A foodie’s guide to the Pacific Coast Highway
An exhilarating driving experience, tadalafil few roads in the world have as much to offer as the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Stretching south from northern California to Orange County, cialis the most well travelled route is the 450 miles between LA and San Francisco. While there are other methods of travelling along this breath-taking route, driving is the hands down the best option. Though if you have thighs of steel, then walking or cycling are also options.
Onwards and upwards out of LA, heading north on the PCH, wave as you bypass Calabasas – home to the famous Kardashian family and star-studded Malibu. Approximately one hour later, you will arrive in Santa Barbara, a Spanish-influenced beach town, complete with views of some of the US’ finest oil derricks. Little organic food shops compete with bustling bars and Mexican restaurants for window space along Santa Barbara’s main street. Grab a coffee and an ice cream and stroll along the beach for one of those “Woohoo – I’m in California!” moments.
Leaving Santa Barbara there are two options. The first is to head up to the mountains and straight into the clouds for a night in Lompoc. It’s an excellent opportunity to experience the 24-hour American diner first-hand (tip: go for the peach cobbler in Carrow’s). The second option involves going into the mountains and deviating from the PCH to visit the Danish town of Solvang. Packed to the brim with charming little bakeries and shops full of quaint knick-knacks, Solvang is an extremely surreal but worthwhile experience.
Next is the small surfing town of Pismo Beach. Breakfast is a must at the Old West Cinnamon Rolls bakery, which usually has queues out the door for their freshly baked rolls and coffee (it’s possibly the only place in America Starbucks hasn’t found yet).
The next stop, San Luis Obispo, has very few tourist attractions. However, even if you don’t consider yourself a foodie you’re in for a treat, because the city hosts possibly the best farmers’ market in America. The weekly Thursday night market draws every award winning produce shop, rib house and performing music group to the main street for four hours of non-stop eating and entertainment. Roasted corn on the cob, fresh apple cider and hand-picked strawberries are just a sample of some of the culinary delights on offer; although the best find has to be the authentic saloon-inspired BBQ restaurant F. McLintock’s.
Northwards on the PCH towards Monterey, the long and winding drive along the cliff side can be quite nerve-wracking; however, it is also home to some of the most amazing scenery America has to offer. While I wouldn’t recommend skipping this section, the inland equivalent along Highway 101 brings you into John Steinback’s world of blazing hot sun and farming life, complete with numerous places to stop and pick up huge punnets of the best strawberries for about seven euro. Monterey is worth visiting for their world famous aquarium alone. It also boasts some of the best humpback whale watching, but a full day should not be devoted to this town alone when San Francisco is just an hour away.
Home to all things wacky and wonderful, San Francisco is one of the great American cities and certainly one of the most picturesque. As is usual for a city of its calibre, there is already an obvious must-see list – but what isn’t on that list is the food. San Francisco is home to so many restaurants that it would be impossible to sample them all.
At the Ferry Building, wander through the over-priced farmers’ market before heading down towards Fisherman’s Wharf. Here you will find the mouth-watering Boudin’s Bakery, the original home of sourdough. If you survive the walk up to Lombard St. (the most crooked street in America), reward yourself by taking a stroll into Little Italy- San Francisco’s famed Italian quarter. For a light lunch, try some bruschetta and a cannoli for dessert; it’s quite a memorable experience.
On your last night in this culturally diverse city, I recommend paying a visit to my favourite all-American restaurant: the Cheesecake Factory. This restaurant sits atop Macy’s, overlooking the whole of San Francisco. If you don’t try one of the 40 cheesecakes on offer, you’ll be missing out on one of the greatest culinary indulgences of your life.