Front-Runner Favs

Common ingredients seem ordinary when listed on their own. In fact, most kitchen pantries are stocked with staples. It just keeps us from making daily stops at the supermarket. When familiar ingredients meet fresh ones, it increases the variety and changes them into front-runner favs. Mealtime then becomes an all-star event. And speaking of stars…Some of my posts have received a nod from the “Food Network” on Twitter (Snapshotsincursive@DornaGail) as well as Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, on Instagram @gail_dorna. This continuous journey of the palate gives me time with you. Thanks very much to all of my guests and followers on for the uplifting support, award nominations, and moving words of encouragement. What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? It’s as simple as A-B-C. I love to cook, and my husband loves that I do it often. Most recipes serve 2-4 people, but can be easily modified. Leftovers are golden morsels to be eaten later or shared with others. Seeing a smile of gratitude keeps me going. Feel free to contact me with questions. Now take a deep breath, inhale the aromas, and join me on a tasteful journey entitled, “EATING MY WAY THROUGH THE ALPHABET: FRONT-RUNNER FAVS!”

Duetto Pizza and Gelato in Key West, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: Duetto Pizza and Gelato in Key West, Florida! Just a stone’s throw off Duval Street is a cozy Italian eatery that serves New York-style thin crust pizza by the slice. Because a single slice can be bigger than your hand, you may see people folding it in half, especially if they’re peddling toward the beach or heading over to the waterfront pier. No judgement. If it keeps one from burning the roof of their mouth on the gooey cheese, I’m all for it. Whatever you choose, save a little room for fresh gelato. It’s made daily with milk, real fruit, and natural ingredients. No wonder it tastes so good.

The Green Room in Key West, Florida

Dining Outside the Home: The Green Room in Key West, Florida! When the locals tip you off with their favorite watering holes, you kinda pay attention. The Green Room takes pride in serving up thirst-quenching organic drinks in eco-friendly surroundings. Not only that, they believe is supporting the community as much as possible. It is an island, after all. Environmental sustainability is critical to survival. The bartenders are as laid back as a Florida sunset and the live music is cultural, no matter the performer. Stop by for a few. You’ll walk away feeling like family.

Dining Outside the Home: Hukilau Lanai in Kapaa, Kauai

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: Native Tongues Taqueria in Calgary, Canada

Dining Outside the Home: Native Tongues Taqueria in Calgary, Canada! If you’re looking for traditional street foods of Mexico mixed with a desire to socialize, you may wish to experience the cantina atmosphere of Native Tongues Taqueria. A quick glance will have you wondering if the soft patina of adobe walls peppered with festive Mexican tiles are for real. They are. Communal wooden tables and solid benches promote casual conversations. Fresh ingredients make up for the pricey miniature tacos, which disappeared in three bites. Other patrons seemed to gravitate to the authentic guacamole and house made chips washed down with a signature Mezcal margarita. Sharing platters is the way to go. The chef-driven labor-intensive attention to detail keeps this restaurant from falling into the category of “Mexican fast food”.

Dining Away From Home: The Coffee Pot and Bear’s Mill

Just across the state line off of Route 121 through a bucolic stretch of rolling farmlands sits the historic town of Greenville in Darke County. (The Wild West star and folk hero, Annie Oakley, got her roots in this area.) Many of the buildings are as original in character as they are rich in personality. Take the “Coffee Pot”, for instance. They serve seriously good espresso and decadent desserts to share! It’s enough to rev up your engine and keep you going for a trip down the road to a functioning gristmill dating back to 1849. At “Bear’s Mill”, I keep supplied with fresh cornmeal ground on the original French buhr stones powered by water from the Greenville Creek. This is the same yellow cornmeal used in recipes from Gail’s Kitchen and featured often in “Eating My Way Through the Alphabet”. Some things are really worth the trip!