I’m with Michael and his parents at their vacation condo in Kona. This is my first trip to Hawaii, and before I left, my friend Robin described Kona as her “happy place”. Indeed this is a very happy place, with an abundance of sun, convertibles, exotic fruit, swimming pools everywhere one turns, and nothing more pressing to do than find the bar with the best view of the sunset and order some Mai Tais. At this particular moment, I’m stretched out in a deck chair on the patio, overlooking the golf course. The trade winds are gently rustling the palm trees. It’s truly lovely.
Earlier today, Michael and I hopped in the convertible and set out for the beach at Hapuna State Park. We swam in the amazingly warm ocean, letting the surf jostle us like a mosh-pit, and then lolled around in the shade of a lava rock. And when that wonderfully clean, hollowed out post-swim feeling of hunger hit, we wandered over to the Paradise Grill.
Open-air beachside shacks are far and away my favorite restaurants, and this one, while humble, did not disappoint. The menu featured hamburgers, hotdogs, tacos, and smoothies. We ordered the Killa Fish Tacos from the friendly girl behind the window, and parked ourselves in some sandy plastic patio chairs in the shade to wait.
Our food arrived within minutes. Two fish tacos with shredded cabbage, mint-sour cream, and cheese. These were filling and delicious in their own right-the perfect combination of soft and crunchy, hot and cold, the refreshing mint-sour cream contrasting nicely with the tangy pineapple salsa we spooned over them.
Add sandy feet, sunburned legs sticking to a plastic chair, an ocean breeze and a view of the Pacific, and a simple cardboard container of tacos becomes one of life’s truly great and memorable pleasures, a meal to savor.