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Advice for Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo (and finding a place called Pongo) [moved from LA]

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My sister and I are planning a small road trip, starting in Santa Monica and going north on hwy 1 through Ventura and Santa Barbara and probably Big Sur, and then coming home on 101 thorugh San Luis Obispo.

We're on a squeaky tight budget and like to explore interesting, spicy, and inexpensive food.

I am thinking that we should get to La Superica in Santa Barbara for our first night dinner, but if we don't get that far, are there any suggestions for Oxnard ? Also, on the way home, if we are around San Luis Obispo, or the area (on sunday) is there any place we could go?

Okay, and here is a special request. Years ago, I took a road trip around San Luis Obispo, I got lost looking for a hiking spot, and ended up hot and disoriented at a old, old place in the middle of no where called Pongo ? (I think). It served ice cold pitchers of draft beer with olives floating inside. It was delicious. Was that, like, a mirage or does someone else know of that place?

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  1. If you end up in Oxnard then this would be a place of discovery to give a try. Two prior Chowhound reviews found here:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5870...

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5871...

    Points north of Ventura (Santa Barbara to SLO) are all talked about/covered on the California board http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/3?ta... and you need to post your request for those locales over there.

    1. Superica is a must. Don't forget...CASH ONLY. Nothing worse than remembering that after 30 minutes in line. Great horchata.

      My two cents: Jocko's in Nipomo. AWESOME Santa Maria BBQ steaks. Call first to gauge crowd.

      1. La Super Rica can be great but only if you skip the tacos at the beginning of the menu as most taquerias and taco trucks in L.A. have them beat. Stick to the 'specials' on the white board below the menu and some of the menu items after the tacos are great. I really like the #16 La Super Rica Especial, the little bowl of molten cheese with chorizo (forget the name and number) if devoured while still hot, extra tortillas (hecho a mano) and the best Horchata that I've ever tasted (refills for $1). While most of the daily specials are very good, some of them are small portions. The Chilaquiles which are served a couple of days a week are excellent and the Pozole which is served until they run out on Sundays only is world class as is the hot and vinegary salsa roja that only comes with this dish. I always ask for extra salsa, it's really wonderful! L.A. Mexican food hounds, you know who you are, don't knock LSR if you haven't tried their Posole, I can't find it's equal in ELA, Boyle Heights, Highland Park.......etc!

        4 Replies
        1. re: sel

          I agree with this 100% about La Super Rica. The plain tacos, e.g., asada, are unremarkable, but the specials are extraordinary. Their pozole is fantastic and I love their calabacitas (squash) with pork when its is available.

            1. re: BombayUpWithaTwist

              The place/town you are looking for is POZO. San Luis Obispo County.

              North of Santa Maria, and then East by about 5 miles is Guadalupe- La Simpitia. Fantastic food. Homemade mexican, traditional and delicious.

              In a hurry? Santa Maria again- East Betteravia- a awesome taco truck 1.5 miles or so east of the 101.

              Have a great trip.

              1. re: OldJalamaMama

                note that this taco truck, "Tichita", works the strawberry field season, and Rosa (or her sister) closes up by about 2 pm. Saturdays she may be open a bit later. Winters just weekdays at lunch. Just east of Rosemary Rd on Betteravia, about 3 minutes from the freeway. Tichita's commissary is La Mia Mkt. which is located behind 7-11 on North B'way near the Food Maxx center. Open daily till 9 pm. in case Tichita's is closed for the day. Yummy food!!

                For dinner from a taco truck in the evening in Santa Maria, cruise either North Broadway (access from 101 either 'Main street'--head west to B'way, turn right-- or 'North Boradway') or West Main, west of Broadway. The trucks are parked in the parking lots of small strip malls or businesses that are closed for the day, after 6 or 7 pm. Dependable tacos, tortas, etc. They work out of commissary kitchens of the best take-out Mexican deli's in Santa Maria. Tacos usually 1.00 to 1.50 with all the fixin's.

          1. Old Town Ventura is a special place for small restaurant dining and quaint shopping - take the Main Street exit from 101.

            La Simpatia in Guardalupe is great for chilie rellenos and going on to walk the boardwalk out to the ocean at Oso Flaco lake is a wonderful side trip if the day is warm and you want to see some nature, just north of Guadalupe on Highway One outside of Santa Maria.

            I think poking around Solvang and having some take-away abelskivers (fried Danish dumpling balls with raspberry jam) is a pretty inexpensive treat and some of the shops there are unique and often have bargains.

            We love the shoe store there on the main street plus just window shopping without spending much money except for some interesting cookie cutters or baking accessories is fun in their Danish import shops.

            Recently went to Jockos in Nipomo and you will get a lot of food there and it is very well priced, but save it for the end of your trip so you can take the rest of it home and have a couple more meals from your dinner choice there.

            If you want to splurge on BBQ ribs for about $14 a person, you can't miss Mo's BBQ in downtown Pismo Beach. Or sit at the bar at McLintock's in Pismo and order their potato skillet and steak pieces which will fill two people easily but they call them "appetizers".

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            La Simpatia Cafe
            827 Guadalupe St, Guadalupe, CA 93434

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