Wednesday, September 5, 2012

SoCal Local

It is hard to find things not to like about the southern coast of California, specifically the stretch between San Clemente and La Jolla. When it comes to natural beauty, this area has it all. The main attraction for my husband is the horse racing at Del Mar, and that is how we first discovered the area. Now I join him on these trips to enjoy the scenery, swimming, hiking and great dining along this magnificent 30 miles of pristine coastline.
We started our trip this year from LAX,  driving down the coast along the Pacific Coast Highway. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but the only visual highlight, other than the amazing port of Los Angeles outside of Long Beach, was Palos Verdes, an attractive, upscale coastal town, pictured above. A better plan would be to pick up the coastal routes at Dana Point and continue south at a leisurely pace.
San Clemente's Fishermans Restaurant perches you right over the waves with a bird's eye view of the surfers. Outdoor dining like this really sends me into reveries. I hardly notice what I am eating. Whatever it was, it seemed fine ;)
I could not resist the charm of this red sun umbrella at the San Clemente pier overlook.

The farmers market in Solana Beach bowled me over with VERY reasonable prices. After the sticker shock of the Saratoga, NY market this was a welcome surprise.

I love how the hand written price tags even mention which town the produce was grown.

These dried peaches and pluots were as dazzling as this picture indicates. They tasted AMAZING!!!

Magnificent heirloom tomatoes for $3 per pound. How to get them home on the airplane?
Not happening.

What I did bring home were lemons and avocados. The lemons were five for ONE dollar!! And look at the size of them, larger than the avocados. 

The seller assured me that the avocados would be ready to eat by the time I flew home. They are still a little too firm three days later, but I have not given up hope. With this lovely little collection I am going to make an avocado soup from this recipe which requires no cooking and can be made entirely in a blender.  The only tweak I anticipate is a pinch of cayenne to add a little heat. (For a purely vegetarian version please note: vegetable broth can be substituted for the chicken broth.)

I think this soup will pair perfectly with the 2010 Gerard Bertrand Réserve Spéciale Viognier, that I picked up at Paon's wine tasting bar in Carlsbad. Which brings me to yet another selling point of this region- the wine bars! Carlsbad had at least three wine bars within a two block area, offering tastings of any wine they have open (usually 6 or 7 bottles) for $10. Nice!

The magnificent beaches take my breath away.  For an east coast girl like me, these bluffs seems so exotic.
At low tide the locals come out to play with their dogs and the sandy shore becomes the village square.
It was hard to leave this paradise, but reality intrudes. Tomorrow it is back to school and I will resume my work in the NY City public school kitchens with Wellness in the Schools.  What a wonderful summer it has been.


  1. Deborah,
    Hope you're doing well. You do get around. I grew up in Dana Point, and while not so exotic to me, I still appreciate the light every time I go back. I'm thinking of doing a bit on the search for the best fish taco in California (since I've moved back there). Right now, I'm in Hawaii and it's all about mahi-mahi.

    1. Thanks Kim- Fish taco research sounds like excellent work! I just looked at your post about Mendocino and tried to leave a comment, but kept getting error messages- these darn blogs!!

      I def want to get to Northern California for some wine tastings. Hope our travel paths cross again one of these days.


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