Dining Outside the Home: Paniolo Santa Maria-Style BBQ in Kapaa, Kauai. In the heart of Old Kapaa Town, you can get food hot of the grill on the outdoor patio while listening to lively island music. Meet up with family or make new friends across the picnic table. Paniolo’s signature style reflects cooking meat that has been properly seasoned over an open fire. There is an art to moving the grill up or down to control the temperature. The results will amaze you. Plates are served with chili-bean rice, tossed green salad, and grilled French bread slathered in butter. Follow your nose to the woodsmoke aromas of barbecue pork, tri-tip steak, fresh fish, and tender chicken. It’s a toe-tapping happy place to eat.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Food Junkie Favorites: Hot Dog Heaven! Summer brings visions of baseball games, afternoons at the pool, picnics in the park, roasting marshmallows over the fire pit, and hot dogs any way you like them. Some people prefer premium Angus franks, others want fat-free turkey, German brats, or Italian sausage. Hold the ketchup? Maybe. Mustard only? Sometimes. Sweet relish? Extra onion? No bun? There have to be a bazillion ways to serve up a hot dog. For your back yard cookout, save yourself the agony of being a people-pleaser. Bring out the kid in everyone. Offer a condiment bar where the guests can congregate and “build-your-own” version of bliss.
HOT DOG HEAVEN
1 pound wieners, standard beef
Condiments of your choosing
Hot Dog Buns
Heat the grill to medium temperature. Grill franks 5-7 minutes, turning occasionally, until heated through and slightly charred. Remove with grill tongs and let sit for a minute or two to retain juices. For a toasted bun, toss the buns, cut side down, onto the grill for about 15-20 seconds; longer if you want them slightly charred. Watch carefully.
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.
Dining Outside the Home: Michael Mina Pub 1842 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tucked away in the MGM Grand is a hidden gem inspired by a celebrity chef. Pub 1842, named for the year Pilsner was invented, offers a nice selection of craft beers, but that’s not where it ends. Check out the great selection of unique whiskeys and specialty cocktails. Happy Hour features a pair of Brisket Sliders worth nibbling on. Feast your eyes on the tender black angus beef prepared Kansas City-style, drenched in savory bbq sauce slathered over a bed of kale slaw. Spear a gherkin and it’s ready for that first bite. Add an order of Fries in a Can to balance things out. Chef Mina knows what he’s doing. Try not to drool.
Dining Outside the Home: Kalapaki Joe’s Sports Bar in Lihue, Kauai! On the edge of nowhere sits the island’s secret for fresh salad meals, ocean fish, Happy Hour specials, ginormous burgers, cold beverages, and televised sports. Stop in for one reason or another. And if you’re hungry, go for the Big Plate Entrees. The Ahi Poke Crunch Salad was an adventure in fusion food: raw Ahi, Asian slaw, crispy tortilla strips, Oriental vinaigrette, and wasabi cream. No matter your craving, Kalapaki Joe’s brings people of the East and West closer.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Appetizers to Desserts: Bison Sirloin Steak Burger! If you’re a meat-lover, pull up a chair. Grass fed bison meat (aka buffalo) is a lean alternative to the basic all-beef burger and is becoming readily available as a healthier option. The smoky grilled flavor is rich tasting and savory. Add a side of cheese, onions, and potatoes for a Wild West experience that will leave you feeling fully satisfied.
BISON SIRLOIN STEAK BURGER
8-ounce bison sirloin steak
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
Dash garlic powder
Preheat outdoor grill to 475°. This is ideal for searing bison steaks. Let the steak come to room temperature marinated in olive oil and seasonings. Put the steak on the hot grill; close the lid, and sear the steak for 2 minutes per side. Then move the steak to the unheated side of the grill. Keep the lid closed and cook for 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare steak. Remove to a platter and let it rest for 8 minutes before serving. Keep spices to a minimum to truly appreciate the full taste of bison.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Equal Measures: Grilled Romaine with Strawberries! I call this a lazy cook’s meal. After all, it’s pretty simple. More than likely, most ingredients are probably there in the fruit and vegetable crispers of the refrigerator. You know, those drawers down at the bottom that regulate humidity. (Quick tutorial: most fruits like LOW humidity, most vegetables like HIGH humidity. If set correctly, everything stays fresher and crisper longer.) Heat up the grill, sear the romaine, layer on ripe strawberries, red onion slices, and shaved parmesan cheese. Drizzle olive oil over all. You’re done. The hubs will think you planned the meal with attention to detail. Just nod your head and smile.
GRILLED ROMAINE WITH STRAWBERRIES
1 romaine heart, cut lengthwise
Nonstick olive oil spray
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 pint strawberries, sliced in half, stems removed
1/4 red onion, sliced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shaved
1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat grill to 400°. Spray both sides of romaine halves with nonstick oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Place cut side down on the hot grill. Sear 3 minutes, until charred. Carefully flip over and sear 3 minutes longer until slightly wilted. Transfer to a platter. Layer with fresh strawberries and red onion slices. Drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with shaved parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? A Burst of Flavor: Kauaiian-Rub Pork Medallions! Natural Pacific sea salt, combined with herbs and spices, lock in flavor for the most tender cut of grilled pork you’ve ever tasted. Don’t scrimp on the cut; it’s worth a little extra cost since there is no fat, no bones, and absolutely no waste.
KAUAIIAN-RUB PORK MEDALLIONS
2-3 pound Pork Filet Mignon, sliced in 3/4″ portions
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons soybean seasoning sauce
1-2 tablespoons Salty Wahine Gourmet Hawaiian Rub*
Marinate at room temperature sliced medallions in a shallow dish with olive oil, soybean seasoning sauce, and gourmet rub on both sides of the pork. Preheat the outdoor gas grill to 500°. Place the tenderloins on the non-stick grate and lower the lid. The temperature should remain around 450°. After 4-5 minutes, turn medallions over, close lid, and grill for 5 minutes longer. To check for doneness, the internal temperature will register at 150°. Remove medallions and let them rest for 5 minutes in order for the juices to draw back inside.
*Available through Salty Wahine Gourmet Hawaiian Sea Salts. (I receive no recompense for promoting their product.)
Dining Outside the Home: Ernestine and Hazel’s in Memphis, Tennessee! Housed in a building steeped with southern history lies a gathering place where the burgers are greasy, the music is hypnotic, and the liquor is smooth. People connect with the heart and soul at the mere thought of Chuck Berry or Ray Charles, listening as the jukebox plays on. Upstairs an aura of mystique practically oozes from the heavily color-draped walls. That’s no coincidence, especially after hearing murmurings of shadowy figures and other unexplained phenomenon based on the dozen or so tragic deaths that occurred there. Perhaps that is why the seasoned bartender keeps his head down, humming under his breath, and serves up a stiff one.