Huli Pau! Four Top Oahu Mai Tais

Rum, fresh-squeezed lime juice, orange curaçao, rich simple syrup and orgeat. The classic Mai Tai. As the story goes, Victor J. Bergeron laid claim to inventing the Mai Tai at his California restaurant Trader Vic’s in 1944. But imbibing on this iconic cocktail is, to many people, an island paradise in a glass. After all, Bergeron says he created the drink one afternoon for friends who visiting from Tahiti; the Tahitian word maitai literally means very good. Today, Hawaii keeps the Mai Tai loving tradition strong. It’s the official cocktail of luau and is found on virtually every island cocktail menu. And while it’s hard to have a bad one, here are four top Oahu Mai Tais that are not to be missed.

French Topless Mai Tai, Azure-The Royal Hawaiian
Azure is not only known locally for its quality seafood menu but its top-notch Mai Tai. That’s probably because it’s on the same property as the Mai Tai Bar, located on the manicured ground of the Royal Hawaiian, Hawaii’s second oldest hotel, affectionately called the Pink Palace of the Pacific. Both places have solid cocktail menus and renowned Mai Tais. For an upscale cocktail experience, head to Azure for the French Topless Mai Tai. This handcrafted libation has won a best in show spirits award in San Francisco. It’s a twist on the traditional Mai Tai, made instead with Korbel brandy, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, pineapple juice, and effervescence, but just as rewarding. Make a reservation at Azure-The Royal Hawaiian.

Top Oahu Mai Tais

Ilikea Mai Tai, Wai’olu Ocean View Lounge
There’s good reason Wai’olu Ocean View Lounge won the title of World’s Best Mai Tai in 2011. The classic cocktail is polished with Amaretto, Canton Ginger Liquor, kaffir lime, and caramelized pineapple and topped with pineapple-Bacardi sorbet. If you only get one drink at the Wai’olu, make it this one. In fact, the rooftop bar has sold more than 30,000 Ilikea Mai Tais since winning the prestigious award five years ago. In addition to its superb cocktails, the open-air bar overlooking Waikiki offers a picture-perfect view of the Friday night fireworks. Make a reservation at Wai’olu Ocean View Lounge.

Top Oahu Mai Tais

Mac Nut Mai Tai, 53 by the Sea
Rum aside, a key ingredient of the Mai Tai is the orange curaçao. 53 by the Sea takes the tradition up a kick with its housemade macadamia nut-infused orange curaçao. The result is sweet and smooth. Even better, each Mac Nut Mai Tai comes with a small bowl of housemade candied mac nuts. 53 by the Sea, is a stately mansion-esque looking restaurant located at 53 Ahui Street in Honolulu. As the name suggests, it’s located ocean side, ensuring you’ll have a great view with each sip of your Mai Tai. And from 4 to 6:30PM, the restaurant has a lively happy hour at its cozy bar. Make a reservation at 53 by the Sea.

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Sail Away: 7 Dock and Dine Restaurants in New England

Boaters in cooler climes live for it — the day they can finally put their shrink-wrapped boat in the water. Here’s to the good life — summer days of boating to restaurants where you can dock and dine after a day on the water. We’ve got seven dock and dine restaurants in New England that offer transient dockage (but call ahead to the dock master to be sure). Cheers to summer at sea.

SALT Kitchen & Bar, New Castle, New Hampshire
Located in the elegant but unpretentious Wentworth by the Sea hotel here, SALT is a sought-out seafood spot, thanks to its handsome dining room. Dock your vessel (at the independently owned and operated dock located on property), and try the freshest of fish like the Hook and Line Caught Haddock (toasted ciabatta breadcrumbs, capers, tomato basil confit, lemon parsley butter ,and fingerling potatoes). Make a reservation at SALT Kitchen & Bar.

Dock and Dine Restaurants in New England

Rowes Wharf Sea Grille, Boston, Massachusetts
You can pull in to one of the 38 slips at The Marina at Rowes Wharf and celebrate summer by ordering the showstopper Roasted Two and a Quarter Pound Lobster (served with sweet corn pudding and saffron lemon butter) at this dockside restaurant in the five-star Boston Harbor Hotel. Tip: Dine and show your receipt — you can stay at the Marina for up to four hours. Note: Be sure to call ahead for docking space. Make a reservation at Rowes Wharf Sea Grille.

Dock and dine restaurants in New England

22 Bowens Wine Bar and Grille, Newport, Rhode Island
Keep it local and dig into Narragansett Steamed Mussels — caramelized leek, sherry garlic butter, potato sticks, and smoked tomato aioli, to be sipped with a seasonal cocktail like Wading on the Wharf (grapefruit vodka, elderflower, jalapeno, citrus soda). Dock at Bowens Wharf. Make a reservation at 22 Bowens Wine Bar and Grille.

Dock and Dine Restaurants in New England

Temazcal, Boston, Massachusetts
Dock your boat in Mexico — kidding, but if you moor up at Liberty Wharf, this Mexican-inspired restaurant has direct dock and dine access — just walk up the gangway. Take a seat on the waterside patio and order one of the fresh fish specialties like the Swordfish Salguero (fresh grilled swordfish steak, lobster, spinach, mushroom, tomatoes, saffron cream sauce, and Mexican rice). And, of course, don’t miss the guac. Make a reservation at Temazcal.

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Edible Eureka: 4 Chefs Share the Meals That Changed Their Lives

Looking back over all the thousands of meals they’ve ever eaten, chefs can often pinpoint those that had the greatest impact. These epiphanic moments might inspire them to cook, profoundly alter their culinary philosophy, unveil a deeper revelation about the human experience, or instill a deep-seated love of a particular dish. Here 4 top chefs share the meals that changed their lives.

Cindy Wolf, Charleston, Baltimore, Maryland
“My dad was in the restaurant business, so I got to eat in a lot of fine dining restaurants growing up. In 1984 in Charleston, I dined with my parents at Morton’s in the Vendue Inn – no relation to the steakhouse – a 35-seat restaurant helmed by chef Marcelo Vasquez. I remember he personally prepared a number of dishes tableside: steak tartare, rack of lamb, and côte de boeuf with chimichurri, which no one was doing at the time. It was French-based cooking with Argentine influences. I was so excited after I ate there that I wanted to work with him. I went to culinary school in 1985 at the CIA and did my externship with Vasquez the next year. He became my mentor. He did one dish he called Shrimp Beaufort – named after a nearby town – made with sweet corn, green onions, lemon, butter, and salt. It was super simple. Local everything. It was so fresh. Simple, fresh, and local defined the rest of my career. He also taught me a deep respect for the product. One day, he bought a New York strip steak for us to have for dinner, which cost a lot of money and was a very extravagant thing to do at that time. I didn’t get it cooked in time for employee meal, so I cut them it into steaks and grilled them individually. I can still feel how disappointed he was in me. I’ll never forget that. But he instilled a real respect in me.” Make a reservation at Charleston.

Chefs Share the Meals That Changed Their Lives

Cathal Armstrong, Restaurant Eve, Alexandria, Virginia
“My dad was a tour operator in Ireland, so he sold airline tickets and hotel rooms as packages. His firm bought tickets in bulk and sometimes there would be a couple of seats left over. We’d be sitting around the dinner table and my dad would say, ‘Wanna go to Portugal tomorrow?’ He loved cooking, so food was always a part of our family and our trips. When I was six-years-old, we went to Alicanté in southeast Spain. One of dad’s travel agents took us up into the mountains to meet his grandmother. The men went out into the fields and caught rabbits, which they skinned alive. They dug a pit and hung the paella pan over it. It was incredible and made the longest lasting impact as a food memory. Since then, paella has been one of my favorite dishes to eat. However, my father prepared the best paella I’ve ever had in my life. Only about five years ago, I asked him to teach me the way to make it the way he does it. Similar to bouillabaisse or cassoulet, there are layers and layers of flavor in paella, which make a symphony. It’s everything food is supposed to be.” Make a reservation at Restaurant Eve.

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Making Herstory: Pacific Northwest Culinary Stars to Watch

The Pacific Northwest produces some of the finest local ingredients for cooking and drinking. It also has some of the finest chefs and mixologists in restaurant kitchens and bars doing magical things with those products. Here are a few of our favorite Pacific Northwest culinary stars to watch. Book a table to taste excellence this summer.

Hailey Pasemko, Bar Manager, Wolf in the Fog, Tofino, British Columbia
Hailey Pasemko is making a splash at the bar — by running it. For her, that means choosing wines and creating cocktails that complement what’s coming out of the kitchen and also pioneering new ways of spotlighting the unique local ingredients that can be found on Vancouver Island’s rugged and stormy west coast. Pasemko’s method: start with a classic cocktail that’s already stood the test of time and then experiment with different flavors, such as including local salal berries (an earthier blueberry) in a Sloe Gin. “That’s where the magic happens,” Pasemko says. Pasemko also tips her hat to the seasons by offering spirit-based drinks in the winter, and long, refreshing versions in the summer. So, as we head into the warmer months, expect some interesting light florals—Pasemko’s feminine touch—like nasturtium to make an appearance in the Wolf in the Fog’s aperitifs. “Sometimes I feel the pressure to be more conventional,” admits Pasemko, “but when I tone it down, things are never actualized the way I intend them to be.” Make a reservation at Wolf in the Fog.

Bar Manager Hailey Pasemko

The crew at Salty’s Waterfront Seafood Grill, Des Moines, Washington
The Salty’s kitchen in South Seattle’s Redondo Beach is literally teeming with talent. The salads and sushi stations, the buffet, dessert preparation — all are being handled by what Executive Chef Josh Green calls “the right people,” who just happen to be women. Detailed-oriented Alissa Bilderback creates dishes that look “perfect on the plate, but not forced.” Janice Rabiteau uses her sautée pan to bring out the color and flavor of Salty’s fresh, local seafood. Adela Gomez is responsible for Salty’s chowder (which is a Big Deal since a seafood restaurant is its chowder.) And Leanna Spillner, who started at Salty’s three years ago, when she was just 15, preps sushi, salads, and desserts. Explains Spillner, “It’s a great time for women to be in the kitchen because women bring an indescribable small difference to cooking — and that goes a long way.” Make a reservation at Salty’s.

Salty's Chefs

Melissa Mayer + Maylin Chavez, owners/chefs, Olympia Oyster Bar, Portland, Oregon
Melissa Mayer and Maylin Chavez are well aware that lots of folks either have no experience with oysters — or have had a negative one. They also know the way to develop a taste for the bivalves is through curation and comparison. That’s why they launched an oyster bar with a selection of oysters from various regions and with different flavor profiles instead of opening a restaurant that simply had one oyster dish available on a larger menu. “Once people try them in our kind of setting, most of them feel changed forever,” jokes Chavez. Also on the menu (which is currently being broadened): housemade linguine with clams and Chilpa Chole, a mussels dish prepared in a shrimp consommé base that also includes cinnamon, fresh herbs, and chunks of radishes and avocado. At some promotional events, their male friends have mistakenly been presumed to be the restaurant’s owners. ‘This is a boy’s industry,” says Mayer, but she doesn’t let that cloud her vision or goals for Olympia Oyster Bar. “It’s always a good time for women to be doing this and to be leaders,” she concludes. Make a reservation at Olympia Oyster Bar.

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