Dining Outside the Home: Hualani’s Restaurant in Lihue, Kauai. Like moths to a flame, people are drawn to a restaurant with an ocean view. Perhaps the sound of the waves lapping on the shoreline is conducive to ultimate freedom and peaceful relaxation. On the horizon you might catch sight of an airliner gliding over the lighthouse. Hualani’s open-air restaurant understands the hypnotic pull of the ocean. It’s one of the reasons their menu features local fresh ingredients from land, sea, and living by the water. I suggest a Yoga Girl Cocktail and Seared Shrimp Quesadilla. Is it any wonder the name Hualani translates to “Fruit of Heaven”? Come and see.
Dining Outside the Home: Dos Reales Mexican Restaurant in Champaign, Illinois! When it gets steamy hot in the Midwest , rest assured you can cool things off at a casual spot for classic Mexican cooking and salt-rimmed margaritas that go down smooth and easy. Order a Taco Salad. It’s served in a fried flour tortilla shell, then cradled with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chunky guacamole, and spicy salsa. Saira can add seasoned ground beef or shredded chicken to suit your taste. Either way, you get a healthy dose of veggies that’ll keep you coming back for more…whenever you pass through town.
Dining Outside the Home: HEXX Kitchen and Bar in Las Vegas, Nevada! Check out the Las Vegas Strip from a vantage point at the Paris Hotel that offers open-air patio dining with a view of the Bellagio fountains. Have you ever tasted Chilaquiles? It’s a perfect brunch option of tortilla chips loaded with roasted chicken, tasty salsa, two eggs cooked your style, avocado chunks, sour cream, and asadero cheese. So what if you have to strap on the Fitbit to exercise a few miles walking it off? This is Vegas, baby. It’s worth it.
Dining Outside the Home: Country Tavern in Nashua, New Hampshire! If you like a dose of haunting history served with a rustic dinner in a circa 1741 farmhouse, Country Tavern is the place to be. Not only is the wait staff eager to share their own personal tales of lights “flickering” and ghosts “bumping” in the night, the tavern even provides a full page newspaper article describing details about the resident apparition, Elizabeth Ford. But back to the meal, I recommend the hand-cut filet mignon with béarnaise sauce. It’s delicious, especially if it ends up being your last meal.
Dining Outside the Home: Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Koloa, Kauai! Just because this restaurant is known for its sizzling, butter-topped beef doesn’t mean you have to order it. Especially if you love seafood. The best-kept secret is Ruth’s Chris has outstanding seafood selections that can make your head spin. Don’t believe me? Order the Chilled Seafood Tower. It has everything from succulent lobster to jumbo shrimp and crab legs. The presentation is incredible! Want to save room for dinner? The Ahi Poke Martini is perfect for two. The fresh Ahi chunks are tossed with soy sauce, onions, and toasted sesame seeds. The kick of chili is amazing! Entrees are served on a 500° platter that keeps food hot until the very last bite. Whether it’s a celebration or not, dining here turns every meal into a special occasion.
Dining Outside the Home: Art Café Hemingway in Kapaa, Kauai. Living life in true island-style comes easy as you step over the threshold into an atmosphere that is both rustic European and casual charm. Choose a cozy table for two on the edge of the room to appreciate the artistic ambience, natural light, and blend of pleasing aromas in the air. Natural ingredients, locally grown, make every dish unique. For breakfast order The Nest, for instance, served in a vintage bowl. Multigrain bread cubes fill the bottom. Then a layer of alfalfa sprouts cradle a poached egg smothered in hollandaise sauce. Appreciate its beauty before gently piercing the egg. Watch the thick yellow yolk ooze forth. Try not to drool. Now enjoy every bite. “Time is the least thing we have of,” said Ernest Hemingway long ago. Perhaps it is the secret of a good life.
Dining Outside the Home: Coconut’s Fish Café in Kapaa, Kauai. Anyone who likes coconut shrimp will absolutely flip over this Happy Hour appetizer: Half price Coconut Shrimp with a fiery sweet chili pineapple dipping sauce. A generous portion count of six batter fried fan-tailed shrimp is enough to share or make a substantial meal for one. Don’t judge me. Another winner is the Ahi Poke: raw tuna chunks marinated in soy, garlic, and green onions. Try not to drool. Long story short, if you like to save money and don’t mind a late lunch or early supper, spend more time at the beach and then head over to Coconut’s Fish Café for a great taste of seafood.
Dining Outside the Home: The Lanai Restaurant And Bar in Koloa, Kauai. Avocado croquettes, sweet watermelon salad, crunchy sea salt macadamia nuts, grilled shrimp. If you strive for healthy options, local ingredients, and aloha flavor, rest easy at The Lanai. Escape to the garden isle where open-air ambience meets great tasting food. People-watching is a bonus, especially among gentle sea breezes. Adjacent to a gourmet market makes it a plus for top-notch quality. Take it slow, savor each bite. Then think about the next time you plan to come back.
Dining Outside the Home: Kountry Kitchen in Kapaa, Kauai. Tradition is served with local ingredients. It’s that simple. Here’s a place where breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day. Spam fried rice is a hit among locals. Carrot slivers and green onion snips work well with crispy fried Spam, cut-up into bite size pieces. Not your style? No worries. Omelettes, Loco Moco, Benedicts, or Pancakes and Waffles make a delicious substitute. There’s something for everyone. Aloha!