Tom Ham’s Lighthouse in San Diego, California

Dining Outside the Home: Tom Ham’s Lighthouse in San Diego, California. Did you ever wish, as a kid, that you could eat in a real lighthouse? How cool is that?! Tom Ham understood the allure of making dreams comes true. This is the only restaurant in the United States to have a USCG operated and maintained lighthouse attached to it. Its location is even listed on nautical maps as Beacon #9, making Tom Ham’s Lighthouse an architectural landmark. Dine outside on a sunny day with a view of Harbor Island, Coronado Bridge, the San Diego Bay, and skyline. Munch away on Corn and Shrimp fritters before ordering the fresh Tuna Niçoise Salad. This is just a sampling of the fabulous food you’ll experience from the restaurant on the water’s edge. Thank you, Mr. Ham, for making dreams come true.

Kalapaki Joe’s Sports Bar in Lihue, Kauai

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.

JJ’s Broiler in Lihue, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: JJ’s Broiler in Lihue, Kauai. Even if you’re not a sport enthusiast, you can still get a healthy meal with an oceanfront view of Kalapaki Bay. Portions are generous, so sharing is encouraged. Order several menu items for a taste explosion of flavor. For starters, Crispy Won Tons with two dipping sauces is amazing: salty soy or hot mustard. Double-dipping allowed, as long as your partner doesn’t mind. The Cobb Salad is practically a vegetable garden on a platter. Crispy romaine lettuce provides a bed for chunks of turkey, ham, and bacon. Add avocado slices, chopped tomatoes, sliced eggs, and bleu cheese crumbles. Now you’re talking. Smother it with salad dressing, toss, and eat. Life doesn’t get any better than this.

Dining Outside the Home: Coconut’s Fish Café in Kapaa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Coconut’s Fish Café in Kapaa, Kauai. Even if you never plan to ride a surfboard, you can still enjoy the spirit of Aloha every time you visit Coconut’s Fish Cafe. Surfboard table tops encourage a “Hang Loose” attitude while filling the room with positive energy and healthy food. Top a mixed green salad with the grilled shrimp duo and a seared plank of blackened ahi, smeared with wasabi sauce. Also, might I suggest the papaya dressing? It’s amazing. All sauces and dressings are made from scratch. Order the coconut shrimp to have beforehand or with the meal. It sets the stage for a fabulous meal.

Dining Outside the Home: Olympic Café in Kapaa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Olympic Café in Kapaa, Kauai. Even on rainy days you have to venture out for a bite to eat. For starters, a slightly salty/savory-rimmed Bloody Mary with a spicy kick is in order. Perched on the second level of the Olympic Café overlooking street activity has proven to be quite entertaining as more clouds rolled in and the sky opened up. A guy on a bicycle got drenched from the pounding rain. He nestled a paper bag under his armpit while his legs pedaled full speed through potholes filling with street water. Meanwhile, a steaming hot humongous burrito lunch arrived, so the open air seating was perfect for watching passing showers at a warm and dry distance. After all, you can’t rush perfection.

Dining Outside the Home: Café Gelato in Las Vegas, Nevada

Dining Outside the Home: Café Gelato in Las Vegas, Nevada! In the city that never sleeps, tucked down a Bellagio corridor where the noise is left behind, you’ll discover a quaint European café a stone’s throw from the Mediterranean-style pool. Don’t be surprised by the occasional beachwear you see. Everyone is comfortable here. The casual fare includes enticing gelato in a plethora of flavors and bakery-fresh pastries, which make a nice accompaniment to abundant paninis or healthy garden salads. Feel free to share. Café Gelato makes it the perfect spot for a little R & R. Go ahead, indulge.

Dining Outside the Home: Roscoe’s Coffee Bar in Richmond, Indiana

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.

Dining Outside the Home: Olympic Café in Kapaa, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Olympic Café in Kapaa, Kauai!  No matter the time of year, no matter the weather, this open-air restaurant sitting above Main Street Kapaa in the Hee Fat Building is where it’s happening. You may opt for the unlimited Happy Hour Taco Bar or be a little choosy and select a fantastic Shrimp Salad overflowing with organic mixed greens and an abundance of grilled shrimp. It’s a meal in itself. No complaints here. Meat-lovers will appreciate the Big Burger Selection of 100% organic grass fed beef raised on the Garden Isle. Open seven days a week, there’s not a time of day this spacious eatery doesn’t fit the bill. Be hip, be casual, and always be Hawaiian. 

Dining Outside the Home: Kukui’s Poolside Restaurant and Bar at the Marriott Beach Resort in Lihue, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Kukui’s Poolside Restaurant and Bar at the Marriott Beach Resort in Lihue, Kauai!  Relax poolside with first-class service of American or Polynesian food and unsurpassed tiki cocktails. There’s no need to leave the comfort of a covered cabana under rustling palms or the shade of an umbrella chaise lounge. The soothing fountains of the magnificent pool offer tranquility that soothes the soul. Nibble on ethnic finger foods and garden salads made from island organic ingredients. Need to cool off? No worries. Take a dip into the pool, towel off, and order another round of Mai Tai Chi cocktails. No parasol needed.