Most people have pretty busy schedules nowadays, no matter what stage of life you are living. Fast food, carry-out, and dining in food joints can supplement our weekly meals, that’s for sure. Yet, if you desire a more efficient way to stretch the budget, think low-key menu planning. This segment on the food blog, entitled “Table Food”, can be another option to reduce the stress of figuring out what to eat. I tend to follow my own grocery store shopping rule as much as possible: Shop the perimeter of the store for most of my grocery list. Usually that includes produce, bakery, meat, fish, and dairy products as a top priority. It keeps me from binge-buying junk food in a moment of weakness. Obviously, pantry staples need to be replenished from time to time. Basically, I try to fuel my body with healthy options. When I slip, I’ve learned to let go of the guilt. Some of my posts have been favored by the “Food Network” on Twitter (Snapshotsincursive @DornaGail) as well as Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa, on Instagram (gail _dorna). You can even find me on Pinterest at Gail Dorna. I’d love to connect with you there as well. I also met Chef Michelle Tribble of Hell’s Kitchen reality cooking show. Fun times. Experience different flavors and textures one bite at a time. Catch a glimpse of “Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Table Food!” This remarkable journey of the palate is unique because it gives me a few moments with you. Thanks very much to all of my guests and followers on http://snapshotsincursive.com for the uplifting support, award nominations, and moving words of encouragement.
Dining Outside the Home: Avalon Gastropub in Kapaa, Kauai! When a waiter at another restaurant tells you where he goes after a hard day, you sit up and take notice. Avalon Gastropub is a trailblazer for this genre on the island. It is a place that offers a casual, yet refined atmosphere. The top-notch food and drink selections step up the freshness and creativity of the daily menu. Crabmeat Crostini is one of those delectable special features. The chef recommended Scotch Egg features a soft boiled egg wrapped in pork belly sausage. It’s one of several tantalizing small plates, that’s for sure. Some crafted cocktails aim to tickle the palate with smoke-infused alcoholic beverages, such as the Jalapeño Smoked Margarita shown here. It actually comes to the table in a smoker box. Talk about a multi-sensory experience.
Dining Outside the Home: POV Rooftop Lounge and Terrace in Washington, DC! Word gets around that one of the most spectacular panoramic views of the DC skyline can be seen from the POV Lounge and Terrace at the W Hotel. The sunset view beyond the glass wall of retractable windows translates to an open-air experience from anywhere in the room. From small bites to burgers and entrees, the menu promises to entice. Choose a drink of choice to compliment the food, celebrate the day, and live in the moment.
Dining Outside the Home: Little Room Jazz Club in Key West, Florida! If you prefer to sit on the edge of the party, tuck your legs under a bar stool at a high table in a cozy corner of Little Room Jazz Club. Step back in time to an era of speakeasies and nightclubs. Pay attention as the piano player tickles the ivory keys in the glow of blue neon lights. Every now and then, requests ring out from regular patrons while first-timers absorb the melodic freedom of harmonic jazz enticing a head bob, toe tap, or other bodily motions. For those who like to nibble as they drink, a nice assortment of small bites are available on the menu. Choose an entertaining evening; experience it all.
Dining Outside the Home: Oasis on the Beach in Kapaa, Kauai. Fusion food is spot on at Oasis on the Beach, an open-air restaurant a few steps from the ocean. This is Hawai’i, after all, where the fish is as fresh as the view is captivating. No humdrum menu here. One of the House specialties is the island catch-of-the-day, seared to perfection. Mmmm. Pair it with Thai curry spices blended into coconut milk for a fabulous sauce. Did you notice the farm-to-table veggie chunks to add flavor? Now you’re talking. Don’t forget a scoop of white rice. It’s a meal in a bowl that does not disappoint.
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: Mon Ami Gabi French Restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada! Why does French food seem to taste better than any other? Could it be the bakery-fresh baguette slathered in sea salt butter? Perhaps it’s the heartwarming and nourishing combination of savory meat paired with garden veggies. Or maybe it’s the fact that a leisurely meal is eaten outdoors for conversation and spectacular views. Mon Ami Gabi French Restaurant has the right idea. Experience life as the French do. Dine on the open-air patio from an extensive menu that promises to satisfy. Sit back, sip a little, laugh in merriment, bask in the outdoors, and enjoy the entire experience. It’s truly priceless.
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: Roscoe’s Coffee Bar in Richmond, Indiana! For a nice stop on the east side of town, go for impressive organic coffees, fruit smoothies, and gastronomic food. Although the atmosphere might be laid back, the menu compensates with imaginative options. Take a seat inside at one of the warm wood communal tables while sipping on a nitrogen-infused cold coffee or perhaps an imperial brown ale. Friendly strangers might join you for a little conversation. The food is locally sourced, using a quality blend of fresh ingredients. Overall, Roscoe’s East Side is pretty down-to-earth and easy on the pocketbook.