Recently, I my husband, and our photographer/editor, Ben and some others traveled to Lana’i Hawaii for some television content. Travel is always exciting and this was no exception.
I travel quite a bit, but I was a little concerned about the remote aspects of the small tranquil island. I packed my usual travel snacks, but a little heavier than normal.
My day started at 2:30 am. Yes, that’s right, I could not sleep!! I had planned to get up at 4:00 am, but no, I’m awake at 2:30… so I grabbed my dog, Paco, relocated him to his bed in my office and decided to handle some last minute work. Our plan was to leave the house at 6:00 am, pick up our camera man and editor, Ben at about 7:00 and forward to the airport about 2 hours away. We were hoping 3 hours would be enough time to get all our cases and bags checked before our noon flight. Boy, did we need every minute. Our group of 6 had 30 cases and bags, weighing near 2000 pounds, so baggage check was quite the production. The airport staff was awesome, then we headed off to security.
In my carry on I had a stash of pretzels, almonds, dry fruit, a little cheese and NutThins. I did inquire if they had a gluten free meal option, which they did not, but I was adequately supplied. The eight hour flight was really rather painless, a little reading, a movie on the iPad, and some napping and poof, I’m there.
We landed in Maui, took an inventory on all our cases and bags, then boarded shuttles to the Maui-Lana’i Ferry for the hour and fifteen minute ride to Lana’i.
We finally arrived on Lana’i and boarded more shuttles to get us to our check in at the Four Seasons Resort, Lodge at Koele at about 7:00 pm Hawaii time, (Midnight, my time) We freshened up and headed to dinner. I presented my Dietary Card to my waitress and she promptly arranged for the Chef to visit with me. Chef Cherie was great, I was already feeling very “safe” in my trip. I had the Grilled Mahi, with Steamed Spinach and my bread basket boasted 4 slices of toasted, gluten free bread, with balsamic vinegar and olive oil for dipping. We finally called it a night at near midnight, Hawaii time (5:00 am my time)
While visiting the other Four Seasons Resort, Menele Bay my husband and I had lunch at Fresco, by the pool. I had a quick visit with Chef Dario Montelvere. He was very sweet and accommodating. Jeff enjoyed a pizza and I had the Hamakua Mushroom Bruschetta. The dish is generally mushrooms and cream sauce served on a grilled baguette, but Chef Dario made it Gluten Free AND Dairy Free by grilling up gluten free bread and topping it with sauteed mushrooms, garlic, lemon, thyme and arugula. It was phenomenal!! Thank you, Dario.
Later in the trip I had a visit with Executive Chef, Kevin Erving. He and I visited about their commitment to guests with dietary challenges. Kevin’s daughter has an egg allergy, so he understands special dietary considerations not only from a dad’s perspective but from his 20 years of experience. Kevin and I then went to prepare a Gluten Free Dinner that would be found at the Hulopo‘e Court Restaurant. He made a Fresh Tomato Gaspacho, that can be served alone, or with gluten free toast or tortilla chips. Then together (well sort of, we don’t exactly work at the same pace around the kitchen) we made a Hearts of Palm and Heirloom Tomato Salad and topped it with Pan Seared Red Snapper. (that episode will be out soon)
The dish was so good and really simple. I was amazed at the fragrance and flavor of those Hawaiian tomatoes, and the snapper was so good. It had a uniquely different, but not strong flavor. I want to personally thank Four Seasons Resort, Chef Kevin, and everyone else who helped for the wonderful opportunity to visit and explain about their services.
One of the other hotels on Lana’i is the Hotel Lana’i. They have a wonderful bar and grill, The Lana’i City Grill. For dinner that evening, I had a simple, however elegantly displayed shrimp cocktail.
Fortunately we did not work ALL the time and my husband and I really enjoyed a visit to the beach… Finally, a little time to relax!
The Lodge at Koele is “up the hill” from the beach, about a 20 minute drive. The weather there is cooler and it is abundant with wildlife. We saw hen turkeys strolling the lawn every day. They have a beautiful Orchid Garden House and several outdoor activities. While on Lana’i you can visit the beach, the spa, ride horses, take a UTV ride, hunt for deer and ram and even shoot skeet.
There was a lot going on during our visit to Lana’i , but the highlight of my trip was getting to go snorkeling. The Crew on board the Trilogy, were super nice. Lunch was provided and I had a… make that two, Gluten Free sandwiches. The cool, clear water and all the varieties of fish were just amazing. Thank you Trilogy Excursions for the great snorkel trip AND the Gluten Free Sandwiches.