Monday, February 22, 2010

Our Gluten Free Family Vacation on Key Biscayne in Florida

I decided a little warm weather and vitamin D would be the best way to keep my kids healthy and happy this winter and so we went to Key Biscayne, Florida for winter break. After our splurge to Mexico over New Year's we took a more modest vacation to Florida for February staying in a condo on Key Biscayne, which is an island off of Miami.

We brought a bunch of food with us and found several options for gluten free food nearby. The Winn Dixie on Key Biscayne has some gluten free products--Glutino Pretzels, Gluten Free Pantry Brownie Mix, Pamela's cookies and some organic produce. When we went to the beach club at the Ocean Club, where we were staying, we ordered hot dogs and terra chips and fruit for the kids and I got an Ocean Club Salad and ordered vinegar and oil on the side. Talking to friends who travel this seems to be an easy meal to find at most hotels when information on what has gluten is lacking.

For dinner out, we picked up some food from the Mandarin Oriental in Miami, where I had stayed last spring. Although they don't have a gluten free menu, they seemed to know enough about gluten free to tell us they were making special sushi because the vinegar contained gluten. And they had gluten free english muffins to make eggs benedict when we stayed there. Although it was a drive from Key Biscayne, I really wanted some gluten free Pad Thai. We also discovered Ayesha, an Indian restaurant, on Key Biscayne where we were told the only flour used was in the naan bread. We ordered Chicken Tikka Masala and Palaak Paneer and some Chicken Biryani.

There is also a small health food store, Key To Health, which carries some gluten free products like Tinkyada Pasta and gluten free flour. Of course, the Whole Foods in Coral Cables has a full range of gluten free products and organic meats and produce. I purchased coconut milk there and staples for meals there.

It is amazing how much more is available now than was available two years ago. "Is that GLUTEN FREE?", an application on my iPhone, allowed me to easily look up which pickles at Winn Dixie were gluten free in the supermarket. I bought the Winn Dixie brand dill pickles.

It's actually unseasonably cold this week. But everyone has a little color and has enjoyed building sand castles on the beach and swimming in the heated pool. It is funny how much I love living in New York City and how much I need to get out of town in the winter and summer.

604 Crandon Blvd, #1
, Key Biscayne, FL 33149
(305) 361-8261

Key To Health
99 Harbor Drive, Key Biscayne, FL 33149-1411 (305) 361-1765

Mandarin Oriental, Miami
500 Brickell Key Drive, Miami, FL 33131 (305) 913-8288