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By Gorging George

Drink might mean to quench ones thirst, or the word ‘drink’ could mean to imbibe. To be perfectly anal about it, there are three or more definitions in Merriam/Webster’s online dictionary: Drink; a). swallow, imbibe, b). to take in or suck up; absorb, c). to take in or receive avidly – usually used with in – drank in every word of the lecture. Then there is  “to join in a toast- to drink to good health!” You also have the definitions: to take in liquid into the mouth for swallowing, eating or drinking, etc.

Our connotation of the word “drink,” in this critique is mostly explained as, a pairing of what to drink as you dine; but, it’s also mixed with, taking in what you drink avidly, and as well, to drink to good health. What you choose to eat and drink already are being met with much redundancy.

Paring should not be considered a, high- class only, club. By being a ‘foodie’, or not, we almost always pair our foods with the drink we love. Beer and Pizza used to be a simple thing for most. But now it’s a micro brew or craft beer with a brick oven roasted pizza. Chips and hot sauce with a beer has turned into 2-5 different types of salsas with a nice Mexican beer like Negro Modello, or Corona Extra. Our choices have multiplied infinitely with craft beers, new beer/restaurants called, ‘ice houses’, or ‘brew-masters, or ‘micro-brew stations’. Pale ales, red beers, beers made with chocolate, and berries, are all choices for today. I predict that the craft beer market will continue to grow over the next decade or more.

So let us look at the “drink to good health” part first. As much as we see the commercials on the tele about water not being plentiful in many parts of the world, we still take for granted what runs from our local water department, our wells, and sources that run right to our kitchen sinks. So, water is the derivative of most saturating beverages. I start with a glass of water before each meal, sometimes two if I have dehydrated myself too much throughout the day.

Let me personally let you in on a known fact. Many health issues are surrounded by the fact that we are not drinking enough water. Prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, poor diet, the imbalance of electrolytes, are just some of the things that cause us to need more water or to become dehydrated. Be sure to be informed of the list of symptoms that you may experience if you have dehydration, dizziness, fatigue, muscle spasms, headaches, bloating, indigestion. The list goes on being quenched is one thing, being saturated is another. Water is the most healthy thing to drink, with or without a meal.

But who likes to drink water? I’ve been told that some love water, while others hate it! How can you hate something you cannot live with out? Lets get back to our drink selection and pairing.

The old rules for drink pairing are long gone – out the window! Used to be the standard for wine pairing was, red meat with red wine. “White meat, like chicken shall only have a pairing of a white wine, or a blush,” used to be the rule. The only wines that were crossover were chilled picnic wine, like a Lambrusco, or White Zenfindel.

American food has now become the melting pot of all cultures.  Total fusion of cultures has brought a total fusion of flavors (you might be a boring eater if you choose this one too often). Lets say your meal is a burger and fries. A vanilla milkshake was the only choice for many back in the 1950s. Now it’s a Coke, (term meaning any type of soda, unless you’re having a Dr. Pepper).

So, now the topic becomes “sody-water.’ Remember Sarsaparilla? Ever had a fresh root beer? Not anymore. How about Nehi, Grapette, Ginger ale? These were the beverages of choice with a burger, back in the day. To drink now-a-days doesn’t always mean to have a cocktail. It means, simply, to quench your thirst, and to do it with flavor.

A drink should give flavor enhancement to your meal. I dine out a lot, as you know, and I’m not always satisfied with what is available to drink. So, I bring flavor with me. These compact little beverage sweeteners are amazing, and they make them in all flavors, with or without caffeine, fortified with vitamins, electrolytes, and saturating factors that, not only enhance your water, but are healthful. These are a great way to get your daily vitamin source. READ THE LABEL AND KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DRINKING. With anything, As I always say, clear it with your doctor first. The reason is that some of these little bottles of concentrated flavors also have concentrated amounts of sugar and caffeine. If I’m not going for any spirits, they are a great virgin beverage source. Non-alcoholic beverages are always a great treat, if you’d like something exotic, but you don’t want the booze. Roy Rogers, and Shirley Temple made an impact on my life as youngster, and they are still both great drinks to have as a treat. Now with Mio, or some other flavor enhancer you can bring your flavor with you without the additional cost of a beverage from your server. Just order water, or soda, if you must, and add the cherry flavor using one of these flavor enhancers.

Sitting down and having a drink with friends is great fellowship, nowadays many people don’t like to drink alcoholic beverages. Peer pressure to drink alcohol is going away in many circles, and a sort of, ‘live and let live’ scenario is now taking place. If you want to drink, BYOB, or if you just want iced tea, that’s great, too. Iced tea is another place that a flavor enhancer might find its way into your glass. I love the flavor of peaches in my iced tea, on occasion. Not too much, just a hint. Try these flavor enhancers like MIO. If we cut down on sodas and sugary drinks, we might just get saturated in a more healthy way.

KAWA’s Restuarant Experience:

Well, we dropped in while shopping the other day to the new KAWA’s Hibachi Grill and Lounge in Tyler. As we came in, we mostly had the place to ourselves. It was just about 11:30 and the host said they had just opened.  Our server was polite, and our hostess uneventful. Neither of them explained any specials, nor did they ask if it was our first time to dine with them. They did ask if we wanted to go to the hibachi grill, but we opted to grab a booth so we could get back to shopping.

We ordered three waters, and one beverage. My beverage was a soda at $2.89, didn’t see the price before ordering. One of my friends ordered some egg rolls. We all had a bite, the consensus at the table so far was they were ‘okay’. I thought they were pretty oily inside. I ordered some Unagi Nigiri (eel), which was also ‘okay’, but nothing special.

I ordered was a signature roll called ‘Kowboys Roll’, which consisted of peppercorn tuna, avocado, cucumber, soy paper, seared filet, cheddar cheese, eel sauce, and spicy mayo. It was strange to say the least. My partner did not like it. I couldn’t decide. It was just weird.

We also ordered the ‘Philly Roll’, which was smoked salmon, cream cheese, and avocado, which had too much cream cheese compared to the amount of smoked salmon.

My friend ordered the ‘Kung Pao Chicken’. It had many veggies, peanuts, and looked good, but she said that it had no ‘Pao’. Not spicy at all, and very little flavor, she said. She asked for ‘hot mustard’, but our server said they didn’t have that sauce. He brought her two other sauces to add spice to the dish: one was good, the other was just oil. As we were leaving we saw a man with what looked like a small dish of hot mustard, so I guess our server might not have known that it was available.

I will go back for a second look, but it will be really hard to go there for sushi because I know I can always have a good experience at Wasabi’s.

Bottom Line: KAWAS is rated ‘Worth a Try’ – KAWAS is located at 1024 WSW LOOP 323, TYLER, TX 75701. Call 903-747-8558 for more information. You can make reservations for either the lounge or hibachi online at kwastyler.com or call to reserve a party room.