Lemons: My Main SqueezeOno, You Know
April 8, 2018
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
Happy Sunday, Ono readers! Well, it’s officially springtime, and that means it’s the perfect time of year to dine on refreshing fare to get into the spirit of the season — and to brighten up all those rainy days we’ve had lately.
To me, nothing signifies spring like the vibrancy of fresh citrus fruits. This week, I have my eyes — and taste buds — on lemon, in particular, because there are so many great uses for this edible form of sunshine, which goes well in both sweet and savory recipes.
In addition to being a fabulous pick-me-up, lemon offers a juicy burst of health benefits, from its signature vitamin C — among other vitamins and minerals — to its digestion- and skin-boosting properties.
With that said, we might as well squeeze out all of the fresh lemon offerings that the following restaurants have in store for us.
LIGHT AND BRIGHT
Since lemon is great for our bodies, it’s always satisfying to find it in a healthful and flavorful recipe that will leave us feeling rejuvenated.
That’s exactly what you’ll get at Applebee’s Grill & Bar, where you can order core menu item Cedar Grilled Lemon Chicken ($17.99). The dish presents lean, cedar-seasoned chicken breast that’s grilled to perfection and accented with a mixture of cranberry-speckled quinoa and pecan rice. Not only is the whole thing spruced up with citrusy lemon vinaigrette, but it also gets a blast of freshness from Granny Smith apple and cucumber relish.
Gladys Duenez, brand manager for Applebee’s Hawaii, explains that Cedar Grilled Lemon Chicken is popular among health-conscious patrons, and with 42 grams of protein at just 570 calories. She adds, it’s ideal for those looking for a protein boost before or after their next workout.
If you prefer to drink your dose of citrus, you’ll enjoy Applebee’s range of lemonade-inspired drinks. In addition to classic, flavored or frozen varieties, go for a Lemonade Quencher ($4.79 each) in Strawberry or Blackberry flavors, prepared with fruit syrup and fresh-fruit toppings.
When dining at Applebee’s, those 21 and older should ask about this month’s cocktail special, currently a Dollarita, which is — you guessed it — a margarita for $1. Be sure to inquire about the new pasta offerings as well — one more thing to love about Applebee’s all-American fare.
PUTTING SOME PEP IN YOUR STEP
When life gives you lemons, make an ice-cold glass of lemonade — or, as we like to say here at Dining Out, head to your favorite neighborhood restaurant that’ll make it for you.
The place I recommend, of course, is Fairwood Drive Inn & Pho 27 Cafe in Kaimuki, which is home to dine-in and takeout menus complete with Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese and local-style flavors.
Owner Tiffany Ko is known for catering to comfort-food cravings.
Popular at the Fairwood takeout counter, for instance, is the Tommy Plate ($12.95), overflowing with teriyaki beef, honey-garlic chicken and shrimp tempura, as well as two scoops of rice and macaroni salad on the side.
Ko points out, however, that she also strives to offer tasty options for health-conscious diners, and one way she does so is by preparing a couple of energy-boosting libations from scratch — including one that’s lemonade-based.
Enter Honey Lemon ($4.50) and Salty Plum ($4.95) drinks, both of which are sweetened with high-quality honey, according to Ko. The owner explains that these drinks are geared toward patrons who may be feeling under the weather, or are exhausted from a long day at work.
Ko strikes the perfect balance between sweet and sour flavors in the Honey Lemon option. When asked why she was inspired to make the drink, she noted that she wanted to offer a healthy alternative to sugar-packed beverages such as bubble tea. As many of her customers are longtime regulars, Ko also wanted to provide options that they can feel good about ordering time and again. She encourages readers to ask about other healthy bites on her expansive menu.