Friday, November 19, 2010

Restaurant Rambling: Jo Jo's Anuenue Shaved Ice & Treats (Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii)

I crave shaved ice (also known as shave ice). Even when it's winter in Oregon, I sometimes want a light fluffy shave ice with sugary sweet tropical flavors drizzled on top. Maybe it's the snow we sometimes get here that makes me think of shaved ice. And in case you're wondering, NO, it's not the same as a snow cone. Snow cones have chunky bits of ice. Shaved ice is exactly what it sounds like, heavenly shavings of ice.

Speaking of shaved ice, I have a funny story. When I was in my second year in college, there was a new bunch of kids from Hawaii that came in as freshman. I got to know some and we became friends. I remember the first snowfall of the year. I was rudely woken up at 5am by the phone with, "IT'S SNOWING!". "Big deal," I said, "I'm going back to sleep". Soon after there was pounding on my door. My freshman friends who were experiencing their first snowfall wanted to go out and play. No way, been there, done that. They were persistent. Not to mention the fact that they wouldn't leave my room!

We played in the snow that morning for hours. The college was hilly. We got to sled (with cardboard boxes, of course) and built a Hawaiian snowman. I should note that all the other white kids thought we were crazy. It was a Saturday morning. Plus, who hasn't seen snow, right? Our snowman was the most awesome ever. It was over 6 ft tall and we picked foliage to make a grass skirt and a haku for his head. I'm sure we're on a most wanted list for picking all those plants.

Anyway, one of my friends was so excited about the snow and the prospect of having shaved ice. He scooped some snow up into a bowl and poured Hawaiian Sun Guava juice on it and proceeded to eat it. Ewww!! You know the joke about yellow snow cones. I refused to eat it. Besides, what about all that extra protein (bugs) that maybe in there? I passed.

Jo Jo's has been an icon in Waimea forever. Some people are confused, as there are two Jo Jo's locations. They both serve shaved ice. What to do? The story goes like this.....The original location (the shack on the side of the road, across from Waimea High School) was founded by Aunty Jo Jo. She sold the shaved ice business to go back to teaching full time. Friends and family begged her to return to the shaved ice business. She opened up again just around the corner from the original. It's a very small space but she makes it work. She hired some of her students to work there.

To find it, drive into Waimea town. Right across the street from Waimea High School, you'll see the original Jo Jo's Shave Ice Shack (on your left). That's NOT the one. Take your first left hand turn after that and you'll turn onto Pokole Road. It's the second shop on your right. Park on the street and step inside.

There's a few dozen flavors you can choose from and a handful of "extras". If you only choose one extra, go for the vanilla macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom of your shaved ice. It's a winner and you won't be sorry!!

Jo Jo's has taken some of the guess work out of your hands. If you you're indecisive, choose one of their special creations. I went for the #4 special: Tropical Anuenue Special (vanilla mac nut ice cream bottom with mango, guava and lilikoi syrup). I also added li hing powder to the top.

Here they are making my shaved ice. The best shaved ice is made with a huge block of ice. Excellent!

Ahhh, this really hit the spot after a day at the beach. It was a windy day and my li hing powder flew everywhere. It was delicious!! Notice that because the shaved ice is so soft and fluffy, it's melting immediately in the hot Waimea sun!

For your perfect shaved ice; minus the yellow snow cone, visit Jo Jo's Anuenue in Waimea.

Jo Jo's Anuenue Shaved Ice & Treats
5 Pokole Road
Waimea, HI 97696