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Tasty treats up and down the coastline-

Hey CA hounds-

My fiance and I are taking a week+ to take Rte 1 from San Francisco down to San Diego. We know nothing. We're looking for suggestions of anything, particularly places that accomodate vegetarians and carnivores well. cheap, expensive, romantic, divey, uniquely CA (we're already going to in and out) anything. Good breakfasts, brunches, lunches, dinners, bars, desserts, snacks. Any of it. All of it. please help!



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  1. Try the Fish & Chips at Giovanni's on the Embarcadero in Morro Bay.
    Piping hot and great fresh fish.
    Dine on their patio or take it to the park nearby.
    Very short side trip off Hwy. 1.

    1. these are some places I've hit and returned to;
      In Aptos, just south of Santa Cruz, Sushi on the Run just across Soquel Rd from Safeway. Excellent quality in a to-go location.

      In Carmel, up Carmel Valley Rd about 3-4 miles in Valley Pines Center, just before Earthbound Farms (overpriced organic veggies and flowers) stop at the Wagon Wheel for a pancake breakfast. A locals place for great pancakes.

      South past Big Sur, in Cambria, the French Corner Bakery has some of the nicest baked goods on the lower central coast. Classic European style. Tres Leches cake to die for. Tables available.

      In San Luis Obispo, downtown, Linneas' coffee house on Garden St. is an institution with good coffee bar and interesting B'fast and lunch menu items. Veggie, cheap; funky local vibe.

      For early morning (hot out of the kitchen at 6:15 a.m.) pan dulces in the Arroyo Grande area--1/2 hour south of Morro Bay--from 101/1, take the Grand Ave exit and go west to 13th street. Go left on 13th to the 3rd stop. at Farrol Rd. In the center on the left corner is Panaderia Carmelita #2. They also do a fair Tres Leches cake. Simple tortas sandwiches too for a grab 'n go meal.

      At the Grand Ave exit,turn east thru the second light to Doc Burnstein's Lab and Ice Cream Parlor. The real deal: rich and inventive flavors, old fashioned place with toy trains going, etc. Try Doc's Java for a strong jolt. http://www.docburnsteins.com/main/fla...

      10 min farther south in Santa Maria is the Tamale Shop at Betteravia and Blosser with 7 types. Tables available. North on Blosser at Main is El Toro Deli; very good Mexican deli items, takeout only.

      Turn west from 101/1 at the Clark Ave. exit in south Santa Maria (Orcutt)to the first stoplight. Tucked in the corner of a stripmall is Chef Rick's Ultimately Fine Foods. Make it a lunch stop. Same menu items as dinner, but far cheaper. Great food and wine list. http://www.chefricks.com/dinner01.htm

      In Los Alamos, 15 min to the south, on FRI/SAT nites only, American Flatbread Pizza opens its facility for dining. A real kick sitting in the same room with the oven and eating wood-fired artisan cracker bread pizzas. Organic ingredients. Nice saloon-style bar with a fireplace. Locals place, not touristy. Cozy and inviting.

      1. Santa Barbara
        Breakfast - Tupelo Junction cafe on State Street. My favorite is the crab cake w. potato hash avacado salsa. you can see their menu on line.

        Like mexican ? a must is La Super Rica on Milpas st in Santa Barbara . I recommend #17 Super rica special grilled pork and cheese..to die for . Tacos Rajas- grilled chillies w/ cheese add a side of guacamole
        not texmex ... trust me try it .

        Ventura marina- Andria's for lunch- great halibut and chips . very good chowder

        breakfast - Potato Shack

        San Diego

        Mexican- El Indio ...good typical mexican

        These are all very reasonable and all landmarks worth the stop.

        2 Replies
        1. re: need to eat

          Second Tupelo for breakfast, and here's a tip: you can get lunch items for breakfast, too! There must be a billion threads on each of the places you're stopping (I know there are lots of threads on Santa Barbara, and vegetarian food in various parts of the state).. You might have better luck searching for each town/topic separately.

          1. re: LBeff

            Definitely. I'm enjoying searching the town threads, but it's also a little overwhelming (I guess the answer to this is not less consolidation, though... hrm) :-)

            I think one place we're definitely looking for help with is Morro Bay/SLO, as I think that's the night we're definitely going to have completely to ourselves.

        2. In Cambria, I really like the Black Cat Bistro and Robins for dinner. . . both wonderful food and great settings. Black Cat is a little fancier, but both places are cozy and we haven't been dissappointed.

          Also, in Los Olivos (Santa Barbara wine country) -- the Los Olivos Cafe on the main street is wonderful. Great for lunch!

          You will so enjoy your trip! Have fun!

          1. I second the recommendation for Los Olivos Cafe. They always serve excellently fresh local ingredients.


            Also, Doc Burnstein's in Arroyo Grande is a great place to stop and stretch your legs and get a snack.

            1. These all sound great. Anyone got anything else? Monterrey, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara?

              1. In SLO try Big Sky Cafe. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and have lots of vegetarian options. Windows on the Water in Morro Bay is very good for something upscale. Taco Temple in Morro Bay serves "California fusion" cuisine in a very casual setting. Robins in Cambria also fits your needs as does Novo in SLO.

                1 Reply
                1. re: sgbslo

                  I was disappointed in Taco Temple - their prices are quite high, and the food just wasn't all that. There's much better Mexican food to be had in the area. I tried the carnitas platter - the carnitas was crispy for sure, but not much flavor to it. Also tried the fish tacos - I wasn't overly impressed.

                  If you're in Pismo Beach - there's Splash Cafe (splashcafe.com), which I don't think has been mentioned yet. They have amazing clam chowder (along with other fried seafood goodies). They also have a location in SLO which is a bakery-cafe, but I prefer the more casual beachy atmosphere of the Pismo location. There's also Rosa's Restaurant in Pismo (rosasrestaurant.com) - I've never been, but my sister loves their butternut squash ravioli.

                  If you're in the mood for burgers, try Old Village Grill in Arroyo Grande. Also a casual atmosphere.

                2. Here is a quick review of spots in the SLO/Morro Bay area that hubby and I love:

                  Bon Temps Creole Café—one of our favorites in the area. We showed up a little after 12:00 and noticed they were still serving breakfast. We found out later that now they are serving breakfast until 2pm everyday. You can still order lunch beginning at noon, however. Hubby and I were both in the mood for lunch. I ordered the fried shrimp po’ boy that comes with sweet potato fries, French fries, or potato salad. I love their French fries, so I ordered those. Hubby went with the seafood and andouille jambalaya. My sandwich came dressed with creole mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato. The shrimp were still moist and meaty with a crunch fried exterior. The sandwich was excellent, including the bread which was soft and slightly sweet. And the fries did not disappoint, they were crunchy and hot and went well with the shrimp. I loved this lunch and miss this restaurant so much!! Hubby said the jambalya was delicious. It came to the table in a skillet and heaped high with shrimp and sausage. Hubby said the flavors were good, but that it was a little too tomato-y. He would have preferred a little less tomato and a little more pepper and heat. Overall, it fit the bill for a flavorful lunch. Don't overlook this place for a dynamite breakfast, including a coon ass skillet breakfast and fried green tomatoes and eggs. We feel that it is an overlooked gem of the Central Coast.

                  1000 Olive St
                  San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
                  (805) 544-2100

                  While goofing around in SLO, we remembered that we wanted to visit an herb shop run by a former student of my hubby. We headed over to Garden Street and entered the little shop. While there are a lot of herbs here, of course we focused on her nice selection of culinary herbs. You can buy as much or as little as you like. Many of the herbs she offers are organic or she can tell you where they came from. We selected some much needed cumin, some lemon thyme(which smells soooo good), and some chipotle cayenne pepper. We had never heard of chipotle cayenne pepper, but have since used it at home and it adds a fabulous smoky layer of flavor to food along with heat. She has a good selection of culinary herbs as well as teas. The charming shop is what makes SLO a cool place to visit.

                  Secret Garden
                  1129 Garden St # A
                  San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
                  (805) 544-4372

                  We also made a stop in Cambria and had a quick pastry at the French Corner Bakery. We had the bear claw and while it was good, it was not as good as some of the other pastries we’ve had there.

                  French Corner Bakery 2214 Main St
                  Cambria, CA

                  We had been planning our dinner for months, ever since we had been to Baywood Park previously and Planet Pizza had been closed. We knew we had to stop by for dinner before heading back home. We made our way to the tiny little coastal town next to Los Osos and ordered the Santa Fe, which is a BBQ style pizza. There is literally no seating inside this tiny storefront. There is a big pizza oven, a fridge, and an ordering counter. You either get your pizza to go or eat outside on the patio furniture. We placed our order and sat outside enjoying the cool coastal air(since we are from the Central Valley, we actually were enjoying feeling cold). We people watched and read our magazines while our pizza was baking. Once our pizza arrived, we were in heaven. The crust is just the right thickness and bursting with yeasty flavor. The sauce was a mixture of tomato and BBQ and it was just right. It had a slightly sweet and smoky flavor that went well with the chicken and the artichoke hearts. The only problem was that we forgot to order the pizza with no garlic and there was a LOT of garlic. I like garlic, but with a pizza crust and sauce this good, you don’t want too much garlic. We devoured the pizza and felt that we could just eat this pizza with the crust, sauce, and cheese and be completely satisfied. It was totally worth the drive to eat this pizza.

                  Planet Pizza
                  1325 2nd street,
                  Baywood Park (officially Los Osos), CA, 93402
                  (805) 528-6277

                  I would say you have to eat at Taco Temple in Morro Bay and order something off of the specials board. This is a great Cal-Mex-Baja place and everything is fresh and delicious. If you search the board for Taco Temple, you will get several recommendations and reviews. They are also very vegetarian friendly.
                  2680 Main St
                  Morro Bay, CA 93442

                  I know that Pete's Pierside Cafe and Market on the working pier in Port San Luis at the far end of Avila Beach is not to be missed. Here is a recent chowhound report:

                  Avila Beach, CA 93424

                  1. The Hitching Post! Save some $$ for a meal there. Esp if you're into Prime Rib. This was the restaurant noted and seen in the movie Sideways. Food is awesome. The one from movie is in Casmalia -Outside Santa Barbara however, there's another in Buellton, just at the entrance to Solvang. Memorable! And, I second Robin's in Cambria - Sit outside on the patio. Stay in Cambria if you can - nifty village w/great food! My fav was making a picnic and sitting at the shoreline to watch the sea otters frolic in the noon day sun. If you go to Los Olivos and you're into wines, get yourself a visitors guide - they'll have coupons in there for FREE tastings!

                    Interesting place to stay: www.treebonesresort.com - Santa Cruz

                    1. Definitely stop in to the San Gregorio general store in SG (hwy 84e.) 1 mile from the beach...

                      Duartes's in Pescadaro....

                      Happy Taco in Half Moon Bay - killer!

                      Saturn Cafe - Santa Cruz...'unique' and 24 hour strangeness - in a good way -

                      Seaside - Bahn Thai - one of my faves in the world - really....lived in NYC, SF, and this place crushes...mom is cooking....

                      Monterey - Won Ju - epic Korean - lot's of food...just keeps coming on out...

                      Carmel - Tommy Woks - dumb name - very very good Chinese food...and reasonable - which in Carmel is no small feat.

                      Big Sur - Nepenthe - great sandwiches and killer views....

                      Thats it for my recs....drive safe!

                      1. almost forgot....if you are looking for the ultimate $$$$ romantic splurge - the restuarant at Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur is unreal....worth it for the view alone night or day....

                        1. The definite don't miss stop is Rudels smoke house on the beach in Cayucos. Their smoked fish tacos are unlike any fish taco you have ever had. They usually have 3-4 types of smoked fish as well as pork and chicken for non fish people. they are open 11-6 7 days a week and near closing time on Sundays during the summer local musicians gather to play and sing any song that someone can remember most of the words to.