Nothing better exemplifies the American way of life than hitting the open road and eating some delicious food. From California to Maine, the cuisine of the U.S. is every bit as diverse as the landscape, and a road trip allows you to see more and eat more along the way. So hit the road and come hungry for these four excellent food-centric road trips.
Living the Good Life in… Coastal California
Enjoy the best of California’s coastal scenery and the bounty of its produce. This road trip will take you to some of our nation’s most highly acclaimed restaurants and through some of its most famous scenery.
Mileage: Approximately 260; Days: 3-4
From the San Francisco airport, head west to CA-1 along California’s pacific coast, famed for its stunning ocean views and winding curves. About 50 miles south of the airport, you’ll reach Santa Cruz, where you can book a tour or attend a class at the biodynamic Love Apple Farm owned and operated by farmer Cynthia Sandberg. After learning about where your food comes from, head north on CA-17 to Los Gatos for dinner at Manresa (reservations recommended), a Michelin-starred haven whose chef, David Kinch, is also a
James Beard Award winner. Your eight-course tasting menu ($170/wine pairing available) varies daily according to the vegetables available from the farm you just visited. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Alex Healing)
The next morning, head north on I-880, and drive along the San Francisco Bay to Berkeley, home to the mother of the local-foods movement, Alice Waters. At her landmark restaurant, Chez Panisse, you can choose from the à la carte menu in the upstairs café for lunch or dinner, or splurge on the restaurant’s tasting menu. For a more laid-back experience, visit Berkeley Bowl or Monterey Market and pack a picnic for one of the areas many parks.
From here, you can take CA-29 northbound to explore Napa Valley’s wine country. If you’re extraordinarily lucky, you will have secured a reservation at the iconic French Laundry in Yountville. But if you couldn’t get a table, you’ll have plenty to enjoy with Napa’s beautiful bed-and-breakfasts, picturesque towns, mouthwatering eateries, and wineries. Taittinger, Phelps, Mumm, Stags’ Leap, and Clos Du Val are all located along CA-29 or its paralleling highway, the Silverado Trail. Be sure to call ahead to any winery you want to visit for hours and reservations, if necessary.