Hawaiian Airlines

Never take Hawaiian Airlines. I don’t care if it looks like they have the best flights. That is what lured me. It takes a long time to get from New York to Hawaii and adding stops makes it that much longer. There is a mysticism that Hawaiian Airlines is awesome. That the flight to paradise will be even better through this airline. It’s not true. I bought my plane tickets with happiness that was quickly dashed and then ground into one of my worst travel days ever.

After booking my flight online I quickly called the airline to order my vegan meal. With a 10 hour flight looming, I wanted to make sure I could eat. The first person I reached said that the flight was not long enough to have special meals, much less a vegetarian meal. I explained I was allergic and asked to please double check. She was kind enough to double check and said that, no, vegetarian was not an option. They offer no vegan meals at all, no matter the flight length. I asked to speak to a manager. To this second person I calmly explained the situation again and got the same answer with, “but you can bring food onto the plane.” Really? Golly gee. And if I bring something fresh, it will certainly spoil before we land.

I figured there was one last option. I wrote a passionate email to customer service. I was angry by now that I would be complicit in the torture and death of animals by the fact that enough meals would be loaded onto the plane for every passenger. Here is their response:

We’re sorry that we don’t offer special meals in flight. As our agent informed you on March 3, although we don’t offer special meals on board, guests who have special dietary restrictions are welcome to bring their own meals.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us, and we hope you have a pleasant flight.

Well, that didn’t help at all. I was definitely blogging about this and told them as much in my email. But, for some reason, I decided to wait. Just in case something would happen between booking and actually going on vacation. It was a good thing I did.

The flight out was one of my worst, and I was one of the people stuck on a plane for 10 hours and changed regulations forever. If not remembering this from about 11 years ago, Google can help.

We got to the airport early, as is always recommended. We boarded our flight on time. We even pulled away from the gate. Then we sat on the runway for 30 minutes, returned to the gate, de-boarded, and waited for painful updates for two hours. At the two hour mark hubby and I asked to be moved to a different flight. Even this wasn’t easy. The first person we spoke with on the phone said it would cost $200 each to change. Nope. A gate agent who had no authority to change our flight said $200 was not true and to call again. The third person changed our flights. She also said we would get a refund due to lessor quality seats on the new flights. That did happen.

Six more hours and we were finally on a flight out to Vegas. That’s 11 hours in the airport. To bring it back to being vegan, none of the snacks offered were healthy and only potato chips were vegan. Food vouchers were also offered if willing to stand in a crazy long line. The airport food options were about as good as the snacks. Hubby found me a falafel pita that was okay. Luckily I had packed a bunch of non perishable food for the flight.

Our flight to Vegas took off late and we had a five hour layover. But, at least we were half way to vacation. We lost a day of time in paradise.

On the way back I still didn’t want to eat the food. Hubby got the dinner and let me take photo of most of it. He wouldn’t uncover the chicken and said what he did try to eat was not great.

I had read online their breakfasts included fresh fruit, so I asked for that.

The fruit wasn’t bad, but there wasn’t much of it. Hubby ate the cheese, crackers, and chocolate that I wouldn’t/couldn’t.

The entire experience was just so frustrating. Just skip Hawaiian Airlines if you can. Vegan or not. American Airlines and Delta will happily schedule a vegan meal if you jump through their hoops.


Daylight Mind

Walking around to find dinner one night on the Waikoloa coast, west side of Big Island, I was happy to find Daylight Mind.

An appetizer that I verified was vegan friendly and kombucha was a great way to start the meal.

Hummus, baba ganoush, and bruschetta with a lavash greeted us. The hummus was spicy in a way we were not fond of, but the rest was wonderful.

I ordered the Vegetarian Ribbons with added tofu, a plate of yummy veggies and a big block of marinated tofu, and hubby selected the Starving Artist Pasta with tofu.

A much desired meal and our server was so nice. A cute place full non-vegan pastries. Daylight Mind gets three out of five vegan cupcakes. It provided a nice meal, but I had to ask a lot of questions and there were no vegan desserts. And the hummus appetizer was not good.

The Three Fat Pigs

I mentioned in a previous post that I was in Waikoloa on the Kohala Coast, west side, of Big Island. Looking for dinner one night walking distance of our hotel we found The Three Fat Pigs.

The restaurant does not cater to vegans or even vegetarians, but has one wonderful dish that is already vegan on the menu.

My tastebuds and tummy were very happy for this Acorn Squash. It was so much yummy that I didn’t even finish it. But I enjoyed every bite. “Whole roasted and stuffed with sautéed local root vegetables, sesame, ginger white beans and quinoa. Served with curried coconut gravy & saved coconut.” This is the menu description. If that didn’t make your mouth water, then, well, I don’t know what.

And with this lovely outdoor spot to enjoy while eating!

It was a wonderful find and I was grateful this restaurant was more thoughtful than my hotel.

Due to the fact that there was only one amazing vegan option, The Three Fat Pigs gets four out of five vegan cupcakes. I would go back just for this dish. Yummers!

Evolution Bakery Cafe in Historic Kailua

Starving and wanting some comfort food I beelined for Evolution Bakery Cafe and GetSum Pizza in Historic Kailua Kona. This is on the west side of Big Island.

I had missed the breakfast/brunch that ends at 11:30 am, but that is when the pizza is available and we got a veggie vegan pizza.

Hubby also got a peanut butter and chocolate shake while I enjoyed some delicious kombucha. I was totally spoiled by the tasty kombucha on Big Island.

The place is not fully vegan, but the vegan options are clearly marked.

The pizza was not great, but I live in NYC. It’s hard to compare. But I enjoyed eating comfort food. I also decided to pick up a couple desserts for later. A peanut butter cookie and a chocolate coconut bar. The bar was wonderful.

Evolutions Bakery Cafe and GetSum Pizza get three out of five vegan cupcakes. I was thankful for the vegan options, and I would go back. But I found other tastier options not too far away.

Under the Bodhi Tree

While in Waikoloa on the Kohala Coast, west side of Big Island, and staying at a hotel that offers almost no vegan options (Marriott fail), I was very happy to figure out Under the Bodhi Tree was an easy drive away. The restaurant was also recently shared in VegNews. Score!

Hubby and I enjoyed this place so much that we visited twice. It’s a cute space in a mall-like area intended to serve the nearby resorts, but anyone can access.

Our first visit was for an early dinner and the place was empty, which was good since it took us a while to decide what to get with so many mouth-watering options.

I decided to try the Paniolo Potato, a baked potato covered in chili. Hubby got the Ruben (not vegan). We also shared the Avo-Curry salad, a half an avocado, and a half a papaya. The salad was my favorite and hubby loved his Ruben. The chili was a bit bland, but I’m originally from Texas and usually think chili is bland. I, of course, also had to get some kombucha. They have at least two different options each day. Yummers! After this pig out, we decided we had to try dessert. I got the gluten-free black bean brownie and hubby the raw banana soft serve with macadamia nuts. When in Hawaii, you have to eats lots of yummy macadamia nuts. Both were wonderful and we were stuffed.

Our second visit was for breakfast before we headed to the airport. The place was packed! We each got the Loaded Tofu and shared gluten-free pancakes. Worth. Every. Bite!

If visiting Big Island, definitely get to Under the Bodhi Tree. They get five out of five vegan cupcakes. Yummers!

I will post other treasures found in this area.

Kamana Kitchen in Hawaii

I was excited to try this Indian restaurant in Hilo when I saw a clear indication that vegan options were available.

The menu has options, but I also asked to be sure.

I was disappointed. The food is just okay.

We got pakora and samosa to begin and I ordered a sweet potato masala. But they were out of sweet potatoes. I ended up with aloo gobi. Just okay. Not spectacular. Then I saw another location in Kona and realized it was a chain. Bummer since the food is not worth repeating.

Kamana Kitchen, Authentic Indian Cuisine gets two out of five vegan cupcakes. I won’t be going back and wouldn’t recommend since there are better options close to both locations I have seen. However, the food is okay and our servers were very nice.

Conscious Culture Cafe in Hilo

This was my favorite restaurant on Big Island. The kombucha on tap was only the beginning of the deliciousness.

The vegan options are clearly labeled and the staff super nice.

I picked out the pesto bowl special and hubby got veggie tacos (he is on a taco kick lately). We also shared a Cheesy Broccoli soup and hubby got a berry smoothie.

Kombucha samples are available and my favorite was the Super Ginger Turmeric Tonic. Apparently it is the most popular flavor overall.

The food is truly yummers and the downtown is adorable. If near Hilo, Hawaii, Conscious Culture Cafe is a great stop for any time of the day and gets five out of five vegan cupcakes.

Lucy’s Taqueria in Hilo

Staying in Hilo, Hawaii for a few days, I wanted to try the local options. I was thrilled to see VegNews had an article about where to eat in the most recent issue and I decided to start with Lucy’s Taquieria.

I ordered the vegan fajita burrito and hubby got the vegetarian fajita tacos.

All was okay. Hubby said his rice and beans were bland. The most fun part was the salsa bar.

And the ambiance was fun.

I also had to try the vegan gelato.

I got chunky monkey, since I can’t get enough of the Ben & Jerry’s flavor. Hubby got chocolate. Both were not good and we didn’t finish them. It’s too bad since this was our only vegan ice cream option from a restaurant.

Overall, Lucy’s gets two out of five vegan cupcakes. They are trying and if I lived here, I would go back to eat and lovingly encourage better vegan options. But, the food was not great.