Zut! est Bien

We had hoped to pass through Berkeley at around noontime or so for a quick snack. Visions of a legendary dessert at Bette's To Go—the chocolate espresso twinkie—played with my mind. This Hostess namesake, a dense chocolate cake filled with espresso cream and enrobed in chocolate icing, landed in the Sterns' 500 Things to Eat... Continue Reading →

Spectacular Elk

The small town of Elk, CA, population of just over 200, can boast that it has one of the most spectacular collection of sea stacks offshore. To the north on California Highway 1, there is a turnout high above the ocean that offers as dramatic a coastal view as you'll ever see anywhere. Some of the... Continue Reading →

Pygmies among Giants

In the middle of the vast redwood empire where the tallest living things on Earth live, a small section of Van Damme State Park just south of Mendocino features a pygmy forest. The trees are so small that their trunks can be only 1/4" in diameter yet be almost a hundred years old. The forest... Continue Reading →

Forest to Sea—Brookings to Mendocino

We had hoped to time our arrival to Brookings when the Easter lily fields would be in bloom. At least, that was what we were expecting after reading about the farms. Left to their own devices, they would naturally bloom in July. You're probably wondering like I did, isn't Easter-time their time to flower? It... Continue Reading →

Osechi-Shopping at Marukai (West Covina, CA)

Every year, our family celebrates the New Year by preparing osechi-ryori, the traditional holiday food served in Japan and continued here in America by Japanese immigrants. My mother used to spend two whole days before the new year to make all the goodies, as did my wife's family. There are certain dishes that have come... Continue Reading →

Lunch at Ton-Chan (San Gabriel, CA)—CLOSED

After taking care of some personal business, we stopped at Golden Deli to have pho. As usual, the place was packed and there was a waiting list (15-20 minutes, the lady said). Then, we noticed right next door a Japanese restaurant, called Ton-Chan, that specializes in Tokyo tonkotsu ramen. So rather than wait, we decided... Continue Reading →

Slaw Dog (Pasadena, CA)

The O.G. Thai Slaw Dog put Slaw Dog, a hot dog restaurant located in Pasadena, on the food scene in So Cal. The Food Network chimed in with a segment. The menu strikes you with this: choices, choices, choices. Not only is the standard list extensive, but you can even create your own from a... Continue Reading →

Lunch at Chang’s Garden (Arcadia, CA)

Chang's Garden is a popular Chinese restaurant in Arcadia, enough so that you could wind up waiting to get seated. We got there early enough that we got seated right away. Within a half hour, the place was packed and customers waiting outside. A small dish of boiled peanuts was given to every table. Interesting... Continue Reading →

Lunch at Daikokuya (Los Angeles, CA)

We could have eaten at Daikokuya in Little Tokyo on our last trip to Southern California, but the line outside was too long. Since we weren't in any hurry today, we put our name on the list and waited over an hour to get seated. There are branches throughout the southland. Ramen addicts seem to... Continue Reading →

Western Azalea

One of the glorious native shrubs that grows along the coasts of California and Oregon is the western azalea. It is really not an azalea, but rather a rhododendron, a deciduous one at that. When in bloom, the shrub is very prolific. Since it was late spring, our road trip coincided with its peak blossoming... Continue Reading →

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