Food Highlights: California

IMG_0047In California I was overwhelmed by the eating possibilities. Not having an unlimited budget immediately removed several iconic and high-end dining options, and, this wasn’t exactly a trip just for the food. (We were going to a wedding. We had to be places.) But I did manage to stumble upon some great spots, including food trucks.

Walking from Santa Monica into Venice Beach, we discovered a gathering of about seven food trucks on the boardwalk. We had already eaten and weren’t particularly hungry, but I just needed to try something. I ended up going to Tokyo Doggie Style for one of their Japanese fusion hot dogs. What you see at the top of this post is their homemade veggie dog, with yuzu citrus coleslaw, wasabi mayo, pickled daikon and homemade teriyaki sauce on a traditional hot dog bun. The veggie dog, being homemade, isn’t actually tube-shaped but is more of a long skinny patty. This was delicious. I had mine with their lychee lemonade. So refreshing.

IMG_0019We completely lucked out with the timing of our short stay in Santa Monica, as the Main Street edition of their farmers’ market was going to be held the morning after we arrived, and right across the street from our motel, in Heritage Square. There was live music, a petting zoo, beautiful produce and many booths making food to order. I found one called Bean & Thyme, serving healthy dishes made only from ingredients found at that market. The roasted cauliflower sandwich with cheese, egg and greens (pictured above) was surprisingly hearty, and not-so-surprisingly luscious in flavour, with just enough crunch on the grilled bread. A very memorable breakfast.

IMG_5025Another delicious breakfast experience was in San Luis Obispo at a diner called Louisa’s Place. Now, while there is a banner in the window saying they were voted best breakfast in SLO, according to our friend who lives there, many other restaurants also claim to have been voted the best breakfast. I believe Louisa’s. First of all, we walked in, and it was absolutely packed with locals. And it’s mostly a breakfast counter. We grabbed a couple stools and the ladies in the centre served up some of the the biggest portions I’ve ever seen. I had huevos rancheros (pictured above), which comes with two homemade salsas, and their hash — which is french fries, onions and peppers. The service was fantastic; they comped our beverages without us having even complained, because they thought our food came out slow. My sister had a bacon and guacamole omelet, which was three times the size of what I consider a reasonably-sized breakfast.

There were many more satisfying dining moments; scroll through the gallery to take a look.

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