What To Eat in California
Roadfood highlights of Southern California include vintage surfer fare along the ocean, both soul food and stylin’ food in Los Angeles, the best tacos in the U.S.A. in and around San Diego, and classic SoCal coffee shops (NOT coffee houses).
Northern California boasts San Francisco, which is an eating universe all its own, including magnificent fish houses and breakfast joints and, of course, bakeries that yield great sourdough bread and more. Farther up the coast are oysters galore. And don’t forget Sacramento’s fantabulous Squeezeburgers.
Fish tacos first got popular in the U.S. close to their Baja roots. Today, the basic concept of fried (or grilled) fish with yogurt-mayonnaise sauce or an even zestier salsa has countless variations coast to coast; the best ones still are found in and around San Diego.
Long ago, when California was considered exotic and paradisaical, dates were an emblem of its appeal. Grown in the stately palm groves of the Coachella Valley, the luxury fruit inspired a drink that has gone beyond the desert and has been embraced by all of Southern California: the date shake. As if an ordinary milk shake weren’t sweet and creamy-rich enough, chopped dates blended in with the ice cream make this beverage more sumptuous than manna itself.
Anchored by the heft of fire‑charred red meat, Santa Maria barbecue is a feast that dates back to the bygone spirit of California cattle country The beef is accompanied by pinquito beans cooked long and slow, seasoned with pork, pepper, garlic, and onion. Lengths of buttered and garlicked toasted French bread are used for mopping the plate. The one other fundamental element is salsa, which can be used on everything: dolloped on the beans, spread on bread, and as relish for the meat.
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Felipe's is a modest storefront restaurant serving some of the best Mexican food in Palm Springs. Margaritas are great; dessert mustn't be missed.
Shrimp Chile Relleno
Tacos Estilo La Paz
My Hero is a San Fernando Valley classic with warm subs heroically stretched with heaps of unique tomato salad.
A drive-up rather than a drive-in, Lucky Boy serves L.A.’s best breakfast burrito along with excellent chili fries and pastrami bomb sandwiches.
Barton's Kitchen is a casual lunch spot in Paso Robles with sandwiches, salads, & snacks to be enjoyed while sipping wine with beautiful vineyard views.
Fantastic Asian-fusion fare and quick service have made OB Noodle House & Sake Bar Ocean Beach's favorite noodle spot.
The menu is varied, but Johnnie's pastrami is the star. Boiled, steamed, then sliced and stuffed into a soft French roll, it's unlike pastrami anywhere else!
Gorgeous souffle pancakes at Bette's diner in Berkeley are a taste of heaven. A Bay area breakfast best!
In a country full of kooky overstuffed sandwiches, Timmy might make the wildest of all, fueled by global flavors and ceaseless experimentation
A marriage of high-tech methods and quality ingredients, Dave’s Gourmet is unique ice cream tucked into a mini-mart.