Cibao Grille in Naples, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: Cibao Grille in Naples, Florida! Don’t let the formality of the fine dining restaurant in the Neapolitan Way Shopping Center intimidate you. There’s a cozy table for two in the bar where you still receive the personal touch for some of the best Caribbean food to cross your lips. Attention to detail, by the master chef, makes every entree frame-worthy for your next social media post. Go ahead, try something out of the ordinary like the pan seared sea scallop medallions. The slightly crunchy outer layer reveals a soft and chewy center that will practically make your eyes roll back. The succulent sweet taste has a tender, buttery flavor some people actually refer to as the “candy of the sea”. Notice the large size. This is good. Keep in mind, though, the larger the scallop, the higher the price. When you want the best dining experience, Cibao Grille is worth every penny.

Elevated Edibles

You don’t need to go to a culinary school to step up cooking at home. By changing or adding a couple simple things in the way you prepare food, you can elevate the results from ho-hum to spectacular. There is no magic wand to wave or nose to twitch that guarantees creations like a celebrity chef, but then again we’re talking about feeding your family. That simply translates to taste-testing as you cook. I remember watching my grandma do exactly that. She’d say, “Trust your instincts,” as she’d sip the tomato sauce off the end of a wooden spoon. If you are aware your partner gags at the thought of mushrooms in a sauce, then forget the idea and tweak the recipe to make it work for you. Just remember to balance out the five basic flavors: sweet, salty, spicy, savory, and acidity. That’s half the battle. And speaking of the pros…Some of my posts have been favored by the “Food Network” on Twitter (Snapshotsincursive @DornaGail) as well as Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa, on Instagram (gail _dorna). You can even find me on Pinterest at Gail Dorna. I’d love to connect with you there as well. I also met Chef Michelle Tribble of Hell’s Kitchen reality cooking show. Fun times. Experience different flavors and textures as you eat with your eyes. Catch a glimpse of “Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Elevated Edibles!” This remarkable journey of the palate is unique because it gives me a few moments with you. Thanks very much to all of my guests and followers on http://snapshotsincursive.com for the uplifting support, award nominations, and moving words of encouragement.

Jason Aldean’s Kitchen and Rooftop Bar in Nashville, Tennessee

Dining Outside the Home: Jason Aldean’s Kitchen and Rooftop Bar in Nashville, Tennessee! There’s nowhere else you can go for a cold brewski where the bar is built around an original 1961 John Deere tractor. But that’s not the only thing showcasing Jason Aldean’s Kitchen. Other artifacts include a 1952 Chevy Pick-up Truck hoisted above another eating area. These interesting quirks add to the atmospheric appeal while the creative menu aims to please the craving for bodily sustenance. Having a world-renowned chef translates to Southern food with a flare. Live music and rooftop views of Broadway guarantee an amazing nightlife that is sure to please.

Carlo’s Bakery in New York, New York

Dining Outside the Home: Carlo’s Bakery in New York, New York! He’s the Boss, that’s for sure. Luscious cakes, cream-filled cannolis, chewy cookies, and countless culinary creations will have your head swimming from refrigerated display case to bakery case. Customers in line murmur, “I want this. I’ve had that” as their fingers point to the delicious pastries behind the lighted glass. In no time at all, by the time you snake your way up to the energetic staff, you’ll easily walk away clutching fifty dollars worthy of dreamy confections.

Trump Grill in New York, New York

Dining Outside the Home: Trump Grill in New York, New York! Truth be told, enjoying a meal at a destination restaurant on prestigious Fifth Avenue is all about the experience. The Trump Grill exists to be a lunchtime hotspot for busy shoppers, casual tourists, and thrill-seeking foodies. Located on the Garden Level of the world-class Trump Tower affords visitors a harmonious view of a 60-foot waterfall surrounded by flowers in bloom and unique retail shops. If you’re all in, begin with a signature cocktail like the “You’re Fired” oversized Bloody Mary. It pairs well with the Chopped Cobb entrée salad. The presentation is photo-worthy. The menu is filled with American classics from appetizers to desserts. In the end, relax, chat, linger, and enjoy food for the pleasure of it.

Sift Bake Shop in Mystic, Connecticut

Dining Outside the Home: Sift Bake Shop in Mystic, Connecticut. How lucky to discover a celebrity pastry chef, who won the Food Network’s “Best Baker in America” award, owning a bakery in Mystic, Connecticut. Talk about a hidden gem. Adam Young’s French inspired bakery will lure you down to Water Street with its fresh-out-of-the-oven aromas. Follow your nose to be pleasantly surprised by artisanal breads, sold by the whole or half loaf. Croissants might be stuffed with meats, veggies, nuts, or chocolate. Choose wisely. Exquisite cakes and delectable cookies satisfy the sweet tooth cravings now and later in the day. Better get extra. By dilly-dallying around you could find yourself yearning for something another customer already placed in her French market basket.

Start Smart

The secret to a good cook is pretty basic. Look to their kitchen for essential tools and you will discover why food preparation comes as naturally as breathing. Start Smart. For instance, a chef’s knife makes short work for cutting and chopping. Wooden spoons are perfect for stirring and mixing, plus they look great in a counter caddy. My son recently introduced me to the handy-dandy fat separator for making unbelievable lump-free gravy. How did I not know of this? It’s pure genius! I could go on and on about food processors, dutch ovens, spiralizers, and rice cookers, but you get the idea. Recently I froze some Farmers Market corn by removing the kernels from the cob with my corn peeler. (There really is such a thing.) Now you know…anyone can be a gourmet chef…like me. lol. Some of my posts have been favored by the “Food Network” on Twitter (Snapshotsincursive @DornaGail) as well as Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa, on Instagram (gail _dorna). You can even find me on Pinterest at Gail Dorna. I’d love to connect with you there as well. I also met Chef Michelle Tribble of Hell’s Kitchen reality cooking show. Fun times. Experience different flavors and textures one bite at a time. Catch a glimpse of “Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Start Smart.” This remarkable journey of the palate is unique because it gives me a few moments with you. Thanks very much to all of my guests and followers on http://snapshotsincursive.com for the uplifting support, award nominations, and moving words of encouragement. As of this writing, WordPress has acknowledged that I’m on a 1641-day streak. Let’s keep it going!

Meeting Chef Michelle Tribble

On a recent trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, I knew there was one place that was definitely on my Bucket List: Hell’s Kitchen at Caesars Palace along the Las Vegas Strip. If you’re familiar with the reality cooking series, Hell’s Kitchen, I don’t need to tell you Michelle Tribble was the winner of Season 17. She was awarded the position of head chef for this Vegas hotspot by owner, Gordon Ramsey. And this is the second time I’ve met her. No matter how busy the kitchen staff is, on a full-scale stage for all to see, excited patrons as well as Instagram enthusiasts stop by to pose for selfies. Chef Michelle, keeping one eye on the crew as she circles the dining area checking out the food, continuously greets curiosity seekers for feedback and photo ops. She really is down-to-earth, very personable, and pays great attention to detail. No wonder it was a privilege to meet her.