California Dreamin' on a Drive through Southern California, ALEX FINER Is Lured to a Succession of Excellent Seafood Restaurants Serving Locally Caught Produce

The Journal (Newcastle, England), April 30, 2011 | Go to article overview

California Dreamin' on a Drive through Southern California, ALEX FINER Is Lured to a Succession of Excellent Seafood Restaurants Serving Locally Caught Produce


Byline: ALEX FINER

MANY travel California's celebrated Highway One for the breathtaking views of the Pacific, for Big Sur and Hearst Castle. Others take surfboards, but for me the real magnet is always the fish.

With my wife and daughter in tow, our route from San Francisco took in Monterey, Santa Barbara, LA and beyond. It's one of America's great drives, with superb restaurants at every stop.

At Santa Cruz, with its famous boardwalk and vintage wooden rollercoaster, our base is the Beach Street Inn, a modernised 50s motel, built around a pool at the quieter end of the front, overlooking volleyball games on the sand.

On the pier, jutting half a mile out to sea, fishermen catch rock cod and ling, and always hope for halibut.

"The biggest I caught was 65lb," one tells me. "I've got a picture." I choose to believe him. Beneath us, harbour seals and sea lions honk approvingly as they rearrange themselves on pontoons and balance on beams between the pilings.

Trawlers lie at anchor in the bay with mesh nets coiled on huge drums. But my waiter, Ken, at Gilbert's Fire Fish Grill on the pier, says most commercial boats follow the fish to cooler waters further north.

Ken serves my cioppino - a fragrant, soupy stew with clams, mussels, squid, prawns, scallop, white fish and Dungeness crab in the shell. And he explains you can fish with a rod from California's piers and jetties without forking out $43.50 (pounds 26) for a fishing licence.

Nonetheless, I can't - and won't - hire a rod. My childhood memory is that fishing stops being fun the moment you feel a tug on your line and reel in a flapping vertebrate, eyes glistening, that wants to be back in the water without a hook in its mouth.

At Moss Landing (population 700), rooms are reserved for us at the Captain's Inn, a cute, well-appointed B&B run by Melanie Gideon. I spot a framed photograph of her husband, Yohn, with a 45lb king salmon caught offshore.

Captain Yohn runs nature tours of the Elkhorn Slough, an inland channel flanked by 3,000 acres of coastal mudflats. This is home to more than 400 different species of fish and birds as well as the lovable, endangered sea otter that eats a quarter of its own weight in seafood each day.

From an open boat, we watch astonished as a sea otter floats by on its back using a stone it keeps under a flipper to crack open on its stomach a breakfast clam collected from the muddy bottom of the estuary.

Here a sub-marine canyon stretches out to sea for 100 miles to a depth of two miles. That's why this fishing village is home to major research projects that include the life history of dead whales on the sea floor and the development of underwater robot vehicles.

Phil DiGirolamo, of Sicilian parentage, serves normal-size calamari from a former fish-processing shed between the beach and the harbour that is now Phil's Fish Market.

He's a local celebrity catering for 1,000 customers a day on summer weekends at this out-of-the-way restaurant with local petrale sole, sand dabs, rock cod and king salmon. People wait patiently in line to order before they are served on long trestle tables.

In the Monterey Bay Aquarium, happily, fish are very much alive. On the site of a former sardine cannery in the town made famous in Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, the aquarium is also responsible for Seafood Watch, a West Coast guide to sustainable seafood, now embraced by chefs and retailers along the coast.

A colour-coded list of fish is divided into green for sustainable, through amber to red for overfished or caught in ways that harm other marine life or the environment.

We find well-prepared (and sustainable) fish at neighbourhood restaurants such as Passionfish in Pacific Grove (crab cakes and halibut), at upscale hotels such as the Intercontinental (salmon sashimi), and on the Fisherman's Wharf pier at Abolonetti (squid and sand dabs). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

California Dreamin' on a Drive through Southern California, ALEX FINER Is Lured to a Succession of Excellent Seafood Restaurants Serving Locally Caught Produce
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.