Friday, June 6, 2014



I spent MANY HOURS researching hotels to stay at for our trip to Oahu in the Spring. I knew I wanted three things:

1)  It had to be on the beach
2) It had to have a kitchen
3) It had to be within walking distance of shops and public transportation.

The lovely view from our hotel room at the Ilikai Hotel

I finally decided on the ILIKAI MARINA RESORT HOTEL, which offered all the things I was looking for! And what a great choice it was! Although not an ocean front hotel (there is a lagoon between the hotel and the ocean) our room still had a spectacular view of the beach, ocean and beautiful sunsets.

The lagoon in front of the Ilikai Hotel at dawn

The lagoon was a great place to rent paddle boards, which my kids did whenever they had a chance.

Going for a swim in front of our hotel at sunset we were
treated to a beautiful view of Diamond Head.

The best beach for swimming was just in front of our hotel and a short walk to the left (North). There, the water was warm, it wasn't too crowded, and we had a lovely view of Diamond Head.

Ewan surfing!

Just a little ways further up the beach was a perfect spot for surfing, and my son Ewan took surfing lessons. The swells were plentiful yet tame enough for a beginner.

A sunset view from our room at the Ilikai

It was so nice to have a FULL kitchen in our room where we were able to relax in our room after a long day out at the beach, or sightseeing, and just cook a nice meal for ourselves. A kitchen allows us to have more control over what we eat and we are easily able to include a few healthy meals for ourselves when traveling.

Just because we prepared some of our own meals did not mean we didn't indulge and enjoy a lot of local food and drink. There was a nice market around the corner from the hotel with a lot of fresh produce and a good selection of organic, vegan, and gluten free foods. We had some really nice local ice creams and sorbets too, with beautiful flavors like passion fruit, guava, mango, coconut, and, of course, pineapple! The Ilikai also had a shop in the lobby of the hotel, where you could find some good emergency foods, and it even had a small section of frozen food, a refrigerated section, local wine and beer, and a small selection of produce.

One memorable treat I unexpectedly indulged in was some really nice pineapple wine. Yep, you read correctly, PINEAPPLE WINE! Not something one would think to sip with their evening meal at home, but in Hawaii, it was the perfect compliment! When I saw it in the market, I knew I had to try it, and I'm glad I did. It was delicious!

A glass of Maui Blanc was perfect as a nice
treat before dinner.

It was a nice and refreshing wine, not too dry, and just perfect to sip while watching the  sunset

The wine I found at our little shop around the corner
was called Maui Blanc, and it was delicious! 

In the evenings, our room at the Ilikai had a nice balcony, perfect for relaxing and watching the sunset before starting dinner.

Fireworks at the Hilton Hawaiian Village

On Friday nights guests at the Ilikai are treated to a fireworks show, compliments of their neighbor, the Hilton Hawaiian Village!

We couldn't help making some Macadamia Nut
Pancakes, there were a variety of mixes available
at most shops in a variety of flavors as well as
buckwheat, chocolate, and banana. We made sure
to always add our own fresh fruit and nuts

We ate breakfast in our room most mornings which allowed us to relax and have a leisurely morning before our active days out. The balcony was wide enough to do some early morning yoga, or stretches if you prefer, and the view was all we needed to keep stress free. The ocean was at our front door so sometimes we went out early (Hawaii time is 3 hours behind so we were up early!) for a nice walk on the beach, where we had the beach to ourselves most days

Eating with this spectacular view made every morning special.

We took full advantage of being able to make our own breakfast and bought a package of Macadamia Nut Pancake Mix! Yum! There were a few recipes on the package, one was dairy free, and we always added some fresh local fruits and nuts. Im still dreaming about the breakfasts we made!

The beds were VERY comfortable and the staff at the Ilikai VERY accommodating, making sure we had all the pillows, blankets, and kitchen supplies we wanted and needed.

As far as staying healthy in a hotel, we made sure to wash all the dishes before we used them, especially since there was no dishwasher. We, of course, wiped down the room when we
arrived (see my post Hotel Survival Guide) and made sure we had all the towels and pillows we needed. The dishes were plain (no decoration or writing), which means probably lead free, and some of the pans were non-stick/Teflon, but some were not, which was great, but each room is privately owned and therefore, will each have a different set of dishes, pots, pans utensils, etc.. If you are particular about what you cook with, bring it with you.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH TEFLON/NON-STICK PANS? GLAD YOU ASKED! THEY ARE TOXIC, ESPECIALLY OLD ONES! I use stainless steel pots and pans at home, and they are more expensive, but totally worth the money to keep these toxins out of your food.

Want more info? READ THIS:


Waikiki Marina Resort at Ilikai
1777 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, HI  96815
(808) 954-7417
Most rooms are King bed and sofa sleeper, if you want two double beds, request them when you make your reservation. We had a Jr. Suite with patial-ocean view. 

Food Pantry
438 Hobron Lane
Honolulu, HI  96815
(808) 947-3763
Not cheap, but nothing is on Hawaii! Small, but will have most everything you need including a small selection of organic foods.

Gone Surfing Hawaii
(808) 429-6404
Fun lessons for groups, private or semi-private lessons.

Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel
The perfect Mai Tai from scratch

Alcohol, in general, doesn’t have many health benefits, so I try to keep my alcohol intake to a minimum. But, as I have said before, when I travel, I sometimes just want to have a something special and local, and just have fun and partake in some local food and drink. I love fun mixed drinks (margueritas and mojitos are favs), but I can’t stand the thought of pre-mixed drinks or mixers with loads of artificial ingredients and additives I can’t pronounce. I feel, if you are going to splurge on an alcoholic drink, make sure your drink is fresh, made from scratch with fresh ingredients. On this trip to Hawaii, I was really looking forward to having a Mai Tai, but I wanted to have a nice, fresh one. So I did a little research and I found out most travelers voted the BEST Mai Tai i Oahu was at the Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki Beach. The hotel was on my list of places to see anyway. Nearly 100 years old, the Royal Hawaiian is a beautiful classic vintage hotel (built in 1927), famous for it’s pink exterior and decor, and colorful history of famous visitors. Their bar, aptly called the Mai Tai Bar, sits right on the beach, with a stunning view of the ocean, and… they make their Mai Tai’s from scratch!. So, after a long day of surf lessons and swimming in the ocean, my kids and I walked down the beach (about 15-20 minutes) from our hotel to the Royal Hawaiian. 

It was late afternoon and we didn’t have lunch so we were hungry and ready for drinks and nibbles! We found a perfect table facing the ocean, right as the sun was setting. My kids ordered some fresh juices, along with some french fries and sweet potato fries (the only vegetarian items on the menu) and I, of course, ordered a Mai Tai. They had several Mai Tai’s on the menu, but the one I ordered was called the “scratch Mai Tai, made with fresh squeezed orange juice, fresh pineapple juice, Bacardi Superior, and whaler’s dark rum with fresh fruit on the side. It was delicious. It wasn’t cheap at $12.00 a drink, but I loved it and sipped it slowly while watching the sun set and loving the relaxing time with my kids. 

Researching the best Mai Tai on Oahu made from scratch inspired me to look into the recipes for all classic cocktails, and I came across a nice cocktail recipe book called, “Organic Shaken and Stirred” which I purchased from

It has lots of fresh recipes for cocktails, all made from fresh ingredients, and the book also has a nice reference section on some brands of organic alcohol. My local grocery has a nice selection of organic gins, which I love, and makes me feel better about having the occasional Gin and Ginger in the summer (organic gin with organic ginger brew, on ice. YUM!)

Anyway, the Mai Tai at the Royal Hawaiian was delicious, as was the entire experience at the Mai Tai Bar in the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. I recommend it highly!

Royal Hawaiian Hotel
2259 Kalakaua Avenue
Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Hawaiian Airlines: Vegan/Vegetarian In-Flight Meal

Oahu, Hawaii
Spring 2014

I used to LOVE traveling by air when I was younger, it was such a pleasant experience. Flight Attendants were always pleasant and happy to see you, planes were less crowded, and I looked forward to the in-flight meals. Now a days, the flight is my least favorite part of traveling.

Which is why I'm so happy to share my recent experience on Hawaiian Airlines. We flew Hawaiian Airlines from Sacramento to Oahu, Hawaii this past Spring, and it was really a nice experience. The flight attendants were friendly, and I really loved all the Hawaiiana they had on board: Hawaiian Music, staff in Hawaiian dress, and the meal with a Hawaiian theme along with pineapple juice and a and mixed tropical fruit juice offering with the beverage service. When I booked our flights the reservationist informed me that Hawaiian Airlines is the only American domestic carrier that still offers a free meal on their flights. I no longer eat the food provided on airplane flights (see my post on "Staying Healthy in the Air") but I was happy to hear that for my son's sake. He loves the in-flight meal as I did when I was younger. Hawaiian Air does not take special meal requests, so I could not special order a vegan/vegetarian meal, but the offering was very nice, and as it turned out VEGETARIAN!

A nice breakfast meal of fresh fruit and crackers, but
the best part was the chocolate macadamia nut!
The meal, or snack really, was a mid-morning meal of fresh fruit, crackers, and a package of chocolate covered macadamia nuts. Very nice. My other son and I did not starve however, we went to Starbucks at the airport and got a muffin (him) and a lovely, hot oatmeal with the works (me) along with a drink for the flight. Although I prefer to bring my own drink on an airplane flight, I did have a pineapple juice on the way to get into the Hawaiian spirit with my kids. We even bought some Hawaiian Air ear buds (I loved the little Hawaiian Air logo on it!) and some snacks that were for sale. All in all a great flight!

Why don't I eat the food on an airline anymore?

Why don't I drink the beverages offered on a flight?

Do a little research before your next flight and see what recent studies have found out.
Here are a few to get you started.


and don't forget to read my BLOG POST on "Staying Healthy in the Air"!