California Dreamin' (SmartGirlVeg style): Part 2

By: Rachel

We left Los Angeles satisfied, happy, and ready for the rest of our road trip up to San Francisco. 

As we drove north, we decided to stop in Monterey at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Why an aquarium, you might wonder? Well, I've long been a fan of the work the Monterey Bay Aquarium does on raising awareness on sustainable seafood and ocean conservation. Did you know that nearly 85% of the world's fisheries are overfished, or being used so much that the fish cannot replenish their population? The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program helps inform people about what type of seafood they can choose to support the health of the oceans. Of course, not everyone chooses to eat fish, and that's another way to prevent overfishing—but if you do, Seafood Watch is a terrific resource to check out. 

Oh, and they also have some beautiful fish and sea creatures. 

 I think we found Nemo!

I think we found Nemo!

 Sardines...sustainable and beautiful to look at!

Sardines...sustainable and beautiful to look at!

After the aquarium, we were—you guessed it—hungry. As we started to contemplate where we could stop, we drove past a sign that said "Artichokes Ahead!" (or something equally unexpected and enticing). And then, we saw it:

The Choke Coach

Because. When you’re driving down the road and you see an artichoke truck, you just stop. In sleepy Castroville, CA, beside the Pacific Coast Highway, you’ll find this funky truck, outside Pezzini Farms. We tried the grilled artichokes. They also had French fried artichokes, steamed artichokes, tacos, and more. Must. Go. Back.

 You. Just. Stop.

You. Just. Stop.

 Grilled artichokes are incredible.

Grilled artichokes are incredible.

The artichoke truck was our first surprise of the day. A bit up the road and we stumbled upon...

Swanton Berry Farm

Continue driving north on Highway 1 and there it is. Davenport, CA’s own Swanton Berry Farm, where you’ll find organically grown strawberries and more. Sure, you can buy some already-picked berries inside. But I highly recommend you take a few minutes to stop, breathe the ocean air (yep, that’s the Pacific Ocean, right on the other side of the road), and pick some strawberries. Not much tastes as sweet.

 Quick! Pull over the car! 

Quick! Pull over the car! 

 Those are the berries. That's the ocean. 

Those are the berries. That's the ocean. 

 Cool marke to hang out in after you're done (yes you can buy the strawberries already picked...but picking is half the fun!)

Cool marke to hang out in after you're done (yes you can buy the strawberries already picked...but picking is half the fun!)

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So, how's that for roadside food? It kind of beats the minimart we hit on I-95, doesn't it?

Tell us, Californians—what did we miss?

Coming up next, our four days in San Francisco.