more and more, I started falling in love with the craft of coffee. But simultaneously, I was surfing every day and falling in love with that too. 

Fueling up to Ride the Waves

During the winter I would plan out my weekend so that I could maximize my time in the water at my favorite surf breaks. My surf excursions would mean up to 4-5 hours in the water a time. That required a lot of energy. Through friends, and observing the local fare, I found the Acai Bowl to be one of the key additions to the surfers diet. 
It was highly rich in antioxidants because the base ingredient was the Acai Berry.  The Acai is then blended with a whole banana, some OJ or apple juice, topped with fresh granola, fresh fruit, honey, bee pollen, coconut, and any other fresh fruit offering you can imagine. That was your breakfast, for $8-$10!

Lean & Hungry: My Game Plan

I had a simple game plan in Hawaii. I'd leave the house with $15, and right after my first surf session I'd buy an Acai Bowl at a little beach shack in Haleiwa. Then, I'd surf throughout the day until about 3pm. At 3pm I'd buy a Hawaiian Shaved Iced (costs you about $2.50). 
The Hawaiian Shaved Ice is so delicious that if I went into describing it, we might be here all day, talking the intricacies of the Hawaiian Shaved Iced, but this blog isn't about the deliciousness of Hawaiian Shaved Iced its about the deliciousness of Acai Bowls. 

For two years I focused on my career in coffee, and pursed learning to roast coffee. I learned to buy green coffee directly from farms on the North Shore as well as the Big Island. Throughout all my days I kept eating those delicious acai bowls religiously.  They were the perfect lightweight fuel for hiking a mountain, surfing a wave, or learning a new craft.   

Bringing the Bowls to DC

At Vigilante Coffee we have always wanted the experience and products we're providing to make our customers feel good. So, knowing this, from day one we set out to offer Acai Bowls on our menus. We began by testing it through our various pop up shops from 2013-2014. Thank you to the folks who let us go through our "research and development stage".  

Our team has worked hard to create the very best Acai Bowls that we have found, and we use local ingredients, from trusted partners, to send them over the top. 

The Huffington Post called Acai Bowls "What breakfast dreams are made of..." We totally agree, and think you will too. 

Homage to the Islands

Our bowls represent a piece of our history. So, we have given them names to pay respect to those long days of surfing and dreaming in Hawaii. Our Acai Bowls are blended frozen Acai, topped with fresh fruit and local granola. 

DaKine: Banana, Blueberry, & Strawberry

Da Kine. (da-kine; "i" sound pronounced like "eye".) 
This is a replacement word that can have many meanings. Most commonly used like "that thing" or "whatsit" or "thing-a-ma-jig". 
"You got da kine cold brew in the bottle?"or "Where's dakine coffee place we went last week?"

Vigilante Coffee Company Dakine Acai Bowl

Honu:  Blackberries, Kiwi, & Coconut

Honu is the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle that symbolizes good luck, endurance and long life. We want to wish everyone luck at the start of his or her day, and know that eating healthy will bring long life. 

Honu Acai Bowl


Haole: Banana, Coconut, & Chia Seeds

A Haole is a person not native to Hawaii, a white person. Chris Vigilante was Da Kine Haole that fell in love with the islands and the culture it posses. 

Mahalo: Pineapple, Banana, & Bee Pollen

Mahalo is a very special word. Literally meaning "May you be in Divine Breath". Mahalo[Ma = In] + [hâ = breath] + [alo = presence, front, face]"(May you be) in (Divine) Breath."
Mahalo shows deep gratitude, and it is believed to say it often is to be life transforming and enhancing.

Health Benefits of Acai

Acai is often called a super food because of the many health benefits this tiny berry posses. This is a treat that you can feel good about! Below are the top 10 health benefits fo Acai from the Global Healing Center.
1. Heart Health
2. Resistant to Harmful Organisms
3. Aids in Weight Loss
4. Promotes Skin Health
5. Helps Digestion
6. Reduces Irritation
7. Improved Cellular Health
8. Immune Booster
9. Anti-Aging Effects
10. Energy Boost