I have lived very close to, if not right on, the ocean for my entire life. I lived in Puerto Rico, the Florida Keys, Long Island New York, and coastal Connecticut for a combined 20 years. I was only steps away from the salty ocean air in all of those places. It really is a big part of me, even now. In fact, living in Portland Oregon has taken me as far away from the ocean as I can handle and I’m still only an hour or so from it. But the ocean I see on the West Coast is vastly different from the calm and warm waters of the East Coast.
At this point in my life, I have been to most of the bodies of water that surround the U.S. I grew up playing in the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean, so that’s where I feel most at home. For Todd, my boyfriend, it’s a different story. He grew up on the West Coast and had only ever seen and experienced that. “Parts in California are very nice,” he’d say, but during most of his life he was nearest to the Northern Pacific, a cold part of the ocean that has very few days warm enough to warrant getting in. Well, unless you surf.
His experience, or lack thereof, was why I wanted to get him to the Atlantic Ocean for a taste of something different. We’d traveled all over the East Coast over the years and yet he still had never set foot in it. This was it! It was his big chance. It was July and hot so we ventured to the coast of Rhode Island for a family gathering. After lunch, we walked a few blocks down to the beach. Tons of people were there, laying out in the sun, swimming and splashing in the waves. After a stroll down the beach, I convinced him to take off his shoes and get in.
It might not have been an amazing experience or even one that he will remember for years, but at least he can say he has been in the Atlantic Ocean now. To make a small occasion into a big one, I decided to organize a sushi dinner with friends and family when we returned to our home base on the coast of Connecticut. The area I grew up in has never had a ton of sushi restaurants and most of the ones I’ve tried haven’t really done it for me.
The one I usually go to was a little too far out-of-the-way, so we settled on one that was close to everyone, Kawa Restaurant. My last time eating there was lackluster, so I warned our party that we would have to settle on second-rate options. I was recalling the dingy decor and blah sushi menu on the way in, but what I saw when I entered was an entirely different place. They had completely remodeled the inside, had added hibachi tables where they could cook your traditional steakhouse items, and also completely recreated their menu.
I was blown away by the transformation! Not just because I no longer sat on a ripped vinyl seat or stared at dirty fake flowers, but also because the sushi was extremely good. The fish was fresh and many unique options were now on the menu. I ordered the Sushi Martini, a scallop hand roll, and we shared the rest of our enormous order with one another. I think we ordered 12 rolls, 4 entrées, and several appetizers too. The pictures say it all, so enjoy.
I am so glad we wound up at Kawa, but what I’m most proud of is that I was able to pay for everyone’s amazing meal. Of course this might sound like a normal thing for some, but when I’m visiting family, my stepfather Rob always pays for everything we do, see, and eat. I had to sneak away from the table and leave my card with the waitress in order to make it happen. Rob was tickled pink that I had taken care of it without him ever even noticing, and Todd was glad he finally made it in the Atlantic Ocean… mostly because I now would stop bugging him about it. Just the same, we were all happy spending the day together. I guess you could call it the day of ocean delights.