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101 between San Jose and Paso Robles, stops for light lunch

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We will be traveling to Paso Robles and would appreciate any suggestions for some place easy to stop along the way for something light to eat off of 101, between San Jose and Paso Robles, preferably some place around Morgan Hill, Gilroy, or Salinas. Am just looking for something that tastes reasonably ok and is not too heavy (it's been about 95 degrees out). Doesn't sound very exciting I know, but having driven this way before we are not too picky, since it seems to be filled with the usual horrible chain restaurants and finding something even as simple as a basic decent sandwich seemed impossible. Any ideas would be much appreciated.

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  1. I'd hit Gilroy and try the Garlic City Cafe for a bowl of garlic soup and some garlic ice cream with anything else inbetween -- used to have a great tapas place called Lizzaran but I hear it closed. Quaint old downtown main street in Gilroy.

    1. I really like Tico's Breakfast and Lunch. Good comforting food with quality ingredients.

      2 Replies
      1. re: goldangl95

        I like Tico's but Marina's quite a side trip off 101!

        1. re: Stephanie Wong

          This is true - it is about 10 miles off the 101. We often shuttle back and forth to Paso Robles and tend to end up going over the 17 and join the 101 through the 1 then going the 101 the whole way because it make sense for us - I forgot many wouldn't do it that way.

      2. Great Vietnamese fare @ Morgan Hill Pho.

        1. There's a little tiny town called Spreckels right off the 101 near Salinas. The T&A Cafe gets good reviews for quality homemade food. I haven't eaten there yet but I'm eager to try. They announce their daily specials on their Facebook page.

          https://www.facebook.com/pages/T-A-Ca...

          Yesterday's lunch special was a Chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich with fries for $8.10. Soup was chicken noodle.

          1. Keep in mind that Salinas is the cool spot along your route. The temperature will be 20 to 25 degrees lower than Gilroy or Paso Robles. Typical high during the summer is 71 degrees, which is why Pinot Noir and lettuce grow so well. That alone makes it good stopping point before you hit the inferno in Paso.

            My mother and I have eaten at T & A Cafe in Salinas (on the border of Spreckels) 30+ times in the last couple years. It's open seasonally. While there are lighter choices, e.g., salads featuring Tanimura & Antle produce, the specials typically are not. Good hamburgers, 1/2 pound angus, grilled. Pay the supplement for sweet potato fries over the regular french fries. Mom brings her own container to pack a quart of the homemade soup of the day to go ($6.75).

            Salinas does have chains but the community supports many independent restaurants. If you like Mexican food, comida casera style not gut-busting burritos, there are many choices. There are burritos too, if your preference falls that way.

            If you're looking for a good sandwich and many other thoices, check out Elli's http://www.ellisgreatamericanrestaura... . For a light meal, Portobello's for salads or sandwiches, http://www.menupix.com/menudirectory/... .

            1 Reply
            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Thanks!!! Salinas and Spreckels sound like our best bets for stopping. Thanks very much - will check these out. We do this trip ever so often, so will get a chance to try out a few at different times. Vietnamese is a little more food than we are looking at for lunch, but will keep it in mind, if we are ever through later in the evening.