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Oct 23, 1998 11:33 AM

Ventura, CA

  • p

I am planning a trip to the Ventura/Santa Barbara
County area in a month or two. I hope to visit some
wineries but would like to find some good places to eat
out in the hills (away from Ojai/Santa Barbara proper)
Any suggestions?

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  1. j
    jonathan gold

    The Santa Barbara area is home, of
    course, to La Super Rica, a cheese-soaked
    place that is among the very finest Mexican-
    American restaurants in the country, and the
    very fine Palace Cafe (better Prudhomme-style
    Cajun than Prudhomme himself is making these days),
    the decent New Mexican restaurant Zia's
    and fancy French hotel dining rooms like Citronelle
    and El Encanto.

    About an hour north on the 101, in the town
    of Buellton, nationally famous for thousands
    of road signs pointing the way to lousy pea
    soup, is the Hitching Post, an amazing steak
    restaurant run by a guy, Frank Ostini, who
    hangs out with the wine guys, and makes a very
    creditable pinot noir himself. (Look for
    older vintages, which are co-made by his
    ex-wife Lane Tanner.)

    The Hitching Post--and its older cousin of
    the same name, up in Casmalia near the
    entrance to Vandenberg Air Force Base--are
    true temples of Santa Maria-style barbecue:
    prime, spice-rubbed steaks grilled over
    red-oak coals, served with garlic bread,
    juicy salsa and the local pinquito
    beans. If you're heading farther afield,
    Jocko's, an additional hour north in Nipomo,
    may have even better steaks (though only
    evenings and weekends--off-hour meat is cooked
    over gas), but it's more of a Bud Lite
    cowboy crowd, if you know what I mean.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jonathan gold

      Thanks for all your recommendations;they all sound
      great. I am really looking forward to the trip, and I
      am hungry already!

      1. re: jonathan gold
        victor lieberman

        Are you the Jonathan Gold who used to hang
        in my bookstore, Pettler and Lieberman Booksellers
        and run the free movies at the Museum?


      2. Up off highway 154, the mtn rd between buellt on and SB just past camino cielo turn off as heading north is the old stagecoach road, with cold springs tavern, a great old place down at the bottom of it- got to see it- built in the mid 1800s still original. very original buildings, a good place for a very good, intimate dinner-serve wine and beer, great desserts, also have a seperate bar just a few yards down from restauant. need reserv. for rest. on weekends- reserv. a must!! Hope you get to see it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Mark

          Can you please describe the kind of food and give the name of this establishment?

          1. re: Heather

            Had dinner here a year or two ago. Lots of meats and game with the usual potato and veggie and salad sides. Very rustic setting; it really is an old stagecoach stop. IMHO the food wasn't that exceptional for the price. It was an above average steak & chop meal. One of the buildings is a bar/tavern, which seemed to be a motorcyclist hang out. Maybe the burger and bar menu there is more interesting. All in all it was a nice experience, for historical more than gastronomic reasons, but I don't think I'd return.