Kakaako is constantly changing and adapting to its surroundings. As new high rises are being built and storefronts are coming down and then being built back up again…a familiar face returns to Kakaako and he comes bearing food, again.
After launching Taste Table in 2012, the popular pop-up eatery for chefs, bakers and entrepreneurs closed its doors earlier this year. Mark Noguchi, the head chef and mastermind behind the venue that drew thousands from across the globe, opened a private employee café at the Hawaiian Airlines headquarters near the airport called Lunch Box, now he has returned to a public venue with some of his delicacies and treats – Snack Box.
Doors officially opened at #snackboxhi on Thursday, May 1st. The eatery is open Tuesday-Saturday 11am-2pm, just in time for the lunch rush. The menu features healthy sandwiches, salad, scones and cookies along with fresh tea, lemonade and coffee.
Located at the new Pad HI (685 Auahi Street), run by interior designer and my friend, Lauren Makk, in the old R&D space – Snack Box is a refreshing alternative to the usual suspects of burgers, fries, hotdogs and plate lunches. Dishes include turkey/cranberry sandwiches ($7), egg salad sandwiches ($6) just like mom made, and my personal favorite – the kale wrap with carrot, cabbage and puff rice ($8). One of the featured items you will want to take note of is the Salad Jar, served in a mason jar, or without the mason jar, and stuffed full of locally grown colorful vegetables and homemade dressing. Grab the jar, add your dressing and shake it up. Price points are affordable when it comes to this lighter fare of food, but consider the fact that you are eating what was freshly harvested and supporting local farmers and it makes each bite that much better.
Mark Nogochi, or “Gooch” if you know him well, has a vivacious personality with a true love for local products and the Hawaiian culture and land. He is always aware of what goes into the aina and what comes out of it as well. Making sure to adhere to the moral fiber of what is aimed at strengthening our community and our body.
Since stopping by the grand opening, I have been craving the sweet treats – the sprinkle scones and chocolate chip cookies are crunchy, yet chewy and full of flavor. The scones are unlike any other scone I have had before – they have layers of flavor and color, especially with the rainbow of sprinkles found throughout. They are not moist in the middle but they are not dry. It’s an unusual combination that is hard to describe, but I really enjoy the flakiness of the scones. I thought they would be overwhelmingly sweet because of the sugary sprinkles, but it is perfectly flavored with the right amount of dough to sprinkle ratio. The cookies are crunchy and have a generous portion of nuts and chocolate chips.
To wash it all down you can order a specially made Olena lemonade or iced coffee. The lemonade was not named after me, but uses the Olena ginger plant to add a holistic spicy hint to the traditional lemonade flavor that is oh so refreshing on a hot summer day.
Only open Tuesday – Saturday I look forward to venturing back into Kakaako for something fresh, healthy and supports our local economy. While you’re at it take a look at some of the shops that offer furniture, jewelry, succulents and more…support our local businesses and business owners and you support out local economy.
Welcome back to Kakaako Gooch!