Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hula Hut

3825 Lake Austin Blvd
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 476-4852

I went to Hula Hut last night with my friends for a little early birthday party. I’m one of those unfortunate people who have a birthday close to a holiday, thankfully that Holiday is Thanksgiving. Thank god, it’s far enough away from Christmas to have to suffer from the dreaded double gift givers (cheapos). But what better way is there to celebrate your birthday than having a national holiday where your family stuffs themselves silly on home cooked food? I can’t think of anything better. Unfortunately, I never seem to get to celebrate my birthday with my friends on the actual day. I always have to have an early birthday party. So really, I end up having not just a birthDAY but a birthWEEK. Its awesome. I highly recommend it.

So this year, since it is my first year in Austin, I decided to have my birthday party at one of my favorite Austin establishments, Hula Hut. I’ve been coming to Hula Hut since I was a kid (or at least a teenager). My grandmother LOVED taking us to Hula Hut for dinner when we visited. I mean, it really is a perfect Austin eatery. The food is generally good (if not downright interesting with their tex-mex Polynesian theme), the atmosphere is funky, the view is exception, and the drinks kick ass. Plus, the homemade chips (and salsa) are probably the best in town. I love their thin crispiness. Not the crappy stale corn chips most places serve. The only drawback to Hula Hut is they don’t take reservations.. ever.. Not even if you’re dying and it’s your deathwish to have a huge party at Hula Hut. They just won’t do it. So I was kind of nervous having my party there, but since it was on a Tuesday night before a holiday, I didn’t figure it would be all that crowded. And it wasn’t – thank god. They were able to seat all 12 of us REALLY quickly (which for Hula Hut is an act of god, I’ve waited as long as 1.5 hours to get a table for 4).We had to sit inside. Normally I’d prefer to sit outside at Hula Hut, they really do have a great view of Lake Austin (I think that’s what that stretch of dammed river is called). But lately, their back patio has been smelling pretty rank. Its time to pull up the old musty carpet and air it out, Hula.

After we were seated, we all ordered drinks. I went with the Haleiakalada, their version of a pina colada. It was sweet and creamy and oh so delicious, with toasted coconut sprinkled on top. It even had a little umbrella and big wedge of sliced pineapple. Becky got a Hu-la-la, a ginormous alcoholic fruity punch in a fish bowl. Yes, a fish bowl. It was strong and definitely not as sweet as my pina colada. It gave me a little lemon pucker face when I drank it. I’ll stick with the pina colada. We all had a great time drinking, ordering, and talking. There were lots of interesting conversations floating around the table. Like how Becky is probably allergic to pineapple, who’s looking for houses and where, what everyone’s thanksgiving plans are, and how Ken and Sarah got lost in the greenbelt. My friend Michele from Dallas (soon to be Denton) even came down for it!

When the food came out, everyone had a great time stuffing their faces. I got the only thing I ever get at Hula Hut, the Spinach and Shrimp Tubular Taco. The taco is a foot long gigantic beast of a meal filled with spinach, shrimp, queso fresco, some sort of cream, and topped with tomatillo and sour cream sauce. It’s truly a decadent and earth moving experience. I’ve been getting that taco since I was a kid, and I’ll keep getting it as long as I’m able. Its soooo good. Becky got a Chili Relleno. Well what came out were two alien looking rellenos. It looked like someone had grown the chili in a tall boy (a 40 as some say), then stuffed with chicken, battered, and deep dried. It was tasty, not the tastiest relleno I’ve ever had (that honor goes to Uncle Julio’s in Fort Worth), but it was good, if not highly cylindrical. I didn’t notice what anyone else got because I was too busy stuffing my face.

It was about that time that I needed another drink and opted for the frozen Mai Tai. When the waitress delivered it, I didn’t even look at it, took a big swig, and got a mouthful of dark rum. Boy was that a shock! For future reference, they pour the rum on the bottom of the mai tai. Make sure you mix it before you drink it. I also managed to slurp down a Mojito. It was a little too sweet and syrupy for my taste. I’ll stick with the Mai Tai and Pina Colada. Oh! And to wash it all down (and because it was my birthday), Becky got me a shot of birthday cake. Yum! It was really good! I passed the cup around the table to have people guess what was in it. We guessed it was Vanilla stoli (or Bacardi), amaretto, maybe bailey’s or Frangelico.

We ended the evening with cake and coffee at Mozart’s next door, but that’s a different post.

Mariah – 10