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Driving from LA to SF on 101. Need input...

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I had a similar post previously with little to no helpful information on my part, my bad. So after doing a little research, this is what I've come up with.

I'm obviously not going to all of them.
I'm also looking for more funky coffee shops to stop at, that's just a random thing I like to do.
Any input would be great!!

Basics about me...I will be traveling alone. I'm a major foodie college student. Don't want to spend TOO much money but I'm willing to splurge if it's worth it. Not a picky eater, love to try new things. I love places that are local, quirky, and/or unique.

I'll be having breakfast in Santa Barbara for breakfast. My other stops will probably depend on my mood. I'm thinking Salinas BBQ (or something in that area, or Gilroy) will be my dinner stop.

Carpinteria:
Zookers Cafe and Juice Bar
The Worker Bee Cafe
Garden Market

Summerland:
Summerland Beach Cafe

Los Alamos:
Full of Life Flatbread
The General Store

Arroyo Grande:
Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Lab
Alphy's Broiler

Pismo Beach:
Splash Cafe
Old West Cinnamon Rolls

SLO:
Jaffa Cafe
Sally Loo's Wholesome Cafe
Kreuzberg CA

Atascadero:
Hush Harbor Artisan Bakery

Salinas:
Salinas City BBQ

Also, recs for stops with nice downtown-y areas that are nice to walk around in? I've heard SLO and Paso Robles, any others?

Thanks!

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Alphy's Broiler
130 W Branch St, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

The Worker Bee Cafe
973 Linden Ave, Carpinteria, CA 93013

Zookers Restaurant
5404 Carpinteria Ave, Carpinteria, CA 93013

Summerland Beach Cafe
2294 Lillie Ave, Summerland, CA 93067

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  1. I can't go to Pismo Beach without stopping at Mo's (just a block away from Splash) and getting their Philthy Phil ribs and then going down to the HotLix place and getting some coffee flavor salt water taffy.

    Nothing funkier than the Copper Cafe at the Madonna Inn south of SLO because the food is pretty good - love their half BLT and chunky blue cheese dressing salad combo - it is worthy of a 101 road trip stop even though it has long been known to be well-beyond kitsch.

    Slightly a little more off 101 but worthy of a side trip is the wharf at San Luis Bay turnoff south of SLO to see the massive piles of barking sea lions and some take-away seafood sold on the pier.

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    Madonna Inn
    100 Madonna Road, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

    1. Stop off at Jocko's off the Tefft Road offramp in Nipomo for lunch. No reservations needed at that time. If you're a college student and love humongous juicy burgers, the Jocko's special is worth it for $8 or so. Comes with fries, salad, and Santa Maria beans. Their Spenser steaks are probably one of their popular specialties over oak logs if you're really hungry.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Clinton

        Not to be confused with Little Jocko's which is a little burger joint.

        When you are headed north and get off on the Tefft St. off ramp go to your right and then straight through old town Nipomo until Tefft intersects with Thompson Rd. Jocko's is at that intersection on your left. They have a fabulous breakfast also. Amazing thick sliced bacon! They even serve a "Martini Breakfast." Of course, they are renowned for their steaks grilled over a blazing oak fire, but that doesn't start until dinner. You really should stay for dinner just to be able to say you've been there - done that. Stay at the Kaleidoscope Inn. It's just a couple of blocks aways…quaint old Victorian house, beautiful grounds. They serve a fine breakfast, too.

        1. re: 2dogma

          We found Jocko's to be a "volume" restaurant which is a shame because if you are traveling it is hard to take away all that gets left behind in a doggie bag. Funky and something to experience at least once, if you have time in this area. There are other places also in this area not to miss like Chef Rick's in Orcutt too. Or the "steak pieces" and potato skillet at the bar at McLintok's in Pismo if you want the meat, but not the volume they have at Jocko's.

          1. re: glbtrtr

            Sadly, Chef Rick's ain't what it used to be. By that I mean the atmosphere. The food is still O.K., but something has happened…I don't know what…maybe a financial issue? I've heard that he will be moving up to Arroyo Grande to their new Village buildings which should be much better for him as far as more upscale clients are concerned. He deserves a lot of them.

            1. re: 2dogma

              Interesting update because when I posted Chef Rick's name they automatically added a Santa Maria address which I assumed was wrong -- maybe it is not and he is now in Santa Maria??? Yes, the shopping mall setting for his restaurant did him no favors in Orcutt.

              Is this our same Chef Rick's - menu looks familar but until I see the Jack Daniels Pecan Pie (worth a journey) I will wait to get confirmation from those in the know: http://www.chefricks.com/home.htm#

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              Chef Rick's
              4869 S Bradley Rd, Santa Maria, CA 93455

              1. re: glbtrtr

                The S. Bradley Rd, Santa Maria address is actually in Orcutt on the NW corner at Clark, the original Chef Rick's location.

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                Chef Rick's
                4869 S Bradley Rd, Santa Maria, CA 93455

                1. re: glbtrtr

                  He is still in the same place, from what I understand. Just heard that info from people in the Village in A.G. If you check out the virtual tour of Chef Rick's on his website, the last time I was there, which granted was a couple of months ago, the place looked very little like the tour. The beautiful art work that is on the walls in the tour is mostly gone and replaced by tacky sports bar type stuff that looks like he might have pulled it out of his den at home. There are still two of the nice paintings as I recall left on the walls. The rest is ugly stuff.

                  There are no longer tablecloths…bare tables. The help used to wear black ties, white shirts and black slacks and aprons (I think). Now they are more sporty wearing pastel striped ties and whatever…less formal for sure. Things are looking pretty sad.

                  The food is still excellent, but the restaurant is showing the hard times that many businesses are experiencing these days. I would encourage people to go and eat. Take your own wine though…you can with a corkage fee. The least expensive wine is $40 and by the glass was pretty ridiculous, too

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                  Chef Rick's
                  4869 S Bradley Rd, Santa Maria, CA 93455

                  1. re: 2dogma

                    Maybe the art got sold to raise cash. Surely there must be some budding artists at Alan Hancock college who would love to be offered some temporary display space to refill those walls, because what was there was a signature part of the overall surprising effect for this little out of the way gem.

                    1. re: glbtrtr

                      I would agree, but Rick would need to ask.

        2. (Copied and pasted from my original post; I thought it'd be best if I updated both of them) :)
          This is what I ended up doing. Breakfast in SB didn't happen I ended up not making very many stops for one reason or another but I had a lot of very good food.
          For lunch, I stopped at Zookers in Carpinteria. It's not too far off the freeway and the service was great. I had an heirloom tomato grilled cheese with goat cheese and smoked mozzarella, which was a special that day. It came with ceasar salad, blue corn tortilla chips, and pita chips. It was a little pricey for $12 but it was made perfectly and the different cheese married perfectly with the tomatoes. I thought it was worth it for a perfectly executed sandwich. Also, I sat outside and it was just beautiful. Most of their other food is very reasonably priced.
          My next stop was Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream lab in Arroyo Grande based on a toodie jane's recommendation. I had the motor oil ice cream, which was dark chocolate and kahlua ice cream with fudge. Very good. It's a very cute looking place. They have lots of special events too. Later that night there was going to be all you can eat ice cream. $5 per person for a a group of predetermined flavors.
          I stopped at Pismo Beach, not really to eat, but I stopped at the Hotlix store to look around and ended up getting a few things. (nothing with bugs though)
          My final stop was for dinner. I stopped at Salinas City BBQ in Salinas. Now this was a little ways off the freeway, in a very unassuming part of town. But I was pleasantly surprised. I had the tri tip dinner which came with 1/3 lb of tri tip, 2 sides, and garlic bread. It was only $9.95. It was really good. The sides were good. The meat was deliciously tender and smoky. I know there were a lot of other opportunities for good BBQ along the way but my schedule just didn't allow me to eat at those places. But Salinas City BBQ was so good, even though it's a little far off the freeway.

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          Zookers Restaurant
          5404 Carpinteria Ave, Carpinteria, CA 93013