Eatin’ and Drinkin’, California Style by Cate Sevilla

Cate Sevilla is my boo and the editor-in-chief of the fabulous online women’s magazine, You can follow her on Twitter as @CupCate, where she regularly talks about beer and fatty foods.

Cate by Caroline Briggs

I lived in California for 20 years. I was born in what’s now known as the Silicon Valley, and from the time I was five until II was 18 I lived in a subdivision that was not unlike what you see on frightening suburban sitcoms. 
Whenever I tell someone I’m from California, they get a dreamy, if not aroused look in their eye. “CAL-AH-FORNIA!”  they exclaim, “Oh which part?!” When they ask this, they are really asking me if by “California” do I really mean “Los Angeles”. 
I suck in a breath and inform them that I’m from the suburbs of Sacramento…. and then their eyes roll into the back of their head and they pass out from the sheer disappointment and boredom. Yes, I am from Northern California, and not even San Francisco (or “Frisco” as losers like to call it.) 
I didn’t grow up on the beach playing volleyball in my bikini, nor did I go to high school with any celebrities. (Although Wikipedia has informed me that I did go to school with someone who has a Bronze Olympic medal, and another who has been on HBO). I lived in a town where we had three drive-through McDonalds off of one road, an Applebees, a Wal-Mart, and the closest thing we had to a vintage shop was a Goodwill store where you more likely to find a pair of dirty knickers than vintage Dior. 
However, while I may have grown up in little boxes made of ticky-tacky, California means more to me than mini-vans, soccer moms and cul-de-sacs. And after 4 years of English living,  I’ve come to realize that California has come to mean precisely mean two things to me: Food and Drink. 
Not movies, not film stars, not celebrities or even Seth Cohen. (OK, maybe Seth Cohen.) California is the motherland for so many, many delicious things in my eyes, and it is those things I miss when I’m stood in a puddle of rain, freezing my ass off in London…in the middle of July. 
So, readers of Mademoiselle Robot, I give you not fashion, nor style…I give you food, carbohydrates and beer. Because it is the American way. 
So here they are. The best 5 things to eat and drink in California:
Anchor Steam 
Anchor Steam Beer label
Photo courtesy of bochalla 
Born and brewed in San Francisco, this amber, rich lager was first brewed in 1896, and is a favorite amongst Californians, and can even be bought in London. I had a keg of Anchor Steam at my wedding reception, and whenever I crack open a bottle of it in London, it makes me feel at home. 
In ‘n Out 
In-n-Out at Night
Photo courtesy of greychr 
If you’ve never had a cheeseburger at In ‘n Out, you really, really don’t know what you’re missing. Only available in California, In ‘n Out may be a fast food chain, but it’s most certainly the best. Their staff are friendly, their French fries are made out of actual potatoes that are sliced and fried right before your very eyes, and their burgers are simply orgasmic. (And their milkshakes… *shudder* don’t even get me started on their milkshakes.) 
Mel’s Diner

mels diner-6029.jpg
Photo courtesy of David Sifry 
If you’re looking for a true American diner experience, go to Mel’s. There’s some confusion over Mel’s Drive-In vs Mel’s Diner – apparently there was some family drama and the two chains split – however, as long as you’re at a diner with the name “Mel” in front of it, you’re at the right place. 
When I was younger, anytime my family went out to dinner I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. (Even if it was only available on the kid’s menu.) I consider myself ot be a bit of a grilled cheese sandwich expert, and Mel’s Diner has the best in the entire world. Three cheeses + garlic salt + sourdough bread = HEAVEN. (And possibly a heart attack.) While at Mel’s, enjoy their shakes, fries, burgers, and delicious mozzarella sticks dipped in ranch dressing – just don’t forget to bring some quarters for the jukebox.  
Boudin Bakery 
Boudin Kitchen
Photo courtesy of greychr 
Sourdough bread is the one thing that I find only California can get right. Another staple in my (fatty) diet, sourdough bread was born and baked in San Francisco – my favorite place to buy it from is the Boudin Bakery in Fisherman’s Wharf.   
Sourdough bread is baked all over the world – not very well, mind you – but it is seriously the most tasty bread in all of the land. Toasted with a bit of butter? Yes please. Fried with cheese melted on top? Absolutely. If you’re in California, you must try a fresh loaf of sourdough bread. It will change your life, and potentially become your new religion. Carbs FTW. 
Mexican Food 
Speedy's on Memorial...Best Mexican food in town!
Photo courtesy of Wilburn.Glenda 
People who claim to like Mexican food but have never been to Mexico or California concern me. Why? Because it is impossible to know if you like it or not, if you’re not tried it properly. (No, Taco Bell doesn’t count. What’s that? NO. Chipotle doesn’t count, either!) 

While Northern California may be more about Tex-Mex and more Mexican-American, the Mexican food in most any region of California is mind blowing. Burritos, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, salsa, tortilla chips made from actual tortillas….pair all of these with cheap margarita and you’re ready to roll. 

So there you have it, folks. If you ever find yourself in California, I insist you try one or all of the above. Just don’t blame me if you can’t fit into your jeans when you come back. (But trust me, it’s so worth it. God bless America!)