Travel Guide to California

2015 Travel Guide to California

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20 2 0 1 5 T R A V E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A CA.CUISINE California Cuisine Scene and be seen BY LAURA NESS Like everything else in California from politics to entertainment, food is a celebrity-driven business. From the rock star antics of Guy Fieri to the farm-to-table phenom that took the country by storm, the culinary scene is a mix of where to be seen and those unseen farmers and field laborers who actually do all the dirty work necessary to put food on tables. Thanks to garden-to-table pioneer Alice Waters, who made growing your own green the new black before that was even an expression. Today, California is the largest producer of agricultural products in the country, with more than 400 commodities. Nearly half of USA.-grown fruit, nuts and vegeta- bles come from the Golden State. If the Midwest is the bread basket of America, California is its dairy queen, its grape goddess, its almond alma mater, its greenhouse fairy godmother, and, sorry, Texas, its meat locker. Yes, California does have happier cows, with dairy being its largest export, followed by grapes, almonds, nursery plants, cattle, strawber- ries, lettuce and walnuts. Between the Salinas Valley—America's Salad Bowl and top strawberry producer— and the Imperial Valley for tomatoes, California farmers really put out. In record numbers they are forming CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture organizations) and it's no surprise that California has upwards of 800 farmers markets, the most nationwide. SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA FOOD San Francisco has more restaurants per capita than any other U.S. city, and most of them are good. Old standards that have been around for decades still hold their own against innovative new arrivals. SF's Mission district has become a foodie haven and surrounding communities from Berkeley to Palo Alto to Napa and Sonoma all bring exquisite food to the table. OLIVE OIL PRODUCTS from Victorine Valley Farms of Livermore, above; chef Jarden Richardson serving at Pebble Beach Food & Wine festival, above right. KIM FAULKNER ; LAURA NESS. OPPOSITE: CHEESE THERAPY; LAURA NESS; BREWERY GULCH INN; VISIT LAGUNA BEACH

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