Pinchers Crab Shack in Key West, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: Pinchers Crab Shack in Key West, Florida! Sometimes you need to take a break from the noonday sun to whet your whistle. No worries, Happy Hour runs every day. Sit at the bar, a short distance from the stage where live music is very laid back, for the perfect vantage point for Duval Street commotion. Sip on classic cocktails, some with Cuban rum, and it won’t be long before you’ll be transported to warm southern beaches where ocean waves wash your worries away. When you get hungry, rely on local fishermen to supply the freshest seafood the Gulf has to offer. It’s all good at Pinchers.

Willie T’s in Key West, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: Willie T’s in Key West, Florida. Pull out a chair at an open air table, where lively music sets the mood, dollar bills cover every square inch with messages scribbled in jest, and the smell of conch fritters makes your mouth water. Try not to gape too much at your neighbor’s food or you may end up ordering everything on the menu. Tropical drinks go down smooth and easy, especially mint mojitos. When the succulent lobster salad, stuffed with celery stalks and crispy leaves, overflows from the warm, buttery bun, simply grab a fork to spear the chunky mounds of lobster meat before gripping the roll with two hands. Wipe your chin. No one is watching.

Country Tavern in Nashua, New Hampshire

Dining Outside the Home: Country Tavern in Nashua, New Hampshire! If you like a dose of haunting history served with a rustic dinner in a circa 1741 farmhouse, Country Tavern is the place to be. Not only is the wait staff eager to share their own personal tales of lights “flickering” and ghosts “bumping” in the night, the tavern even provides a full page newspaper article describing details about the resident apparition, Elizabeth Ford. But back to the meal, I recommend the hand-cut filet mignon with béarnaise sauce. It’s delicious, especially if it ends up being your last meal.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Koloa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Koloa, Kauai! Just because this restaurant is known for its sizzling, butter-topped beef doesn’t mean you have to order it. Especially if you love seafood. The best-kept secret is Ruth’s Chris has outstanding seafood selections that can make your head spin. Don’t believe me? Order the Chilled Seafood Tower. It has everything from succulent lobster to jumbo shrimp and crab legs. The presentation is incredible! Want to save room for dinner? The Ahi Poke Martini is perfect for two. The fresh Ahi chunks are tossed with soy sauce, onions, and toasted sesame seeds. The kick of chili is amazing! Entrees are served on a 500° platter that keeps food hot until the very last bite. Whether it’s a celebration or not, dining here turns every meal into a special occasion.

Coconut’s Fish Café in Kapaa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Coconut’s Fish Café in Kapaa, Kauai. Anyone who likes coconut shrimp will absolutely flip over this Happy Hour appetizer: Half price Coconut Shrimp with a fiery sweet chili pineapple dipping sauce. A generous portion count of six batter fried fan-tailed shrimp is enough to share or make a substantial meal for one. Don’t judge me. Another winner is the Ahi Poke: raw tuna chunks marinated in soy, garlic, and green onions. Try not to drool. Long story short, if you like to save money and don’t mind a late lunch or early supper, spend more time at the beach and then head over to Coconut’s Fish Café for a great taste of seafood.

The Garden Grille at Wailua Bay in Kapaa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: The Garden Grille at Wailua Bay in Kapaa, Kauai. “Hang Loose” in an open-air setting with the Pacific Ocean as a scenic backdrop. Life doesn’t get any better than this. Go Hawaiian with traditional long grain rice topped with succulent grilled shrimp. These are foods that are healthy but filling. Consider it lesson one to ease into island life. Never mind the speckled wild chicken that fluttered out of reach from the cocktail waitress. It practically teased her into playing a game of “Tag”. Later on, after eating, meander down to the bay to dip your toes in the sand.

The Lanai Restaurant and Bar in Koloa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: The Lanai Restaurant And Bar in Koloa, Kauai. Avocado croquettes, sweet watermelon salad, crunchy sea salt macadamia nuts, grilled shrimp. If you strive for healthy options, local ingredients, and aloha flavor, rest easy at The Lanai. Escape to the garden isle where open-air ambience meets great tasting food. People-watching is a bonus, especially among gentle sea breezes. Adjacent to a gourmet market makes it a plus for top-notch quality. Take it slow, savor each bite. Then think about the next time you plan to come back.

Kountry Kitchen in Kapaa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Kountry Kitchen in Kapaa, Kauai. Tradition is served with local ingredients. It’s that simple. Here’s a place where breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day. Spam fried rice is a hit among locals. Carrot slivers and green onion snips work well with crispy fried Spam, cut-up into bite size pieces. Not your style? No worries. Omelettes, Loco Moco, Benedicts, or Pancakes and Waffles make a delicious substitute. There’s something for everyone. Aloha!

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!