Summer is officially here and for this California girl that means trips up and down the coast. I feel so fortunate to live in such a beautiful state and to have the ability to drive hour or two north or south and be transported to a summer vacation. And since we’re in the height of Strawberry Season I decided to do just that a take a drive up from Los Angeles to Oxnard to finally for the first time (last month) to check out the famed Oxnard Strawberry Festival.
For my mini-road trip I wanted to be able to drive up in comfort with enough space to pack a bunch of strawberries to-go and I got just that. I test drove the GMC Denali Terrain SLE in strawberry red because why not match my road trip theme. The Terrain is a cute, smaller SUV in the GMC line, with awesome range and efficiency for California coastline trips. It has all the luxury of a Denali, but more compact for easy, smooth riding. AND bonus (which I thoroughly enjoyed) it has Apple Car Play and a 4GE Wi-Fi Hotspot built in which was perfect for listening enjoyment and of course Instagramming all the strawberry treats I found!
So we jumped in our strawberry red Denali Terrain and headed north. It was smooth sailing up the coast with perfect blue skies and an ocean view. Being a small car driver I wasn’t sure how I would feel driving a compact SUV, but once on the road I was so at ease. The Terrain was so easy to drive and made the ride smooth and seamless. The dashboard navigation made the drive really simple too. But that Apple Car play really spoiled me and I still think about all the Terrain bells and whistles when I drive my own car now. I miss you Strawberry (yes, I named her!).
When we got to the California Strawberry Festival I really didn’t know what to expect. From first look it appeared to be a pretty packed carnival with a bunch of strawberry vendors. When I entered I was greeted by tastes of fresh strawberries from various local farmers. You can purchase pints or more from them if you like their strawberries and they really did vary from farm to farm.
We we made our way further in we found the full food area. This is when I really got excited! We’re talking strawberry popcorn, strawberry ice cream, strawberry beer and so much more!
As I do, I had done a little Instagram research before we left. I love to look up the geotag for an area, as well as their own social accounts to get a sneak peek at what’s food is in store. I also like to use it to make sure I don’t miss any really tasty looking treats. That’s how I first discovered Strawberry Nachos.
Our first mission, find the nachos. They were a bit hidden, but I’m so glad we didn’t miss them. They’re sugar coated freshly fried flour tortillas topped with a strawberry compote, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and a crispy sweet nacho crumble. They were so good we finished the whole basket knowing we had many more treats ahead of us. The sweet crunch paired with the strawberry compote were too good to resist.
Next up on our strawberry sweets crawl was Strawberry Lumpia. As a Filipina and Filipino food lover I had to see what this was all about. While I wish they were actually filled with strawberries, they were instead only filled with a sweet cream cheese that was topped with macerated fresh strawberries and powedered sugar. Good, but not as special as the nachos.
We of course enjoyed some savories in between the sweets along with so much strawberry beer (which was great by the way) so with only so much stomach space left we reserved the build-your-own strawberry shortcake bar as our grand finale. It’s such a fun set up with stations of sliced poundcake, sliced strawberries, stewed strawberries, whole strawberries and whipped cream. I loved how you could really get creative with your layering and with your toppings. I kept mine classic with a poundcake base topped with some of the stewed strawberries and garnished with whole strawberries.
I love strawberry shortcake because it just gives me all the summer feels. It was the perfect way to end our sweet day.
We continued our journey up the coast to Santa Barbara for the night, strawberries in tow. It was a really magical sweet escape from LA. A two hour (total) drive up the coast in style and comfort for a quick getaway from the city. Thanks for letting me test drive this gem GMC!
p.s. CA strawberries are still in season so while you can’t enjoy the California Strawberry Festival any longer, you can head to your local farmer’s market and pick up a basket!