Recently I was on a beach vacation on Topsail Island, N.C., a truly beautiful location. The water is warm, the waves are perfect, it's always sunny, and there's hardly anyone on the beach. It's as if the spot was designed by the chamber of commerce, down to the adorable hermit crabs. Anyhow, one day I stopped at a local produce stand to get some fresh fruit and veggies. What got my attention is that next to the stand was a little yellow trailer with 'Hawaiian Kine Shave Ice' painted on the side in bright colors, along with a list of 24 flavors, which included a lot of varieties, including classic ones like cherry, orange and strawberry as well as more exotic ones like coconut, tigers' blood, banana and pina colada.
I couldn't resist. I've been to Hawaii, but I never tasted a real Hawaiin shaved ice treat. Mary, the proprietor of the trailer and Hawaiin native, explained the difference between shave ice and a snow cone. "A snow cone," she said, "is like eating little pellets of ice. The Hawaiian shave ice is like thin wisps of ice that immediately melt on your tongue." I ordered up a watermelon one and bit in. Aloha!! Boy is that refreshing. (You bite it and then, as it melts, sip the juice through a straw.) For a hot climate, this is the ideal thirst quencher. Not sure why I traveled all the way to Hawaii and never tried it, but, luckily, Mary came to the rescue when she settled in North Carolina and brought a little bit of paradise with her. Thanks, Mary.