A July 2003 trip
to Salinas by John Lamb
Quote: Salinas is the birthplace of John Steinbeck and also the setting of one of his most celebrated novels, East of Eden. This journal explores the mark he left upon this city.
Restaurant | "One Main Street Cafe"
The restaurant is open for lunch from 11am to 3pm daily. They accept all major credit cards as well. The decor is like a bistro. The highlight is all the murals on the walls, which detail important scenes from Steinbeck's works and life. It has a very bright, open windowed seating area. It feels like a farmer's market also. The waitstaff was very attentive and helpful.
The food is fresh and feels like it has just been picked from the valley. The menu offers a lot of choices from soups, salads, sandwiches and pasta. They also offer an extensive wine list with local Monterey County choices. I had the Chicken Curry Croissant, which was crisp and hearty. The chicken salad contained dried apricots and cranberries. The fries were hearty and big. The key to the food is the word fresh. Everything tasted just prepared and made-to-order. My wife had the Pesto Chicken Salad and had the very same thoughts. This restaurant was our favorite of our trip to Salinas.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 22, 2004
Steinbeck Museum-Salinas: One Main Street Cafe
1 Main Street
Salinas, California 93901
The house itself is a beautiful example of craftsmanship. The inside is nicely decorated and keeps the ambiance of a home. A very personal place to eat and it feels as if you have been invited to someone's home to enjoy your meal. A tour is also available to see the upstairs and different rooms of the house.
The food is fresh and a wonderful example of California produce. A set menu of $11.50 is available with an appetizer and an entree. A dessert is $4.00 dollars extra. I had the quiche which was wonderful. It was delicate and almost like butter in the mouth. A very wonderful meal. My wife very much enjoyed the chicken piccata. We did not try the dessert, but they had some very delicious sounding options, such as Peach Gateau or Chocolate Torte.
I recommend this restaurant highly because it gives a person the chance to appreciate Steinbeck's childhood home and roots, and also experience a wonderful meal.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 22, 2004
The Steinbeck House
132 Central Avenue
Salinas, California 93901
Attraction | "Steinbeck's Grave"
The grave is unadorned and plain, fitting for a man so concerned with the common man. He is buried in the Garden of Memories in Salinas. The people at the gift shop at the Steinbeck Center were very willing to help us and give us directions to the cemetery. Steinbeck's grave is located in block N-5. His grave is a flat stone and located in a family plot that does not bear the name Steinbeck. The cemetery is not very quiet and located on a main road. When I was there, someone had left a ceramic Easter egg in tribute. Go figure.
We quietly sat for a few minutes, altough it is not as peaceful as one would imagine. It does not look over anything quite as gorgeous as I thought it would. There is a passage in Travels with Charley where he describes a hill looking over the whole Salinas valley. That may have been a better place for him. However, I do like that there is not much hoopla for his grave. No busts or statues. Just his name written on a flat stone. That seems better suited to a man who spent so much of his life writing about the people. He was a writer not concerned with personal fame, but with exposing the social ills of our society. Steinbeck's grave is a good last stop on a tour of his Salinas.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 7, 2003
National Steinbeck Center
1 Main Street
Salinas, California 93901
The center is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm, except for major holidays. Adult ticket prices are $11 with discounts for teachers and students.
First, go to the room with Steinbeck's passport photo on the entrance to see a video that gives a good overview of his life and work. It is about a 20-minute video that is well worth the stop. The rest of the center is full of interactive and interesting displays on Steinbeck's life and works. The center also gives insight into historic Salinas, including the plight of the migrant workers that are documented in The Grapes of Wrath. The center also shows excerpts from videos and plays of the many adaptations of Steinbeck's work. There are also fun activities and guessing games for students of elementary age to partake in. The best part of the exhibit for me was the inclusion of the actual Rocinante, the camper truck Steinbeck took on his trip around America in the late 1950s. The book Travels with Charley is a great account of this trip and Steinbeck shows insight into the problems we would face as Americans in the years to come.
The center also includes a gift shop that has all of his printed works as well as numerous other trinkets. A great place to load up on t-shirts, mugs and posters. The official website is .
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 6, 2003
A Taste of Monterey, at 127 Main Street, is a great place to find taste and buy the local Californian wines. They offer tastings and plenty of information. They are also very helpful.
Partington Ridge Co., at 225 Main Street, is a great place to find gifts or interesting home decor items. They have an eclectic mix of hip items that would look great around the house. We found some interesting items that we have never found before. The owner is also very friendly and gave us some free tea with our purchase.
There are also great antique stores along the way, including Halltree's and Spencer's. They offer a wide range of antiques for very affordable prices. They had great antique armoires for less than 300 dollars. Even pre-made ones don't come that cheap. They do have a fine selection of books as well, although I did think that they were a tad overpriced. Mainly, book club editions at the twenty-dollar range. However, the furniture was a steal.
Monterey Coast Brewing is a good place to eat, although a little expensive. Good local brews though and a nice setting in an old warehouse building.
This is a great place to soak in where Steinbeck roamed the streets. In fact, Steinbeck's father owned a hardware store in the area. Ask the helpful people at the Steinbeck Center for a great map that highlights places in the area significant to him.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 29, 2004
Colorado Springs, Colorado