The Island of Kauai: a gluten and dairy free diner’s dream.
This hippy fantasy is perhaps the easiest island out there for those requiring a special diet. Visiting Kauai makes every other vacation seem like a nightmare. The tropical fruits are an obvious must, coupled with local veggies, acai bowls (hold the granola), and smoothies galore. You barely even need to think about food on this beautiful tropical island!
I was especially fortunate when we stayed in Kauai because we stayed in a vacation rental with a full kitchen. I cooked several meals (especially breakfast and snacks) which always makes the trip less stressful and my stomach happier), but Kauai is easy enough even without this luxury. I had the opportunity to splurge on a few restaurants during my stay!
Click here for a google map of all of the restaurants I mention below.
Areas on the island: (expanded in detail below)
- Hanalei (north, not far from Na Pali coast for hiking): Harvest Market, Postcards Cafe, Hanalei Taro & Juice (not recommended)
- Princeville (north): St. Regis Princeville
- Kapa’a: Coconut Cup, Rainbow Living Foods, Kauai Juice Co, Java Kai
- Wailua: Cafe Coco
Let’s take a closer look at each!
Gluten Free in DC
(that has a nice ring to it…!)
I recently took a vacation to Washington D.C. with family. We were lucky enough to stay in a timeshare (Wyndham) outside the city (National Harbor), which meant I had a kitchen to cook in! This was fantastic and allowed me to cook breakfasts every day and a couple lunch and dinners. On Saturday however, we went in to the city and are lunch and dinner out. Check out the great restaurants I found!
Penn Quarter – downtown DC
I love love love Jaleo so much. I dined for the first time at this restaurant in Las Vegas for my 21st birthday and couldn’t wait to check out their DC location on my recent trip! Jaleo can only be found in 4 locations, with 3 of them being near DC (Penn Quarter, Crystal City, & Bethesda) and the last location in Vegas. The location we visited was the original, and it’s right downtown within walking distance to all the museums, capitol building, and the mall. It’s also not far from Chinatown, so if you’re in for the day, check out Shop House on 7th st. It is definitely a unique menu with tapas for sharing, suggesting 2-3 dishes per person. Not a cheap menu, but you will pay for the quality flavors and the experience.
Top Places to Eat Gluten Free (safely) in Charleston, SC
Charleston, in case you haven’t heard, is a bit of a foodie town. You will generally find high-quality ingredients (many farm-to-table) and excellent flavor combinations, for a decent price. It’s also in the south, meaning, you will find a lot of shrimp and grits as one of the only gluten free options listed. However, as far as dining gluten free in the south, Charleston does a much better job than many surrounding areas.
This list highlights my favorite restaurants in Charleston that will not only serve good tasting food, but also have a celiac’s best interest in mind. In general, these are in order (within each category) of my personal experiences and likelihood to return, from most positive to least. I am always updating, so check back often!
Disney – the most magical place on Earth!
Based on my most recent trip to Anaheim, CA I would say that holds true when it comes to gluten free food options and catering to special diets.
It is clear the park makes a conscious effort to cater to those with food allergies and it seemed like everywhere we went, the staff was educated when it came to gluten free menu options. We stayed in Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel which is very convenient and within walking distance to both parks, as well as downtown disney. You cross the street and are surrounded by Mickey ears, restaurants, and that famous Disney energy. Since Disney is so expensive (I mean wow – really? How do families afford this?!) we decided to get the evening passes for Friday night and Saturday night and not do the full-day pass.
Upon arrival Friday evening, the first restaurant we went to in Downtown Disney was called Uva Bar. Continue reading
Airport food. Plane food. Yikes.
It’s awesome that markets and places like Cibo are carrying more gluten free snack options like chips, yogurt, cookies, dried fruit, trail mixes, fresh fruit and salads. But when I fly and end up eating all this crap, I always feel full and sick. It’s not a good, satisfied full. It’s a nasty, gas-creating full, while I’m about to enter a plane and sit for 4 hours.
Here are some ideas for how to have a more “normal” day of flying by bringing your own food, saving money and your intestines.
My Hometown: Tucson, AZ
Surprisingly, Tucson has done a very good job in recent years of getting some good gluten free options and several safe kitchens. We now have 3 dedicated gluten free restaurants/bakeries and many of their products can even be found at other restaurants in town.
- Gourmet Girls Gluten Free Bakery
- The Melting Pot
- Flemings Steakhouse
- *Blanco (La Encantada)
- North (La Encantada)
- El Charro link to my review
- Sir Vezas link to my review
- Red Robin
- Saffron Indian Bistro
- Zona 78
- Tucson Tamale Company
- Truland Burgers and Greens
- Contigo Latin Kitchen
- Firebirds Wood Fired Grill
- Claire’s Cafe
Gluten Free Food in the Tucson Airport
There aren’t a whole lot of gluten free options at the Tucson International Airport, but there are definitely a large variety of pre-packed foods in Cibo, Arizona Marketplace, Ikes, and Desert News. There are a few options in the restaurants as well, and they are listed below. If you have an experience or find gluten free food items that are not listed below, please share with me by commenting below!
A Concourse (Gates A1-A9)
Southwest, American, Frontier
Various pre-packaged GF snacks
Boar’s Head Deli
Ask for meat rolled up, without bread. I ordered an Italiano sandwich, no bread, no cheese. It had salami, lettuce, tomato, and roasted red peppers. It was wrapped in a paper wrap. See photo below. (this was from the other terminal, but same restaurant)
Various pre-packaged GF snacks
Surf Sweet candies and gf snacks
On our holiday roadtrip, Gabe and I stopped for a few short hours in Sedona on the way home from “up north.” For those who don’t know, Sedona is a hidden gem, just a short detour between Flagstaff and Phoenix. It is most known for the red rocks and artsy culture. I had been once before, but not for long, and Gabe had never been so we decided to drive the extra 30-60 minutes to check it out.
Driving in to town, the week between Christmas and New Years, proved to be anything but easy. There were a huge number of tourists, especially foreigners, just as there were at the Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon. It took us nearly 20 minutes to go 4 miles on the two lane street. We took a little jig and drove up on some residential streets where we stumbled upon a beautiful church built into the rocks!
The Chapel of the Holy Cross is one of the most scenic churches I have ever seen, and if weddings were allowed at the chapel, there’s a good chance I would want to get married there! We parked at the bottom of the steep hill and hiked our way up to find a beautiful view, with tall windows, and lit memorial candles with even a gift shop inside the chapel. The entry doors reflect the red rock from behind – quite a view. If you find yourself there at 5 pm on a Monday, you can join for a prayer service.
This church is not the only spiritual aspect of Sedona, however. In fact there are even vortexes, where people claim to have found a very spiritual connection. We didn’t get to check any out, but it’s worth looking into. I’ve also heard the Pink Jeep tours are pretty awesome for a tourist-y vacation.
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport:
Gluten Free Food Options
A few years ago, had I written this post, it would have been filled with disappointment and a lot more empty space. I am proud to say that this Delta Airlines hub has made huge improvements in their restaurants offering gluten free items since that time. If you find a new restaurant, or notice that one has closed, please comment below to let me know. The airport is constantly adding new restaurants and switching out old ones so it can be hard to keep up! I hope this helps serves as a guide to navigating what can be a very large and stressful airport, during difficult times for those with food allergies/ intolerances.
*The options with asterisks are my favorites.
**Those with 2 asterisks are the safest for celiacs, based on my experience.
Note: Not all options on this list have been verified, and ingredients always change, as does employee knowledge and level of cross contamination. Use this list as a guide, but always speak up and ask about cross contamination and current ingredients.
Last week I was fortunate enough to visit Chicago during my spring break! Lucky for me, we were there on St. Patty’s Day and got to see the green river. Nevermind that the visit was to see a doctor and the weather in the city was drastically different from my 80* home: the food was amazing!
I planned this trip to a “T” including all reservations on open table for each meal prior to leaving. That way, I had looked up locations, menus, and reserved my times before getting too busy on the road. The plus to making reservations is you know there will be a table for you AND the table will most likely be a good one, like a booth or table on the outside. This is so important, when your dietary restrictions prevent you from just going across the street if they are booked.
Gluten Free in Chicago
Weber Grill Restaurant
GF Menu (upon request)
3 Locations in Chicago (I visited Chicago location)
This place is fantastic with food allergies! As soon as we sat down the waitress said “I noticed you have a gluten free menu” and asked if I had any other allergies.
She proceeded to tell me that they take food allergies very seriously and after she takes our order she will write it up on a separate red allergy alert card, which is then reviewed by the manager or chef and is sent through the kitchen with my order written on it. I didn’t even have to tell her about how serious it was, she just assumed! Continue reading