June 17, 2021

Three Monterey County Road Road Trips, Chapter Three

From Artichokes and Steinbeck Country to the Beach and Ethnic Cuisine

Travelers heading south from San Francisco along California's iconic State Highway 1 should make their first stop in Moss Landing, a quaint fishing village in northern Monterey County. After marveling at the diverse wildlife found in the Elkhorn Slough, or stopping for lunch at The Whole Enchilada or Phil's Fish Market and Eatery, continue south to Castroville for a stop at Pezzini Farms. Well known for their artichokes the past 80 years, you may sample French-fried artichokes and other delicacies at the Choke Coach food truck onsite. Pro Tip: You may view the fields and fields of the big spiky artichoke plants heading out of town.

You might continue southeast on Highway 1 to State Route 183. Passing through acres upon acres of farmland, you may find yourself marveling at the majesty of the Gabilan Range to the west and Santa Lucia Range to the South. Continue on the way to renowned author John Steinbeck's hometown of Salinas. Stroll historic Old Town Salinas and grab lunch at one of the dozens of authentic Mexican eateries located within just a few blocks (Villa Azteca is a locals' favorite), and be sure to peruse the recently reopened National Steinbeck Center.

Close the day by taking the back roads about fifteen minutes west into Marina. Once there, indulge in Urban Wine Row: a fun tasting atmosphere that gives guests access to three boutique wineries in one spot. Or Enjoy some beach time at Marina State Beach, known for its steady winds for paragliding perfection. End the day at one of the Marina's eclectic eateries showcasing a variety of cuisines – from Filipino delicacies at Lola's Kusina to fresh Asian fare at longtime Marina staple, Ho-Wah Chinese Restaurant, American fare at Daddy's City Diner or Mexican food at Michael's Taqueria and Sarita's.