On the road to Hana, stop at Keanae!

On the road to Hana, stop at Keanae!

On the road to Hana, take a swing down to the little (kinda sorta) ‘town’ of Keanae. It lies on a volcanic spit that jets out to the ocean where you’ll find, a historic church made from lava rock and coral, waves crashing spectacularly against those ancient black flows, and the best mango bread you’ll ever have. (no, it is not GlutenFree, but now I am determined to make one just like it GF)

We stopped at this quaint sign, which was someones house and sported a small goat eating leaves, to buy a loaf of Mango bread. It was handed to us by a young boy of maybe 13, warm still in a brown paper bag and the mark of oil attesting to its’ moistness.

Oh la la! It was delish torn off in hunks eaten warm, but even better the next morning, toasted, served along with papaya and fresh squeezed lime juice.

Whether or not you stop for the mango bread, the vista was well worth the time taken for the side trip.

Gluten Free Traveling: part 1 Honolulu, Hawaii

We arrived in Honolulu late at night, so all we thought of was bed. We stayed at a hotel just east of the airport, west of Waikiki called the Ala Moana, which we discovered was a gigantic mall. The hotel was within the complex of it. That morning we headed down to the casual restaurant with in it, and was able to cobble together a breakfast for my daughter from the buffet they had. It was fairly GF friendly, sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, and blessedly…..rice. I’ve never seen just plain steamed rice on a buffet, let alone a breakfast buffet, but there it was. You see, we all take toast, bagels, muffins, granola for granted. Protein is excellent, but when traveling and walking and touring, a bit of carbs can help keep you going. (yes, I know there are those who disagree, I am all about moderation)

Then it was off to pearl harbor, which we had allowed the time and day to see. It is a must for anything traveling through the islands. The history there is critical for those younger than I to hear and see, and appreciate the blessings of peace they have been living in. As I’ve said, I’m from the West Coast and while not old, also not of a young age. I remember distinctly in my young years having a cautious eye for the Japanese, and not having that total freedom of fear that maybe my husband has growing up in the middle of the country. You see, as a west coast native, we had been attacked. Maybe not on the mainland proper, but in our parents eyes, we had been attacked non-the-less. My father grew up having to have the drapes drawn at night, very few lights lit….because of the danger of the japanese patrol boats off the coast of the Peugeot Sound seeing the lights and fixing a target. It was a different time, and blessedly, ,my children did not grow up ducking under desks and having to live with thick blankets on the windows. 

Pearl Harbor is a challenge for those who are GF, but I would HIGHLY recommend the tour of the Battleship Missouri (“Mighty Mo”) and while over there, hit the Aeronautics museum. There are extremely cool planes to see, and the video they show is something every American should be watching in school. While there, visit the little cafe they have. If it is your first stop in the islands, it will familiarize you with Kalua Pork. (see previous post)  Kalua Pork is safe for those who are Gluten Intolerant. I’ve never seen it made with anything wheat or with soy. (double check, always double check) 

You can pick up a nice wad of Kalua pork (sans the bun) and a beverage. The hot dogs are all beef also. (check when you go) They also had a nice chicken salad with a caesar dressing that was also wheat free. I didn’t find anything else even suitable to eat for my daughter while there. A trick is to pack a few things from the mainland. We had fruit snacks, Glutino yogurt pretzels and bagel chips we brought with. Those are fine for airport security and great to pack in your purse while traveling. We have come to just not expect that there will be food or snacks available, so we always pack something no matter what. 

We only had until 4pm on Oahu, and so back to the hotel we raced after seeing the Mighty Mo, the aeronautics museum, and the Arizona. (I won’t complain about the lack of respect and poor behavior I experienced at the Arizona and generally at Pearl Harbor, but afterwards I no longer have a lot of hope for America’s soul after seeing some atrocious behavior there) We needed to grab a bite to eat before we got on the local puddle hopper to Maui, but where? We were cranky, tired, hot, and plainly worn out from a long flight, short night and the time change. While I have traveled, my family has not. Needless to say, some grumbling ensued. 

Hubby and oldest offspring had decided fish, japanese preferably. At the hotel where our luggage was being stored, they recommended a place, but finding it was troublesome at best. After wading through a wedding party of asians that I swear was strolling down the halls of the complex at 300+ strong, we stumbled upon an asian place that I INSISTED we check out. (At this point I was becoming tired and a bit cranky, so forgive me) 

What a gem! YuZu was its name: http://yuzuhawaii.com/menu  It featured organic gluten free soy in most it dishes and my daughter scarfed up teriyaki sticks, california rolls and other delights. For me, the Yuzu Mojito was KILLER TO DIE FOR! If you are in Honolulu, and are looking for a place to nosh on yummy asian bites, without having to worry about gluten laden soy, this is the place for you. I am including the link (I don’t yet know how to hyper link, sorry, I’m a work in progress) so hopefully it works and you can click and check out the menu. Go visit it. Places like this need to be supported, so that families like mine can find places to eat while traveling! If you are looking for a ‘travel’ review….the bathroom was spotless, the decor minimal but lovely, and it was clean. The tempura avocado is a must try as well as the aforementioned mojito. 

That wraps up our very brief time in Honolulu and how we managed with a GF traveler. 

(part 2, Maui, soon to come)

Gluten Free Travel: Introduction

I’m no spring chicken as I have 2 girls (now 17 & 19) who I had in my 30’s. Therefore, I was blessed with the opportunity to do some traveling before settling down after marriage. As memories come forth, inspired by current life, I’ll share some of those great adventures, but the ones that come to mind right now are from my childhood growing up on the west coast and visiting the Hawaiian Islands. 

My friends in the mid-west can understand the context of Hawaii, in that they ‘do’ Mexico. On the west coast, you ‘do’ Hawaii if you are able. Acapulco has gotten rather unsavory for families and Cabo San Lucas is expensive. Disneyland is not for everyone, Arizona is freakishly hot and dry. So, if you are able, you go to Hawaii. 

In the mid-west, the popular destination is Mexico, primarily Le Rivera Maya. Having lived in the mid-west now for over a dozen years, we have had fun planning Disney Cruises out of Florida to the Virgin Islands (when the kids were very little), Mexico multiple times in various locations, and the inevitable family visits to relatives in Arizona.(I swear, all old people retire in AZ) 

So, time came to plan our yearly winter get-a-way. You see, I have to get away from the frozen tundra mid-winter or I would perish, or be committed. Winters in the northern Mid-West are not only brutal, but obscenely long. Cabin crazy long. 

Hawaii was not my first thought, but I have a couple of friends on Facebook who live on the islands. Their constant posting of photos, the food they shared and the culture all reminded me of my trips as a youth and inspired me to seriously chat with hubby about a trip to the islands. You see, while as a native from the West Coast, I had grown up going to the islands, none of my family has ever been. So beginning back in the early summer negotiation talks went on with the family and hubby. Hawaii is no breeze to get to from the Mid-West. It’s expensive to fly, it’s a brutally long trip, and it’s expensive once you are there.  However, we had a secret card to play. My hubby has been flying extensively for going on 16+ years, and fortunately a majority has been with one airline. So accrued miles were plentiful enough to get us 4 first class tickets to Hawaii. Oh yes, we burned them ALL up baby!

I have a friend who is a travel agent, and she foubnd us up with some very reasonable (and CLEAN) condos and the plans were set. This however, is the first time since my daughter was diagnosed as gluten intolerant (and we have discovered recently dairy protein or dairy fat sensitive). I can think of worse issues to have, but I will confess, the islands are a challenge. You see, soy and breading are a big part of the food culture here. Many things that are not breaded have soy. Fish dishes you’d expect to be ok, have soy or contain flour.

So this is the introduction to our families journey, gluten free traveling. I hope others can benefit from it. 

 (part 1: coming shortly)