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Mar 2, 2011 01:44 PM

Driving up from LA to SF through SJ....

This Sunday, any place worth stopping by for lunch/brunch around 12-2pm? I plan on taking the 5, then taking the 152 and then going through Gilroy then SJ(so basically anywhere before SF). It's gotta be really worth it, otherwise am planning on driving like a madwoman to make the end of brunch at Bar Tartine and/or Foreign Cinema! Will be solo this trip also so someplace comfy for dining alone would be lovely. Thanks!

Foreign Cinema
2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Bar Tartine
561 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

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  1. Hi, it's hard recommending in the south bay for people from LA. There are some nice little chaat houses that aren't too far off the freeway, and some chinese places, and some pho, but nothing that would impress someone from LA - and most of them aren't on the 101 corridor, they're along 85 in Sunnyvale. in general, there's almost nothing of note south of rte 273, and the further south, the less there is. I have some favorite spots around Mountain View and north, but by then, you're only 45 minutes from The Mission, so you might as well hold out.

    Gilroy and south is on the central california board, and I suspect you'll get more action there than in San Jose.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bbulkow

      Gilroy is in Santa Clara County and is included in the SF Bay Area region covered on this board. Posts about Gilroy are here, not on the California board.

    2. I prefer your SF choices, so maybe leave earlier :)

      Otherwise Santana Row is just off the freeway and there are several pleasant places to eat there....nothing extremely chow worthy, but nice if you need to relax and recharge.

      I personally usually stop off at Falafel Drive in if I'm in SJ-- but that does not sound like what you would enjoy.

      Falafel Drive-in
      2301 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose, CA 95128

      Santana Row
      355 Santana Row, San Jose, CA 95128

      1. Gilroy is the southernmost city on the SFBA board and the subject of a recent thread.

        1. Since you are planning to make brunch, stopping an hour or so away seems like a waste. Gilroy on a Sunday moring is about 75 minutes from San Francisco so i would just grab a quick drive thru and keep going. You won't spoil you great brunch.

          4 Replies
          1. re: budnball

            Oh, my mistake, I didn't even think about posting in the other board! Brain fart. OK, so I guess I will just hold out for eating in SF proper. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing out on something special in San Jose.

            I'm cool with any type of cuisine/price as long as it's good! I love falafels, how good are the ones at Falafel Drive-In?

            1. re: baloney

              Falafel's Drive-Inn is a triumph of nostalgia. The actual falafel balls are pretty good, crispy, but the lettuce, sauce and bread is unremarkable to bad - a fairly standard pita bread, not crispy roasted lavash. The crown jewel is the banana shake, which somehow transfers the meal from plain-jane to worth a drive. It's a fun "road stop" because it's like a 50's mcdonalds - windows on a street corner.

              However, don't be fooled, as much as I like a Falafel Drive-Inn, there's a dozen better falafel just on the peninsula alone - I like Mediterranean Wraps in Palo Alto.

              Mediterranean Wraps
              433 N California Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

              1. re: bbulkow

                All I ever order is a bag of falafel balls - they are 25 cents apiece. The falafel balls are very small and crispy so I usually get a bag of ten and dip them in the yogurt dip and hot sauce --- and yes I get the banana shake.

                Med Wraps is definitely good. Falafel Drive In is just quick, and right off the freeway, and I love my falafel crispy.

                1. re: myst

                  Good call! The balls and the shake are the best part.

          2. For an earlier stop with great Salvadorean food, check these posts in the California section about Tita's Restaurante y Pupuseria just off I-5 in Buttonwillow.


            2 Replies
            1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

              I went to Tita's truck on I-5 (not the shop) and while the tacos were good...the service was terrible. I mean really terrible in a rude and disorganized way with a gouging tried on the side. I still think it's worth a try (either the truck or shop) but a warning isn't a bad thing.

              1. re: ML8000

                I don't know if the truck is even still there. The service at the restaurant the two times I ate there recently was quick and gracious. You had to wait for the food to be cooked, but the service was very good.