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.
Dining Outside the Home: The View Restaurant and Lounge at Times Square in Manhattan, New York City, New York! This is where to go for a perfect vantage point of the Manhattan skyline at sunset. The View is a revolving rooftop restaurant inside the Marriott Marquis, and the only one of its kind. You really don’t want to pass up a rich culinary experience against an unforgettable backdrop. Take your time to locate points of interest as well as landmark skyscrapers. The revolving floor makes a 360° turn every hour. The Three-Course Prix-Fixe menu offers an unsurpassed Beginning, incredible Main attractions, and a stunning Finish to the meal. Don’t forget to order a signature Manhattan Cocktail. After all, it’s a toast to Manhattan!
Dining Outside the Home: Virgil’s Real Barbecue in Times Square, New York City, New York! Stacked next to the door is a crib of split logs, ranging from hickory to oak, and fruit trees. But that’s what you do when you own a restaurant that smokes meat at a low temperature for up to 10 hours. Virgil’s Real Barbecue means business. The House Classics include pulled pork, Carolina pulled chicken, Texas beef brisket, Memphis smoked spare ribs, and smoked BBQ chicken. I think you get the idea. Perhaps that’s why no one is embarrassed to order the Pig Out Platter. You’re among friends.
Dining Outside the Home: Mama’s Pizza in Manhattan, New York City, New York! When it’s late at night, in the city that never sleeps, stumbling across a no frills food court filled with oven-fresh New York-style pizza-by-the-slice is shear heaven. No reservation needed in this counter-served eatery, known as Mama’s Pizza. The challenge came in choosing which toppings to indulge, on a crust that was crisp along the edge and soft enough in the middle to fold in half to eat. That’s the way it’s done in New York City. In the end, I went with a four-cheese and fresh basil White Pizza. The hubs stuck to the classic standby, Pepperoni. And then we satisfied our sweet tooth with a chocolate chip cannoli for dessert. Yum!
Dining Outside the Home: Playwright Celtic Pub in Manhattan, New York City, New York! On a beautiful night, head up four flights of stairs to the rooftop in the heart of NYC’s Theatre District for a classic Irish pub experience. This is Playwright Celtic Pub in Hell’s Kitchen, where patrons rave about the best Fish ‘n Chips in the city and the brews to match. The beverages are ice cold, the music is loud and lively, and the skyline is unbelievably Manhattan. Absorb the ambiance. Appreciate the tradition. Wet your whistle. Grab dinner under the stars. It’s all about the journey.
Dining Outside the Home: Sardi’s Restaurant in Manhattan’s Theatre District, New York City, New York! Step inside the doors and be surrounded by hundreds of celebrity caricatures adorning the walls from top to bottom dating back to the 1940s. Be amazed as you sit in the company of greatness. Some you will recognize, others you’ll find simply intriguing. And because Sardi’s is a great place for pre-and post-theatre activity, you never know who you’ll find dining at the table next to you. Don’t forget to eat. For openers, try the Sardi’s Special Appetizer plate: Bruschetta; Prosciutto and Melon; Asparagus rolled in Smoked Salmon; Roasted Bell Peppers; Mozzarella and Capers; Truffled Chicken Liver Pâté; and Grilled Shrimp with Green Olive Tapenade. I know, right! Is it any wonder celebs are drawn to this legendary Times Square restaurant?