Dining Outside the Home: Farmhouse Restaurant in Fair Oaks, Indiana! The best-kept secret of this rural farmstead is The Pub, situated on what is known as the back forty of the family-owned restaurant. Chrissy serves up a mean Baja Mule with just the right amount of tequila, lime, and ginger beer. It goes down smooth and easy as you nibble on the Cowboy Bites. Never heard of them, you say? It’s a savory appetizer of sweet corn, cream cheese, jalapeños, and bacon nestled in a lightly fried breaded nugget. Dip it in chipotle aioli for added spice. Watch out, these can be addictive. Choose a burger and share it with your partner. The half-pounder dry aged ribeye, topped with fresh arugula and Havarti habanero pepper cheese, will leave you with a mental note to stop over to the Cowfé to snag a pound of this diablo cheese for later on. Take your time. There’s no hurry. This is what country living is all about.
Dining Outside the Home: Piazza in Princeville, Kauai. How does a French chef off the island of Madagascar find his way to the Hawaiian island of Kauai, you wonder. It really makes little difference once you taste his flare for Italian food. Chef Christophe is the master, hands down, at creating out-of-this-world culinary creations designed to seduce the palate at Piazza on the North Shore. Every dish is uniquely designed from oven-roasted tomatoes on the wood-fired oven pizza to the hand-seasoned croutons on the Caesar salad. For the adventure enthusiast, might I suggest the log cabin stacked polenta fries? Nothing but the best of local, organic ingredients are carefully crafted for your enjoyment. My fav? The Seared Ahi Niçoise Salad. I see it in your future, too.
Dining Outside the Home: Hukilau Lanai in Kapaa, Kauai. On an island surrounded by water in the middle of the Pacific, people are still known to step away from fresh seafood in search of a prime cut of beef. The chefs at Hukilau Lanai understand that craving and aim to please. Their dinner menu offers a main course of perfectly tender Prime Rib au Jus seasoned in Hawaiian sea salt and spices. Whether it’s sliced pink and rare or medium-well, it does not disappoint. A small portion of fat around the edge adds amazing flavor to the beef while it’s cooking. Slice it off or indulge yourself. Drizzle or dip the simple pan sauce (au jus) made from natural juices and slather with a dab of horseradish. Mmmm. If you get the craving, remember to go early. Because prime rib must be roasted slowly, once it’s cut and served, it’s gone for the night.
Dining Outside the Home: The Fish Express in Lihue, Kauai! If you’re looking for a quick bite of incredibly fresh fish, spicy ahi, batter-fried butterfly shrimp, or seasoned seafood, make a pit stop at The Fish Express near the Lihue Airport. No matter the time of day, people can be seen standing around outside leaning against the building or sitting in the shade with a styrofoam container propped in one hand and a fork in the other. Once inside the door of this carry-out eatery, you’ll be blown away by the multitude of choices available in the glass showcase. No worries. Try anything that looks yummy. But you better hurry. If you dilly-dally too long, the person beside you might snatch it up. The staff is an old hand at getting people through the line f-a-s-t. Affordable Bento boxes are placed on the edge of the counter near the register as a convenient add-on. Do it. Throw a couple bucks in the Tip Jar. As you’re driving away, don’t be surprised if you find yourself cracking open a container to nibble on its contents. “It’s fresh off da boat.”
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Peachy Possibilities! Nothing is more refreshing than fresh peaches, in my opinion. And the options for devouring them are endless! At first sight, you may be tempted to sink your teeth into the juicy sweet fruit as its nectar drizzles down your chin. But if you keep your willpower in check, the benefits are rewarding.
Here are a few ideas:
* Adding fresh peaches to your favorite salsa intensifies the flavor. It’s a perfect compliment to spicy jalapeños and tomatoes.
* As you prepare nutritious oatmeal, slice part of a peach, then sprinkle it with cinnamon before preparing the cooked cereal in the microwave. It’s a convenient shortcut to peach cobbler.
* For that afternoon pick-me-up, toss a couple of frozen peaches, bananas, and strawberries in the blender. Simply add milk, a splash of orange juice, and ice cubes. Voilà, a Smoothie.
* For the ambitious baker, see yesterday’s post for Old-Fashioned Blueberry Peach Galette a là mode! Who doesn’t love peach pie with vanilla ice cream?
Whichever way you choose, enjoy this peak seasonal fruit. Before you know it, it’ll be gone.
Dining Outside the Home: Yolös Mexican Grill in Las Vegas, Nevada! Every place has a story behind their name, so this place is no exception. Yolo! You Only Live Once! Head over to Planet Hollywood to get the party started. Yolös Mexican Grill has your number and it’s lucky number 7. Check out Happy Hour for amazing fresh fruit margaritas. Chilled and icy. Try any number of specialty foods with Mexican, Pacific Rim, South American, and Caribbean influences. The salsas are out of this world delicious. Habanero Papaya, Tomatillo, Roasted Tomato, Diablo. Make your next stop among the glowing lights of an urban cantina. You only live once.
Dining Outside the Home: 110 Grill in Nashua, New Hampshire! Restaurants face the challenge of offering a menu that encompasses the diversity of palate as well as creativity in diet. Rest assured, 110 Grill raises the bar. Vegan choices as well as Gluten-free options show commitment to customer needs and satisfaction. Even the Beverage Book features creative cocktails, craft beers, and New World wines. Check in and see how they’re catching on. From business to pleasure, 110 Grill creates an ambiance that makes any occasion feel festive.
Dining Outside the Home: Petey’s Summertime Seafood in Rye, New Hampshire. The menu said “Award-Winning Clam Chowder”, just the facts sprinkled with a second helping of bragging rights. As the waitress swept by our table, balancing a tray of four steaming bowls of clam chowder surrounded by cracker packets, it left behind an amazing aroma too tempting to resist. First course decided. Next up, an incredible dish known as “Baked Stuffed Lobster Pie ‘n Butter”. When the staff recommends something they eat (often) themselves, prepare to enter Lobster Heaven. It truly does exist.
Dining Outside the Home: JO2 Natural Cuisine in Kapaa, Kauai! Step across the threshold of this clean, crisp restaurant and you will find the atmosphere extraordinary. Peruse the specialized menu. There is little doubt the French chef will create anything less than a masterpiece, using nature’s freshest ingredients arranged on a plate. Your eyes will feast on the artistic presentation before a forkful of food ever touches your lips. Take it slow to appreciate every bite. Linger between Appetizer and Entrée, giving yourself time for quiet conversation over signature cocktails. Perhaps you’ll share a nibble of super sweet Baby Corn grown exclusively on the island. Or a taste of Mushroom Risotto lashed into perfection with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and sea salted French butter. Do you see where I’m going with this? Make dining at JO2 an experience to remember. After all, the colorful palette is designed especially for you. Bon Appétit!