My journey with food has been quite an evolution. I am currently a vegetarian focused on any (limited) eggs and dairy coming from local, organic and sustainable sources. On a recent trip to Northern California, I was amazed by the emphasis on local, organic sustainable foods. And, to that end, here’s a little from that trip, along with my top 5 reasons to go local wherever you go.
1. You are supporting small businesses and communities. This keeps everything beautiful and people employed and happy in the places you love. Enough said, right?
2. You can learn local history. Boudin Bakery was established in San Francisco in 1849. Today you can visit their bakery, cafe, bistro and museum at the Wharf and enjoy a good meal ending in mouth-watering desserts like Sourdough Upside-Down Bread Pudding and Cinnamon-Sugar Dusted Sourdough Beignets. The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco is housed in the historic Ferry Building built in 1898 as a transportation hub for travelers and commuters. North of the city in Calistoga, you can pick up some fresh, organic strawberries or vegetables at their Farmers Market on the weekend and learn about the history of the area next door at the Sharpsteen Museum of Calistoga History.
3. You will make better memories. “I really liked the chain restaurant we visited on our vacation in California. I will remember that forever.” <–said no one ever. OK. Maybe someone would say it about In-N-Out Burger, though at this stage in my food journey that someone wouldn’t be me. With that said, one of my favorite parts of our trip to California was stopping at Cowgirl Creamery for lunch in Point Reyes Station, where I had a spectacular Grilled Asparagus Vegetarian Sandwich. This was only outdone that day by our trek out to the lighthouse in the Point Reyes National Seashore.
4. You’ll enjoy better food. Much better. At Whale City Bakery Bar & Grill, the food is only rivaled by the breathtaking ocean views. I had the Goat Cheese & Beet Salad, my husband had a chicken with pesto sandwich, and we shared the Fried Brussels Sprouts. I smiled the whole time. My only disappointment was that I, of course, could only eat so much, so I ended up taking a vegan chocolate muffin for the road (which also made me smile as I savored it in one of the many state parks along Route 1).
5. You’ll see better views. Whether at the Wharf in San Francisco, sitting across from the Pacific Ocean in Davenport, taking in the mountains in Calistoga or walking out to Tomales Bay from Point Reyes Station, the views from these local joints are unrivaled.
What are your favorite local spots when you’re on vacation?