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Culinary Road Trips, Catalina Island

Listen to the California Now Podcast for restaurant recommendations from food critic Jeff Gordinier, and discover what makes Catalina so special

Eating well is an essential aspect of any worthwhile road trip, according to Esquire's Food and Drinks Editor Jeff Gordinier—and if you follow his suggestions, you will be well fed the next time you tool around the Golden State. Gordinier is the author of Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World, and he joins California Now Podcast host Soterios Johnson to talk about his favorite culinary destinations from San Diego to Wine Country, and why food and road trips go so well together, particularly in California.

Johnson also speaks with Gail Fornasiere, who knows more than most about the magic of Santa Catalina Island. The 21-mile-long island off the coast of Southern California is a popular destination for day-trippers and vacationers, blending a rich Hollywood history (Marilyn Monroe lived there before she became famous!) with a relaxing modern vibe. As Johnson learns during this episode, Catalina offers something for just about everyone.


Jeff Gordinier, author and Food and Drinks Editor at Esquire

Gail Fornasiere, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at the Catalina Island Museum


Food writer Jeff Gordinier shares some of his best road trip bites across California, as featured in the 2020 California Visitor’s Guide.

Laguna Beach

The Stand

Sound Spectrum

Jeune et Jolie

El Maguey

Pie ’n Burger

Paradise Cafe

La Super-Rica Taqueria


The Charter Oak

The Restaurant at Meadowood

State Bird Provisions

The Progress

Duarte's Tavern

The Catalina Island Museum's Gail Fornasiere has a few tips for making the most of your next trip to the famous island off the coast of Southern California.

Santa Catalina Island



Descanso Beach Club

Bluewater Grill

Steve's Steakhouse & Seafood

Avalon Seafood

The Lobster Trap

Catalina Island Brew House

Two Harbors

About the Host

Soterios Johnson, formerly the local host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on radio station WNYC, moved from New York City to Davis, Calif., in 2016 and continues to explore his new surroundings. By combining his journalistic instincts with his personal curiosity, Johnson will use the California Now platform to develop a deeper understanding of his adopted home.

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