Restaurant Review: Living Foods Market and Café, Koloa, Hawaii

Living Foods Market and Café, Koloa, Hawaii
Living Foods Market and Café, Koloa, Hawaii

Restaurant: Living Foods Market and Café, Koloa, Hawaii

Okay…so technically this was an unplanned, unexpected way to have breakfast on Saturday morning.  The initial plan was to go by Sweet Marie’s Hawaii Inc., Hawaii’s first 100% dedicated gluten free bakery.  It sort of reminded me a little of home with Annie May’s Sweet Café, when my friend Jenn sent me the link to the Web site.  I was pretty stoked about having a 100% gluten-free facility where I could grab snacks, treats, and even a meal (see…just like Annie May’s…minus all the cool unique stuff like soft pretzels, toaster treats, and that sort of stuff).

However, it seems Sweet Marie’s is no longer in business.  The sad thing is…nothing indicates this.  Not one thing.  We got into the car and got our morning coffee…then headed to where Sweet Marie’s was supposed to be…but it wasn’t there.  A different business now occupied the spot.  The Website and Facebook page do not indicate that this bakery closed…but it’s gone.  G.O.N.E.  And I was really, really put out and sad…because I had planned out what I wanted to get there to eat, and now I had no idea where to get breakfast that morning.

Then Cathy saved the day.  While looking around on Find Me Gluten Free (which I later found a review on Sweet Marie’s from June saying that the place was closed), Cathy had discovered a place called Living Foods Market and Café, which is a local gourmet market and café that offers up the freshest seasonal specials and local favorites, as well as handpicked imports from around the world.  In addition, they offer a cafeteria-type café, offering an impressive menu with items that are created by the culinary team that is employed there.  They offer paninis and pizza and…the kicker…GLUTEN FREE CREPES…among other things.  It was breakfast…and the three of us thought crepes sounded divine.

Living Foods Market and Café Smoked Ham and Cheese Crepe
Living Foods Market and Café Smoked Ham and Cheese Crepe

So, we left the ruins of a gluten-free bakery dream behind and took the 25 minute drive around to Koloa, where Living Foods Market and Café is located.  It was a nice shop to be sure.  The market was packed with familiar items and items I had never seen before.  And lots of tasty, tasty sounding foods that I only wish I had time to purchase and consume before my time in paradise was up.  We got in line to place our food orders…

Cathy was the oddball this time.  She went ahead and ordered the Smoked Ham and Cheese Crepe ($13.99), which is basically your simple breakfast crepe…smoked ham, melted fontina cheese and a soft cooked egg.  It sounded like everything she liked in the world and normally couldn’t get at home, thanks to the chef of the apartment being a gluten-free vegetarian who is lactose intolerant.  HA!

Jenn and I, without any conversation, apparently were on the same wavelength when it came to our choice for crepe.  We both got the Sautéed Apples Crepe ($13.99).  Cathy and I got bottles of water to go with ours and we went to find somewhere to sit.  Most of the larger tables were taken up, but we did find a table with two chairs at it in the back, and hauled over a seat from another table for the third.  I left Cathy with the table and returned to (selfishly) poke around more in the market and then retrieve the crepes upon completion.

Jenn was still inside and began to tell me about this crazy-good sounding macadamia nut butter that she found in the food isles.  I had her go show me.  It was crazy-expensive (well…maybe not for macadamia nut products), but sounded amazing.  She was considering purchasing it.  I said it was relevant to my interests.  HA!  So, we poked around a little more at some of the local products (as in hand soaps, shampoo, the like), until the chef at the line called Jenn’s name and heaped this plate up with the biggest crepe I had seen in my life on top.  I think they used 1 full or maybe 1-1/2 apples in the apple crepe.  Cathy and my order followed right after…with Cathy’s crepe looking the most normal sized and mine being this monster.  I carried the breakfast plates outside to the table and we all tucked in for our meal.

Cathy did, in fact, love her breakfast-style Smoked Ham and Cheese Crepe.  She especially loved it when she got to the part with the egg inside.  She acted all surprised that there was an egg, despite the fact that it was listed on the description when she ordered it.  She didn’t forget…she was just being Cathy.  I think she’s so used to breakfast-type savory crepes having scrambled eggs inside…instead of a soft-cooked egg.  Regardless…she was a happy pork-eating girl.

Jenn and I both tucked into the Sautéed Apples Crepe.  This…was awesome.  It is a crepe wrapper (which…I’ll get into my thoughts on that in a moment) wrapped around apples sautéed in butter and cinnamon and topped off with a drizzle of caramel and a dollop of whipped cream.  I pushed my whipped cream to the side and took my first bite.  So…the crepe wrap as opposed to the crepe that is cooked and toasted to this golden perfection, with a little golden crust on the outside…was missing.  The crepe wrap was unexciting and dull in comparison to the crepes that I have had at Sweet ‘N Savory Food Truck in Louisville, Kentucky and C’est Si Bon! in Bexley, Ohio. Both of those gluten-free crepe places make their crepes on crepe stones, yielding a much more finished product.  While the wrap here at Living Food Market and Café was…pale and a little bit gummy.  The fact that the fillings were not cooked inside the wrap itself made it so that the hot apples and their juices soggied up the crepe and it eventually began to fall apart.  All that being said, the apples were caramelized and cooked to utter perfection.  Seriously.  It was like diving into an apple pie and eating the filling only.  The balance of apples to cinnamon was amazing…and filling.  Whew.  There were so many apples stuffed into this one crepe that it was amazing I was able to eat as much as I did.  In the end, I pushed aside the crepe wrap and tried to eat the apples, but even some of that was left behind.  It was not the way I intended to start the morning, but it was filling and delicious…and in the end…I suppose that’s all that matters.

After we ate and cleared our dishes, we headed out…pausing briefly while Jenn did, in fact, purchase the macadamia nut butter that was calling her name.  YAY!  And from there…it was off for a day of exploring (as much as I comfortably can) and some beach time.  It was a nice way to start the day and left us relatively full until about 3 pm, when we packed up from the shore, drove back to the resort, cycled through showers, and headed out for dinner.

So, while it wasn’t the breakfast I anticipated, it was a hearty, and good breakfast in the end.  If you love a sweet crepe…dive into that Sautéed Apples offering.  Trust me!!  It’s really good!

Living Foods Market and Café Gluten Free Sautéed Apples Crepe
Living Foods Market and Café Gluten Free Sautéed Apples Crepe

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