Monday, October 5, 2015

Fresh halibut with a Cajun seasoning was an offering today, Feb. 6, 2014, at Reel Inn, Malibu, Calif. (Marshall V. King/Elkhart Truth)

A plate of fried oysters sits in front of John Alter at Reel Inn, Malibu, Calif. (Marshall V. King/Elkhart Truth)

The premise is simple at Reel Inn: order fresh fish how you want it. (Marshall V. King/Elkhart Truth)

The building that Reel Inn is in has been there for decades and the restaurant has been there for more than a quarter century. (Marshall V. King/Elkhart Truth)

Fresh oysters on a plate at Reel Inn, Malibu, Calif. (Marshall V. King/Elkhart Truth)

Jay Fields enjoys a plate of fish tacos at Reel Inn, Malibu, Calif. (Marshall V. King/Elkhart Truth)

Much of the country has a blanket of snow, but not the coast of California. The left is a shot near Chicago and the right is near Los Angeles. (Marshall V. King/Elkhart Truth)
Dining A La King group met with warm breezes
Posted on Feb. 6, 2014 at 8:28 p.m.

It's always a crazy thing to rip yourself from one location and climate to another.

To park a car in a pile of snow in Chicago, where the temperature was single digits, and board a plane to a place where it was 50 degrees warmer is thrilling and yet bizarre.

"Palm trees. I love it. And no white stuff on the ground. Is this another country?" said Sueann VonGunten, one of the dozen people who joined myself and Jay Fields of Indiana Wholesale & Liquor Co. on this trek to the Central Coast of California.

A few barely made the flight in Chicago, but made it.

We disembarked at LAX, that airport I've seen in television shows but never been in.

And when we went outside, it was just shy of 60 degrees and breezy.

We got on a bus to head up the Pacific Coast Highway. We stopped for lunch at Reel Inn. It's a diner that specializes in fresh fish. The instructions are to pick your fish, which you see in the case, and then pick the preparation and the side dishes.

The offerings are written on a chalkboard. The food is fresh and tasty. The halibut with Cajun seasoning was firm, flavorful and lovely.

We drove up the highway between the hills and the ocean. We were in Malibu, another place I've heard of for a lifetime, but had couldn't comprehend.

Houses on the hills looked over the ocean. We passed Cher's house, according to our driver, David Hamilton.

But he added, "All you see are gates and driveways and ocean. You never know who lives on the other side."

We drove past the fields of strawberries and other crops near Oxnard, Calif. Central Coast, where we are, helps feed the rest of the United States.

And we're in Santa Barbara, along the ocean, where it smells of rain.

Dinner awaits. Visits to wineries happy tomorrow. The Dining A La King tour is underway.

I'm hungry. Let's eat.