Hau Tree Lanai in Honolulu
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Here's that perfectly-framed sliver of a view from my table over breakfast.

Here's that perfectly-framed sliver of a view from my table over breakfast.

Looking up you hardly even see the sky for the intense thicket of branches and leaves.

Looking up you hardly even see the sky for the intense thicket of branches and leaves.

Considering how lovely the view was from the restaurant, I was surprised at how wholly the tree covers the place when viewed from the beach.

Considering how lovely the view was from the restaurant, I was surprised at how wholly the tree covers the place when viewed from the beach.

Inches overhead is a tangle of branches that offers cool shade, a slight whoosh in the breeze, and the perfect contrast to bright ocean and sandy beach. Instead of basking in the boozy shallow thrill of urban cool-hunting, I ate my poi pancakes and (yes!) slice of Spam in utter peace, marveling at how this giant bit of foliage could so elevate what is about as anodyne a restaurant as I could imagine.

Sure, sitting just yards from the vast Pacific helped, but without the cover and framing of the hau tree, the view would have been clip-art cute, and the runny eggs, well, kinda runny. With it, however, I relearned that a space is only as good as it makes you feel, and sometimes only one big move is all it takes.

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