Ono Shave Ice, serving up their take on authentic Hawaiian shave ice, is a relatively new food cart in Portland, Oregon. They may be found at different locations, but my friend and I found them one day at SW 2nd Ave. and SW Stark St.
Grant and Satya head this food cart. Grant was a high school classmate of mine in Hawaii...small world huh? Jeremy, another high school classmate, was with me that day, so we basically had a mini-high school reunion. Jeremy decided to get a shave ice with ice cream, with rainbow colors (strawberry, banana, vanilla).
And of course, me being the idiot that I am, I inadvertently erased the picture before I uploaded it. But don't worry! Just go on Facebook and "Like" Ono Shave Ice. They got some great photos there. I got to sample Jeremy's shave ice in the interest of science.
Man, that was damn good. The two of us basically got transported back to the Islands. Just how shave ice should be: smooth, shaven ice. None of this granular iced crap that would ever attempt to be passed as shave ice. The syrup was great as well. Definitely authentic stuff here, folks.
Now people reading this blog entry may think that I'm just hyping everything positive because I personally know Grant and may be just showing bias here. Not true. If you really don't believe me, go seek out Ono Shave Ice and try it for yourself. I watched several people after us order shave ice, each raving about it. These guys gotta be doing something right.
Ono Shave Ice also has that "Hawaiian Style" option: shave ice w/ice cream, azuki beans, mochi bits, and snow cap (sweetened condensed milk drizzled on the top). They basically brought Hawaii with them to Portland, plain and simple. Definitely gotta give the bonus points here!
You can get a regular shave ice for $3.50, up to the Hawaiian Style option for $5.50. You get a pretty large portion, so it's money well spent -- especially in summer time! As for me, I usually go for a strawberry shave ice with ice cream on the bottom. Just refreshing and awesome.
If there's anything to nitpick about, it's that there is no real originality here (well, maybe some of the flavors will sound unique to mainlanders). Ono Shave Ice doesn't re-invent the wheel, but they shouldn't. It's shave ice. No theatrics and no over-the-top stuff needed. Just a cool, tasty treat fit for a hot summer day. The quality is right up there with Waiola Shave Ice (Grant said that the machine is basically what Waiola uses), and the best part is, I won't have to travel 2600+ miles to get great shave ice now! 8.5/10