Roadtripping through Cali.. Vegas to the Redwoods.. food hints?
Hello! Me and my boyfriend are driving from Colorado to Alaska starting in April so I'm trying to get good ideas of things and places not to miss. Not exactly sure what route we'll be driving, I think we'll go through Vegas then head to the southwestern edge of Sequoia and through Sequoia, King's Canyon, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Sacramento, San Francisco, then up 1 to Arcata and the Redwoods. I'd also like to do a bit of wine country. Especially tips about food in smaller cities and towns would be helpful since I know I can find info about the big cities.
I'm from Ohio and I like fresh and homemade foods, desserts, and I love Thai and Indian. I don't eat much meat and hate anything not home-made. He's from Hawaii and loves good Japanese, diners, hot dogs, french dip, seafood, Mexican, etc. Any ideas of farmer's markets, homemade diners, international flavors, delicious desserts, and anything we can buy and keep with us??
Also, if anyone has any ideas of specific places that we should explore or things we should do in specific cities, that'd be helpful as well. Thanks!!
Here's a good source of info about Certified Farmer's Markets in California. (CFM's are where you buy direct from the farmer, not someone who is reselling). These markets often also sell prepared foods as well, so you can find some wonderful eats. http://www.cafarmersmarkets.com/featured-websites.htm
California is a big state with widely differing climate zones; spend some time with the links and pages on this site and you'll gain a better understanding of what you might find where.
Re: the mention of Whoa Nelly Deli in Lee Vining; doesn't sound as if it is on your planned route. It's on the east side of the Sierra, over a pass that is typically not plowed-through till May in a heavy snow year; sometimes not till later in May, or even June. http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit...
(Bring chains, in April, they may still be required in Sequioa and KK, and Tahoe).
One thing I'd advise is to bring a good strudy camping icebox, use solid block ice instead of cubes, ( lasts much longer although you have to chip the block with an ice pick to size) and keep it stocked with drinks and snacks, so you won't be dependent on finding a place to eat out, which can get costly.
Here's a link with good info for coastal Humboldt County (Redwoods)
Also, in Arcata is Cypress Grove Chevre. They keep talking about giving tours of the dairy and cheesemaking, but I don't know that they've started that. But, their chevre cheeses are most excellent. Maybe e-mail and see if they do tours. http://www.cypressgrovechevre.com/ At least, if you like goat cheese, I would get some (either at the dairy or at one of the co-op markets in Eureka or Arcata.
About wine country: Many many places to see, wines to taste. But, most of the events don't start until the Fall. IMO, Healdsburg wineries and Russian River wineries are among the best in California.
Sounds like an awesome vacation! :)
Well lets see, Vegas is Vegas. Pretty much all the celeb chefs have a place there and overcharge like mad. Batali's B&B Ristorante was around $320 for 3 people before drinks. However, a non-foodie suggestion would be The Gun Store near the airport. Indoor rental firing range with fully automatic weapons.
In Sequoia-Kings Canyon, you're pretty locked into their cafe in Cedar Grove. Great spot to picnic or have a day hike though. And the cabins there were alot of fun to stay in back in my teen years.
Between Sequoia and Yosemite, you'll likely run down through Sanger and into Fresno. There are some good suggestions on here for both areas. There is a fairly well known hot dog joint in Sanger, but the name escapes me. In Fresno, we've got all of your favorites. Thai: Royal Thai Orchid. Indian: Mehek Punjab De or Brahma Bull. Japanese: Yoshino's (personal fav, we've got a good handful of Japanese restaurants). Diner: George's (downtown). Hot Dogs: Tower Dog (Plus the Tower District is a nice place to spend an afternoon in Fresno. Plenty of culture/arts/food). MEXICAN: LOTS OF GOOD MEXICAN FOOD IN FRESNO! Favs include: Don Pepe's, Robertitios, Cucas (downtown) and Los Manjares are a good selection I can vouch for. Seafood: Central Fish Market (downtown) has a tasty asian lunch counter attached to the store. There are also several farmers markets in Fresno, my favorite being http://www.vineyardfarmersmarket.com/ . And lastly, my favorite dessert in town would have to be the bread pudding served at the Cracked Pepper Bistro. Everything is fresh and made in-house. It's currently my favorite fine dining destination in town.
Near Yosemite you'll go through Coarsegold and Oakhurst. Rose's Frosty in Coarsegold is a great stop for a shake or ice cream sundae. And Oakhurst is another great area for cuisine. Erna's Elderberry House being the highest dollar fine dining mentioned so far. Castillo's for Mexican, Oka for Japanese, Deucey's @ Bass Lake for breakfast, and plenty more. As well as the Ahwanee and the Wawona in Yosemite itself. Both are supposed to be excellent, with one of their chefs currently competing in the Bocuse d'Or this year. But they are, by far, the most expensive of dining options.
And thats pretty much where my experience ends. As you go north, Modesto is supposed to have a very interesting food scene, and once you're past SF and Sacramento, you'll be able to hit wine country and Thomas Keller's temple of doom.
My lady is from Nor Cali, so if she comes up with some extra fun ideas, I'll make sure to post those for ya too. Hope you have a great trip!