Our Favorite SoCal Restaurants
We spent a month road tripping the West Coast - we started in San Diego, and took our time driving north before we ended up in San Fransisco. Among an exploration in the desert, swimming with wild seals, and stargazing in Lake Tahoe, our favorite memories include the food we tasted. California offers so many amazing and diverse food options. We had delicious Indian food in San Fransisco, the famous SoCal Mexican food in San Diego, and - of course - gave In N Out a try (see what we thought of that here.)
Of all of our eats over the month, there were two restaurants that outshone the others. Next time you visit California, consider hitting up these insanely delicious eateries.
Las Casuelas Terraza
To this day, the best Mexican food we've found in America was at Las Casuelas Terraza in Palm Springs, California. It was a recommended to us by a recently California traveler and we, delightedly, found it to be only 20 minutes away from the resort we had booked in Palm Springs. After the sun went down that night, we journeyed into the little town; it was quaint and adorable, with palm trees and desert 'air conditioning' (cool water that misted down from the buildings and created a haze in the evening lights.)
Las Casuelas' website boasts what we have no trouble believing: "the recipient of numerous awards for food, service and architecture, Las Casuelas Terraza is a favorite of locals who consistently vote it Palm Springs' 'Most Popular Resturant.'" Despite their popularity, the restaurant is humble and the prices are affordable. During our visit, live music was playing on the outdoor patio and, though we couldn't see them, it provided an lively backdrop for our meal.
Daniel and I both decided to take advantage of their 'Combinaciones Mexicanos' menu. I did their 'pick two' and just decided to go with the staples - a shredded beef taco, and a chicken taco. Daniel got a chicken enchilada and a beef taco. Both plates came with Mexican rice and your choice of 4 offered beans (I got black beans, Daniel got refried.) Though it sounds like a menu any Mexican restaurant would have, this entire meal was indescribably delicious. It was flavorful and fresh, with just the right amount of spice. The rest of their menu looked incredible, too; we can't wait to go back and be a little more adventurous with our dinner choices. We rate Las Casuelas 4 out of 4 stars, and we highly recommend it.
Cha Cha Chicken
About a 15 minute walk from the Santa Monica pier, Cha Cha Chicken was recommended to us by a local, and definitely seems to be for locals. It was uncrowded, yet buzzed with a 'sufer-dude' vibe. You order at a window in front of the restaurant, then claim a picnic table in their 'backyard patio' and wait for them to bring you your food. The Carribean-Lation fusion menu was mouth-watering; I ended up choosing the plate that gave them their name. The 'Cha Cha Chicken' reads on their menu as "oven roasted chicken smothered in a delicately spiced Jamaican Jerk sauce." It came with two side orders so - though it was hard to choose just two - I went with the corn on the cob, and the red cabbage slaw. Daniel feasted on their Jerk Chicken Enchiladas, with the dirty rice and beans and the spicy Cuban fries. Both plates bursted with flavor and color; the meat was fall-off-the-bone soft, the slaw was fresh, and the rice and beans were zesty! With its colorful food, super-fast service and laid-back atmosphere, it's a restuarant we wish we could visit again and again. Feel like opening a New York City location, Cha Cha Chicken? We'll be first in line!