I’m really not sure when I stopped drinking flavored lattes. I guess to the coffee purist, they seem somehow… wrong. But how is a café mocha okay and a hazelnut latte not? Or perhaps mochas are also on the taboo list….
Back in my early coffee drinking days, I loved ordering almond lattes. Something about the smell of the orgeat syrup as it warmed up in my drink, mmm. That scent memory had nearly been forgotten until last Sunday, when I ventured out to Kailua to check out ChadLou’s.
The first thing I spotted on their drink list was the Kula Latte. Kula’s an area on Maui known for growing lavender, and the drink brought together lavender with a bit of vanilla. Hmm, I like that blend in a body cream, but would it work well with coffee? The lavender-strawberry macaron I had the other day was great and all, but I was still skeptical so I asked the barista about it. Customers seemed to like it, he said, but he wasn’t fond of it. Yay, honesty! Then what drink did he like? Keeping in the flavored latte genre, he suggested going for the almond-raspberry.
Sipping it, my taste buds shot me back to my first café job in Charlottesville, Virginia. My fellow baristas and I would experiment with the syrup rack when it was slow, coming up with inventive lattes and Italian sodas. The winning concoctions were then written on the “Drink of the Moment” board we posted next to the counter. I’m sure almond-raspberry was an early pairing, before we started experimenting with more bizarre flavor combos.
Actually, this shop has the same basic feel as my C-Ville café, with local art displayed on the walls, live music some nights and a variety of funky seating options, including couches.
Couches are a necessary element in a great coffeehouse, in my opinion. It’s social seating, urging people to comfy up for a conversation. Why aren’t there more couch cafés out here?
According to their website, one of ChadLou’s big draws is their ice cream sandwiches. A frozen case filled with tubs of local favorite Dave’s Ice Cream sits next to a pastry case stocked with cookies. Pick a pair of cookies (mix and match flavors, whatever you like), choose your ice cream (the ube or purple yam seems to be a popular choice, making for a pretty-colored dessert) and then yum away! I’m not sure if I could do ice cream and a coffee at the same time. Well, affogato is a different story. Wait, that sounds good right about now….
Honestly, this is the kind of coffeehouse I’d like to see more of on Oahu. The independent, quirky kind. Sophisticated coffee is great, and may offer up a superior cup, but if I don’t feel like I can settle into a seat and write or meet up with a girlfriend and split something decadent, I won’t go back often. If only I lived closer to this one….
Here’s the view from the street.
And here’s the building across the street. ChadLou's is in Kailua’s slightly more industrial area.
Since I was in Kailua, I also stopped by FatBoy’s. I’m addicted to their garlic chicken.
Then I drove around aimlessly for a while listening to Hawaii Public Radio. It was a random but good afternoon.
45 Kihapai Street, Kailua, HI 96734
(808) 263-7930 chadlous.com
FatBoy’s Local Drive-In
301A Hahani Street, Kailua, HI 96734 (There are other locations around Oahu)