According to Wikipedia, the western USA has its own cuisine – distinct from the rest of the country. Of course, the coastal western states have their wine, but the Pacific Rim has influenced the food here too, creating fusions that deliver on flavour, colour and excitement – as well as choice. Asia, Mexico and the Mediterranean all have influence here, so wraps, tapas, burgers and burritos as well as sushi and Greek and Asian salads all rub shoulders – and occasionally merge - with each other.
As with any great food region, top quality, fresh ingredients are key. On the coast, Seafood is king of course: salmon, shrimp and snapper abound. But the humble avocado is also grown in abundance in the region so features heavily in anything labelled “Californian Style” or “West Coast style.”
West coast chefs love to experiment and create new styles of foodie fare. The fruit smoothie is reputed to have been invented here, as were cheeseburgers – that’s the ying and yang of food right there. The California Roll was developed when Japanese sushi chefs arrived in the early ‘60’s and decided to use freely available avocado as an ingredient and, if you believe the hype, Starbucks invented coffee in Seattle in the North West corner – although we’re pretty sure it was around before the green mermaid arrived in 1971. Yes, it’s been around that long.
With such great steak plus the local seafood on offer, you could well imagine “Surf ‘n’ Turf” originated here too: grilled wild snapper and 24-day aged rib-eye anyone? One Pico in Santa Monica is the place for you. If you’re not a meat fan of course, vegetarians and vegans are well catered for in the land of Hollywood stars and their dietary requirements. Try “Seed Kitchen” in Venice, run by Gwyneth and Madonna’s former personal chef. Their range of vegan burgers is apparently to die for.
Perhaps most famously the local wine industry has grown and thrived in recent times. Once a by-word for cheap, sweet and of questionable quality, Californian wine is now respected and more importantly enjoyed around the world. Wine estates can be found up and down the coast - it’s not all Napa Valley - and many offer tastings and tours and sensibly-priced but quality eateries on-site. Pinot Noir has been the star for some time, but in truth, these days there are few wines unworthy of positive comment.
Take a look at our Pacific North West Wine Tour – 14 days to explore this beautiful region, sip wine and admire the views.
If you’re staying in San Diego, try the four-star Sheraton Hotel & Marina where we offer you a $50 food and beverage credit. With stunning harbour views this hotel offers various eateries to tempt you. Harbor’s Edge makes the most of the view and offers creative American cooking including fresh seafood and prime steak. For something lighter, Tapatini is a Latin inspired tapas bar with al-fresco dining, where the tapas are fresh, made with authentic ingredients.