Dining Outside the Home: Kenji Burger in Kapaa, Kauai. It’s always good advertising when a sign boasts: “We use 100% Kauai grass fed beef,” especially if you prefer a fusion diet of healthy meats and vegetables. Grass fed beef translates into leaner burgers. At Kenji Burger, the Japanese mix of Asian cuisine with American favorites provides a taste extravaganza that’ll leave your head spinning. Think outside the box. Teriyaki burgers, misoyaki fish sammies, spicy poke bowls, loaded sushi burritos, and furikake fries. This is not your ordinary burger joint. See the maneki-neko Japanese cat figurine, with its paw raised, perched on the counter? It definitely brings good luck. Perhaps you’ll give them a try. Kenji Burger is spot on.
Dining Outside the Home: Nom Kauai in Kapaa, Kauai. When your husband wants breakfast and you’re ready for lunch, head over to Nom Kauai where you get the best of both worlds. It’s not uncommon to see other couples doing the same thing. Perhaps that’s the secret to a popular eatery with Southern roots: Keeping the peace. The burgers, like the Hella Hottie, are made with locally sourced beef, stacked a mile high with fresh ingredients, and then sandwiched between buttery toasted brioche buns. Go ahead and poke the egg. Who can resist a runny yolk? Golden Belgian waffles, served with pineapple-bourbon butter, can be ordered with buttermilk fried chicken and maple syrup. Because things are made from scratch, menu items are available until sold out. You know what that means. Come back again tomorrow.
Dining Outside the Home: LVB Burger in Las Vegas , Nevada. Where can you go to get a two-handed burger and an adult-friendly milkshake? LVB Burger at The Mirage knows no bounds. Slide into a booth. Every gastronomic burger is stuffed with delicious ingredients between a sesame brioche bun. Go classic with the O.S.B. (Old School Burger) or B.C.B. (Bacon Cheese Burger). If beef is not your thing, go with the W.T.F. (What The Flock) turkey burger. The cheese choices are as gourmet as the condiment list. Finger food sides are the perfect add on. Spiked milkshakes are as yummy as they come: Birthday Cake, Chocolate Caramel, or Churro. But the list goes on. Better add this joint to your Bucket List.
Dining Outside the Home: Kalapaki Joe’s Sports Bar in Lihue, Kauai! On the edge of nowhere sits the island’s secret for fresh salad meals, ocean fish, Happy Hour specials, ginormous burgers, cold beverages, and televised sports. Stop in for one reason or another. And if you’re hungry, go for the Big Plate Entrees. The Ahi Poke Crunch Salad was an adventure in fusion food: raw Ahi, Asian slaw, crispy tortilla strips, Oriental vinaigrette, and wasabi cream. No matter your craving, Kalapaki Joe’s brings people of the East and West closer.
Dining Outside the Home: Olympic Cafe in Kapaa, Kauai! Slide into a booth with a view of the street, or sit in the bar where the crosswinds cool off sunburned skin. Olympic Cafe daily specials can vary from breakfast combinations to two-handed thick burgers or spicy ahi sandwiches. Either way, the portions are generous so if you walk away hungry it’s your own fault. Just make sure you leave room for dessert. It’s worth it. The Kauai Pie is meant to be shared. Listen to this: Kona coffee ice cream loaded with shaved coconut, dark chocolate, and macadamia nuts. Don’t forget the fudge swirls and whipped cream. Now grab a fork and submerge into an island sugar coma.
Dining Outside the Home: Hilton Garden Inn Pavilion Lounge on Wailua Bay, Kauai. You’re always on holiday here glamorously soaking up the rays and sipping on tropical Mai Tais, garnished with mellow paper umbrellas, at the edge of turquoise seas. Is this real, you wonder? Pinch me if I’m dreaming. But don’t wake me. Please. Instead “Hang Loose” with aloha spirit. Absorb the open-air lounge that is true Hawaii. Order a side of Crispy Popcorn Shrimp garnished with seaweed furikake, for starters. The Paniola Burger topped with chipotle pineapple and applewood bacon drizzled with barbecue sauce can come later. After all, you have all the time in the world. Let the seasoned bartenders introduce you to their crafted cocktails. They have a story to tell.
Dining Outside the Home: Olympic Café in Kapaa, Kauai. Even on rainy days you have to venture out for a bite to eat. For starters, a slightly salty/savory-rimmed Bloody Mary with a spicy kick is in order. Perched on the second level of the Olympic Café overlooking street activity has proven to be quite entertaining as more clouds rolled in and the sky opened up. A guy on a bicycle got drenched from the pounding rain. He nestled a paper bag under his armpit while his legs pedaled full speed through potholes filling with street water. Meanwhile, a steaming hot humongous burrito lunch arrived, so the open air seating was perfect for watching passing showers at a warm and dry distance. After all, you can’t rush perfection.
Dining Outside the Home: Kickshaws Food Truck in Lawai, Kauai. Here’s something you don’t see everyday. It’s a gastronomic kitchen on wheels steered by owner, Seth Peterson. Like a mad scientist at home in a laboratory, Seth produces extraordinary food combinations paired with unusual techniques. The results are strangely delicious. The top-seller, hands down, speaks for itself. 100% Awesome Burger is made with 80% fresh ground chuck steak and 20% ground bacon. Then it’s topped with crispy bacon, a pineapple-black pepper-onion marmalade, cheddar cheese, fresh arugula, and garden tomato. Are you getting the picture? The finishing touch is a torta roll slathered with mayonnaise. Definitely a two-handed burger! One night recently, I ordered it while enjoying a high-quality craft brew at the Kauai Beer Company. Try not to stare.
Dining Outside the Home: Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen in Las Vegas, Nevada! Gigantic words hit you before ever setting foot inside the door, “Go Big or Go Home”. And this is no joke. Whether it be boasting or a warning, heed these words. We shared the Original Ringer Burger, a mountain of juicy meat, gooey cheese, crispy onion rings, and donkey sauce (you don’t want to know). It came with a generous side of quad fries. Exactly. Naturally we needed to wash it down with a 52-ounce stemmed punch bowl listed as the Kicked Up Caddy. And it was. The specialty margarita was a perfect blend of tequila, Cointreau, agave, lime, and jalapeño. It came with two straws. Being Vegas, we got a “to go” container and walked around afterwards sipping on it. Be bold, go hungry.