When I was taking my first trip to the left coast, I
used a book that I think was called "California with
Kids". As I recall it had a good section on Big Sur
and I remember distinctly that it recommended Nepenthe
as being kid-friendly. Oh yes- at the time I was not
travelling with kids, just thought the book was a
really good source of info.
I must say, I could use a couple of days at Big Sur
right about now - I envy you!!! Hope it goes well.
Jonathan's suggestion of Nepenthe's is a good one. I
ate a place called Rocky Point Restaurant not long ago.
Like Nepenthe, it features a terrific views and some
passable, though far from memorable, food, if you stick
to basic stuff. There's a new place called Ragged
Point Restaurant that I don't know anything about other
than it exists. But your question reminded me of
Calvin Trillen's answer to the question of
how to deal with the mediocre alternatives
availble for meals on an airplane: bring your own
picnic. Why not go to a deli or a market (e.g.,
Mediterranean Deli in Carmel), pack up the a tasty
little picnic, and have a picnic meal at someplace like
Point Lobos State Reserve (one of my favorite places in
Calif.), or Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, or Limekiln
Creek. What could be more kid friendly than that?
re: j gold
re: Barry Strugatz
Not quite on the coast (but definitely on the way) are the legendary steakhouses of the Santa Maria Valley.
The foodie's fave is the Hitching Post, right off the 101 in Buellton, which has undeniably great steaks and is the hangout for the local winemakers--the owner, a fourth-generation steak man, makes a very nice pinot noir of his own. Some people prefer the Far Western Tavern in Guadalupe, right on Highway 1, I think, which is the kitschiest of the steakhouses, and I used to like the original Hitching Post, near the back door to Vandenberg Air Force Base in Casmalia. F. McClintock's, in Shell Beach, does have an actual ocean view, but is terribly corporate these days.
But my personal favorite (though I love the HP) is probably Jocko's, in off the Telfft exit in Nipomo, a low, concrete-block roadhouse that technically may be the trashiest of the steakhouses--the house wine is Bud Lite--but grills rare ribeyes good enough to reduce grown men to little whimpering sounds when they inhale them.
Note: Although many of these steakhouses are open for lunch, none of them actually fires up the red-oak grills until dinnertime, except on Sundays. If you're going through during the day, stock up on antojitos at the unsurpassable La Super Rica in Santa Barbara and save the steak for the trip home.