Hawaiian sushi and "creative croissants" – those are only two of many food trends from LA and San Francisco that are conquering the world.
However, the two metropolises are not only connected by their love of good food, but also Highway 1: This dream road on the West Coast justifiably occupies first place among California's state routes – thanks to its spectacular location, its landscapes as well as its culinary delights. You should take at least two days of your California trip to explore this 460 mile route.
The actor Brad Moore sets out from the Golden Gate Bridge on a journey to Hollywood in his BMW 4 Series Convertible. Come along for the ride and discover the culinary hotspots on this Californian route. With stops along the way at dream beaches and panoramic views of the legendary coastal section Big Sur.
California tour: our stops through the Golden State
Leif Hedendal is a Californian chef from San Francisco. He shows us the culinary gems of the region. These include the Gospel Flat Farm Stand owned by his friend Micky, a farmer.
From the vegetables to the "happy pigs", everything is natural here. Micky and his family rely on the organic cultivation of their food and the honesty of their customers. At their farm stand close to Highway 1, they sell their products around the clock with an honesty system. This is how it works: Customers pick out vegetables and groceries, pack them, weigh them, note the purchase at the pay station, and put money in the box.
In the wood stove behind the house, Mickey and his family bake bread and cook delicacies fresh from the field. This evening, Leif the chef is taking on the task. He is serving a menu made from ingredients from the farm and herbs he collected himself.
From outer space to the vineyard: José Hernandez was a NASA astronaut and the first Mexican in space. From the ISS, he had a unique view of the earth – and of California.
We are visiting José in French Camp, Stockton, where he grows wine on his family estate. Champagne is later produced from the vines.
We are setting a course for seafood. San Francisco Bay is the hunting ground of Captain Frank. The fisherman is taking us out to sea. Today, we will be catching our lunch ourselves.
On land, Captain Frank takes us to the Swan Oyster Depot, one of the longtime communal bedrocks of the city. Oysters, shrimp, mussels, and crabs have been freshly caught and served here since 1912. The restaurant has been popular since time immemorial. The 18 seats at the restaurant of Kevin Sancimino and his father Steve are highly sought after – also because of the recipes that aren't on the menu. Why don’t you ask them about their Sicilian sashimi or the "Maverick" seafood platter?
When San Francisco has long since disappeared in the rearview mirror, a new landmark appears on the horizon: Since 1872, Pigeon Point Lighthouse has guided sailors on their way. The 115-foot tower still fulfills its purpose today. The keeper's residence now serves as a hostel.
After only a short walk, we're on the beach. From the boardwalk behind the lighthouse, you can watch the migration of gray whales. Or you can take a hike through the nearby forest with redwoods that date back thousands of years.
From the lighthouse, our road trip takes us further through California to the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Carmel is the gateway to Big Sur, the most famous section of Highway 1.
In Big Sur, the road winds over cliffs and through forests. Behind one out of a hundred curves, the most popular photo opportunity of Big Sur is revealed to us: the Bixby Bridge.
The 250-foot high concrete bridge has stretched over Bixby Creek since 1932. Its construction was a major challenge. The workers procured the materials by means of temporary coastal roads, drawing up each sack of cement onto the scaffolding individually with straps. Today, the 714-foot long Bixby Bridge remains a unique driving experience.
Four miles later, we cross over the mouth of the Little Sur River. The little river winds between sandbanks and rocks towards the Pacific. Shortly thereafter, Highway 1 leaves the coast behind and courses through the wilderness in the valley of the Big Sur River.
In the hinterlands, one quickly yearns for the cool air of the Pacific. So don't miss the turnoff to Pfeiffer Beach! It's somewhat off the beaten track in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
To the south of Big Sur Station, the unmarked Sycamore Canyon Road turns off from Highway 1. For a distance of just under two miles, it winds down to the coast. From the parking lot, you only have to take a few more steps to the beach.
An eye-catcher on Pfeiffer Beach is Keyhole Rock. Over time,waves and tides have eroded the stone. Now surges of water and sunlight flood through the hole in the rock – a true Instagram moment.
Another natural spectacle awaits you at the northern end of the beach: Here, rocks containing the metal manganese have colored the sand purple. But swimming in the ocean is only for the hardy. Even in midsummer, the temperature of the water rarely goes above 60 degrees.
High time for a snack! We recommend: burgers with a view.
And that's why we're stopping at Nepenthe Restaurant. Besides burgers, steak, grilled chicken, and California beet salad, the restaurant offers a particular specialty: panoramic views from the patio of the coast and the Santa Lucia Mountains.
Even the restaurant itself is a feast for the eyes. It was designed by a student of the legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The ambience is reminiscent of a Caribbean beach bar. As we travel the remaining miles before Los Angeles, we enjoy the way the highway nestles on the coast while the ocean air rushes through our hair.
The metropolis of four million inhabitants stretches out before us like a carpet of houses. Two restaurants in the city are already waiting to show off the tastiest side of Los Angeles.
Oak chairs, concrete walls, and handmade wallpaper – in this atmosphere, Ray Garcia turns Mexican cuisine upside down. The food culture of the neighboring country is omnipresent in Los Angeles. Broken Spanish is the name of the restaurant in which Ray Garcia reinterprets the culinary traditions of his homeland.
But the chef also loves traditional Mexican street food. Even when he was a child, Ray Garcia always felt drawn to the 5 Puntos market hall where you can enjoy tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and a lot of meat. The "nose-to-tail" principle is applied here. This means that all parts of the animal are used. But this is not a modern food trend at Los 5 Puntos: It's a tradition. The fumes and scents from the open kitchen fill the entire market hall.
At the Union Swapmeet Market, we are welcomed by the Korean-American cookbook author Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee. Food trends and cooking are her passions. In 2017, she opened her own restaurant in the market in East Hollywood: the Nabi.
Her particular ‘house specialty’ is fusing traditional Korean and Mexican cuisine. She refers to her cooking style as “fast casual”. And so we try it: Korean tortas with pork, quesadillas filled with kimchi, and bibimbap bowls; all of which whet your appetite to return.