5 CURIOUS CALIFORNIAN FOOD TRENDS
Article and pictures by Camille Holden
The United States is a strange place. I can say so because I’m American. We have some weird habits (high-fiving all the time) but even weirder food…corndogs, deep-fried pickles, and cheese steak.
Out of the 50 states, California is probably the most obsessed with weird healthy foods.
So when I set out on a road trip across California, I figured I’d be in for a treat and I’d find all kinds of weird food there. Here are 5 peculiar ones I encountered.
Off the beaten path in San Diego, you’ll find a place called Crazee Burger, which is a local 2-store chain that specializes in exotic meats –including kangaroo and antelope.
Started by two Germans and then passed on to new owners, this restaurant imports meats from various places and pairs them with different sauces and buns to provide the optimal flavor.
Choosing your burger is tough when the selection is both wide and weird, but we settled on an ostrich burger and a camel burger.
While the ostrich burger tasted a bit strange (I can’t say gamey, but how about birdy?), the camel burger was delicious! Lean and yet juicy, it was paired with a mustard-based sauce that made the whole experience extremely flavorful.
The recent trendiness of food trucks has invaded California.
Some of them are fun and whacky, like the Grilled Cheese Truck, which not only dishes up standard grilled cheese sandwiches but has strange offerings like the Cheesy Mac Melt (yes, that’s macaroni & cheese inside a sandwich!)
And while those are fun, there are also some real gourmet options, like the slow roasted brisket sandwich and the lavender lemonade at Streatery.
For a full-on experience, check out Off the Grid –a food truck market of sorts–that gathers across the Bay area. The ultimate event takes place on the giant lawn inside the beautiful Presidio Park on weekends.
In California you’ll find a lot of specialty shops…places that sell one thing, and one thing only. It’s a trend that started as a reaction against the TONS of options available in modern America.
In San Diego, there’s a shop that sells jerky and soda, and boy are they specialized! They’ve collected some of the weirdest flavors of soda, including Mango, Prickly Pear (that’s a type of cactus), Chocolate-Covered Maple Smoked Bacon and what seemed like over 50 brands of Ginger Beer.
Ice Cream Sandwiches
The words “ice cream sandwich” may conjure up images of rectangular goodness and white Klondike polar bears…but you’ve never had an ice cream sandwich quite like these ones before.
In Berkeley, just off the university campus, you’ll find CREAM (short for Cookies Rule Everything Around Me), a shop that sells real ice cream sandwiches, made from freshly baked warm cookies and hand scooped ice cream.
Pick from any number of flavors of cookie and cream (which includes everything from soy vanilla, peaches n’ cream to green tea), take a bite, and trust me, you’ll feel like a kid all over again!
“Superfoods”…whatever that means
Photo credit: Jamba Juice
Being highly health-conscious, Californians love their additives. But vitamins are totally passé; now it’s on to superfoods!
The weirdest one I’ve encountered so far and tried, is wheatgrass, and it comes in powder or liquid format. Order a shot of wheatgrass and you’ll get a pure green liquid that leaves no doubt that you’re about to drink liquid grass.
All I can say is that it must be healthy; as it tastes like something your grandmother would force you to drink.
Go to Jamba Juice (a chain of juices & smoothies made custom), and they’ll ask you what additives you want, so be prepared. But keep in mind that by the time you read this, Californians might have given up on wheatgrass and moved on to crushed beetles or something. #WhoKnows
Ever had a weird Californian food experience? Share it with us below!
Camille is a French-American third culture
kid who can’t seem to sit still! She travels the
world while running an online business, and
tries to eat at least one new thing a day!
Follow her on Instagram!