Thursday, December 12

Taste of Catalina Food Tour

the view from Avalon Harbor
The highlight of my family's trip to Southern California was our day at Catalina Island. It's a charming and mellow community where every other other building is a fantastic local restaurant. Definitely my kind of place.

This looks so humble, but the roasted veggies were outstanding!
The Taste of Catalina Food Tour is three hours of amazing local food with interesting historical tidbits about the island. There's a lot of gorgeous architecture and culture happening here!
Steve's Steakhouse was our first stop. The restaurant has a breathtaking panoramic view of Avalon Harbor. Our group was served coconut shrimp and steak with soup. My vegan option was a nicely constructed roasted vegetable sandwich on sourdough, perfectly savory.  Usually I'm not impressed with veggie sandwiches, but this was outstanding!
I love this fountain!

Downtown Avalon is studded with these gorgeous, colorful tiles from the 20's and 30's made by the Catalina Tile company. They still make them.

Original Avalon tiles, made from clay found on the island decorate the inside of the fountain

The next restaurant on the tour was a local favorite. We could tell because it was packed with business people, tourists and construction guys. I felt like such a tourist. Mr. Ning's Chinese Garden has been around since the 80's and known for ample servings and modest prices.

We had the opportunity to sample the Szechuan Green Beans with rice. Spicy, tender green beans, when done so perfectly, are ideal for a main course.
Close up of the most tender and flavorful green beans.
And then, more history! I was a little overwhelmed, but here are the best parts: buffalo were flown in for the filming of a movie and currently inhabit the island, the Wrigley gum guy had a huge part in the development of the island, and Marilyn Monroe used to live here. Our tour guide was awesome. She's like third or fourth generation Catalina Islander. She shared charming facts about growing up on the island and the interesting history. The entire tour group adored her!

Our next stop was located right on the the beach. Bluewater Grill offers fresh seafood and an ideal view of the harbor. My dish was half a grilled artichoke with aoli and a light beer. It was glorious. I don't even know what the omnivores were served because I was so happy dipping and eating artichoke leave while enjoying the view. 

So delectable.

Potato tacos and boozy Arnold Palmer's were on the menu at Coyote Joe's. Potato tacos are the ideal vegetarian taco solution. Everyone loves them. Crisp tortillas with tender potatoes with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese are a winning combination. And boozy ice tea/lemonade; who could resist?

crunchy potato tacos!

The last restaurant we visited, CC Gallagher, served a memorable dessert: salted caramel gelato with the option of dark beer or grape soda. I tried both and they were dreamy.

Fancy ice cream floats FTW.
After the Catalina Food Tour, we rented golf carts to explore the island. There was a lot of scenery to take in. My favorite view was the casino and harbor. I could stare at that for hours!

Catalina Island was my favorite part (I think everyone else's!) part of our vacation. I can't wait to come back and try all the other restaurants and watch a movie in the Casino and buy a real Catlina tile (so mad that I didn't buy one of the historic tiles!!)  And maybe take the Taste of Catalina Food Tour just one more time.

Steve's Steakhouse on Urbanspoon Mr Ning's Chinese Garden on Urbanspoon CC Gallagher on Urbanspoon Avalon Grille on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. These look awesome! Great photos as well! We got a chance to interview the owner recently, check it out here: