My favorite outdoor kitchen


This is my all time fave outdoor kitchen. We call it the Cabana Kitchen.

It is steps away from the Pacific Ocean. Steps. Maybe 25 steps. I have seen the Pacific Ocean wash into this kitchen during one particularly high tide and storm. Yes, I was scared spitless.

It was built as an outdoor cooking spot for some friends who used to park their motor home a few feet away. Over the years, we have made several, um, improvements. For instance: party lights. We always have a string of party lights ’round the roof. A few weeks ago, we put a new string up, all white. I can tell you now, this is NOT going to work. All white is NOwhere near as festive as the multicolored Christmas lights we have come to adore. (Note to self, take several strings of multicolored party lights to beach next time you go.)

There’s plenty of hot water. Yes, Virginia, HOT water and running water. There is a hot water tank under the sink. We have a sink. It drains into the shrubs. So, of course, we use biodegradable dishsoap. We have a two burner camp stove and propane tanks to keep the fire going. We have a campfire ring because we accept no substitutes when it comes to making ‘smores. We have power so you can fire up the blender or cook under the lights or sizzle up an electric frypan. We have pots and pans and dishes. No Wolf or Viking or Aga here. No Subzero. Ever.

At the right time of year, you can catch Dungeness crabs in the surf and cook them in the pot on the stove. Campfire grilled oysters and clam chowder, anyone?

I share this kitchen with you because I love outdoor cooking. I have seen a lot of outdoor kitchens the last few years, and yet I know of none better used or loved than this one. You need a roof to keep you safe from the elements, rain or too much sun (this cook can be a delicate little flower), some running water (garden hose will do), a big ol’ dishpan/washtub for cleaning up, a place to chop, fire and power. Oh, and people to feed.