BEFORE YOU GO

READ THIS

Sparkling stories of a wide-eyed Midwesterner and the crazy characters she meets in 1970s San Francisco

WATCH THIS

Cameo-filled, razor-sharp satire on the behind-the-scenes scheming of the Hollywood film industry

BUY THIS

Handy but busy road map, including inserts of San Francisco, Los Angeles and Yosemite


WHEN YOU'RE THERE

EAT THESE

Five foods to try on your trip round California

SUPER BURRITO Jumbo flour tortilla native to San Francisco’s Mission district that is stuffed with carne asada (steak) or carnitas (shredded roast pork), pinto beans, rice, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream and cheese.

COBB SALAD This classic salad – lettuce topped with chicken, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, avocado, chives, Roquefort cheese and French dressing – was created in a Hollywood restaurant in the 1930s.

SAN FRANCISCO CLAM CHOWDER Thick, hearty soup made from bacon, onions, potatoes and cream, topped with thyme and served in a crispy sourdough bread bowl; try the Boudin Bakery near Fisherman’s Wharf, who have been using the same recipe since 1849

APPLE PIE It might be America’s national dish, but word has it that a family-owned shop in southern California produces the best pies in the land. They’re shipped all over the state, so keep a lookout for the soft, rich apple pies from the Julian Pie Company.

PINKS HOT DOGS There are over forty hot dogs to choose from at this historic LA stand, a favourite with celebrities (some of whom have their own signature sausages), though it’s hard to look past the chili cheese dog, recently named the best in the state.

DO THIS (AND DON’T DO THAT)

DO...

• Tip.  Many hotel and restaurant workers depend on tips to make a living – 15 to 20 percent is the going rate. 

• Remember to factor in any additional hotel, city and tourism taxes, as these can bump up your costs quite considerably, particularly if you’re staying in an expensive hotel.

• Make sure you’ve got travel insurance. The US has no national healthcare system and medical bills are notoriously astronomical.

DON’T…

• Over-order. Remember that food portions in the US will invariably be larger than you’re used to, plus you’ll always get free refills of tea, coffee and soft drinks.

• Smoke in restaurant and bars, as the state of California has banned smoking in all indoor public places.

• Refer to San Francisco as “San Fran” or, even worse, “Frisco” when you’re talking to locals, as nothing infuriates the city’s residents more than these supposed nicknames!