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Aug 28, 2007 08:20 PM

Driving to Idyllwild..

this saturday morning, probably the 210 to the 30 to the 10 to the 243 (but this is negotiable). Is there any place along that route that I should stop for lunch?

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  1. Not sure about the drive up, but when in Idyllwild, we always eat at Gastrognome and take some of their delicious bread home! Once on the way there we stopped and ate at a restaurant that looked like a big red barn - maybe it is called that??!! I believe it is off the 10. If you want a great massage, go to Sandy. She is phenomenal!

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      1. Since we drive from SD up to Idyllwild, what I pass along the way is completely different than what you'll pass! I can't remember any places of interest along that stretch of the 10, but you should be able to find some standard chains.

        In Idyllwild, Gastrognome is good (lunch is cheaper) but we really enjoyed our dinner at Cafe Aroma. Very dog friendly, mostly Italian menu (the double mushroom ravioli was so good), tasty mussels, and a nice atmosphere. Saturday nights they have prime rib, but it seems to sell out quickly.

        1 Reply
        1. re: leanneabe

          At the 30/10 merge get off at the first exit (Orange St.). It is immediately past the merge. Go up to Orange St. (through the stop sign) and turn right. Go about 4 blocks and turn left on State Street. The Farm Artisan Foods is about half a block on the right. Its one of the best restaurants in the area. The specialize in local fresh produce. If you think its too expensive (lunch ~$15 to 20), one block further up State Street is The Gourmet Pizza Shoppe. They have excellent pizzas and beer on tap.

        2. thanks for your input. we'll probably try the pizza place for lunch.

          3 Replies
          1. re: barryc

            We spent this past weekend in Idyllwild. We had an excellent dinner at Cafe Aroma on Friday night; fresh ingredients, well prepared, homemade bread and dipping oil, relaxing ambience with interesting details throughout the place; and enjoyed it so much we returned for breakfast and lunch on Sunday. All our meals at Cafe Aroma were very good. They have a lovely outdoor patio (with heaters) and live music throughout the day.

            We had one dinner at Gastrognome and were not nearly as impressed. The feeling is a nice old mountain restaurant on the down hill slide. The bread looked great (3 choices) but tasted boring. Two in our party had trout which was quite good. The roasted chicken sauce was too salty and way too much sauce and the potatos and brocolli were way overcooked. The beef tournadoes were incredibly small for the price tag and nothing to write home about. It looks as though this place was once the "best restaurant in town" but now the venue and the menu could use a lot of updating to get back to that realm.

            Java Lounge was a great little coffee spot with internet access.

            1. re: lmmsdca

              I agree 100% about Gastrognome. It's the kind of place that's good for the environs, but has no serious competition.

              1. re: lmmsdca

                Funny - I, too, was there last weekend and hit Aroma on Friday night and "saved" the Gnome for Saturday (as I had heard it was the "it" place in Idyllwild). Our dinner Saturday was so bad, we abandoned our half-eaten plates and went back to Aroma for dessert! The Gastrognome just looks old and tired, the service was downright bad, and the menu seemed like it hasn't been updated in a decade and a half. We even ordered off the nightly specials menu. My chicken and asparagus "rolls" had clearly been sitting under a heat lamp for a while: they were dry, chewy, and in dire need of seasoning. My SO's chicken diablo was a mess: it was basically half a cut-up chicken doused in a soupy sauce that was flavorful, but completely unattractive. On the plus side, my mashed potatoes were pretty good. shrug. Oh yeah, and the wine list was very sparse.
                Can't wait to try Aroma for breakfast and/or lunch.