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I-5 Corridor?

My wife and I will be driving back and forth from the Bay Area to LA this weekend. We like to get home early when we make this trip, so tend to be on I-5 in the San Joaquin valley around dinner time Sunday. Is there any place good/interesting to eat within a few miles of the freeway, between Castaic and Tracy? We've stopped at Harris Ranch a few times, and Pea Soup Andersen's once, but wondering what else we might be passing by.

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  1. Not sure if it is outside your area, but I tried Hot City Barbque in Los Banos two weeks ago and it was really good. The ribs and pulled pork were terrific. Easy accesson and off I-5. They are only open Friday,Sat. and Sunday.

    1. This is only marginally chow-related, but check Caltrans' website for construction bulletins or you'll be somewhere entirely different at dinner time due to traffic. You might want to consider taking 101.

      5 Replies
      1. re: ricepad

        Check threads with the following cities: King City, Soledad, Greenfield, Gonzales. There are some good mexican recommendations.

        Also there is a good sausage place a few minutes off of 5 at Santa Nella (i.e. Los Banos area) called Wolffson's (I think). If you search "Gustine" you should find a number of threads on it.

        1. re: tavmark

          King City, Soledad, Greenfield & Gonzales are on 101 not I-5

          1. re: Stephanie Wong

            My apologies. Having driven the area for so long I should know that.

          2. re: tavmark

            Wolfson's has wonderful sausages, but they're not a restaurant. We always buy something frozen to bring home when we're passing through the area. They do make sandwiches for takeout if that suits your needs.

            1. re: judybird

              I agree that Wolfsen's is more of a store than a restaurant but it does have seating if you want to eat there, with one or two small tables inside and a small patio area with a few slightly larger tables outside. In addition to great sandwiches (I like the tri-tip) they have drinks, and often have a few prepared side dishes/salads, and other items for a picnic lunch or dinner. Gustine is a few miles off of I-5 but worth the drive. Note that their annual sausage tasting is coming up in a few weeks! http://www.wolfsensausage.com/

        2. Tita's Pupuseria in Buttonwillow is good and the truck is right off the freeway but be warned - it does take a good 10 minutes to get your order (and that's with no line)

          another thread on this subject:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/429931

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. Thanks for the tips! I may print out this thread and bring it with us.
              We are driving down via 101 on Friday. I'll check with Caltrans before we depart on Sunday but we're in the East Bay and the 101 route is maybe 2 hours longer without stops....if we sit in traffic for an hour on 5 we still come out ahead.

              3 Replies
              1. re: MT38122

                Yes: Friday get-away traffic from East Bay (680/880) to 101 to Salinas/Monterey Peninsula can take 3 hours depending on when you leave and what events folks are traveling to.

                1. re: MT38122

                  There is another alternative if it isn't too late (or for your return), especially from the East Bay: Route 99! if you take 99 all types of alternatives open up. Check Fresno, Modesto, Bakersfield, Merced, Turlock (where there is a new place I am dying to hear reports on called LaMo: hope to get there soon for what is reported to be the best Cal-Mexican food in the Central Valley...), Atwater... Depending on where you live in the East Bay the 99 route will only be about 30 minutes longer than I-5 would be without construction, no major road work right now that I am aware of (checking with Caltrans is always a good idea), and the food opportunities are MUCH better....(and if you want the best of both worlds, though it will add a bit of time onto your drive, take the 5 South to Santa Nella and then cut over to 99 via Gustine, which of course takes you right by Wolfsen's... :-))

                  1. re: susancinsf

                    since this post was written I have tried LaMo: went there for a weekend lunch in October or November. I was glad to snag a table on the patio: I found the interior of the restaurant to be somewhat cramped, with closely spaced tables, and dark as well.

                    To be honest, the food and service were both somewhat disappointing: the food somewhat missed the mark and the service I got was rather indifferent, although I did notice neighboring tables getting much better service. (but then, I think they knew the servers and were not first timers). My sopa de fideo to start was homey (as would be expected) and tasty. For my main I ordered a special: Birria, made with beef. It was dry and there was almost no broth. The tortillas that came with the dish were straight out of a plastic package. However, i saw some wonderful looking tacos on what were clearly house made tortillas going out to another table. I couldn't help but wonder if regulars got better food to go with the better service. Still, friends continue to rave about the place, so I will definitely go back and try again.