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.