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Big Sur

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Are there any good, kid friendly places in or near
Big Sur? Thanks.

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  1. When I was a kid, I used to love the cream-cheese-and-nut sandwiches at Nepenthe, which is fairly kid-friendly and has amazing views. Big Sur's not exactly a culinary destination, though, unless you're blowing $500 a night at the Post House.

    3 Replies
    1. re: j gold
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      Barry Strugatz

      Thanks for the suggestion. I'll check it out. Are
      there any good places to eat on the coast between Big
      Sur and Santa Barbara?

      1. 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.

        1. re: j gold
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          Dave Feldman

          Jocko's is an old favorite of mine, too, and glad to
          see that it is still thriving. Another great time
          killer before or after a meal at Jocko's, is a walk on
          Pismo Beach, which, Johnny Carson jokes
          notwithstanding, is lovely.

    2. t
      Tom Armitage

      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?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Tom Armitage
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        Barry Strugatz

        Thanks,Tom. We're staying in Big Sur State Park, so
        we'll definitely try your picnic idea.

      2. 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.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Barb H.
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          Barry Strugatz

          Thanks. Yes, I have the book and hope to make good
          use of it.