Staying on Lopez
Here are a few comments about staying on Lopez:
- Don't worry about having a car on Lopez -- everything we need will be within easy walking distance.
- Lopez is a great island for biking. We won't have a huge amount of spare time, but if you feel like you might want to take an afternoon off to explore the island by bike, there's a bike rental shop near where we're staying. You might consider bringing clothes for biking or a helmet, if you're interested. I'm also happy to help provide information on good bike routes.
- There are also a number of nice, short hikes on the island -- let me know if you want any more info.
Lopez is a *very* friendly island. In fact, whenever you pass another car or biker on Lopez, you should wave to them -- everyone waves on the island. You probably won't believe me until you see it, but I swear I'm not making this up. Get a jump-start and wave as soon as you're off the ferry.
- Several restaurants on Lopez are cash-only. There is an ATM on the island, but if you don't want to pay $2 every time you need cash, you might consider visiting your bank beforehand.
Essentially all the shops and restaurants on Lopez close by 7PM, and many close earlier. Keep this in mind when planning dinner -- late night pizza delivery isn't going to happen.
- All of the places we've rented have kitchens and refrigerators. It would probably be wise to visit the grocery store on Monday afternoon to pick up a few extra snacks, or bring something with you, especially in light of the previous point about things closing early.
- It's likely to be somewhat chilly in the evenings, probably in the high 50s or low 60s, so you may want to consider bringing a sweater or long pants.
Food around Lopez
One of the many great things about Lopez is the food -- there's some really amazing food on Lopez. Lopez prides itself on being as self-sufficient as possible, so most of the produce used at the local restaurants is grown on the island.
Here's a quick rundown of the places my wife and I love on the island, with commentary:
Vita's Wildly Delicious: This is probably my favorite eatery on Lopez. They have a deli case with a rotating selection of foods, usually with a Mediterranean influence. Most of the foods are fairly inventive, like sweet corn pudding or quinoa-lentil cakes with garlic-yogurt sauce, but they also have some more tame choices, like potato salad and meatloaf. The one thing they all have in common is that they're phenomenally tasty. They also make some great sandwiches -- I recommend the Reuben myself. There's also a whole wall of wines, but since I don't drink wine, I can't say anything about the quality of the wine selection. You can also ask for your food in a picnic basket, as I recall.
Vortex Cafe & Juice Bar: Vortex won a special place in my heart on our most recent trip to Lopez. They make quesadillas, burritos, rice bowls, and soups, as well as smoothies. Almost everything is vegetarian, and almost everything is organic. My wife and I both remember having mediocre experiences here in years past, but on this most recent trip, we discovered that they have incredibly unbelievable quesadillas. (We had quesadillas for both lunch and dinner every single meal they were open once we discovered this.) I recommend avocado, corn, and quinoa on a whole wheat tortilla. They also make insanely good coconut shakes. I predict that William will eat many, many meals at Vortex, but I could be wrong. Also, if they still have the Lopez Farmer's Market Vegetable Stew, it's great.
- The Bay Cafe: This is Lopez's fine dining establishment. It's quite tasty, but fairly pricey. Everything I've ever eaten there was memorable -- I highly recommend the flourless chocolate gateau for dessert. It's like a little slice of heaven, but with a vanilla cream sauce. They have an "early bird special," which includes a selection of one appetizer, one main course, and one dessert for $30, if you're willing to eat at 5:30. (You can also order this to go, but you still have to pick it up around 5:30 or 5:45.) One of the few places open past 7PM.
- Holly B's Bakery: I think they're best described by the subtitle of the cookbook they sell: "made with love and butter." Tasty breakfast food and desserts, as well as fresh-baked breads. Monday afternoons they have a 2-for-1 sale, if you make it in time. If you're a brownie fan, get a Katherine Hepburn brownie there -- you won't regret it.
- Bucky's Grill: One of the few Lopez eateries that is open every day (at least during the summer). They make a darn good burger, and some tasty fish tacos. Those are the only things I've ever tried on the menu -- we usually go when we're in the mood for a burger, and they don't disappoint. They also have gardenburgers and black bean burgers, if you prefer.
- Love Dog Cafe: I've only been to the Love Dog once. I remember that it was pretty good, but apparently not so memorable that I'd choose it over the places I've listed above.
Lopez Soda Fountain: Located at the pharmacy. (I'm not kidding.) They make pretty good sandwiches, but I don't know if I've ever ordered a burger there. If you do, let me know how it is. I seem to recall a tasty milkshake I had there once, but it's no Vortex Coconut Shake.
- Lopez Fudge Factory: As you'd guess from the name, they make some pretty good fudge. However, the real draw here is Lopez Island Creamery ice cream, which is outstanding. They also have pints at the grocery store, but if you're in the mood for a waffle cone or a sundae, this is the place to go. The Lopez Island Creamery used to be located just down the street, but they've closed their retail operation to spend all their time making and distributing their awesome ice cream.
There are two coffee shops on Lopez. I've always gone to Isabel's Espresso, but mostly out of habit -- I'm keen to try Cafe La Boheme on this trip. Isabel's is great, and they make their mochas with dark chocolate, if you like that kind of thing. (I sure do.) They also have a variety of iced/blended drinks.
Also, there are two grocery stores on Lopez. One is the Lopez Village Market, which is really just a Red Apple Market. They have a fairly wide selection, especially given their size. They also have a fair number of toiletries and the like, so if you forgot toothpaste, don't sweat it. The other is a much smaller organic market, called Blossom Organic Market. It's like a really tiny Whole Foods or PCC (in fact, I think it's got almost the same selection as my old Whole Foods in LA, despite being only about 5-10% of the size). They carry interesting things, like island-made sausages and produce.
As if you needed more info about food, there's also (possibly) a farmer's market on Saturdays. I'm not sure if it'll still be running (lots of things shut down after Labor Day).