Traveling with Celiac Disease: O’ahu, Hawai’i

Celiac Disease (CD) can be a real pain in the ass when it comes to traveling. From bringing food onto an airplane, to making sure the CD-sufferer has safe food and snacks throughout the entirety of the trip, it becomes a real ordeal to travel. Some destinations are way more Celiac-friendly than others. This means that a lot more prep and research has to go into any trip.

Our rules for safe Celiac eating:

  1. 100% dedicated gluten free facilities are always the best.
  2. Restaurants with dedicated food allergy areas and protocols are second best.
  3. Restaurants with airborne flour are a hard no. Looking at you, non-segregated pizza spots.
  4. Other restaurants that are confused when Celiac or wheat allergies are mentioned is a hard no. These places are extremely risky.
  5. Every restaurant that is not 100% dedicated gf gets questioned on how safe they are, and the order noted it is for a Celiac and gluten-allergic eater. Gluten-allergy doesn’t exist, but more people recognize the severity of an allergy versus Celiac Disease.

We recently traveled to O’ahu to celebrate our cousin’s wedding, and it was a treat! Perusing Find Me Gluten Free got me very concerned about what I’d be able to eat since it didn’t seem like a lot at first glance, but being located in an extremely touristy area worked to my advance in finding safe food.

We stayed around Ko’Olina in a villa with a full kitchen. All of the resorts around us had restaurants that could reliably accommodate CD, but we kept heading back to Aulani (Disney). Character dining, buffet, Disney! ๐Ÿถ

Hawaiian Airlines: Breakfast

Hawaiian Airlines breakfast box

Breakfast box!

Surprisingly, we actually got breakfast on our flight to Honolulu. The yogurt was actually gluten free, and the silverware wrapped in plastic, so the cross-com risk was minimal. I stayed away from the grapes, granola, and the wrapped onion corn cake thing, just in case.

(The cake smelled really good, though!)

 

ABC Store/Island Market by ABC

Island Country Markets by ABC Stores in Ko'Olina

Taken by Yelper T. Anthony N.

Unfortunately no pictures from me, but the Island Market in Ko’Olina was surprisingly well stocked for cooking at the villa. They stock fresh vegetables, eggs, and steak… While also stocking gluten-free bread, drinks (ok maybe I wouldn’t splurge for a $10 orange juice carton but hey), snacks, and pineapple Dole Whip.

Other ABC Stores also stock gf snacks. They’re all over the place, so it’s a safe spot to stop by for a quick refuel. Safe snacks are marked with a “gluten free” sign.

 

Aulani’s Poolside Food (Off the Hook & Papalua Shave Ice)

Disney’s Aulani resort has a number of on-site restaurants and eateries, including some poolside options that are a tad less expensive.

Unfortunately no pictures of this either, but I got a bomb set of kalua pork tacos in corn tortillas with pineapple salsa and avocado with a side of fruit. The food options I had were burgers with gf buns, tacos, salads, and flatbread. Nothing from the fryer unfortunately, but with that many options it wasn’t at all an issue.

The shaved ice from Papalua is gluten free. I didn’t inquire about getting the condensed milk at the time, but the shaved ice by itself was pretty darn good. ๐Ÿ 

 

Aulani’s Makahiki Character Breakfast Buffet

 

Character breakfast was a real treat at Disneyland, but I found that Aulani’s character breakfast was just as good. Disneyland’s Mickey waffles win out for being mochiko based, but Aulani won with an eggs benedict — something I never really had a chance to have before. In this buffet, the chef will walk you down the buffet and ask you what you want to eat. Food came directly from the back with allergy sticks on them. It was a really good variety!

The show was also cute, and it was totally worth it. Loved hearing the auntie sing and go through the different routines. We had a visit with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy at our table. ๐Ÿ™‚

Aulani’s Makahiki Dinner Buffet

 

Non-character dinner, and that’s OK! My only complaint is that this buffet is totally aimed at the seafood lovers. I got to have a lot of different foods for dinner buffet, which was totally awesome. Same thing as breakfast: chef walked me through the line and asked what I wanted. I’ve never had poke and some of the other foods before, so I got a plate. (When we went to Disneyland’s Storytellers Cafe for dinner buffet, they couldn’t accommodate me at the time and I went for a meal instead. So it was nice to have another buffet style meal.)

Meals I received:

  • Rice, mashed potatoes, prime rib, and fruit
  • Pasta bolognese
  • Poke ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Ham & prime rib
  • Sushi
  • Glazed salmon, pork chops, some other beef thing
  • Tapioca pudding w/ mango and fresh fruit on top
  • Pineapple & watermelon

 

Dole Plantation – BBQ Corn

No pictures of this one either, but there’s a stand right outside of the Dole Plantation building that has BBQ corn. I pestered them enough times to figure out that yes, it is gluten free, no, they don’t deal with gluten in the stand, and that they use Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce if you get that corn.

 

What I missed

There were multiple restaurants that I missed in Ko’Olina that were Celiac safe: Ama’Ama in Aulani, Longboards at the Marriott, and one at the Four Seasons. Ama’Ama has a beautiful view of the sunset in the evening, but with the amount of food and leftovers I had it just didn’t make sense to spend more $$$. There were also a few restaurants in Waikiki itself that were Celiac safe and you can find those on Find Me Gluten Free that I also skipped for the above reasons.

 

TLDR

Get a place with a kitchenette just so you’re not spending a lot of money, but otherwise, O’ahu was totally fun and safe for this Celiac sufferer.

Must Read Fall 2018 Comics

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I’m a little behind on doing anything with my blog for some really good reasons. Work, work travel, work, work projects, school, school papers, personal life… lots of stuff going on. In the meantime, I saw that three of my favorite artists are releasing comic books! THEY DELIVERED. Here are some mini-reviews I posted on my Goodreads.

FYI: These are all advance reading copies (ARCs).

super chill - a year of living anxiouslySuper Chill: A Year of Living Anxiously – Adam Ellis
Releases on Oct 23, 2018
If his stuff looks familiar, it’s because he used to be a comic artist for Buzzfeed. By far my favorite of the releases this fall.
A great collection of comics by Adam. I was super happy to see that a lot of the comics in this book were content new to me, still in his signature style that touches on a lot of fun and sometimes way too real topics. I really enjoyed reading this and can’t wait to read more from him.


sharky malarkeySharky Malarkey – Megan Nicole Dong (Sketchshark)
Releases on September 18, 2018
A fun assortment of comics by Megan, a.k.a. sketchshark! The comics and illustrations are just so much fun and very lively. There’s a lot of social commentary and poking fun at real life situations, and I love the comics about Chaos, her cat. A definite read for any comic fan.


emotions explained with buff dudesEmotions Explained w/ Buff Dudes – Andrew Tsyaston (Shenpai)
Releases on October 16, 2018
I’m a big Shenpai fan, and was super excited to see his book on here. His comics are very cartoony and simple, but he really tackles some tough issues in a comedic way that I can easily relate to, like depression, self-esteem, and other touchy subjects. It’s a quick read but super funny. Must read! My only complaint is that I’ve read most of the content previously.

Revisiting Harry Potter #2 and #3

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With the hope of finishing the Harry Potter series by Halloween, and the small chance of actually doing so, I’ve continued on!

I started the Chamber of Secrets on my return flight back from the midwest, and finally finished getting through the Prisoner of Azkaban last week. When I was a kid, I didn’t realize how silly some things were… like Lockhart. Oh my goodness. Not sure I exactly had an opinion on him as a kid, but after re-reading the book, I felt like he would be one of those annoying guys posting on Instagram all the time about the stuff that he’s done for attention. Nope.jpg.

The Prisoner of Azkaban, on the other hand, was such a joy to reread. My favorite chapter is the chapter with the Knight Bus: the mix of magic and reality really started the book off on the right note. For some reason, Prizoner of Azkaban is where I’ve always felt like the series really started expanding and where I felt that the situations became more dramatic and important.

Also that this book had important situations spanning the entire book — e.g. Buckbeak — whereas it felt like the previous two books tended to have a lot of the action right at the end of the book. Although I have nothing against that, this need and desire to see how the trial ends up and everything else made me keep reading and reading and reading.

I’m excited to get into the 4th book, but I’m a bit nervous as well given the length of the book and juggling school/work. I’m not sure I’ll hit that Halloween timeline, but maybe Christmas will do. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Corel Painter 2019 Demo Review

I’ve been wanting to buy Corel Painter for quite some time now, but the steep price tag always turned me away from actually buying it after trying the demo. Now that I’m a student, I can finally take advantage of the under $100 price tag (much much better), and with Painter 2019 available to demo, I can try it out with the expectation of getting it this time. ๐Ÿ™‚

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As a digital artist, I found that accessing the brushes were very easy and straight forward. I enjoyed the default paper textures and brushes (and their algorithms) that made drawing a really fun experience, without a lot of the customization and fuss that come with a lot of other drawing programs. It’s very user friendly.

One downside I’ve had with Painter is that when attempting to paint on the selected layer only, it’s persistent throughout the entire picture. Compared to other programs, this is something odd to get used to. Usually the option is layer-by-layer rather than the entire image, which can be helpful for quickly going between layers and doing touch-ups. I’ve found myself having to continuously check when my brush doesn’t show.

Another downside (maybe I haven’t found it yet) is that the font selection doesn’t display how it looks, unlike in Photoshop where you can get a feeling for what font you’ll be using beforehand. Instead of scrolling through a bazillion font changes. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll be playing more with the program but at this price it is something that will be a good add to my collection.

Top 5 Wednesday (7/4): Best Books of 2018

This meme was created by Lainey and is currently hosted by Sam on Goodreads. Join us!

Happy Independence Day! We have a nice break this week due to the holiday, so time to take a quick breather and share what some of my favorites are for this year. This list includes both writing, graphic novels and manga.

  1. America is not the heart by Elaine CastilloAmerica is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo
    An historical fiction looking at the cross-section of being Filipino and American in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 80’s/90’s. Seriously, a must read novel. I love the fact that the author writes the experience of being Filipino so well that I’m reminded of my in-laws, and catches the feeling of being an Asian person in the 90’s. I also enjoyed the inclusion of the LGBTQ element, which was totally unexpected but handled really well.


  2. The Eating Instinct by Virginia Sole-SmithThe Eating Instinct: Food Culture, Body Image, and Guilt in America by Virginia Sole-Smith
    This book hasn’t been released yet, but from an ARC I received, this book is seriously top on the list for non-fiction books for me this year. As a person with Celiac Disease, this book somehow caught a lot of the complex feelings around food and eating and placed it into a book. I never knew what orthorexia was before this, but I think this is going to become a bigger issue as time goes by. I’m looking forward to reviewing this book closer to it being released in November.


    tokyo tarareba girls

  3. Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vol. 1 by Akiko Higashimura
    Just got this from NetGalley yesterday, and I do-not-regret-it! On first view, I was taken aback because the main characters did remind me of the characters from Princess Jellyfish. Reading into it, though, I was soooo pleasantly surprised. She really captures being an ADULT woman trying to navigate love and life, and this is geared towards your older readers who can really relate either personally or through friends.


    kimetsu no yaiba

  4. ้ฌผๆป…ใฎๅˆƒ 1 [Kimetsu no Yaiba 1] by Koyoharu Gotouge
    A 80’s/90’s style shonen that DOESN’T make you feel like it’s going to drag on for-ev-er. A really enjoyable action-packed read.


    x3

  5. ๅค่ฆ‹ใ•ใ‚“ใฏใ€ใ‚ณใƒŸใƒฅ็—‡ใงใ™ [Komi-san has a communication problem] by Tomohito Oda
    Bite-sized. Fluffy. Happiness. So cute. Just read it. Here’s my previous review on the series.

Happy 21st Birthday, Harry Potter!

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerers StoneHappy 21st birthday, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone!

I went back and reread the first book on my flight to work training yesterday with the hopes of completing the series before Halloween. Guess there’s a lot of time to devour the book when you’re doing 5 hours of flying in a small airplane. ๐Ÿ™‚

One thing I was concerned about was not being as into it as I used to be back in grade school… it was a book my parents kept trying to get me to read when we got back to the USA, fresh from the Middle East as expats. Couldn’t just watch cartoons and play games all day long I guess. Not that I was complaining once I actually started to read the series!

Re-reading this for the first time in about 20 years was amazing. The book is much shorter than I thought it would be, but it was so easy to get caught up in the story that I just kept reading and reading and reading… even though I should’ve taken a good, long nap at some point. (I’m still tired!) I appreciate how easy it was to get back into, and how it eased you into the story, lore and characters. By the time I finished my trek I was done with the book, and I’m more excited than ever to get started on the second one.

Thankfully the first one was available for free through Prime. I’ve borrowed the second one and hopefully will be able to borrow the third. Whoop!

Happy birthday! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Michigan: On the Trail of a War Bride

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michigan on the trail of a war bride Michigan: On the Trail of a War Bride
by Julien Frey & Lucas Varela

I read this comic thanks to NetGalley. Greatly appreciated!

This is a quick review of this historical fiction graphic novel. It was published on May 16, 2018 (last month!) and it definitely deserves a look.

This comic starts off with a French couple who are visiting the wife’s family in the United States. As they get ready to leave, Odette’s story comes into play as a war bride: women who marry men during active service. The trip to the United States intertwines with Odette’s story in a beautiful way.

I found the art to be rather enjoyable. As a reader, I had an easy time discerning the characters and the background, and they were well drawn. Sometimes with comics, the style can be very messy and they meld together.

michigan - 2

Beautiful, yet simple background work

The characters were also well animated. They did a great job on showing the relationships with minimum amount of space:

michigan - 1

Just from the first page, you can tell their personalities ๐Ÿ™‚

I think I saw some complaints about the characters, but I felt like this comic was more focused on the experience of Odette’s journey rather than totally on the growth of any one person.

TLDR: If you enjoy a good historical fiction with good art, I would definitely suggest adding this to your collection.