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Dec 12, 2012 01:32 PM

Driving 99 from Oakland to Bakersfield

Any suggestions for a lunch spot off highway 99?
Perhaps in Modesto? or Merced? or 'tween the two?

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  1. You have lots of options in both cities, from chains to more local joints. What are you in the mood for?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Agrippa

      Mea culpa. Sorry for being so vague.
      Ideally, we'd enjoy a coupla great tacos. Or a well-made burger.

      I'd drive about a mile or 2 off the highway. Preferably south of Modesto. But that might be the best option for close to the freeway.

      1. re: escargot3

        Not much between Modesto and Merced.

        Here's some of my old Merced travel notes, might want to make a call or two to verify they're still around.

        Los Panchos – albondigas, posole, camarones
        2217 Yosemite Pkwy
        (209) 723-0015

        El Grullense No. 5 Jalisco
        1104 W. 16th St
        (209) 723-1251

        J&R tacos – al pastor on spit
        437 W. Main
        (209) 384-2923

        1. re: PolarBear

          Los Panchos is now on G Street, near Alexander, more than a few blocks off the 99, more like a mile or two. I do recommend their albondigas, but my one experience with their camerones wasn't good.

          J & R is around and doing well, popular with students. Pineapple on that spit, and I always order the al pastor when I go there. they tend to be into healthier options in their cooking, such as not using lard, an approach I have decidely mixed feelings about...

          El Grullense has become something else, I haven't tried it. There is a fairly new paleteria a few blocks up 16th street on the other side, a short way off the freeway, but haven't been there yet, perhas not the right season.

          1. re: PolarBear

            there is one place between Modesto and Merced that is getting a lot of positive reports locally: LaMo in Turlock. About a mile off the freeway in downtown Turlock. I've tried it once ,with mixed results (delicious soup, very disappointing birria). I saw some fantastic looking tacos going to other tables (with what appeared to be house made tortillas, which I certainly didn't get with my meal). Hours are strange, so I wouldn't recommend for driving through without calling first, but I'd love to hear other reports....

      2. For burgers in Merced there is Branding Iron and H&W both are located off of 99. Branding Iron is a steakhouse that serves a pretty good burger. H&W is an old drive in, it looks old and divey, but is pretty popular with the locals.

        1. sorry, out of my territory, but try searching either town's name on the California board for specific posts.

          Or any small town or likely highway junction (spots for food trucks) in between.

          Maybe check out susaninsf's posts as she's from that area. Are you joining 99 from 205? There's got to be some decent sit down Mexican deli-cafes in that area, and also Asian cafes.

          good luck and let us know how you fare.

          1. You'll have more choices if you can hold out till Fresno. And since I know you're fond of Lao food, maybe this.

            1. Thanks, y'all, for the ideas. In the end, I was not on my own. I had to drive with my client who was not interested in being adventurous. bummer.

              But I loved many of the suggestions, and plan to take a little weekend road trip soon.