Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gluten Free in Hawaii

It was a massive undertaking.  We had to get 45 family members from all over the United States to Hawaii to board the Pride of America cruise ship.  Fortunately, it all went off without a hitch.

One of the issues I had in the planning process was finding places that could serve 45 people AND accommodate gluten free for my mother and I. 

On the day of our arrival, we went to the fabulous Hilton Hawaiian Village, a gorgeous hotel right on Waikiki Beach.  We had a stunning view of the ocean from our rooms in the Tapa Tower.  For dinner, we went to Benihana's Japanese Steak House.  If you haven't been to a Benihana's (or similar Teppanyaki restaurant), you are missing out.  The food is prepared on the table in front of you, with the chef doing little tricks to entertain you, like spinning an egg on his spatula, or making a flaming volcano out of onion rings. 

The problem, of course, is that Japanese food = soy sauce.  Everything Benihana's serves is loaded with it.  However, I have always found them to be very accommodating IF YOU BRING YOUR OWN SOY SAUCE.  In this case, we had called ahead and they knew we were coming.  Our party was divided into 5 tables, because each table only serves 8.  The chef they assigned to our table is a Celiac himself, so he was familiar with the diet.

Since everyone at our table was family, we agreed to ask the chef not to use gluten in any of our entrees, which he accommodated.  (If you are dining with less than 8 people, this could be a problem.)  It is actually very reassuring to watch the food made in front of us, since it gave us confidence that no gluten was sneaking it's way in. 

Mom and I couldn't have the soup, and the salad came without salad dressing, but we enjoyed the shrimp appetizer, the fried rice and stir fried veggies (zucchini and onions) and our entrees (Mom had shrimp, I had Hibachi Chicken).

We were very pleased with the dinner and their willingness to accommodate us.  Yea, Benihana!


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