I did not abandon my blog. I was busy vacationing with the family in California for almost four weeks... and then I was swamped with work... and then... OK, OK, enough with the excuses. I'm back at it. Really.
So... California. I'd never been there, but since that's where my wife is from, we figured it was high time we visited. And the trip was - to use the local lingo - TOTALLY RAD. We started off in Los Angeles, in Valley Village to be precise. Spent ten days in and around L.A., then flew north to explore San Francisco for a few days after which we rented a car to leisurely drive down Highway #1 all the way down Oxnard (between L.A. and Santa Barbara).
So that was the itinerary. Let's talk about the food. There was lots of it. ALL the time. When we ate in we stocked up on delicious produce from those food purchase temples known as Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Gelson's. Living in Austria I almost forgot what real avocados tasted like...and turkey bacon. TURKEY BACON!!! I'm in love with turkey bacon. And if my memory serves me I must have had it almost daily.
As far as memorable food experiences in restaurants are concerned, we did the most we could with two small, very hyperactive boys. The wife and I enjoyed an evening out together (courtesy of my in-laws watching the kids) and had amazing Californian-Japanese fusion food at Yamashiro in Hollywood. For Mother's Day we all went for organic brunch (loved the King Crab legs and the crab soufflé) at the Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga Canyon. In San Francisco we heeded the recommendations of a Chinese woman we met on the street and went to the R & G Lounge. You KNOW the food's going to be good when you're one of the few non-Asians in the room. And the place didn't disappoint. Best Chinese food (outside China) I had in a while. Their signature dish, live battered and deep-fried crab, is heavenly. Of course, when in San Francisco, we had to do the whole clam-chowder-in-sourdough-bread-bowl experience at Fisherman's Wharf. Yuh-ummmmm!!! Another great seafood joint (gotta make use of the fact that you're by the sea) is the Abalonetti Seafood Trattoria in Monterey that was recommended by our trusted companion, the Unofficial Guide to California with Kids. Even our youngest was in love with the lobster and the fried calamari platter.
Leaving California wasn't easy. The sea, the weather, the people and THE FOOD, all combined to have made this an experience that left me wanting more. And California, in the words of your soon-to-be-gone governor: I'll be back.
Some food-related impressions from the trip: