I’m an East coast girl but I love visiting the sunny state of California from time to time. I just returned from a vacation to Los Angeles and San Diego to reconnect with good friends, soak in some (much-needed) Vitamin D, and of course explore the good eats. Here are some of the exclusive West coast food spots that I enjoyed eating at.
First stop was In-N-Out Burger, a fast food burger joint primarily known for its “secret menu” items, such as Animal-style burgers and fries. Animal style is the special sauce consisting of grilled and finely-chopped onions and pickles drowned in a creamy (Thousand Island and mustard flavor?) dressing. I personally prefer the burgers at the dubbed East cost alternative, Shake Shack. However, at the low price point, In-N-Out is definitely a better value.
Another must-eat item in the West Coast is Mexican food. I went taco-hopping and tried a couple versions at Leo’s Taco Truck and at El Taurino. In the right photo of Leo’s Taco Truck, you’ll notice that the chef is slicing roast pork (al pastor) from a spit. These tacos were savory and meaty, topped with roasted pineapple slices and your choice of fresh toppings, salsa and hot sauces from the complimentary outdoor toppings bar. The tacos at El Taurino were equally appetizing. El Taurino is more of a fast food operation and it serves other tasty Mexican favorites such as tostadas and sopes. For about a dollar each, these make great cheap eats.
Finally, there’s The Boiling Crab, a chain restaurant with locations in California and Texas that specializes in shellfish in a fun (and messy) atmosphere. We ordered crawfish, shrimp, and mussels in various sauces; my favorite flavor was the Whole Sha-Bang (combination of cajun, lemon pepper, and garlic butter). It’s too bad they were sold out of crab (crab seems to be the most popular seafood in California, similar to how lobster is the quintessential New England seafood). The waitstaff tie silly bibs (with the Boiling Crab logo) on you, and there are no plates or silverware. The shellfish is served in separate plastic bags and you simply dig in with your hands and eat over the paper-covered table. Check out the feature on Food Network show, The Best Thing I Ever Ate! I am already counting the days until I return to try the crab.
Check back next Friday for Part 2 of my food adventure in Cali.