Forums > Off-Topic Discussion > California: what are your favorite...

Photographer

cinema photography

Posts: 4418

Mission Viejo, California, US

*get a great veggie burger : Pie'n Burger in Pasadena
*get a great burrito: El Cholo (Pasadena) Mijares (also in Pass)
*get fantastic ice cream: Any Coldstone
*eat a great raw meal: Real Food Daily, Cowboys & Turbans, Mooi
*people-watch: Santa Monica Promenade.
*get bread that's made on site: La Brea Bakery hands down the absolute best.
*get amazing dessert: Bear Papas. Trust me. also Pink Orchid

Source: Me, foodie and partial vegetarian

Mar 16 13 09:37 am Link

Photographer

Lohkee

Posts: 12776

Maricopa, Arizona, US

@ Skydancer -

Is Boomer and his lovely pipe organ still with us?

ETA: For those who do not know Preston - a truly wonderful man.

http://www.youtube.com/embed/FLr7utIUaVE

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/entert … -one-santa

http://home.comcast.net/~pqboom/SLVFift … sBoom.html

Some folks say he is the heart and soul of the Cruz! And yeah, I shot nakey women sitting at that organ!

Mar 16 13 12:04 pm Link

Photographer

C h a r l e s D

Posts: 9304

Los Angeles, California, US

For scuba diving, Catalina Island is your best bet.   La Jolla is pretty darn good, too, with Monterey being a close third choice.

Best hiking will be in the High Sierras.  SoCal is too dry, otherwise.  But, there are some nice trails.  They just don't compare to the high sierras, though.

Amazing desserts?  You're in luck.  About a thousand restaurants and hole in the wall joints in SoCal for that.  Pick one.  For top o' the line, newbie desserts, be prepared to pay a lot, and head over to Hollywood, and West Hollywood.  Too many restaurants to list, even by city.  Pasadena has a lot, too.  Along with every beach town.

Mar 16 13 12:06 pm Link

Model

christiecreepydolls

Posts: 321

Los Angeles, California, US

If you are in the Valley go to Vegetable Delight on Chatsworth street in Granada hills. They have the best vegan/veggie chinese food on the planet in my opinion. Their orange chicken (not really chicken) is my fave.

Mar 16 13 12:07 pm Link

Clothing Designer

GRMACK

Posts: 2164

Bakersfield, California, US

One place I really like, especially on a motorcycle trip, is Lassen Volcanic National Park in No. CA.  We've camped there and some photographer's take some hikes east out of the Summit Lakes area to photograph eagles that 'try' and get baby ducks away from their mothers.  Eagles lose much of the time as the ducks unite against their attacks.  Some really great photo ops there and not crowded as Yosemite and Sequoia which can be shoulder-to-shoulder at times.

Redwoods State Park near Eureka is great in early mornings in the fog.  Mid-day and bright not so much and hard to work with.  Hwy. of the Giants (Redwood trees.) is interesting as there is many small hippie and art communes within the drive it seems.

Another good site is Bodie State Park near Bridgeport.  Lots of side trips west into the lakes near the Sierra Mountains too.

Mexican cuisine is the standard food of So. CA.  Not much to go wrong there anyplace, unless you get food poisoning from bath-tub cheese (ahem!).

Best burger (Not sissy veggie stuff, according to the cook.) has to go to the small airport cafe at Lake Isabella/Kernville.   Home of the $500 hamburger:  $10 for the burger, but $490 for the plane and gas to get there.  I've hit a lot of burger joints in the "Live to Ride. Ride to Eat" motorcycle motto, but it is a real winner.

Montery Bay area is sort of nice, but can get expensive with some around Carmel ridiculous in cost (Like Palmas Inn (??) near Pebble Beach for $3,700 a night for a room!).  "The 17 Mile Drive" is nice if you like to watch "The Ubber Rich."

There is a bakery in Bishop known for pastry.  Another in Mammoth Lakes ski town too which is quite good with long lines, but so is almost 'any' food in the mountains, or so I find.

Point Lobos S.P. can be a zoo if vacation time with some "One car in. One car out" rule.  Kids running into your tripod can be a bit much if not dangerous with the cliffs there.

Desert has the occasional meth labs that blow up and a lot of sundry weathering debris to be found, including bones.  Sort of an interesting fair, and the locals have some interesting stories about them too.  One was some haunted "Nut House" ruins near Lancaster where people died just setting foot on it (I didn't.) and seeing "ghost children" too (Some "Children of the Corn" serial thing I guess.).

LA is full of people to watch, some probably trying to get noticed so the zoo is in full bloom there with most activity near the coastline.  Hollywood is really run down and overrated imho.  Some shops are locked and the owner has to look you over and approve your entry due to vagrants and the homeless beggars.

Samy's Camera (downtown) might be a place to stop if you are a camera gear head.  Fry's (for electronics) is another huge joint with maybe 50-60 cash registers.

Have fun as there is a lot of variety there.

Mar 16 13 12:12 pm Link

Model

Little Queenie

Posts: 6213

Indio, California, US

If you get to Joshua tree there is tons if hiking, some good vegetarian places to eat, cool thrift stores, art gallery's and oddities. It's a really rad spot. Also yoga. And you can do the integratron and get your aura cleansed...or whatever it is they do...

Mar 16 13 02:29 pm Link

Photographer

Art Silva

Posts: 9453

Santa Barbara, California, US

Shandra Stark wrote:
Haven't been to California in years.  My tastes have changed pretty dramatically since my last visit, and I'm interested in doing a LOT more sight-seeing, and a LOT more eating.

I'll be pretty much all over the state, so...any suggestions will be met as eagerly as all others!

I specifically want to know your favorite places to:

*hike
*do Bikram yoga
*scuba dive
*get a great veggie burger
*get a great burrito
*get fantastic ice cream
*eat a great raw meal
*people-watch
*get bread that's made on site
*get amazing dessert

Also interested in any beautiful scenic areas that you love.

Go!

(Note: I don't eat meat (no, not fish, or chicken.  none).  So, I don't need to know where your favorite steak joint is, UNLESS it has, say, the best mashed potatoes on Earth.

Got ALL that within 3 miles from my front door.

Mar 16 13 04:23 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

cinema photography wrote:
*get a great veggie burger : Pie'n Burger in Pasadena
*get a great burrito: El Cholo (Pasadena) Mijares (also in Pass)
*get fantastic ice cream: Any Coldstone
*eat a great raw meal: Real Food Daily, Cowboys & Turbans, Mooi
*people-watch: Santa Monica Promenade.
*get bread that's made on site: La Brea Bakery hands down the absolute best.
*get amazing dessert: Bear Papas. Trust me. also Pink Orchid

Source: Me, foodie and partial vegetarian

WONDERFUL!!!!!! 

I had a hilarious, and fantastic time people-watching on the Promenade when I was 18.   One of my best memories, ever.

Mar 19 13 08:54 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

C h a r l e s  D wrote:
For scuba diving, Catalina Island is your best bet.   La Jolla is pretty darn good, too, with Monterey being a close third choice.

Best hiking will be in the High Sierras.  SoCal is too dry, otherwise.  But, there are some nice trails.  They just don't compare to the high sierras, though.

Amazing desserts?  You're in luck.  About a thousand restaurants and hole in the wall joints in SoCal for that.  Pick one.  For top o' the line, newbie desserts, be prepared to pay a lot, and head over to Hollywood, and West Hollywood.  Too many restaurants to list, even by city.  Pasadena has a lot, too.  Along with every beach town.

I love learning about fun things I've missed at places I've already visited and loved!!

I went to Catalina Island with a childhood friend when we were 18, and had a BLAST (so expensive, though- geez), and went to La Holla on that same friend's wedding night, last summer.  Her wedding was at the Prado, and we all stayed in her suite until the last night. 

I had met some really hot jazz guitar player two nights earlier at the rehearsal dinner, and he picked me up after the wedding, drove me to my hotel room to drop off my stuff, and we spent a couple hours walking around the city, and went to the COOLEST beach, where there were seals EVERYWHERE!

Alas, he was 21 and didn't try to put the moves on me, so that was my entire experience, but it was lovely.  smile

Mar 19 13 09:00 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

Christie Doll Face wrote:
If you are in the Valley go to Vegetable Delight on Chatsworth street in Granada hills. They have the best vegan/veggie chinese food on the planet in my opinion. Their orange chicken (not really chicken) is my fave.

vegan chinese food!  LOVE.

Mar 19 13 09:01 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

GRMACK wrote:
One place I really like, especially on a motorcycle trip, is Lassen Volcanic National Park in No. CA.  We've camped there and some photographer's take some hikes east out of the Summit Lakes area to photograph eagles that 'try' and get baby ducks away from their mothers.  Eagles lose much of the time as the ducks unite against their attacks.  Some really great photo ops there and not crowded as Yosemite and Sequoia which can be shoulder-to-shoulder at times.

Redwoods State Park near Eureka is great in early mornings in the fog.  Mid-day and bright not so much and hard to work with.  Hwy. of the Giants (Redwood trees.) is interesting as there is many small hippie and art communes within the drive it seems.

Another good site is Bodie State Park near Bridgeport.  Lots of side trips west into the lakes near the Sierra Mountains too.

Mexican cuisine is the standard food of So. CA.  Not much to go wrong there anyplace, unless you get food poisoning from bath-tub cheese (ahem!).

Best burger (Not sissy veggie stuff, according to the cook.) has to go to the small airport cafe at Lake Isabella/Kernville.   Home of the $500 hamburger:  $10 for the burger, but $490 for the plane and gas to get there.  I've hit a lot of burger joints in the "Live to Ride. Ride to Eat" motorcycle motto, but it is a real winner.

Montery Bay area is sort of nice, but can get expensive with some around Carmel ridiculous in cost (Like Palmas Inn (??) near Pebble Beach for $3,700 a night for a room!).  "The 17 Mile Drive" is nice if you like to watch "The Ubber Rich."

There is a bakery in Bishop known for pastry.  Another in Mammoth Lakes ski town too which is quite good with long lines, but so is almost 'any' food in the mountains, or so I find.

Point Lobos S.P. can be a zoo if vacation time with some "One car in. One car out" rule.  Kids running into your tripod can be a bit much if not dangerous with the cliffs there.

Desert has the occasional meth labs that blow up and a lot of sundry weathering debris to be found, including bones.  Sort of an interesting fair, and the locals have some interesting stories about them too.  One was some haunted "Nut House" ruins near Lancaster where people died just setting foot on it (I didn't.) and seeing "ghost children" too (Some "Children of the Corn" serial thing I guess.).

LA is full of people to watch, some probably trying to get noticed so the zoo is in full bloom there with most activity near the coastline.  Hollywood is really run down and overrated imho.  Some shops are locked and the owner has to look you over and approve your entry due to vagrants and the homeless beggars.

Samy's Camera (downtown) might be a place to stop if you are a camera gear head.  Fry's (for electronics) is another huge joint with maybe 50-60 cash registers.

Have fun as there is a lot of variety there.

Thank you SO much!

Mar 19 13 09:09 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

Little Queenie wrote:
If you get to Joshua tree there is tons if hiking, some good vegetarian places to eat, cool thrift stores, art gallery's and oddities. It's a really rad spot. Also yoga. And you can do the integratron and get your aura cleansed...or whatever it is they do...

AMAZING!

I've been to Joshua Tree two or three times as a model, but didn't spend any time there exploring.  Just right to the park, and right back out.

Hoping to get in some climbing in that area, too!

Mar 19 13 09:12 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

Art Silva Photography wrote:

Got ALL that within 3 miles from my front door.

I had all that except hiking and scuba diving, within about three blocks of my front door when I lived in Brooklyn.

I think just the warmth, water, and air will amplify all these things 10-fold, from NYC to West Coast.

Santa Barbara is a big must-do!

Mar 19 13 09:14 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

Laura UnBound wrote:
If for some reason you wind up in Sacramento and need Italian, go to strings on auburn blvd. they have a really fantastic three cheese ravioli and bread...



And now I really want some

smile

Mar 19 13 09:15 pm Link

Photographer

Raoul Isidro Images

Posts: 6286

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

The Embarkadero in SF

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embarcadero_(San_Francisco)

http://sphotos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/252967_218382084860861_968769_n.jpg
©Raoul Isidro

.

Mar 19 13 09:18 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

Patrick Walberg wrote:

winking_wonder wrote:
This is so true! I live in NY now but I'm from Monterey and went to undergrad in Santa Cruz and it does have a little bit of everything.

More good Mexican eateries (in Monterey): El Palomar Restaurant, El Torito.
And in Santa Cruz: Planet Fresh Gourmet Burritos, Taqueria Vallarta.

As for ice cream (in Monterey), Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop and Rocky Coast Ice Cream Co. For Santa Cruz: Marianne's Ice Cream is out of this world AMAZING!

In Santa Cruz, the best cookies ever at Pacific Cookie Company. In Monterey, I like Paris Bakery. And it's farmer's market every Tuesday in downtown Monterey- You can pretty much sample everything there.

And you cannot beat the beaches and 17-mile drive/Big Sur for amazing views.

She pretty well nailed it!  There are many great places to eat in Monterey, Santa Cruz and Big Sur.  The hiking in Big Sur is just amazing!  Scenery like you will not see any where else!   In fact, I shot my first nude model in a waterfall there.   Farmers markets are good in both Monterey and Santa Cruz ... as we've got the Salinas Valley near by with some of the richest growing soil any where! 

I live between Salinas and Monterey an easy walk to my neighbor who has 40 acres that he is in the process of turning into a zoo.   He has an animal reserve with lot of exotic creatures.   I can hear the lion roar at duck and dawn.  I'd be happy to invite you to camp out here.  Anyone in the area will recognize this name ...  Toro Park is my back yard.  wink


A couple more things .. Monterey is a great place to learn how to scuba dive because of the many beginner level spots, and the experienced teachers.   Santa Cruz is the same for learning to surf.

Love camping!  Sounds amazing, and I'll totally revisit this idea.

I know at least one surfer who got his roots in Santa Barbara.  I can't swim for shit; somehow scuba diving or snorkeling seem more appropriate than surfing. 

I guess I could just wear a life jacket and floaties and try to pull them off as super hip and cool!

Mar 19 13 09:18 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

Snyder Studios wrote:
You don't say exactly when you are traveling... temperatures can vary a lot in a short distance. Summer in San Francisco means don't forget your warm jacket.

Yosemite would be worthwhile after the snow melts and the waterfalls are at their peak flows.  World Class hiking and climbing.

Big Sur / Monterey is pretty amazing, If time permits Highway 1 is great to the south of Monterey.  Also north of San Francisco / Golden Gate.

Diving in California requires fortitude... Water temp is in the 50's around Monterey. full wet suit, hood, booties, gloves, etc. required. Visibility in Monterey is not great.  Although the otters and seals are interesting.  I'll take the ABC islands.

Santa Cruz would almost certainly have most everything on your list.  Be aware that you will be required to have at least some tie dyed wardrobe.  They do have entry checkpoints.  April 20th is a big day there...

People watching - Venice Beach on a weekend, get their early.  Huntington Beach was fun the last time I was there, more of a surf culture.

Based on your portfolio I think you could find willing hosts throughout the state.  IMHO

This time, I'll be headed there for most of June, but I'll be back frequently, so appreciate the tips!  SO helpful!

Man, my first time in San Francisco was in June, and I had to buy a hoodie, and a new jacket!  Ha.  I was absolutely freezing at night.  I lived in Wisconsin at the time, and it was about 20 degrees warmer at home. 

I know better, now!  smile

Mar 19 13 09:22 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

Orca Bay Images wrote:

Tie for hiking:
Trinity Alps wilderness, up in far northern California.
A 100-mile stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail from I-5 at Castle Crags State Park to Fort Jones.
- Both are best done with a week to spend.

Diving:
Fort Bragg & Mendocino
(Granted, I've never dived the Channel Islands.)

Beautiful areas:
Yosemite. One of the most spectacular places in the world.
Redwood National Park.
Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt County. It's a stretch of old Highway 101 that winds through some old-growth Redwoods. The road really does some twists and turns, as the road was built around the big trees.
Napa wine country.

Thank you!

Mar 19 13 09:23 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

Orca Bay Images wrote:

Tie for hiking:
Trinity Alps wilderness, up in far northern California.
A 100-mile stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail from I-5 at Castle Crags State Park to Fort Jones.
- Both are best done with a week to spend.

Diving:
Fort Bragg & Mendocino
(Granted, I've never dived the Channel Islands.)

Beautiful areas:
Yosemite. One of the most spectacular places in the world.
Redwood National Park.
Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt County. It's a stretch of old Highway 101 that winds through some old-growth Redwoods. The road really does some twists and turns, as the road was built around the big trees.
Napa wine country.

Thank you!

Mar 19 13 09:23 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

Digital Photo PLUS wrote:
My life is good but it is not as good as it could be because I don't live in California. I'm old enough (53) so I don't do the grass is greener on the other side of the fence shit. My jobs took me to California on regular basis for years and I love it. Last time I was there I drove from San Francisco to Stockton at a time of the year when golden grasses covered the hills and the canyons of the countryside. It was one of the most beautiful sites I've seen in my life.

When my grandfather was alive, I went to California once or twice a year. 

We mostly stayed at his house, but even just having a change of scenery outside the front door was great. 

I look forward to the scenic drives!

Mar 19 13 09:25 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

AllisonLael wrote:
If you're that into vegan food also go to Flore (LA, silverlake), they also have AMAZING deserts! And scoops that I mentioned has vegan ice cream, and if you like Indian food go to Parus (LA), Hugos in WeHo is awesome for brunch, almost everything on the menu can be made vegan! and for vegan pizza and beer in LA I love Mohawk Bend!

Not sure if your even coming to LA on your adventure haha but you now know all the best vegan places. Let me know if you want a list for San Diego too haha oh! and in San Francisco, go to Millenium! Super expensive but the chocolate cake I had....oh. my. god.

ETA: and its not bikram but I love the yoga classes at runyon canyon!

Kindred spirit!

Thank you for all these.  I'm on it!

I'll totally take a list for San Diego if you make it back to this thread!

Mar 19 13 09:27 pm Link

Photographer

Patrick Walberg

Posts: 42738

Salinas, California, US

Shandra Stark wrote:
Love camping!  Sounds amazing, and I'll totally revisit this idea.

I know at least one surfer who got his roots in Santa Barbara.  I can't swim for shit; somehow scuba diving or snorkeling seem more appropriate than surfing. 

I guess I could just wear a life jacket and floaties and try to pull them off as super hip and cool!

Certainly if you don't swim well, you are not going to be jumping into the surf to learn surfing.  I'm a good swimmer, but the only surfing I do is what they call body surfing or half board surfing near the shore.  So I'm afraid surfing is out for you for your own safety.   As for scuba diving,  here is a link for getting certification.   The classes that I know about for scuba diving will test you to see how long you can tread water and swim an untimed distance.  http://www.padi.com/scuba/scuba-diving- … fault.aspx

This is my neighbors place;  http://www.wildthingsinc.com/  Charlie's tribute page to Steve Irwin is especially touching.  I can't afford to pay for a shoot using his lion at this time, but I did some negotiation on it.   Still very expensive!   

We have a couple quarter horses on the property here that a renter owns.   He is willing to let me use his horses for shoots.    Contact me as you know closer to when you'll be out this way.

Mar 19 13 11:47 pm Link

Photographer

Jerry Nemeth

Posts: 27986

Dearborn, Michigan, US

Shandra Stark wrote:
This time, I'll be headed there for most of June, but I'll be back frequently, so appreciate the tips!  SO helpful!

Man, my first time in San Francisco was in June, and I had to buy a hoodie, and a new jacket!  Ha.  I was absolutely freezing at night.  I lived in Wisconsin at the time, and it was about 20 degrees warmer at home. 

I know better, now!  smile

The first time I was in San Francisco I went out at night without a jacket.  Cold!

Mar 20 13 06:06 am Link

Photographer

Compass Rose Studios

Posts: 15979

Portland, Oregon, US

Shandra Stark wrote:
*hike
*do Bikram yoga
*scuba dive
*get a great veggie burger
*get a great burrito
*get fantastic ice cream
*eat a great raw meal
*people-watch
*get bread that's made on site
*get amazing dessert

Hike - Big Sur has been mentioned, but there's also a largely overlooked little gem called Henry Coe Park.  It has several ecoregions including everything from Cali's classic golden hills and oaks to chapparel to pine forest. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_W._Coe_State_Park

Scuba - as has been mentioned, Monterey.  Specifically the kelp forests.  This is considered one of the best dive spots in North America.

Mar 20 13 10:04 am Link

Photographer

sospix

Posts: 21388

Orlando, Florida, US

I went to UCSB back in the "Stone Age", but it's all kinda blurry to me now  .  .  .  wink

SOS

Mar 20 13 10:32 am Link

Model

AllisonLael

Posts: 704

Los Angeles, California, US

Shandra Stark wrote:
I'll totally take a list for San Diego if you make it back to this thread!

Of course!!

Evolution which I've already mentioned is a MUST! Amazing vegan fast food! I love the chili cheese fries, bacon cheese burger, and milkshakes! Also has amazing looking cakes and cookies but I've never tried them.

Pita Jungle-awesome falafel! vegan friendly
Loving Hut-amazing American/Thai food (all vegan!)
Wang's-Chinese, vegan-friendly
Rancho's-Mexican, vegan friendly
Pho La Jolla-amazing pho! vegan friendly

Mar 20 13 10:36 am Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

Jerry Nemeth wrote:

The first time I was in San Francisco I went out at night without a jacket.  Cold!

Indeed!!

Mar 21 13 05:16 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

Compass Rose Studios wrote:

Hike - Big Sur has been mentioned, but there's also a largely overlooked little gem called Henry Coe Park.  It has several ecoregions including everything from Cali's classic golden hills and oaks to chapparel to pine forest. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_W._Coe_State_Park

Scuba - as has been mentioned, Monterey.  Specifically the kelp forests.  This is considered one of the best dive spots in North America.

Thank you!!!

Mar 21 13 05:16 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

AllisonLael wrote:

Of course!!

Evolution which I've already mentioned is a MUST! Amazing vegan fast food! I love the chili cheese fries, bacon cheese burger, and milkshakes! Also has amazing looking cakes and cookies but I've never tried them.

Pita Jungle-awesome falafel! vegan friendly
Loving Hut-amazing American/Thai food (all vegan!)
Wang's-Chinese, vegan-friendly
Rancho's-Mexican, vegan friendly
Pho La Jolla-amazing pho! vegan friendly

You're the best!!

Mar 21 13 05:17 pm Link

Model

Lela Jesse

Posts: 1148

Arcata, California, US

Shandra Stark wrote:
Haven't been to California in years.  My tastes have changed pretty dramatically since my last visit, and I'm interested in doing a LOT more sight-seeing, and a LOT more eating.

I'll be pretty much all over the state, so...any suggestions will be met as eagerly as all others!

I specifically want to know your favorite places to:

*hike
*do Bikram yoga
*scuba dive
*get a great veggie burger
*get a great burrito
*get fantastic ice cream
*eat a great raw meal
*people-watch
*get bread that's made on site
*get amazing dessert

Also interested in any beautiful scenic areas that you love.

Go!

(Note: I don't eat meat (no, not fish, or chicken.  none).  So, I don't need to know where your favorite steak joint is, UNLESS it has, say, the best mashed potatoes on Earth.

Hiking, well, I'm originally from Big Bear, CA in Southern Ca, and boy, does it have some awesome hiking spots. The PCT runs through the edge of town, plus a ton of other great smaller hiking spots. 
Also, Arcata, CA and near have some beautiful hiking spots, as well as some gorgeous beaches! Trinidad being one of them!
Get bread made on site, There is Brio Breadworks in Arcata, CA. Great bread!
OH! And fresh homemade bagels!!!! You cannot beat a Los Bagels Bagel! Also in Arcata, CA.
One of the BEST veggie burgers I've ever had is in Arcata- its Arcata Pizza Deli. Plus GREAT fries.
People watching in Big Bear can be funny, but you might have to be a local to enjoy some of the weirdness. ha All The shorts and snowboots. ha
There is also a great veggie burger in Big Bear, CA as well, at Teddy Bear Restaurant.

But scenic areas, Trinidad State Beach, Patrick's Point in Trinidad, Big Bear Lake, as well as the surrounding hiking areas. You can never go wrong with their view. smile

Mar 21 13 07:21 pm Link

Photographer

Daniels Light

Posts: 4915

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US

Hiking.

Just west of Lake Tahoe off hwy. 50 is the entrance to Desolation Wilderness.  You can take a boat up Echo Lakes and hike to dozens of small lakes surrounded by granite mountains and blue sky.  Tahoe's not too shabby when it comes to sunsets, either.  They have great bike trails around most of the lake.  Also great mountain bike trails.

Mar 21 13 07:37 pm Link

Photographer

Antediluvian Design

Posts: 1137

Dunmore, Pennsylvania, US

Margarita at Nepenthe (big sur)
MOMA (LA) awesome Kubrik retrospective exhibit
Gino and Carlos (sf) great dive bar
Cooks Corner (OC) another great dive bar but smells a little funny
Margarita (Laguna) las brisas

Mar 21 13 07:46 pm Link

Photographer

T A X I

Posts: 199

San Diego, California, US

I'm beach side so....

Rent a board and try to surf at least once..... best hole-in-the-wall Taco Shop is in Oceanside off Mission/Rancho Del Oro (anywhere other than Alberto's)... check out the Self-Realization Center in Encinitas (go to meditate and watch Pacific from the cliffs) ... there are  a few yogo centers in the area so get a yoga session in to rejuvenate.... Drink mexican beer and/or smoke a joint in the afternoon and watch the sun set.... if you go during the algae bloom you can see phosphorescent waves *glow* when the waves crash it produces a luminescent glow....Vegan Food.. try out "Native Foods in Encinitas"... if you wanna catch a bar or pub check out North Park and stay away from downtown unless you like immature posturing crowds.

Mar 21 13 08:47 pm Link

Model

Stark Swearengen

Posts: 82

Woodbridge, Virginia, US

I used to live in Monterey and miss it so much! Montrio is one of my favorite upscale restaurants in town, http://www.montrio.com/. If you want something on the other side of the spectrum I highly recommend Compagno's. Nothing fancy here, but the owner is great and although it is primarily a deli, I would go there for the awesome dessert alone! http://compagnos.com/. For breakfast I am a fan of Trailside Cafe. It's right off of the running trail by the bay in Cannery Row and has a heated patio...great for people watching and the food is excellent. http://www.trailsidecafe.com/.

Mar 21 13 09:01 pm Link

Photographer

Tony-S

Posts: 1442

Fort Collins, Colorado, US

Shandra Stark wrote:
Haven't been to California in years.  My tastes have changed pretty dramatically since my last visit, and I'm interested in doing a LOT more sight-seeing, and a LOT more eating.

I'll be pretty much all over the state, so...any suggestions will be met as eagerly as all others!

I specifically want to know your favorite places to:

*hike

The best "hike" in the state takes you here: N 37° 44' 4.344", W 119° 38' 20.184"

Mar 22 13 03:20 pm Link

Photographer

Orca Bay Images

Posts: 32233

Woodinville, Washington, US

Lela Jesse wrote:
Hiking, well, I'm originally from Big Bear, CA in Southern Ca, and boy, does it have some awesome hiking spots. The PCT runs through the edge of town, plus a ton of other great smaller hiking spots. 
Also, Arcata, CA and near have some beautiful hiking spots, as well as some gorgeous beaches! Trinidad being one of them!
Get bread made on site, There is Brio Breadworks in Arcata, CA. Great bread!
OH! And fresh homemade bagels!!!! You cannot beat a Los Bagels Bagel! Also in Arcata, CA.
One of the BEST veggie burgers I've ever had is in Arcata- its Arcata Pizza Deli. Plus GREAT fries.
People watching in Big Bear can be funny, but you might have to be a local to enjoy some of the weirdness. ha All The shorts and snowboots. ha
There is also a great veggie burger in Big Bear, CA as well, at Teddy Bear Restaurant.

But scenic areas, Trinidad State Beach, Patrick's Point in Trinidad, Big Bear Lake, as well as the surrounding hiking areas. You can never go wrong with their view. smile

:whine:
I miss Humboldt County.

Mar 22 13 04:56 pm Link

Model

Shandra Stark

Posts: 13612

Los Angeles, California, US

Update:

I got accepted as a volunteer with the WWOOFER program, and will be spending a week or two on an organic Citrus farm! 

Super cool way to learn about the food I eat, and to get free housing and meals while traveling.

So excited!

I'll still have time to shoot, AND, you might even see me selling goods at a farmer's market, if you're in the state.

May 23 13 10:57 am Link

Model

Model Sarah

Posts: 39288

Columbus, Ohio, US

I pretty much think most of California is incredibly overrated. The more beautiful states are above it. tongue

However, and this is a BIG however...San Diego and Northern California (north of Sacramento) are simply awesome for food and scenery.

San Diego has Balboa Park which has museums and gardens and the entry way to the San Diego Zoo. The Prado is a restaurant in the park that is fantastic. I had the best sangria I've ever had there. The gaslamp district is great for food and nightlife. Highly recommend that town.

May 23 13 11:36 am Link

Photographer

Looknsee Photography

Posts: 21658

Portland, Oregon, US

Shandra Stark wrote:
Haven't been to California in years.  My tastes have changed pretty dramatically since my last visit, and I'm interested in doing a LOT more sight-seeing, and a LOT more eating.

I'll be pretty much all over the state, so...any suggestions will be met as eagerly as all others!

I specifically want to know your favorite places to:

*hike
*do Bikram yoga
*scuba dive
*get a great veggie burger
*get a great burrito
*get fantastic ice cream
*eat a great raw meal
*people-watch
*get bread that's made on site
*get amazing dessert

Also interested in any beautiful scenic areas that you love.

Go!

I escaped from California a decade ago or so, but here are some of my memories:

Ano Nuevo State Park, on the coast near Half Moon Bay -- go see the elephant seals.

Point Lobos, south of Monterey, "the best meeting of water & land in the world" -- photographic historians will recognize spots made famous by Edward Weston & Ansel Adams & others.

Both are maybe an hour drive from San Jose.

Yosemite -- 'nuff said.


Note:  California is a big state.  Might be challenging to see it all.

May 23 13 12:00 pm Link