Gluten-Free in Hawaii (Maui and Kauai)

Posted on July 23rd, 2015 by Alison | Posted in Travel | Comments Off on Gluten-Free in Hawaii (Maui and Kauai)

On a recent trip to Hawaii, I was so pleased to find that almost every restaurant we went to had a menu with a GF symbol next to each menu item, had a separate gluten-free menu, or had a knowledgeable person taking our order (never a blank stare). In general, the restaurants in Hawaii are expensive. I’m sure locals have places they go, but we didn’t really go off the beaten path this trip. What I was impressed with was the Keiki (children’s) menus. Many went beyond the usual chicken fingers and french fries to include fresh fish, steak, fresh fruit and other healthy options at a reasonable price.

MAUI
Mama’s Fish House
When we arrived on Maui, our first stop was Mama’s Fish House, a longtime favorite spot of my husband’s family. Just as the name indicates, Mama’s serves fresh fish, brought daily to the restaurant by local fishermen. The menu can change during the day depending on what fish comes in. Even though they do not have a gluten-free menu, the staff is very knowledgeable about their dishes. Our server was also great about my daughter’s multiple food allergies and pointed out that the purple flower is on the plate to indicate that it is a special dietary accommodation. Two dishes I loved that were recommended by our server were:

Beef Polynesian — seared tenderloin in a grilled Hana papaya
Beef Polynesian

Ono (a local Hawaiian fish) marinated in Tahitian lime and coconut milk, served in a coconut
Ono in Coconut

Maui Whole Foods
From there we headed to Napili, on the northwest side of Maui, where we stayed in a condo with kitchen. On the way, we made a stop at the Maui Whole Foods to stock up on some basics like GF bread, rice cakes, cheese, fruit and other snacks. There are a few other natural foods markets in the area also that carry gluten-free foods.

Maui Sugar Shop
Maui Sugar Shop TreatsMaui Sugar Shop is an entirely gluten-free bakeshop on Maui! The owners, Zane and Cynthia (shown below with me in their shop), are so friendly and their baked goods are delicious. They use all natural, organic, locally-grown, non-GMO ingredients like liliko’i (passionfruit) in the muffin and banana in the mini banana and chocolate loaf shown in the picture. My daughter with multiple food allergies was able to get something also — an oatmeal cookie whoopie pie with cinnamon frosting!

Maui Sugar Shop

Gluten-Free Soy SauceSea House, Kimo’s, Hula Grill
We ate many meals at Sea House Restaurant, located on Napili Bay. They have a gluten-free menu for every meal with many options. Because we were staying there, kids (12 and under I think) ate free at every meal! The food was good and easy for us during the day on the beach when we didn’t feel like getting in a car. When we did venture out with the entire family (9 of us), we went to the well-known Hula Grill in Ka’anapali and Kimo’s in Lahaina, which both also had GF markings on their menu. It seemed that most places had gluten-free tamari if you asked (the common brand was Yamasa).

Tobi’s Shave Ice (and Ahi Poke!)
Shave Ice is naturally gluten-free and allergen-free and a common treat all over Hawaii. A friend recommended Tobi’s Shave Ice in Paia so we stopped in on a very hot day. The shave ice really was good — the texture of the ice was very light and the syrups were also light and flavorful (much lighter than some other shave ice places that have thick sugary sweet syrups like you put on a snow cone). I actually craved Tobi’s shave ice later in the trip! But the best part of Tobi’s was the fresh ahi poke that I was surprised to find there. Made to order, the poke is a combination of fresh, raw ahi tuna with a variety of additions, like tamari, sesame oil, seaweed, Maui onions, hot chili sauce, and roasted crushed kukui nut. Not all the combinations are gluten-free, but the woman making the poke was very knowledgeable and made me a GF version. She even packed it with ice packs for me to keep it as fresh since we had to drive about an hour back to the condo. My husband and I ate it for dinner that night with brown rice on the side and the GF crackers we had.

Tobi's Shave Ice

Hyatt-Island-Resorts-For-Kids-By-Kids-Menu-1KAUAI
Grand Hyatt Poipu

We were only in Kauai for a few days, and stayed on the south shore in Poipu.

At the Grand Hyatt, every menu is marked with “GF” – there is a great children’s menu on the Seaview Terrace and room service that includes gluten-free chicken tenders and gluten-free pasta that comes with a protein (my daughter chose grass-fed steak and it was delicious!)

Also at the Grand Hyatt is a restaurant called Tidepools, which was where my husband and I had our only date night of the trip. It is a pretty setting on the hotel’s “lagoon” which is filled with koi fish. The food was really good and our waiter was very knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating. They offered us GF bread at dinner, which was Udi’s and though I am not a huge fan of Udi’s and have gotten used to not eating bread before dinner, it did really hit the spot at that moment with the delicious butter they served with it!

Aloha Aina Juice Bar
Acai Bowls, Juices and Smoothies can be found at the Aloha Aina Juice Bar located inside the Kukui’ula Grocery Store in Koloa.

Da Crack
If you are craving Mexican food in Hawaii, then make a pit stop at Da Crack. I am pretty spoiled when it comes to Mexican food so I thought the food was average, but if you are really hungry and looking for a fast casual meal, which is what we were looking for after a morning at Waimea Canyon, then I would say try it out. You order at the counter which is pretty much a crack in the wall, and there is only a nearby bench to sit on… we ate in the car. I got a bowl with pork, my husband and daughter got tacos and my other daughter requested quesadillas made with corn tortillas. Everything was gluten-free except the flour tortillas for the burritos.

The Beach House Restaurant
Although I wasn’t terribly impressed with the lunch at The Beach House (am I hard to please, or what?), they did have a separate gluten-free menu and the view of surfers was really fun. Right next to the restaurant is a good snorkeling spot, so it was a convenient place to eat before we ventured out to peer at the fish. There is supposed to be a very nice view of the sunset at dinnertime. I have a feeling the gluten-y things on the menu might be better than the gluten-free items… at least that’s what our server told me many times. I would probably go back and give this place another chance.

Have you been to Hawaii? Where did you eat? Please share your recommendations!

 


Travel Dining Cards for Gluten Intolerance and Food Allergies

Posted on May 14th, 2014 by Alison | Posted in Dining Out, Travel | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

vietnamese-cardThe first big trip I took after being diagnosed with celiac disease was to Vietnam. I had only been gluten-free for a year, and I worried about how I would be able to communicate my dietary needs in a foreign country where I could not speak a word of the language and the writing was completely unrecognizable to me.

I decided that I needed to have a written explanation of my gluten-free diet so that I could just hand it to someone — a miscommunication could lead to one bite of gluten which could ruin a whole day of my (and my husband’s) trip. I had become friendly with one of the employees at the photo-developing place (remember those?) who was of Vietnamese descent, so I asked if he could help me. He was able to have the sentences I had written translated by his relatives and returned a hand-written note to me. I had the sense to laminate that little piece of paper that ended up saving me again and again on my travels.

Japanese nut allergy cardI was reminded of this story recently because my parents (who are also gluten-free) were getting ready to travel to Japan and I suggested they bring a dining translation card with them. It’s much easier now to communicate gluten intolerance or food allergies in almost any language because of the available online resources. Some you have to purchase, and some are free. Some are already written for you, and some can be customized. You have to find what works for you, but without a doubt, having a dining card with you will ease your mind and, hopefully, keep you safe, whether dining out in your own country or in different one!

Here are some of the travel and dining card resources I have found: CONTINUE READING »


Mariposa Baking Co. in San Francisco – Gluten-Free Goodness

Posted on March 10th, 2014 by Alison | Posted in Bakeries, Dining Out, SF Bay Area, Travel | Comments Off on Mariposa Baking Co. in San Francisco – Gluten-Free Goodness

I can’t believe it’s been 6 years since I first wrote about Mariposa Baking Company At that time (2008), they were located only in Oakland, CA, and the next year made the move to a kiosk in the historic Ferry Building of San Francisco. Now they reside in a permanent spot in the Ferry Building, and with more room they can offer toasted bagels, sandwiches, and other gluten-free breakfast and lunch items in addition to an array of gluten-free baked goods.

On a beautiful day in February, I boarded the ferry in Larkspur, CA with my two daughters. We loved every minute of the ferry ride, with awesome views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Angel Island and San Francisco. We arrived at The Ferry Building, which is known for its amazing food, offering Mexican, Vietnamese, Japanese, Italian and Americana, in addition to its gourmet meats, cheeses, oysters and other fresh foods.

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We passed up these options, however, as some were gluten-ful, and I just didn’t feel like asking so many questions (my daughter has multiple food allergies). That day was about spending time with my girls and not having to worry about a thing, so we headed straight for Mariposa Baking Company, where we could get great food and feel relaxed.

Mariposa Baking Company San Francisco

Mariposa Gluten-Free San Francisco

I ordered “the gobbler” sandwich: organic turkey with swiss, organic spinach, tomato and red onion, cranberry sauce, and mayo on toasted Faux “Rye” bread – 2 slices of bread from a round loaf of light bread with caraway seeds added. It came with a side salad and delicious croutons! I loved it! Other menu items were “cheddar hammy sammy,”

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“mediterranean panini,” “tuna melt,” and “empanada plate.” All are marked whether they are also vegan, dairy-free or nut-free. You can create your own sandwich if you prefer. One of my daughters ordered a toasted cheese sandwich and the other had a plain turkey sandwich, both on their Sandwich Bread, which is egg, dairy and nut-free.

Mariposa Gluten-Free Sandwich San Francisco

After lunch we walked to the new Exploratorium and then of course we had to return to Mariposa get treats and some items to take back home. We tried a few sweets and then purchased some loaves of bread — the Faux Rye was $7 per loaf and the Sandwich Bread was $6 per loaf, great prices for gluten-free bakery bread!

Mariposa Gluten-Free Bread

Whether you are visiting the Bay Area, or a native, I highly recommend my itinerary above, with a stop at Mariposa!


Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin June 2013 Meeting

Posted on May 1st, 2013 by Alison | Posted in GIG of Marin, SF Bay Area, Travel | Comments Off on Gluten Intolerance Group of Marin June 2013 Meeting

gigofmarin1

TRAVELING GLUTEN FREE

Just in time for summer traveling, GIG of Marin’s next meeting on Tuesday, June 11th will feature Laura Emmerson, creator of the blog Gluten Free Traveller.

Originally from Scotland, Laura now lives in San Francisco.  Bit by the travel bug early in life, she refused to let her celiac diagnosis in 2009 curtail her love of exploring the world.  Laura will be joining us in June after having spent the month of May in New Zealand.

Says Laura (who, being from the UK, favours British spellings): “Staying safely gluten free can be difficult enough when you’re at home in your crumb free kitchen never mind when you’re travelling somewhere new. Each country has their own unique gluten free labelling laws, different gluten free products and varying levels of awareness of coeliac disease and gluten free dieting. Travelling is arguably the most arduous area of gluten free life for coeliacs hence my decision to start my website. I’m writing it for you. I want you to spend your time making wonderful travel memories, not searching in vain for something safe to eat!”

Also featured at the meeting will be free samples related to travel so you can take them on your next trip!

Plus, CONTINUE READING »