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California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey VC_Questionnaire_BrianHuskey_Supplied1_1280x640
Courtesy of Brian Huskey

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey
The Top Chef alum loves riding his bike to work, taking road trips, and vacationing at Lake Tahoe

Brian Huskey first came to national attention in 2013 when he competed on season 11 of Bravo TV’s Top Chef, set in New Orleans. The Pasadena native showcased his signature fusion cuisine, impressed the judges on multiple occasions, and advanced all the way to the final five.

These days Huskey is serving up “quick, simple, and unique flavors that appeal to the masses” at Tackle Box, a local grub shack located on the beach in Corona del Mar. It’s the kind of place where you can order the Avocado Tartine for breakfast, shift over to the Salmon Poke for lunch, and then try out the Falafel Roll for dinner. Orange Coast magazine called it one of the Best New Restaurants of 2016, noting that “noshing with bare, sandy feet never tasted so good.”

Where do you live? I currently live in Corona del Mar. I grew up in Pasadena and my parents still have a house there. Also, I went to UCLA and then culinary school in San Francisco—a lot of my fond childhood and adult memories are here in California.   

Why there? It is a blessing to live a five-minute scooter ride from my restaurant, Tackle Box. Have you ever been to CDM? You’d want to live here too!

Who or what is your greatest California love? California coastline paired with our SoCal weather. Negative ions and vitamin D—best combo, ever.

What is the biggest misperception about Californians? The notion that everyone is “Hollywood.”

What is the stereotype that most holds true? SoCal drivers drive horribly in the rain. Southern Californians and rain are like cats and rain; they don't mix well. As soon as it starts to sprinkle, the whole city shuts down.

What is your favorite Golden State splurge? My favorite Golden State splurge is a weekend eating, wine tasting, and hot air balloon riding.

Time for a road trip—where are you going? When I was growing up, every year my parents would take my brothers and me to Lake Tahoe. Whether you are skiing in the winter, boating on the lake in the summer, or hiking the beautiful trails, Tahoe is always an epic rejuvenating experience. Haven’t been in a few years…time for a road trip to Tahoe.

If you could decree an official state culinary experience, what would it be? Taco Day. You can find so many different regional styles and flavors here. California has the best tacos outside of Mexico. I love tacos for breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner.

Best California song? “California Love” by Tupac. This was my anthem in high school and college. And of course the Beach Boys’ “California Girls.” And [the Mamas and the Papas’] “California Dreamin’”—I remember my dad would play them while taking me to school.

How would your California dream day unfold? I’d wake up and take my daily sunrise walk around Corona del Mar by Big and Little Corona State Beach with my girlfriend. Then we’d head up to L.A. for some dim sum breakfast. After filling up on dim sum, I’d drive out to Santa Monica to take a chartered flight to Monterey, where we would enjoy a seafood lunch and take in the Central Coast. From there in our rented car we would continue up the Pacific Coast Highway, making necessary scenic stops until reaching our final destination, San Francisco. To complete the day, we would have dinner at Saison and crash at the St. Regis.  

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey OC_Hero_HuntingtonCouple_Mansfield_1280x642_sized
Scott Mansfield

Southern California

Discover Orange County

Whether it’s manicured beach towns or celebrated theme parks, all framed by oceanfront towns and luxury yachts, “The OC” stands out as one of the state’s most iconic destinations. The always-amazing Disneyland Resort, roughly a 1-hour drive south of L.A. and 2 hours north of San Diego, continues to be one of the best-loved theme parks in the world, while Knott’s Berry Farms and other OC attractions amp up the fun meter.

“Surfing is like golf. . . it keeps knocking you down. But when you stay with it and catch that wave. . . magic.” — actor Dennis Quaid

Shop at spectacular South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, or get the surfer look in Huntington Beach, aka Surf City, USA. 

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey VC_California101_OrangeCounty_Stock_RF_EHT85D_1280x640
Jon Bilous/Alamy

Orange County’s Best Beaches

Visit these four idyllic, sun-drenched stretches of sand in Southern California

With 42 miles of sandy coastline and a string of small, eclectic beach towns, Orange County delivers the quintessential Southern California...

Montage Laguna Beach
Mike's Birds/Flickr

Montage Laguna Beach

Craftsman grace and timeless coastal beauty

With works by noted California artists in the lobby and guest rooms and a classic wood-and-stone Craftsman design, the ultra-luxurious oceanfront...

Orange County

4 Incredible Resorts in Orange County

Enjoy unparalleled views, world-class golf, fine dining, and much more at these high-end destinations

With long stretches of golden sand, prime surfing spots, excellent dining, and top golf courses, the good life doesn’t get much better than along...

The magic of Disneyland, walking through the tunnel underneath the train station to Main Street, it just transports you to other places and other times.
John Lasseter
A ride at Adventure City
Carsten Erler/Getty Images

Spotlight: Anaheim

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey vca_maps_orangecounty
This Southern California city is home to much more than Disneyland

With its welcoming vibe and unbeatable attractions, this lively city on Orange County’s northwest side is a popular destination for visitors from...

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey vc_luxuryminute_pelicanhill_supplied_coliseumpooloceanviewday_1280x640
Courtesy of Pelican Hill

The Resort at Pelican Hill

Indulge in Mediterranean elegance, world-class golf courses, and five-star service at this Newport Beach resort

Tuscan elegance paired with panoramic ocean views is central to the eternal allure of...

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey VCW_D_OC_T4_Shopping_Manley1280x642
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

O.C. Shopping

Discover boutique brands and bargains

Shopping in The O.C. is almost as legendary as surfing. Start at expansive South Coast Plaza, California’s largest luxury shopping complex, with...

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey vc_irvine_irvinespectrumcenter_st_rm_486307227_1280x640
Mitch Diamond/Getty Images


This centrally located Orange County city is the perfect home base for shopping, dining, and kid-friendly exploring

Irvine’s central location—45 miles from Los Angeles, 85 from San Diego, and 15 minutes from...

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey VC_IrvineSpectrumCenter_Stock_Irvine-Spectrum-Center-at-Dusk-CMF-8483_1280x640
OC Stock Photos 2016

Irvine Spectrum Center

With a Ferris wheel and Spanish ambience, this shopping center expands the definition of “mall”

Southern California is known for its sunny, open-air shopping centers, but this outdoor mall in the heart of Orange County ups the ante with...

Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey Shopping_SpecialFeature_preview_686x885_0
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Courtesy of Great Wolf Lodge

Great Wolf Lodge

The hotel-meets-water-park chain brings its all-weather family fun to Orange County

At first glance, a completely indoor water-park hotel might seem unnecessary in sunny Orange County. Fans of the Great Wolf Lodge brand, however,...

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey VC_GreatWolfLodge_Supplied_LodgeFlowrider_1280x640
The Howlin’ Tornado water slide at Great Wolf Lodge near Anaheim is as tall as a six-story building.
Orange County is the cultural center of the surf world and Huntington Beach is like the heartbeat.
Corky Carroll (Orange County surf legend)
California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey FF_VCW_D_OC_T10_BalboaBeach_Mansfield
Mission San Juan Capistrano, founded in 1776, was the first winery in California.
Dana Point, California
Behind The Lens/Getty Images

Dana Point

Begin your Highway One odyssey in this scenic town with views over the ocean bluffs

The southern origin of California’s Highway 1 winds through some gorgeous locations, like beach town and ...

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey monarchbeachresort_1280x642
Courtesy of Monarch Beach Resort

Monarch Beach Resort

Relaxed sophistication in charming Dana Point

Beyond the Mediterranean–style exterior of this perfectly manicured resort, you’ll find posh but not ornate contemporary rooms and suites. This...

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey VCW_D_OC_T7_IMG_5467_1280x642
Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Crystal Cove State Park

Stroll a perfect beach with an intriguing past

In 1912, an early Laguna Beach artist described finding a rugged coastline “with cove after cove and headland after headland, golden cliffs and...

Santa Ana
Liz Boyd/Alamy

Santa Ana

Orange County’s largest city boasts a walkable downtown with an emerging arts and culinary scene

Not showy or sassy like some of Orange County’s more touristy towns, Santa...

Unleash the kid within at California’s ultimate playgrounds

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone. Take a tram ride to tour movie back lots at Universal Studios...

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey AmazingThemeParks_preview_868x686
Lucas Himovitz
Get into the coastal vibe

Maybe it’s the sun-streaked hair, the frequent smiles, the eyes always gazing west, looking to the horizon to see when the next set might roll in. It’s the unmistakable look and vibe of a...

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey VCW_TI_8_hero_Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 11.35.53 AM
California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey VC_Questionnaire_GregLong_Mason-Mashon-Photo_California-Day-Dream-LR-338_1280x640
CLIF Bar/Mason Mashon

California Questionnaire: Greg Long

Although he’s traveled the globe in search of big waves, this professional surfer will always call California home

California native Greg Long has carved out a name in the world of competitive big wave surfing by conquering the most challenging waves on the...

Pacific Coast Highway South

From Gold Rush history to the 8th wonder of the world, visit these favorites

If there was ever a box of chocolates—and all of them delicious—it’s the rich collection of natural treasures, fascinating...

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey McWayFalls_JPB_SP_preview_686x885
Amy Meredith/Flickr
California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey CTTC_Pelican_Golf3-047_sized_0

Golf in Orange County

Tee up at top courses, with some ocean views

With ideal Southern California weather and some of the country’s most celebrated courses, Orange County justly earns the nickname “California Golf...

California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey FunFact_Great Park Balloon above the Palm Court Arts Complex_sized
Every year, the Orange County Great Park Balloon dons a smiling jack-o-lantern mask, marking the unofficial start of fall in Orange County.
California Questionnaire: Brian Huskey VCW_D_T9_Great Park Balloon above the Palm Court Arts Complex_sized
Courtesy of Orange County Great Park

Orange County Great Park

Explore an impressive urban park

Turning former military land into a roughly 1,300-acre/526-hectare green space, this Irvine park is as ambitious as it is...