Dining Outside the Home: Coconut’s Fish Café in Kapaa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Coconut’s Fish Café in Kapaa, Kauai. Even if you never plan to ride a surfboard, you can still enjoy the spirit of Aloha every time you visit Coconut’s Fish Cafe. Surfboard table tops encourage a “Hang Loose” attitude while filling the room with positive energy and healthy food. Top a mixed green salad with the grilled shrimp duo and a seared plank of blackened ahi, smeared with wasabi sauce. Also, might I suggest the papaya dressing? It’s amazing. All sauces and dressings are made from scratch. Order the coconut shrimp to have beforehand or with the meal. It sets the stage for a fabulous meal.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter B

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Daily Special: Banana Bottom Parfaits! Three cheers for a dessert that is will make everyone smile. It’s light and creamy with a touch of sweetness, and a fruit finish that has you pushing back from the table and saying, “Ahhhhh!” Whether you choose a mini shot-glass portion or a stemmed goblet, the presentation on this dessert is rated 5-star, according to my husband.



Shortbread cookies, broken into pieces*

1 box 3.4 ounce Banana Cream Instant Pudding

2 cups cold milk

3/4 cup Cool Whip Whipped topping

2 bananas, peeled and sliced

Carmel Pecan Topping (see recipe below)

Toasted Coconut for Garnish

French Vanilla Cookie Straws

* I used Kauai Kookie Banzai bite-sized cookies.


Crush shortbread cookies into coarse crumbs. Using a hand mixer, beat pudding mix and milk in medium bowl for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Reserve 4 banana slices for garnish. Between the dessert dishes, layer a few banana slices in the bottom of each parfait glass. Add a spoonful of caramel sauce. Next layer the shortbread pieces. Carefully spoon in the banana pudding, making sure the layers remain separated. Repeat layers ending with pudding on top. Refrigerate 15 minutes or longer. Before serving, sprinkle with toasted coconut, garnish with one banana slice, and a cookie straw.

Hint: To prevent sliced bananas from turning brown, toss them with lemon juice. Pat bananas dry with paper towel before using.

Pecan Caramel Sauce


1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 teaspoons Crown Royal

Pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup pecans, chopped


Mix all ingredients except pecans, in a 2-quart sauce pan over medium-low heat. Cook while gently stirring 5-7 minutes, or until thicker. Turn off heat. Add pecans. Pour into jar. Store in refrigerator.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter A

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Daily Special: Avocado on My Mind! Watermelon and avocado, when mixed together, have a uniquely gratifying flavor. Surprised? It’s as refreshing as a walk in the park. Not only is this salad appealing to the eye, it’s easy on the wallet. These two fruits are affordable, low in calories, and can be eaten often since they are packed with nutrients. Permission granted.



1 ripe avocado

1 wedge watermelon, seedless

1/2 lime, sliced

1 tablespoon feta cheese, crumbled

1 sprig cilantro


Open the avocado, discarding seed. Remove pulp. Squeeze lime juice over both halves to prevent discoloration. Chop avocado into pieces and place into a medium-sized bowl. Using a melon-ball utensil, scoop the watermelon into round pieces. Discard rind. Add watermelon balls to bowl, tossing gently. Sprinkle feta cheese over top. Snip cilantro to taste. Garnish with lime slices.

In Search of The White Rabbit

It may not be Treasure Island, but the magic still engulfs all who venture here. An unforeseen scavenger hunt for The White Rabbit of Jefferson Airplane fame continues to “pop up” in bewilderment. Is this Wonderland? Follow me down the rabbit hole through the tree tunnel and see where immortality and mystification thrive. “When the men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go…” dare you stick your neck out in a psychedelic haze? The fantasy mushrooms, for those who choose to see it. Do you accept the challenge?

The Daily Special

Gail’s Kitchen seems to be open 24 hours a day. Pull up a chair for “Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: The Daily Special!” With over 1300 posts, the response continues to amaze me on this journey of the palate. Thanks very much to all of my followers on http://snapshotsincursive.com for the uplifting support and moving words of encouragement. I’m also on Instagram @gail_dorna. Please check it out.

What’s cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? It’s as simple as reciting your A-B-Cs. One of my passions is being at home in my own country kitchen. I love to cook, and my husband loves that I do it often. Now more than ever, since I am retired, I relish the thought of creating something delicious from scratch. I adore time-honored traditions using tried-and-true recipes. Yet, I often never think twice about tweaking old favorites or modifying others to suit the inner craving of the moment. Most of the recipes serve 2-4 people, but can be altered in any direction. The leftovers are golden morsels to be eaten again later or shared with others. And I love to share. To me, seeing a smile in gratitude is thanks enough. The recipes you will find here in the next several weeks can be prepared very easily. Feel free to contact me with questions. Now take a deep breath, inhale the aromas, and join me on a tasteful journey entitled, “EATING MY WAY THROUGH THE ALPHABET: THE DAILY SPECIAL!”

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter Z

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Zebra Pretzel Snacks! This treat makes everyone smile! You only need three ingredients, it takes merely minutes to make, and it’s very kid-friendly! With that being said, “What’s black and white and has a salty, sweet taste?”


1-pound of mini square or round pretzels

14-ounce bag of Hershey’s Hugs

1-pound bag of M&M candies

Preheat oven to 250°. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat. Place pretzels in single layer forming even rows. Top each pretzel with one unwrapped Hershey’s Hugs. Place tray in oven. Bake for 4 minutes. Watch! Remove when candy begins to melt. Moving quickly, gently press a candy piece onto each Hug. Allow to cool completely in refrigerator to firm up chocolate. Remove and store in airtight container.

Dining Outside the Home: Mariachi’s Mexican Restaurant in Lihue, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Mariachi’s Mexican Restaurant in Lihue, Kauai. Across a footbridge over a cool mountain stream, the dusty road becomes a well trodden path where the festive flavors of Mexico blend into a warm, inviting atmosphere. Hola, amigos. Please have a seat for open-air dining. The family-owned and family-run restaurant originated years ago in San Diego. Now on the island of Kauai since 1992, Mariachi’s not only offers a free ocean view, but the menu options come highly recommended as well. Think about what to order while sipping on a classic lime margarita, salted rim optional. Take things slow and easy. In time, you may come to see why the family chose a new life in paradise serving authentic Mexican food.