I love food. Fresh flavorful food. I want my taste buds in euphoria not just eating to survive. I'm immensely disappointed when I go out to eat and two bites in I'm thinking about how it could be so much better. What is the point of bland food? Being gluten free, vegan and having no short list of food allergies, its not always easy to find places I can get excited about. These places rocked my palate, were full of flavor, had creative menus, fresh & organic and all local small businesses.
Kawanui, Big Island Hawaii
(Between Kona and Captain Cook)
This was my staple when I visited last year as its only about 10 minutes from my parents house. It's in a slightly updated old general store right off Mamalahoa Hwy. A laid back atmosphere but quick to get your order out.
You can't go wrong when ordering as everything is yummy. Most of the baked goods are Vegan and Gluten Free. The scones are the best I've ever tasted. I kept thinking they were mismarked and couldn't possibly be gluten free. =) They have fabulous locally grown organic coffee with 6 milk choices including almond, coconut and hemp.
Dragonfruit Scone and Hemp Latte.
The best Samoa Cookie in the world! Make sure you order a second one for the road as you will inevitably crave it later.
Hilo, Big Island Hawaii
My first time at the farm to table Sweet Cane Cafe made me wish I could pack it up and move it to Nashville. They are a GMO free Vegetarian restaurant and everything on the menu can be made vegan or gluten free. I got the Zucchini Pesto (raw zucchini noodles tossed in macadamia nut pesto and fresh tomatoes and avocado). It looked so amazing a couple of people sitting next to us changed their original order and another couple was overheard saying, "Its okay, we'll get that next time".
Still getting over a sinus infection from the flight, I also ordered a Wellness shot (ginger, turmeric, noni, liliko’i, lemon, cayenne) My sister got the Pumpkin Coconut Curry over quinoa. Our plates were licked clean.
Hawi, Big Island Hawaii
You're safe here chicken.
When I visited the Big Island last year we stumbled upon this place just as they were closing. It was tucked away behind a building on the main road. I made a mental note to look for them this trip and they had changed locations. Now they are right on the main road and the new place is wildly colorful and fun. Even the cash register is hot pink. This all organic and gluten free vegetarian cafe specializes in Vegan dishes.
I ordered the Hawaiian Bounti Burger, the newest item on the menu. Veggie patty made in house from veggies, fruits, seeds, grains and herbs, topped with seared pineapple, red onion, local lettuce, Hawaiian plum sauce on a house baked gluten free roll (which didn't fall apart until I was almost finished, possibly some kind of record). It came with green papaya slaw and house made pickles. My loud mmm mmmmm were made all the way until the end.
Lets start adding seared Pineapple to everything. It can be the new avocado.
Kailua Kona, Big Island Hawaii
A quaint little drive thru with outside eating area, Herbivores is 100% plant based and has many gluten free options. I had the BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich with sweet potato chips. I added avocado because I add avocado to everything. My first experience with cooked jackfruit and it was amazing.
My brother and sister had the BBQ Jackfruit Nachos and a hot dog with sauerkraut. I was tempted to try theirs but the cheese on the nachos is cashew based and I'm allergic and my sister's bun was not gluten free. =( My siblings are only occasionally vegetarians but found the food to be delicious.
Island Naturals market, with 3 locations on the Big Island, is filled with organic, gluten free and vegan options. They also carry local fruits and vegetables and the biggest avocado I have every seen in my life! They have a customer appreciation day every second Sunday when they offer 15% off your total purchase.
I would have held it next to my head for comparison but I have a larger than average head.
My first experience with both fresh cacao and soursop. I ate the cacao seeds raw and for a few hours I felt REALLY good. They produce phenylethylamine and anandamide when consumed, the focus, excitement and bliss chemicals. Umm, yea they do.
Don't forget the fruit stands and farmers markets!
Found all over the big island, some are as simple as a card table on the side of the road, with big concentrations down south and in Hilo where most of the fruit grows.