Edible and Medicinal Herbs of the Southern California Coast
by Lanny Kaufer
The Southern California Coast stretches from the Santa Maria River in the north to the U.S.-Mexico border. This fertile region is home to countless edible and medicinal herbs prized by foragers and herbalists. Both native and non-native species can be found in Southern California’s springtime mountains, canyons, valleys, yards, and gardens.
Cruising the Central Coast be the Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight
Amtrak’s historic railway offers an alternative to Highway 101
Story and photos By Katherine McMahon
Concerned about rising gas prices and wasting time sitting in traffic? There is an alternative way to explore the Central Coast: Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight!
Long before U.S. Route 101 was commissioned as a highway in 1926, the region was connected to the rest of California by the Southern Pacific railway. When the road through the Gaviota Pass was still just a narrow dirt track, Southern Pacific had established a train route from Los Angeles through Ventura and Santa Barbara, to San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, and beyond.Read More
Seclusion Near the City
Western Santa Monica Mountains
Story and photos by Adam Nuñez
The entire Santa Monica Mountain range stretches east to west about 40 miles starting in West Los Angeles all the way to Camarillo in Ventura County. The elevation begins at sea level and reaches upwards to 3,100 feet. The Ventura County portion of the range sees less foot traffic than the busier regions closer to Los Angeles. This allows for more tranquility, and I daresay even solitude, especially on weekdays. Springtime is the ideal season to explore since the winter’s rains have led to bursting hues of green grasses and a rainbow of wildflower colors. And, waterfalls like Sycamore Canyon Falls near Newbury Park are more likely to be gushing with water.Read More
Day Tripping through Simi Valley
By Don Sonderling
Since its incorporation in 1969, Simi Valley has acquired a well-earned reputation as a suburban community offering a relaxed lifestyle and inviting place to raise a family. Located in the southeastern portion of Ventura County, it is probably best known as home to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. However, Simi Valley has many charms, making this a fun, interesting day trip destination. If you are looking for culture, history, something quirky, and wide-open spaces away from the hustle and bustle of city crowds, you’ll want to visit Simi Valley. It’s full of best-kept secrets for a wide range of interests and ages.Read More
Tri-tip tribe: Searching for the best barbecue on the Central Coast
Story and photos by Katherine McMahon
Barbecue: Technically, it’s just food cooked over a flame. The term comes from a Native American word for slow cooking meat over a fire. But today there is so much cultural complexity that goes along with the word, particularly when meat is involved. Depending on where you’re at and who you ask, you’ll get very different definitions. While many famous barbecue styles come from the southern U.S., there are countless other varieties like Hawaiian, Korean, and even a style native to the Central Coast dubbed Santa Maria style. In my travels on the Central Coast, I have eaten at barbecue restaurants that encompass a range of tradition and innovation, drawing from regional preferences and those across the globe.Read More
Fall Comfort Food
By Randy Graham
Fall brings a yearning for cozy blankets, hot apple cider, and comfort foods here on California’s Central Coast. One of my go-to comfort foods is poutine with plenty of tangy gravy.
My riff features French fries, cheese curds, and gravy made with vegetable stock and rice vinegar. If you’re looking for comfort food for Halloween or Día de Los Muertos, give my quesofundido a try. It is good with a bowl of fresh tortilla chips or small handmade flour tortillas for dipping. If you need to provide comfort food to vegetarians visiting at Thanksgiving, we have you covered there too.
Try my veggie meatballs made with walnuts, onions, fresh sage, and mild longhorn cheese. Veg heads and meat lovers of all ages love this recipe. AnotherThanksgiving favorite of mine is my mom’s riced potatoes recipe, made with russet potatoes, butter, half-and-half, sour cream, and Parmesan cheese.Read More