Catalina Food Trails

One of the most iconic Catalina Island animals was brought to the island for a film shoot in the 1920s. North American Bison – popularly known as buffalo – were shipped to the island in anticipation of them making a grand appearance on the silver screen. Although the scenes with the bison landed on the cutting room floor, the bison on the island thrived, becoming so much a part of the landscape – and the Catalina culture – that their future here is assured.

Bison on Catalina are found on logos, restaurant names, souvenirs and countless postcards. They also make two appearances on menus – as buffalo milks and bison burgers.

Catalina Island offers both a food trail and beverage trail in homage to the bison that roam the rugged interior. 

Buffalo Milk

The Buffalo Milk cocktail first made an appearance at Two Harbors in the 1970s, but their deceptive deliciousness assured that the drink quickly became an island favorite that every bartender on Catalina knows how to make. The frothy concoction includes bananas, Kahlua, vodka, crème de cacao and crème de bananas – no milking of buffalo required.

The Buffalo Milk Trail includes more than a dozen bars and restaurants that serve Catalina Island's signature cocktail. 

Original Buffalo Milk Recipe
  • 1/2 shot of Crème de Cocoa
  • 1/2 shot of Kahlua
  • 1/2 shot of Crème de Banana
  • One shot of Vodka
  • Half & Half

Blend all ingredients together with ice and top with whip cream, nutmeg and a slice of banana. 


Bison Burger

The Bison Burger Trail includes half a dozen restaurants that serve bison burgers, a leaner, more environmentally-friendly alternative to beef.