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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
Dining Outside the Home: St. Elmo Steak House in Indianapolis, Indiana! Known as the oldest steakhouse in its original location, a mere stone’s throw from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in downtown Indy, is none other than St. Elmo’s. This is a place where people come to satiate their appetite for outstanding steaks, impressive shrimp cocktails, and a superior wine list that promises to complement any occasion. If you’re lucky, the award-winning wine cellar may be available for private dining and celebrations. I know, because I’ve been there. Not only is the atmosphere charmingly romantic being surrounded by thousands of bottles, but the professional waitstaff’s attention to detail is intoxicating. For the ultimate dining experience, choose St. Elmo Steak House.
Dining Outside the Home: The Cheesecake Factory in Cincinnati, Ohio! Mention the word “cheesecake” and watch pupils dilate and lips begin to smack in anticipation of heavenly bliss. After all, what’s not to love about a dessert composed of cream cheese and butter? Add to it the combination of light-as-air cake with unbelievable fillings and mind-boggling toppings! The fact that The Cheesecake Factory offers an extensive menu of healthy options just gives us one more reason to make room for dessert. If I eat salad, then I can reward myself with dessert, right? Of course you can. And if the portions are too large, no worries. That’s what doggie bags are for.