Food & Drink

Food & Drink
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Holy Scones

A chorus of Honolulu’s quick bread morning offerings

Food & Drink / I have a daily morning ritual. The location will vary, but the motions are the same: basking in the angelic glow of my MacBook while zoning out on my RSS Feed, catching up with inside jokes on Facebook and adding people I’ve never met before to my “People I’ve Never Met Before” circle on Google+, Twitter, rinse, repeat. It sounds sad and somber, but since I’m a “routine person” (i.e., boring!) it’s the pain free baptism I need to prepare me for diving into work and the vast pool that’s the rest of the day. Only there’s a crucial component that ties it all together… a scone with a hot cup of coffee.

The following is a stream-of-conscious trek through Honolulu’s scone zone (Kaimuki/Manoa/downtown), stopping off at as many coffee shop/bakeries the four hours a morning and my metabolism allow–all in search of some sacred scones. Consider it a spiritual pilgrimage. Christians have the Stations of the Cross. Muslims have the Hajj. Scone-a-philes have this article.

6:38am Wake up. Brush my teeth. Shower. Put in my contacts. Look in the mirror. See I’m not someone cool like Mark Ruffalo. I’m just me. Dear God, I need a scone! “Our Father, Who Art in Leavening Agent, Baking Powder Be Thy Name…”

7:28am Here’s the thing: scones are simple. It’s a brick of bread, right? For me, that’s their appeal. That Town in Kaimuki is nearest my home and open at the crack of 7am complements this ordained simplicity and is why I keep coming back to scour their morning medley of offerings. I don’t think I’ve ever just seen a blueberry scone here; every day they offer selections more inspired. Today’s choices are walnut butter and jelly, blueberry goat cheese, chocolate pretzel, cherry walnut pecan and banana espresso (all for $2). Once I had a creation called “kitchen sink” here, which was as I understood the unused batters from the scones made that day all mixed together into a Captain Planet-like deity of flavors. (But like the Messiah, I don’t know when this flavor will ever descend upon us again…) Their texture is fairly dry, but fortunately this is how I like my scones. Goes great with their self-serve Illy coffee, refills on the church.

Converts: Creative Types, Spoiled Scone Snobs

Town, 3435 Waialae Ave. #104, [townkaimuki.com], 735-5900

8:19am The bake case at Coffee Talk fits the closest to the mind’s picture perfect image of a scone: a thick, malleable pastry with the roundness of a baseball. The trio available this morning is lemon raspberry, blueberry and chocolate chip walnut, the one I opt for ($2). The texture is more akin to a biscuit, which isn’t my preference, but I can still respect it.

Converts: Low Maintenance B-Fast Eaters

Coffee Talk, 3601 Waialae Ave., 737-7444

8:58am In my opinion, these aren’t scones. These are pancakes/French toasts wearing scone clothing. Diamond Head Market offers three variations: blueberry cream cheese, banana cream cheese and apple cinnamon cream cheese. Of those, the banana tray is the sparsest, so I conclude it’s the most popular and therefore order it. Considering their size and density, it’s worth more than you pay for ($3.50). Bite into its moist center filled with slices of banana and flecks of cream cheese and your brain will trick you into thinking there’s a canister of maple syrup in there.

Converts: People Who Don’t Like “Scones,” The New Co-Worker Who Needs to Make an Impression in the Break Room

Diamond Head Market and Grill, 3158 Monsarrat Ave., [diamondheadmarket.com], 732-0077

9:16am Everyone knows Great Harvest Bread Co. offers a choice slice. Now imagine those in scone form. Today’s chocolate cream cheese ($2.50) is in the same style of a cinnamon roll whose sweetness makes the exhilarating effects of coffee feel redundant. The variety here isn’t the best (one choice), but more than makes up for it without sacrificing itself in the highest quality bread and size departments. Sweet Jesus, I could probably break up this carbolicious bread and feed 800 people.

Converts: Devout Anti-Atkins-ists

Great Harvest Bread Co., 4400 Kalanianaole Hwy., [greatharvest.com], 735-8810

9:49am The blueberry scone ($2.50) at Morning Glass is essentially a round loaf of bread (which has freshness guaranteed baked all over it) that they sizably slice for you upon ordering to showcase its beautiful cross section. With a hard mantle of brown sugar granules and glaze over its shell, its inside is incredibly dry, which is a scone right after my heart because the dryer it is the better it goes with my coffee. I’ve decided this scone as my favorite one. Yeah, that’s it. This scone is the Chosen One. This scone is Jewish.

Converts: Your Starving Rabbi, Matthew Dekneef

Morning Glass, 2955 E. Manoa Rd., [morningglasscoffee.com], 673-0065

10:20am Of all the places I’ve been to this morning, Honolulu Coffee Co. is the most “corporate,” so I’m automatically not a believer. Until I’m on my knees scarfing down their piping hot lilikoi macadamia nut scone ($3.40). The most compact of the bunch, it doesn’t detract from its satisfaction thanks to those slices of heavenly lilikoi and macadamia nuts with a hint of vanilla. This is probably the most “pure” and virginal scone I’ve had today. Also, the corner of anything edible is where the real truth of anything lies and HCC wins the distinction of best scone corners.

Converts: Food Corner Dogmatist

Honolulu Coffee Co., 1450 Ala Moana Blvd. #3066, [honolulucoffee.com], 949-1500

11:54am Like the assassination of JFK, everyone remembers where they were when they learned what a gluten-allergy was. For those of you afflicted, there are heaven sent choices from Umeke Market, today’s being gluten free blueberry-almond scones made with brown rice flour and tapioca starch. It’s a total deal ($0.99 each or a pack of 4 at $3.95) with some of the freshest blueberries I’ve had in a scone ever. Since I don’t suffer from the devilish sins of gluten, I can’t really speak of the satisfaction brought on from that strange realm. Therefore, there’s something vaguely mystical about these scones. They’re reverently beyond me like Sufism or Zoroastrianism.

Converts: Our Redeemer Saints of Gluten

Umeke Market, 1001 Bishop St. Suite 110, [umekemarket.com], 522-7377

Final Revelation: There’s no wrong way to scone worship. To each their own. However if you want to score a decent awakening, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble Café and Coffee Bean & Tea are temples you want to steer clear of. Y’know, like Scientology.