If you want to instantaneously whisk yourself away from the fierce brutality that is the Berkshire winter, and I know you do, then I suggest you gallop as fast as you can with whatever is your preferred mode of hooved transportation (or use a transporter beam if you are a denizen of some futuristic landscape) to that wondrous island gem – the Luau Hale. I have been going there since I was but a lad, so many moons, and much water under the bridge, ago. But that is fodder for a more introspective post It is so delightfully kitschy, if you are a lover of tiki culture (like I am.) As soon as you walk into the tropical twilight that is the ambiance of the eatery, everything becomes dreamlike. You feel the intoxicating presence of Pele – the fiery Polynesian goddess, who seductively lures you into her lair. Her presence insinuates itself into the innermost recesses of your psyche, and you are never the same after that. Your senses are subtly altered, and you are able to experience all time happening at once. Past, present, and future all merge into one.
Back then, it was called The “Huke Lau”, but since there was already an existing restaurant with that name in Chicopee, the owners were forced much against their will to change the name. I offered to go the other restaurant, and offer my services as a slave to do their every bidding in exchange for everlasting rights to the name. Alas, I could not longer remember the zombification ritual that I procured in Hait the day I turned eighteen. Regardless of what you choose to call it, it is a scintillating culinary delight of which I am very fond. I spent many a Christmas huddled over the sputtering flame that is the centerpiece of their amazing Pu-Pu platter. I would gaze into the hypnotic fire, and fall into a deep trance, dreaming of beautiful tropical isles where winter was but a distant memory. I was so utterly hypnotized by the flame, I am surprised I did not catch fire and blaze with the effulgent splendor of a million suns. Okay…I confess. I did catch fire. I found myself mysteriously transformed in a being with piercing, iridescent eyes. An ethereal being, who existed in many dimensions at once. I also gained an ability to look into the dark soul of humanity, and was suddenly filled with such an overpowering ennui that seemingly was eternal. I never thought that would happen as a result of satisfying my food lust. You see, as far back as I could remember, I obsessed over Chinese food and the tiki culture. In fact, one might say that I had a fetish for it. I steeped myself in all things Polynesian. The next day, after the flames subsided, I found that I did not really have this ability. I was suffering from severe hallucinations caused by a weird chemical in the accelerant used in the brisket on top of the platter.
Alas, I am now a vegetarian, so I can no longer overindulge in this gustatory extravagance. I am jealous of all you of the carnivorous persuasion. Well…not really. I became a vegetarian after I broke up with my lover. Her name was Meghan. She was the most ravenous carnivore I have ever encountered in 54 years on this planet. Meghan had a singular blood lust that could not be quenched. I was sickened by her need to sink her teeth into bloody flesh every couple of hours or so. One day, I found out that rending asunder members of the animal kingdom was not enough. No…one day, she set her sights on me. She looked at me that day with a glance full of murderous intent. The day I walked out of that Third St. apartment was the best day of my life. You know – the one with the inflatable Santa Claus on the second floor that remains fully upright even on a sweltering July day. Once I walked out on her, I gave up eating meat and all that it signified. Still, I have the occasional nightmare where I see Meghan in the grips of her insatiable bloodlust.
The drinks at the Luau Hale are exceedingly potent – the cocktail artisans definitely do not water them down. I have had a tantalizing glimpse of these masters of the pour in dreams. There is an aura of unreality about them, as if they somehow inexplicably manifested from the kind of rarified ether you would spy in a Maxfield Parrish painting. I beg them to dilute their libations, but they refuse to allow anyone to escape their inebriating power. The liquid intoxicants just serve to accentuate the dreamlike qualities of this windowless heaven. Their scorpion bowls are the stuff of legends. You only need two of them (which is the limit) to enter that heightened state of consciousness the locals lovingly call the “Huke-high.”
I highly recommend the General Tso’s tofu. The dish consists of deliciously crispy morsels of deep fried tofu, exquisitely marinated in a piquant spicy sauce. The delicately shaved vegetables placed gently on top are an inspired touch. The vegetable spring rolls are heavenly – crunchy, with a veritable explosion of tastiness that is enough to send me into paroxysms of rapturous ecstasy. And the Hawaiian Vegetable Fried rice is a perfect complement to the other two dishes – if you are a vegetarian, you should order the three of them together. You could also get the vegetable Lo Mein, if you really want to overload your taste buds in the best way possible. If you want to embark on unparalleled dining adventure, I suggest you visit this exotic paradise. Just make sure that Meghan does not find you. Sometimes, I think I glimpse her in the dark shadows of my bedroom. Her presence is there. Waiting. Always waiting.