Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Traveling Gluten and Dairy Free in Kauai

This was originally posted in May, 2010.

My family and I traveled to one of the most beautiful places on earth last week - Hanalei Bay, Kauai.  The penetrating blues of the water, lush vegetation everywhere the eye can see, and soft sand leave you without a worry in the world.  The day before we began our vacation, I stopped by my local natural foods store looking longingly at the abundance of items we commonly use, and wondered what we would find on the island.

I packed a few items I thought would be hard to find, such as our favorite bread mixes, almond flour and 
Sonoma Teff Wraps, which can be used for a quick meal like a burrito or wraps filled with meat and vegetables.  I also packed homemade granola, for breakfast and snacks.  This basic recipe can be modified to adjust for various food sensitivities.


5 cups gluten free oats
1 cup each sliced almonds and cashews (use sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds for nut free)
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (or canola oil)
1/2 cup raw honey (or agave, or maple syrup)
1 tbsp vanilla (or 2 tsp cinnamon)
1 cup dried cranberries (or banana chips, raisins, dried pineapple, or other dried fruit)


Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix oats and nuts (or seeds) together, and cinnamon, if using.  Add oil, honey and vanilla and mix thoroughly.  Spread onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned, stirring twice during baking time to ensure even baking.  Remove from oven and cool.  Mix in dried fruit.  Store in airtight container.  For low salicylate diets, use canola oil, maple syrup, a mixture of sunflower seeds and sesame seeds in place of the almonds, and dried banana in place of the cranberries. Source:

According to the Hawaiian Airlines website, they do not accommodate special diets or allergies.  I didn't bother contacting them about food, and packed sandwiches, veggies and hummus, fruit and trail mix for our trip over.  Passengers are subject to agricultural inspection coming and going from Hawaii, and will be asked about fresh fruits and vegetables, plants and pets.  We ate our fresh stuff before we got there, and had no problem bringing in dried fruit and other food.

Our first priority upon arrival was dinner.  I had already done some scouting and read at 
Gluten Free Mom that Verde, a small hole in the wall New Mexican restaurant, served gluten free meals in Kapa'a, just a short ten minute drive from the airport.  The server said almost anything on the menu could be made gluten and dairy free.  All three of us loved our meals, and were surprised of the quality of the food for such an understated setting.  They use fresh, local ingredients, with wonderful homemade salsa and other spicy sauces for your meal. 

The staff at Verde were taught how to make their meals gluten free from the owner of 
Sweet Marie's, a dedicated gluten free bakery just down the road.   Sweet Marie's sells muffins, cookies and cakes, some of which are also dairy and soy free.

While in Kapa'a, you can pick up groceries at 
Papaya Natural Foods, Kauai's largest natural foods store.  There is also a Costco in Lihue.  As you travel north, there are two more natural foods stores:  the Healthy Hut in Kilauea and a satellite Papaya's Natural Foods in Hanalei.  In addition, Foodland in Princeville offers a small natural foods section, along with organic produce and Applegate Farms meats.  Better yet, get some locally grown produce at one of the many farmer's markets on the island.

My husband and I love the North Shore of Kauai, because it is so amazingly gorgeous and has some of the best scuba diving on the island.  There is so much do see and do, including hiking, boogie boarding, kayaking and enjoying the beautiful beaches.  The Hanalei Bay Resort, comprised of condominiums, has two swimming pools (lagoon style pictured above), tennis courts and beach access.  The beach is great for snorkeling and swimming, with Hanalei Beach Park Pavilion a short drive away for boogie boarding or surfing.

By some stroke of luck, we found the perfect condo, 
#1557 and 1558, at the incredible price of $129 per night.  It came with everything we needed for a comfortable stay:  great beds, a well equipped (although small) kitchen, air conditioning, washer and dryer, internet access, and nice televisions.  Our favorite part was the view off of the lanai of the nearby mountains and lush forest, which felt like our own private wildlife preserve teeming with birds and wildlife.

Our days were spent near the water, and by afternoon, we were ready for a cool treat at Aloha Juice Bar in the town of Hanalei.   Specializing in fruit smoothies, we sampled all of their flavors, with many tropical blended fruits to choose from.   Banana Joe's Fruit Stand in Kilauea offers smoothies as well, but is currently closed for renovations.

There are some other gluten free options we didn't have a chance to visit:

Kilauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza, Kong Lung Center, 2484 Keneke St., Kilauea, 808.828.2020  This is not a dedicated gluten free establishment, but they do offer gluten free muffins, bagels and bread, along with some vegan cakes.

Postcards Cafe, Hanalei.  Serves dinner nightly at 6 p.m.  Specializes in organic, sugar free, natural foods with no meat except fish.  Vegan and gluten free options are available. 

Roy's, Poipu.  Roys does not have a gluten free menu, but will accommodate food allergies and sensitivities if you ask, including gluten, dairy, egg and nuts.

Papalani Gelato, Poipu Shopping Village.  At any given time, Papalani's has 12 flavors of freshly made gelato that are vegan, gluten free and nut free.  Some products are also sugar and soy free - just ask for clarification.  They also make gluten free gelato sandwiches and cakes, and vegan chocolates.  They emphasize local and organic ingredients.

Finally, if you really want to treat yourself, hire North Shore 
private chef AJ Deraspe, who can prepare gourmet vegan, gluten free and raw meals, using local, organic ingredients.  His mantra, from the soil to the soul, the food that we eat is much more than what's on the plate, reflects his passion for sustainably grown, healthy food.  He offers a variety of services, including catering, cooking classes, sustainable farm tours, nutrition workshops and more.  Contact him at 808.635.5865.

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