How to stay healthy and happy while on vacation? Pick a destination that really knows what they’re doing in the kitchen. Whether you have one of many modern medical issues that limit your diet, or like us, you simply enjoy feeling good on vacation we’ve found that the best new resorts are refreshing their menus for a more modern, clean palette.
Several times in the past few years, we’ve arrived at well-known resorts with all the luxuries only to find that the menu, from suite to beach, is as outdated (read: heavy, salty, rich) as the drapes at the motel by the airport. Yes, we’re ready to indulge on vacation — bring on the spicy margaritas, but we’re looking for a glass filled with real lime juice and coconut sugar, not mystery mix.
To be clear, we’re grateful to tears anytime we’re lucky enough to wedge our bums from our office perches and into the sand at any resort, but over the recent years, resorts with modern menus have stood out as the properties that really know what the modern traveler is after.
Earlier this season, we had the pleasure of visiting the tiny Hawaiian island of Lanai to experience the Four Seasons Lanai there. The Four Seasons sprawls along the coast — an epic indoor-outdoor property with garden-lined pools so special we rarely made it to the beach. Despite the gorgeous design details and inimitable location, what floored us about our experience at the Four Seasons was the food. Like a tropical translation of the best of Malibu, the Four Seasons houses both Malibu Farm and NOBU, among other options. There’s really no place on earth we’d rather be than NOBU Malibu – or so we thought until we experienced the omakase menu, island-style.
While having a NOBU on the property is a vacation destination mic-drop, the spot we most appreciated from day to day was Malibu Farm. Malibu Farm handles pool service for the Lanai hotspot and pulls ingredients straight from their edible garden for everything from hand-crafted cocktails to smoothies, bowls and epic salads.
Another reason why a healthy, modern menu matters to us at a resort is that it’s a telltale sign they pay attention to other clean and modern details too. A sustainably thoughtful menu is often a good clue that bathroom amenities will be natural or the bedding will be organic. It’s also a great sign for a property’s spa.
The Four Seasons’ spa at Lanai was recently updated and we were amazed to find the treatment menu filled with small, luxurious green brands like Kypris (a TCM fave)and traditional remedies like a full body ti leaf wrap to help skin recover from too much sun.
We’ve got a hunch that TCM readers are already reading resort menus online before deciding where they travel, but if you haven’t started the habit, we recommend doing just that. Online menus are often an easy indicator of how carefully a resort is paying attention to lasting cultural trends and tending to their corporate sustainability practices.
No vacation plans on the books for 2019 so far? To soothe all the vacation vibes we’ve stirred, we’re sharing the perfect recipe from Malibu Farm that sums up ‘vacay food’ done right. This genius broccoli dip (sorry, guac – we love you too!) was served at the pool with local veggies, hummus – and a few artisanal cocktails. Try it at home to stuff a little cruciferous goodness into your next grain bowl or party spread…
Malibu Farm Broccomole
Makes 1 1/2 cups
1 cup broccoli florets
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 limes, juiced
Jalapeno pepper, diced, to taste
Cook broccoli florets in salted water for one minute. Drain and combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until a mash forms. Season with salt to taste. Grab a bowl of chips and dip away.
Tip: To make the broccomole creamier, add two ripe avocados.
Recipes reprinted from Malibu Farm Cookbook: Recipes from the California Coast. Copyright © 2014 by Helene Henderson. Photographs copyright © by 2014 Martin Löf. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Tell us what matters to you when you travel in the comments below! Do you care about a clean menu? A sustainably responsible property? We want to know…