La Posta Vecchia
538 Seabright Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
California has a long tradition of Italian immigration beginning in the 19th century. Although New York is probably more closely associated with this wave of newcomers, in the mid-1800s California had the most Italian immigrants of any state. In Santa Cruz and elsewhere along the coast, northern Italians quickly became very prominent in the fishing industry. They also played important roles in developing California’s vegetable, fruit and wine industries.
Even today, one can see the imprint of this immigration (e.g. Del Monte foods, Ghirardelli chocolates). Perhaps this explains this state’s strong ties to Italian cuisine – indeed, California cuisine in my mind is primarily rooted in Italian sensibilities with French, other European and some Asian techniques and ingredients thrown in for good measure. Despite this, it’s only been in the last decade or so that authentic regional Italian food has been widely available.
47200 Highway 1
Big Sur, CA 93920
I love road trips to no where. They give you an opportunity to see new places, and explore areas that you would otherwise just drive by. Some of my favorite memories come from impromptu trips and destinations unknown.
The California coast line has some of the best driving vistas in the world. The stretch of Highway 1 from San Francisco down to Morro Bay has a great diversity of scenery – oceans, cliffs, redwoods, beaches, dunes, winding canyons, big surf. It also has some fantastic food finds like Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero. On an impromptu trip to Big Sur, I hoped to discover another find in the Redwood Grill.
Located in the Fernwood Resort, the Redwood Grill isnt exactly what I pictured. A restaurant inside a resort conjures images of white linen, stunning vistas, and well attired servers.
Driving through Big Sur, I almost missed it. What I thought would look like a resort actually looks like a motel with attached drinking hole. Pulling a quick u-turn, we slid into the parking lot.