You may not think of Los Angeles as a destination for cycling or gluten, but a day spent pedaling from Santa Monica to Culver City, sampling pastries and artisanal breads along the way, might change that. Start your day at Sidecar Doughnuts and Coffee, fueling up with one of their seasonal specials (mmm ... horchata) or a classic vanilla raised.
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On a Roll in L.A.
From there, cruise down the paved beachside path that connects Santa Monica to Venice before steering inland a few blocks for a midmorning snack at Gjusta, where breakfast—including a housemade onion-poppy bialy topped with lamb merguez, harissa, and Gruyère—is served until 5 p.m. Grab a loaf of hemp-nori or seeded rye sourdough bread to go, then explore the boutiques on Abbot Kinney Boulevard before pedaling a few miles farther to Lodge Bread Co. A recent renovation doubled the size of this two-year-old bakery, where the whole-grain, long-fermented loaves, cinnamon rolls, and cookies have a devoted following. The expansion also made room for a wood-burning oven for pizza. A Margherita and a glass of wine will go down fine before you ride into the sunset.
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San Diego: The Biggest Little Beer Town
Thanks to 135 breweries and counting, San Diego is easily the ale capital of SoCal. But many of the breweries produce in such small batches, their beers never make it across county lines. The only way to try their limited supplies? Visit the tasting rooms. Start in the North Park neighborhood at Rip Current Brewing Company. With 35 beers on tap, there’s a style for everyone, from the Bodysurfing Belgian-style Blonde to Rescue Buoy Russian Imperial Stout, served in an airy space with wooden surfboards for tables.
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San Diego Suds
From there, it’s an easy half-mile walk to the pint-size Fall Brewing Co. Tasters start at $2 (you can’t miss with their Green Hat IPA), and food is BYO. Located in an industrial park in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood 7 miles away, Societe Brewing Company specializes in both hoppy IPAs and Belgian ales, with dozens of varieties to sample (plus tours every Saturday). Nearby, Council Brewing Company does standout sours—including a passion fruit tart saison and raspberry tart saison.
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New Mexico's Triple Threat: Albuquerque
Hitting every spot on New Mexico’s many food byways would take one seriously forgiving waistband. Be a discerning eater, and focus on the most authentic stops. Start with one of Golden Pride's 11 varieties of breakfast burritos before heading to Frontier to pick up a 12-pack of the soft and lightly browned flour tortillas, made in-house since 1989. End the day with a green chile cheeseburger from the Monte Carlo Steakhouse and Liquor Store. The half-pounder is piled with enough spice to necessitate a beer—or two.
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New Mexico's Triple Threat: Santa Fe
The forearm-size burritos at Cafe Pasqual's are made with organic ingredients and covered in red, green, or “Christmas” chile sauce. Don't miss a stop at Alicia’s Tortilleria (505/438-9545). Chances are these thick, tender corn discs will still be warm when you order them off the whiteboard menu. Save some room for Dr. Field Good's wood-oven buffalo burger. The farm to table kitchen serves up its burger smothered with cheese and chiles on a potato bun.
An entry point is less than a five-minute drive from The Naramata Cider Company (try their dry apple or pear ciders) and crosses the picturesque Myra Canyon Trestles. Pick up the path again at Scenic Road Cider Co., a year-old cidery that is set amidst the orchards overlooking the lake in Kelowna.
2 p.m. It’s a three-hour drive to Lilliwaup, where you’ll find the Hama Hama Company farm store and oyster saloon. Located on the Hood Canal, this fifth generation family-owned farm is a gorgeous spot to enjoy ultra-fresh oysters (on the half-shell or grilled) and a cold beer from a perch overlooking the water before taking a self-guided tour of the farm.
10 a.m. Start your day at Ballard Farmers Market, one of the city’s best and a minute’s stroll from the hotel. Stock up on picnic provisions, then drive about 90 minutes north to Taylor Shellfish Farms on Samish Bay, where you can round out your picnic with fresh oysters, clams, and mussels and enjoy it all at a table outside that looks out at the San Juan Islands.
3:00 p.m. There’s one more stop worthy of your pilgrimage: Drayton Harbor Oyster Co. in Blaine, just below the Canadian border. Oyster beds run nearly a mile from the brick building, where you can slurp them raw or barbecued. The record for fastest time from harvest to half-shell: 17 minutes.