Hualani’s Restaurant in Lihue, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Hualani’s Restaurant in Lihue, Kauai. Celebrations of life are a good reason to reserve a table at Hualani’s Restaurant, where the ocean stretches forever in a sea of aquatic blue. After all, there’s nothing quite like watching palm trees sway against a torch-lit sky as the sun slides behind the Haupu Mountain Range. Relax with a crafted cocktail. Stretch your palate to try something extraordinary from land and sea like Whole Fried Market Fish, Mashed Okinawa Potatoes with scallions, and Spiced Rum Pineapple Confit. It’s the attention to detail and presentation that embrace a dining experience that will be long remembered.

Old Town Mexican Cafe in San Diego, California

Dining Outside the Home: Old Town Mexican Cafe in San Diego, California. Tortilla Ladies make it look so easy. It’s probably because they’ve been stretching and rolling dough into perfect tortillas since their youth. Look through the windows. See how easily they handle the rolling pins? After all, handmade tortillas are the staple for practically every single Mexican dish. Not to mention, delicious. At Old Town Mexican Cafe, the food is authentic and has been for decades. If it’s not broken, why fix it? Take the House Famous Carnitas, for example. Crispy fried chunks of seasoned pork are served with chopped onion, leafy cilantro, smooth avocado, garden tomatoes, fresh lime, and refried beans. Wrap them up in warm tortillas right off the grill. Is it any wonder I never tried another dish? Yeah, they’re that good.

Lemongrass Grill in Kapaa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Lemongrass Grill in Kapaa, Kauai! Venture down the road to Choy Village for a quiet dinner in an old Kauaiian homestead. The tropical ambiance of Lemongrass Grill stretches from outdoor patio dining to indoor secluded areas. Their specialties include international dishes from land and sea. If curry is your thing, Lemongrass Grill is spot on with gluten-free and vegetarian entrees. Happy hour cocktails and appetizers influence your time among the Pan-Asian culture. Take a sip of the popular “Blue Hawaiian”, garnished with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry. Take a break from the beach to be transported away for a satisfying meal. You deserve it.

Hualani’s Restaurant in Lihue, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Hualani’s Restaurant in Lihue, Kauai. Take a magic carpet ride to a place in which a Polynesian-style resort sits on the edge of the island with a close-up view of passing cruise ships. Palm trees sway around a two-tiered infinity pool while ocean waves splash ashore. Squint hard to imagine where the pool ends and the sea begins. Relax in a wicker chair on the lanai where the martinis are straight up, and sometimes a little dirty. Farm-to-table Hawaiian dishes are taken seriously since the herbs and vegetables are grown nearby. Savor them. And always, I mean always, save a little room for the Banana Macadamia Lumpia dessert. This flaky Filipino concoction is nothing short of amazing at Hualani’s Restaurant.

Hukilau Lanai in Kapaa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Hukilau Lanai in Kapaa, Kauai! Every meal becomes a special occasion with a superb wait staff who is willing to satisfy your heart’s desire. Romance, you got it. Nostalgia, no worries. Impeccable food, a given. Start things off leisurely with a crafted cocktail: Ginger Martini. Sip it deliberately. Let the Hawaiian vodka seduce your taste buds with a tangy ginger liqueur finish. Mmmm. My husband chose a Ginny Hendrick’s garnished with a fresh rosemary sprig from their very own herb garden. Feeling pampered yet? Nibble on a savory appetizer of Lobster and Goat Cheese Wonton as a prelude to an incredible Lobster Curry Bisque. Can anyone have too much lobster? Wait, this is just the beginning. The entrées are first-class, the desserts divine. Surrender your will power. Every bite is worth it.

Dining Outside the Home: Poseidon Coastal Cuisine & Rooftop Bar on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Dining Outside the Home: Poseidon Coastal Cuisine & Rooftop Bar on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Bask in the vibrant hues of a glorious sunset over dinner and drinks at this local hotspot on the waterfront. Whether you choose musical entertainment at the Rooftop Bar, casual cocktails during NautiBar’s Happy Hour, or a flavorful dinner of surf ‘n turf, you’ll be happy as a clam. Peruse the extensive menu offering raw, steamed, broiled, baked, grilled, and fried selections. They’ve got it all. Do you know where you’re eating tonight? I do. Poseidon Coastal Cuisine.

Dining Outside the Home: Hilton Garden Inn Pavilion Lounge on Wailua Bay, Kauai

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

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: T.G.I. Fridays in Indianapolis, Indiana

Dining Outside the Hone: T.G.I. Fridays in Indianapolis, Indiana! It’s not often you hear the story of a restaurant owner opening a bar that would help him meet women. But that’s exactly what happened in 1965 when Alan Stillman opened the first T.G.I. Friday’s in New York City. He probably figured a cocktail-style atmosphere with a unique décor would be more appealing than a dark tavern. He was right. Today, no matter the location, everyone has a good time for drinks and a casual meal. An upscale menu provides tempting appetizers that are a meal in itself, like the Spinach Florentine Flatbread. It’s A+, in my opinion. For a heartier appetite choose a popular entree such as the Half Rack of BBQ Ribs. Either way, you may find yourself unable to resist a nibble of everything on the table. Just remember to save room for dessert. The Brownie Obsession is exactly that!