Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lunches - US West Coast Stylee

I have already told you about my gorgeous lunch in San Francisco with Patty, but thought it would also be fun to share some of the other lunches I had on my US trip, some healthy, some not so much.  My conclusion is that the US does relatively healthy lunches to go like sandwich kits and salads really well, much better than here, and I would especially love to see  the salads to go of the type available in the US sold in Australia.

At the top of this post is a terrible photo of a great sandwich.  It is the curry chicken salad sandwich from The Sandwich Shop at 531 W. 6th Street, Downtown LA.  This sandwich is terrific - chicken, raisins, cashew, granny smith apple, coriander, curry dressing, and baby greens on warm naan bread. The sandwich also comes with a small tub of gherkins, which puzzled me, but I ate them anyway.  The Sandwich Shop is a small unassuming hole-in-the-wall, with nothing fancy in the decor and only a limited number of tables and chairs, but it provided the perfect lunch for me on my first day in LA, and a temporary respite from the searing heat.

Next, we move into Kingman, Arizona for a lunch stop at Smiths supermarket. Here, they sold 900g of blueberries for $6:

What a bargain!  In Oz, blueberries are around $6 for a 200g punnet.  I also saw the cutest Idaho Potato advertisement:

My choice and my room mate's choice for lunch at Smiths were these lunch packs:

They contained a sandwich, condiments (mayo and mustard), a packet of chips, an apple "poppa" drink, Oreos and a piece of fruit.  The sandwich was a little dry:

However, I hadn't realised that sandwiches to go on the West Coast, at least as far as I could tell, were often sold sans butter or condiments, and you are supposed to spread the mayo on one half of the bread and the mustard on the other half.  You might think me quite strange for even mentioning this, but sandwiches here do not usually come with mustard and mayo - it is usually one or the other, if any at all (butter being the most common spread), and condiments are already spread on the bread when you buy the sandwich.

Another stopover for lunch was at Tonopah Station in Nevada:  

At the Stage Stop Restaurant, I had this burger with a beef patty, onion ring and bacon and a side of coleslaw:

This was a little lacklustre, and I could not eat the coleslaw drowned in mayo.  At $12, this was also one of the more expensive lunches on my trip.  However, there was one positive about Tonopah Station:

After spending some time in Nevada, it was back to California, and this time, lunch was at the Sonoma Cheese Factory in scenic Sonoma: 

I am a little biased here because I loved Sonoma - it is the prettiest little town you ever could wish for. At the Sonoma Cheese Factory, I ordered what proved to be the most enormous turkey sandwich ever:

Again, the mustard and mayo came in separate packets, but by this time, I had gotten the hang of it and knew what to do.  I took my sandwich out into the adjoining park for a picnic of sorts on the grass.  I also had this gorgeous bottle of pink lemonade:

It was a perfect summer lunch on a perfect summer's day.

I also saw this very cool number plate on a car near the Cheese Factory:

Back in San Francisco, there was plenty of cool things to see and do.  It is such a beautiful city:

I adore this street art that I found on a traffic light control box near our hotel:

My room mate chose In-N-Out Burger (333 Jefferson St) for lunch on our first day in San Francisco.  It was pretty standard burger joint fare - I think I had the grilled cheese burger:

Kids would love it, but Mum and Dad, not so much.

Moving right along to San Luis Obispo, I saw this tree outside a craft shop wearing a sweater saying "hug me":  

This tree will forever remind me of our tour director, Craig.  He is a tree of a man, very tall with a broad trunk, and at the end of the tour, when he asked for a hug, I had to stand on tippy-toe to hug him - and I could not get my arms right around him.  In San Luis Obispo (and in Las Vegas), my lunch spot of choice was Chipotle, a Mexican food chain.  I adore Chipotle, and I am glad that we now have Mad Mex in Melbourne, which is very similar, minus the super-sized Cokes.  This I believe is a chicken burrito:

with a tortilla, cilantro-lime rice, pinto beans, salsa and salad.  Delish, and costs only around $6.

Next stop on this lunch tour is Solvang, where I saw this van for a rather unusually named plumbing company:

I had this Danish almond biscuit from Olsens as a snack rather than a lunch:

Unfortunately, although very pretty, it was rather dry, but only cost around $3.

Towards the end of our trip, we visited the Santa Barbara Mission, where there were many fabulous chalk drawings on the pavement:

before heading down to Santa Barbara Pier, where no high heels are allowed (what would my colleague Lee do?):

There are not many food options around Santa Barbara Pier, but I stumbled across a cafe that sold a fabulous salad to go:

I had previously bought similar salads at supermarkets along the way for dinner.  These salads, with their Mexican elements like black beans, corn and ranch dressing, are super tasty - I so wish we could buy them here.

That concludes my journey through lunches, West Coast style.  Hope you enjoyed it!


Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

Enjoyed it is a little bit of an understatement my friend - I LOVED the range of lunches and the delicious sides and desserts :D
So hungry!

Choc Chip Uru

Cindy said...

I love lunch! It's my favorite meal. When we visit my daughter in Chicago we always go to Chipotle the grand kids love it.
We have plenty of lunch choices in Utah. Lots of Fresh Mex type also plenty of sandwich shops. Kneaders is yummy. If you ever make it to Utah try it!

Cakelaw said...

Hi GU, glad you liked this post - I had fun writing it as it brought back so many good memories.

Hi Cindy, I will bear Kneaders in mind when I am next in the US.

Kari said...

I definitely enjoyed this - and it's so different to anything I have seen on my travels (which have never incorporated these areas of the US). Fun :)

The Caked Crusader said...

Loved the shot of the supermarket displays - wherever I travel in the word I always like looking in a supermarket - just seeing different packaging and displays is exciting (to me!)

Kayte said...

This was such a fun read. It is fun to think of you in some of these places that I have visited as well...and really fun to hear about the experiences you had and see the food and things through your eyes as we take them all for granted here. Fun to see it through new eyes.

Elaine said...

What a great tour of your lunch spots! I'm glad you enjoyed so many of them. I love that photo of the Hug Me in SLO.

Cakelaw said...

Elaine, I laughed about the Hug Me tree - I took the photo without thinking about it, then when Craig asked for a hug at the end of the tour and I couldn't get round him, I thought straight away of the Hug Me tree - and what a perfect way to remember him.

Jill said...

Chipotle is one of my favorites, so I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed it. Your trip looks like it was so much fun.