Driving I-5 South from Portland to Red Bluff Thanksgiving week -
The hubby and I are driving from Portland to Gallup, NM via I-5 and I-40. I would love some non-chain (unless they are local and good) restaurant suggestions that are close to the freeway and worth stopping at. We are huge breakfast fans and have eclectic tastes for all the other meals. Also, if you happen to know any good spots from Bakersfield to Gallup off of 40, would love to hear about it.
In Stockton, 1/2 south of Sacramento, there is a cute bakery called Toot Sweets. Local coffee and baked goods all from scratch. 'March' exit off I-5, turn east and then directly north into the chopping center.
On Hammer Lane, there is a great Vietnamese place called Pho Lucky. In an old shopping center at the corner of Hammer Lane and No. El Dorado, about 10 minutes east of the freeway. Great fresh Lemonade made with limes. Open 7 days.
8034 N El Dorado St, Stockton, CA 95210
4755 Quail Lakes Dr D, Stockton, CA 95207
I agree with everything TJ said about Phillip’s Farms, although one time I couldn’t even find a place to park. Usually it is not crowded. I have also had some excellent food at Giusti’s a few miles west of I-5 on the Sacramento River levee near Thornton just north of Hwy 12.
Beware of staying at Harris Ranch if the breeze is from the north. The rooms are nice, but you might lose your dinner from the nauseating smell of the Harris Ranch slaughter yards wafting by.
Thanks for mentioning Giusti's--it's a great local's place. Right on the Sacramento River Delta--birds, water, and breezes make a great anitdote for marathon I-5 travel. And it's just a short jaunt off the freeway near the two giant TV antenna towers (Twin Cities Rd). Really good food with atmosphere.
Phillip's Farms has a giant parking lot addition, to the west of the main lot in front of the building. But your holiday traveler alert is correct. Lost of locals coming and going too, to pick up holiday pies. If the OP goes through on any days besides the day before TD, TD, or Sunday, it should be OK.
Wolfesen's in Gustine is 5 minutes off the freeway through orchards and fields. Lots of sausage to buy & take along in the ice chest, or good hot and cold deli sandwiches to eat here or to take with. Their meats are terrific, and the people behind the counter love their jobs. Cute little valley town. Might even be a place for breakfast, but I wouldn't know...
re: toodie jane
Wolfsen's opens at 8 am, so while breakfast may be a sandwich of some type, it could be an option. The soups are very good there: I recently had some chicken tortilla soup that I had purchased at Wolfsen's a while ago and put in my freezer: thawed it out when I was feeling under the weather. Let hubby have some too and his comment after one bite was: "where did you find such good pre-made soup?" It was nicely spicy and the shredded chicken was very flavorful. I plan to stock up on more soups for the freezer on my next visit.
Last time I stopped at Harris Ranch the restrooms weren't even clean. It is off my list now, though I have become a 99 rather than a 5 type of gal.
I've made 150 trips down I-5 in the last 18 years. My Recs:
Eugene -Thai -- Makelas.
Ashland- Breakfast/lunch- for some of the best food on I-5, the Morning Glory (Exit 14)
Best Coffee -- Allann Bros. (exit 233 in Albany-east side parallel to hiway), and Has Beans on Main St in Mt. Shasta. In Mt. Shasta, across the street and up a block north is Chris and Dees (sp?) deli.....good sandwiches.
In Redding, the absolute best place for dinner is Jack's Grill on California St downtown. Opened for steaks in 1938, and nothing has changed. Good steaks, reasonable prices.
North exit in Corning to the west is Bartell's Burgers -- simple, but good hamburgers.
Los Banos -- sheepherder's Basque down by the railroad tracks. A classic.
Gustine (have to turn off of the freeway on Hiway 140 east for about 4 miles. Wolfsen's Meats. They have great sandwiches (sausages of all kinds).
1743 California St, Redding, CA 96001
Here's a thread about the Bakersfield area.
Here is a great mother-of-all-Central Valley-posts; though some info may be outdated, it will give you a good idea of the dining opportunites--or lack thereof in some areas--in this high-speed commute corridor. Many hounds have contributed to sniffing out the hidden gems, and it still gets random updates.
Good cafe and pie shop in Lodi at the Highway 12 offramp--1/2 mile east on 12 from I-5
Phillips Farms. Fresh produce, wine tasting room and bakery (PIES not to be missed!) and cafe with good sandwiches, etc. Can be very busy on holidays but should be ramped up for pies for the holiday, depending on what day you are driving through. Beautiful 1/2 acre perennial and herb garden with lawn and benches--good place for kids to get out and run around. Picnic tables if you want to eat outside (summer).
There are lots of I-5 CA threads--just search the Calif board with "I-5 and (the town name)" and you'll get lots of ideas.