Fern Canyon (Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, CA)

Steven Spielberg saw its primeval potential for Jurassic Park 2, the backdrop for the T. Rex chase scene. Fern Canyon is an impossibly verdant gorge, carved out millions of years ago by a retreating sea, its vertical walls literally covered with walls of ferns, five species of them, and mosses. Water seems to seep out... Continue Reading →

Molcajete at La Hacienda (Orick, CA) – CLOSED

Two different Hispanic locals gave us the same recommendation: a shop keeper in Arcata and an employee at a gas station in McKinleyville. The tip was that La Hacienda in Orick was the best place in the area to have Mexican food. As we drove through Orick, situated within the Redwood National Park boundary, at first... Continue Reading →

The Redwoods (CA)

It's impossible to miss the magnificent stands of redwoods in northern California. Along Highway 101, there are several outstanding preserves, which include a national park and a good number of state parks. At one time, they were much more abundant. Redwood trees appeared all over the world 20 million years ago when climates were warmer... Continue Reading →

Mendocino (CA)

It isn't hard to understand why Mendocino is such a tourist attraction and a residential community for many artists. The town of less than 1,000 residents sits on a headland. There are many restaurants and galleries as well as a large number of bed-and-breakfast accommodations. For all its idyllic charm, with quaint homes, many behind... Continue Reading →

Dinner at Robin’s (Cambria, CA)

Robin's was recommended by two different townspeople. The chef seems to have high aspirations since he prepares "special" menus throughout the year and even has a Japanese menu paired with different kinds of sake. The menu is also eclectic, offering seafood items, Indian-themed dishes and a heavy influence of Asian fusion. This seemed promising, so... Continue Reading →

Lunch at La Simpatia (Guadalupe, CA)

I've posted before that one of the best ways to find a good restaurant is to ask the locals. After visiting the Guadalupe Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, it was time for lunch. The town of Guadalupe is largely Hispanic, so the obvious choice was to eat at a Mexican restaurant. A local said that the... Continue Reading →

La Super Rica (Santa Barbara, CA)

A big reason we stopped here to have lunch was the praise that Julia Child heaped on La Super Rica, a taqueria on the outer edge of the Santa Barbara commercial district. It's basically a stand on the corner of Milpas and N. Alphonse Streets, though the covered eating area makes it look bigger than... Continue Reading →

Molés La Tia (Los Angeles)

Molés are complex chile sauces, made in Mexico, primarily in Puebla and Oaxaca, that range in many styles. Some of them have a mind-boggling list of ingredients and may take hours to prepare. For me, this is one recipe that's best left for an experienced cook to make. What better way to sample the many... Continue Reading →

Southern Mini Town (San Gabriel, CA)

With Golden Deli and Newport Seafood in the same strip mall, life can be tough for another restaurant. Yet, here sits Southern Mini Town (Xiao Nan Gou), a Szechwan restaurant with excellent prices, in its own right well-regarded. Lunch menu items start at $4.95. A week ago, we ordered beef with green onions, preserved vegetable noodle... Continue Reading →

Fried Royale at Rutts Hawaiian Café (Culver City, CA)

The part of the family that lives in West LA loves Rutt's, a diner in Culver City that has been serving Hawaiian food for over 20 years. After all these years, the food remains very popular with locals and fans. While there are lots of Hawaiian favorites on the menu, the most popular is the Royale,... Continue Reading →

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