Gluten Free in Paris, France – Day 1

My youngest and I caught the red eye from the states to Paris, where we were to meet up with my oldest daughter, who is doing study abroad in Italy. You can read about our eating gluten free in Florence by clicking ‘HERE‘.

A couple of tips:

1. Find out if your airline will serve you the option of Gluten Free. We pre-ordered and Delta airlines was extremely good about serving us gluten free. (I discovered on our return trip home, that we had a MUCH nicer afternoon snack than the regular passengers do) Along with the GF meal we were served a pre-packaged of Udi’s dinner roll for the dinner flight (I am assuming here, the airlines have consistency among the red-eye meal choices, and are similar from flight to flight), which we stuffed into our bags which came in very handy later on. (see my post on Versailles)

2. Pack some protein bars, nuts or dried fruit. As I mentioned in ‘Gluten Free in Italy‘, there really is no street food for grab and go meals, and La Guardia really had nothing but a Starbucks fruit&nut bar. It was handy to have protein bars as an emergency back up, instead of walking around starving. Also, being stranded on a ‘transfer’ flight is stressful enough without having to try and find something to eat in a foreign country, with dietary issues in a limited amount of time between flights. You can put some in your luggage, but also keep a couple on hand for emergencies.

We arrived at our hotel, Residence Hotel Foch, which was cozy, comfy and quaint, having excellent service. Natalie, at the front desk brought us a cafe au lait while we waited for our room, which they kindly were letting us gain access to early! While we waited for my oldest to arrive, we cleaned up and then took a brief tour around the neighborhood. This is a lovely neighborhood, very close to the Arc De Triomphe, and Port Malliot with RER, Metro, and airport transportation buses. Its’ more residential, so it was blissfully quiet at night, perfect for a restful nights sleep after long days of walking the city.


(the view from our room overlooked a quiet courtyard)

When our third member arrived, we headed off to walk up the Arc De Triomphe, and then sat down for an early dinner. We stopped at a little bistro on the Champs Elysée called Le Touring (appropriately named, since it was surrounded by motorcycle & bicycle shops), and they were very accommodating of our need for Gluten Free. They served us potato chips instead of bread, which was just fine by us. Hang on to them and order the Paté de Fois Gras as an appetizer! They will bring bread for those who can eat it, but my daughters used their chips to eat the paté. (I apologize that these food photos here are dark, as I was just learning how to use my new camera, and out of respect for others dining experience, I don’t use a flash)


We then ordered Duck:


This duck was served with a green peppercorn sauce. Be aware, this sauce is NOT gluten free!! Above it is served on the side, but to be safe, I would just request no sauce, or sauce on the side. Typically anything from the hollandaise family are ok. Bernaise is fine as well as Meunière. You will find most french sauces off limits, since they use flour to thicken. Also, I found that in all over Paris, “medium-rare” is blood rare. I had to send my duck back to be fired off a bit more. If you like American medium-rare, order medium and it will be perfectly pink on the inside but not raw.

My most sensitive daughter ordered chicken. French roasted chicken is delicious!:


Another plus, in France, they don’t flour their Pommes Frites!! (french fries) So they are perfectly safe to eat. Just check with your establishment, but my daughter ate them everywhere we went and had no issues. (Those who are sensitive to frying oils shared with floured items might want to steer clear. But I doubt much that much, if anything, fried in the fryer had flour. The french just do not have American fried food as an option. Their starters are pates, steak tartare, smoked fishes and cheese plates. I don’t recall seeing any jalapeño poppers, chicken nuggets or chicken wings of any sort. And my daughter cannot eat food fried in a shared fryer and she was fine. Like I said in my previous posts, if you are celiac, please check in advance of leaving as to what your options are)

And then our third dish was pan seared Veal Chop, YUM!


The sauces were off limits for the girls, but my point here is to show you foods you can eat. Just be sure to request your dish with no sauce unless you are absolutely sure. Many establishments in the city understand ‘Sans Gluten’ and will work to be accommodating. Also, many dishes in Paris have fries as a side, sometimes salad, but are more often – a la carte. So, be sure to order greens.


It was a good start to Paris. A yummy, that is for sure.

Gluten Free Travel: Pt 2, Maui, Luau & Snorkeling


We arrived in Maui after a long day in Honolulu. It was about all we could do to get to our condo, unzip the luggage, find our toothbrushes and crash in bed.

Next morning husband and I woke to beautiful weather, brewed a big pot of dark yet smooth Kona coffee, and sat on the balcony while waiting for the girls to rise. Once they got up and got themselves dressed, we headed down to the small restaurant they had in the facility to have breakfast. We stayed on the western side of the island, in Kaanapali. It’s a beautiful side of the island, quieter and lower key than the south eastern side down near Kihei. We loved it. There was plenty for the girls to entertain themselves with on our first leg in the islands, but not so ‘touristy’ that us adults were put off.

Gluten Free was really quite available we found in our travels through the islands. My husband utilized his ‘YELP’ phone app to find places and check reviews, and the only time we had a mediocre meal was the one time we ate in Kauai as a walk-in with no – Yelping. (is that what its’ called? well, that’s what I’ll call it!) Since we were 5 days in Maui, we utilized the kitchen in the condo to have breakfast and make lunches. Right up the street from us was a ‘Times’ grocery store that was quite busy and appeared used by the locals. It was suggested to us to stop at the Walmart on the way out of the airport, but it was pitch black, late in the evening, and we just wanted to find our place and sleep. Walmart may have been cheaper, but for lunch meats, corn tortillas, lettuce, eggs, sausage and fruit for breakfast/lunch it was reasonably priced.

So we hit the store after breakfast, went back to the room, packed the cooler with waters, GF sandwiches (corn tortillas, lunchmeat, mayo and lettuce) and headed off to the beach. By the way, if I have not said this before, I HIGHLY recommend packing a collapsable cooler in your luggage. We used it everywhere we went, and that is highly advisable when you have someone who has dietary issues. It was just easier to pack a lunch or snacks to the beach than worry about local joints who didn’t know the ingredient lists of their products. Plus, it’s a great way to save a buck you can then spend on something else; for example, a trip to Molokini (see previous post!) or Mai Tai’s! (Just remember to pack some extra heavy duty ziploc bags in your luggage to put ice in!)

For eating out in Maui and Kauai, you can’t go wrong with the group who runs a number of the restaurants on the islands, which thankfully sports Gluten Free menus or accommodates GF selections. On Maui there was Duke’s Beach House in Kaanapali, Kimos in Lahaina, and on Kauai there is Keoki’s.

Here is the link to check out the Menu

Luau on Maui:

Here is my one word of caution for all Hawaiian travelers who have gluten issues: either find a Luau which offers gluten free options or don’t bother going. My daughter was frustrated and hungry went we left, and considering the price of a Luau, we were disappointed. The salad dressings had soy, the meats (except for the kalua pork), the vegetables, even the fish all had soy or gluten. Since she also has sun allergies and has to stay away from citrus, the fruit platters were off limits also. She ate pork and that was about all. (She was not interested in the taro root vegetable dish, which she said looked like green slime. And it did. ) The entertainment is fun, but I’m guessing you can find a free or food free version of a hula dance show somewhere else.


Be sure to rent the snorkel gear from a local shop and snorkel. It’s amazing over on the west side where it’s more volcanic rock and there is a lot of reef. I saw a sea turtle on my first outing and the fish are breathtakingly beautiful. The vibrant colors of the fish and clarity of water just can’t be beat. The place I got my gear from in Kaanapali gave me a bottle of de-fog and custom fit the mask and flippers. It was worth the little higher price compared to the gear I rented on Kauai that was not custom fit and didn’t include the de-fog. You can find places that are cheaper, but decide what you want and need and then price shop. I’d rather have gear that fits than gear that didn’t fit as well. I found I was much more comfortable and fussed less with leaky or foggy masks, and my flippers never tried to fall off with the custom fit shop. It’s up to you. But if you don’t snorkel while in the islands, you are missing out on a lot of what makes the hawaiian islands unique and breathtaking. So, just like Molokini and Hana are a ‘must’, so is snorkeling. Just do it.

coming soon: Pt 3, Kauai

Molokini. Just Do It.


I have a friend who lives on Maui, and she told us what our ‘must do’s’ were and what beach to snorkel on. 

A ‘must do’ is the Four Winds 2 Catamaran out to Molokini. Be sure to do the morning ride, that is the one that takes you out to Molokini. (The afternoon trip goes somewhere else, because the Trade Winds kick up and it gets too rough out in the crater) You see, Molokini is an old blown out volcano that is partially submerged under the water. It’s crater makes for ideal snorkeling and the trip out there is breathtakingly beautiful. If you go in late December thru late February, you are guaranteed to see a whale or two. We saw quite a few, including a mother and her calf along with her ‘escort’ (A male who hangs out with them providing protection for baby and hoping for an opportunity to ‘score’ with mom), and a couple of junior whale breaches. We stopped at ‘Turtle Town’ on the way back, where turtles stop to get their shells cleaned of by the fish. 

I need to tell you why this is the tour group to go with, and that starts with a flashback to another trip of mine. 

When I was a senior in college, my mother and I went on a mother-daughter trip through France together. We started in the South of France and ended up in Paris where my father met up with us and we took one of those barge trips through the champagne country. (If you are keeping a bucket list, this should be on it!) The group was a large one, so they split us on to two barges, about 8-10 of us went on this little tiny barge that was tethered on the outter side of the massive barge. Climbing over the bigger barge, I’ll confess we started to feel a bit downhearted that we got the little boat. Then we met our crew. They LOVED their little barge, and I mean…LOVED it. They kept it sparkling clean, were happy, friendly, and proud of their ‘home’. (The crew lives on the boats) The best part for us? We had a French Cordon Bleu chef who shopped at all the local ports and made 5 star meals every night. The other barge had a British chef, and well, this was well before the chefs like Jamie Oliver appeared on the scene. Needless to say, fairly quickly we learned not to mention how happy we were on our little boat, because the passengers on the bigger barge were most definitely not wanting to hear about how wonderful our experience was by comparison. 

I guess the point I’m coming to is that your experience is not always what you think it might be at first blush. Never pre-judge, have a great attitude and listen to what the locals say about what to do. The catamaran we came to was big enough but not overly impressive. It also looked crowded and I was a little concerned about feeling cramped. I need not have worried, there was plenty of room we discovered, and the ship was spotless and well run. The crew is amazing and the captain, while running a safe and tight ship, was enjoyable, funny, personable, and extremely knowledgable. He talked without rambling. He regaled us with great stories, lots of information and things to see or watch for. For me, it sounded like this was his first time out explaining things, not his thousanth. These people LOVED what they did, you could tell. 

For those who are gluten free, or have dietary issues, just talk to the steward when you board, or be sure to mention it to the agent who books it for you if you are going through an agent. We used the Expedia agent at our condo complex to book, but I completely forgot to mention gluten free. That would have been helpful for breakfast, since it was bagels and fruit. We ALWAYS pack some emergency snacks, where ever we go, so my daughter munched on glutino bagel chips and drank POG. (pineapple, orange, guava) I talked to one of the hands immediately upon boarding, asking what might be available for her to eat. They were making kalua pork (see my ‘Kalua Pork’ post) and he said he would set aside some pork before they added BBQ sauce. They also had marinated grilled chicken burgers (every day they rotate who creates the marinade, ask and I bet they would accommodate no soy, that day it was a soy marinade), hot dogs and hamburgers, along with veggie burgers. I didn’t know if the veggie burgers had any wheat, so we stuck with the pork for my daughter. Maui chips (YUMMMMMMY) are served along with veggies. 

Couple of tips that might help you enjoy it as much as we did: 

1.Take a dramamine if you are not totally seaworthy. My husband and daughters did, and still got a little sea sick, they should have taken 2 pills, not just one. (my youngest has inner ear damage which makes it worse) Always watch the horizon if you tend to get sea sick, don’t text or spend all your time looking through the viewfinder on your camera! I have sea legs (inherited from both my parents, who were navy men through and through) and so didn’t have a problem. Some will, so be proactive. 

2. Keep your eyes open. I was the one who spotted all the whales, but I grew up on the west coast and know what to look for. If you are there during whale season, there is nothing more thrilling than see a whale blow, or better yet, breach! 

3. Pack a suit fit for snorkeling. This is not a fashion show. You are going to snorkel in Molokini, so wear a suit that is practical and comfortable. There is no room for sunbathing, and you will want to cover up after snorkeling, because going back was going in to the wind. (for us at least)

4. Rent the wetsuit. Yes, it’s $5 extra but you will thank me. The water isn’t ‘cold’, but it’s not as warm as the beaches. Having that wetsuit top will insulate you just enough that you will be cozy comfy and able to stay out as long as you wish. 

5. SNUMA. If you don’t have an inner ear problem (like my daughter who was going to go with me) then for goodness sake do it. It’s like snorkeling, but better! No pool certification, looking at nasty lost bandaids, but a quick 20 min lesson and then you are in the water. I did this when I was younger and in the islands with my family, but this go round I chose to forgo because my daughter could not go (the only one who was brave enough to do it with me) with her recently damaged her inner ear. They have an on-board underwater photographer who will take your photo. They were awesome, I recommend getting his CD. 

No, I’m not a sales agent for this tour. I just really, REALLY enjoyed myself. I made friends with the crew members, who were sweet and remembered my name right off the bat. I met a charming young college freshman, who was transferring from UofW (washington) to WSU, my fathers alma mater. We chatted for most of the way back to dock. At the dock, my husband tipped the crew, who then rings the bell. They earned it. They kept us safe, took great care of us, and made the trip feel like we were traveling with family, not just a tourist. 

Molokini. When you do it, do it with the crew of the Four Winds 2.