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Anywhere to eat on I5 near Kettleman City - not Harris Ranch

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We're driving to south on I5 on 26th and planning to spend the night in motel near Kettleman City. I've combed the board and only place that seems anyway decent are two trucks Tita's and Antojito's but near buttonwillow which is about 50miles further south
We dont want to drive more than 10 mins from the freeway
Is there anything or should we just pack food - sigh!

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  1. Avenal is 3-4 miles west of I-5 if you're southbound @8-10 mi before you get to Kettleman City. Pretty much limited to either Debbie's Place for burgers or one of the little Mexican restaurants.

    Here's a couple of threads:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/422871

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/764970

    1. Agree with you about Harris Ranch - it should be so much better, however their retail frozen short-ribs are really delicious. If you could get them to micro-wave up a bag for you while you were there you'd be covered for this bleak stretch of road. (!)

      1. Not just the food situation, but the stench is so terrible around Kettleman City. I can hardly bear to drive past it, what will it be like to stay overnight? Definitely bring bottled water with you. The water's not safe to drink there.

        You've probably already thought of this, but I take 880 and 101 south to Paso Robles and cut over to I5 from there. Lots of motels in Paso and many more eating choices if your schedule allows.

        http://www.hanfordsentinel.com/news/l...
        http://www.capradio.org/news/project/...

        8 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          My first thought was why Kettleman of all places.

          1. re: PolarBear

            It was a standing joke by some local DJ's a while back as the prize for their silly radio contests: two tickets to Kettleman City.

            1. re: PolarBear

              Well, it's the halfway point between the SF Bay Area and the Los Angeles basin so it's a popular rest stop on the I5 for gas and a stretch break. But the two motels in town get low ratings and might not be that restful.

              There is an In-n-Out.

            2. re: Melanie Wong

              OMG - didnt know that
              well we wont be staying in that area then
              I had stopped once at harris years ago but didnt remember the stench

              guess we'll go further for clean air and water. I think we may stick to 5 since time is really the decider but I have to say I like your idea better

              is buttonwillow better - saw there are some motels around there too

              1. re: sonomajom

                I mapped the distance and driving time, and routing through Paso Robles will add 40 miles and an hour longer than taking 680/580/5 from Sonoma. But that would be on Day 2, maybe you can just get up half an hour earlier than usual to make up some of the time. It's about the same driving time to get to Paso as to Kettleman City and you'll be in a much more habitable place to start your vacation instead of just crashing. The wild card on your route to I5 is whether there's a back up on the 580/680 interchange that can leave you stuck for an hour or more trying to cover the 10 miles from Dublin to Livermore.

                Buttonwillow does not have the eau de feedlot perfuming the air. I've never gone into the town proper, only the businesses around the I5.

                One problem with Paso is that you might be tempted to linger and not push on to your final destination. :)

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  thanks for all the great input - nice christmas gift :)
                  my 7 yr old will be v happy about the in n out. Now if i can get my husband to agree to the detour. i've already cashed in some chips to get him to arrange the trip so we come back thru Lompoc on a w'ed so I can go to the wine ghetto there :)
                  I checked and there are definitely some place open. I need to check your posting from last year but if you have any new or special recommendations would love to hear them

                  1. re: sonomajom

                    I think Melanie is on the right track here since the other wild card, especially this time of year is the potential for valley tule fog, not only time eating but potentially dangerous as well.

                    Lots of good eats down the 101 corridor.

                2. re: sonomajom

                  I lived in Bakersfield for a good chunk of last year and Tita's Pupuseria would be my suggestion if you are planning to spend the night in Buttonwillow. It was a favorite of ours when we were living in the area. I can't speak to the hotels as it was never an issue for us.

                  If you want something nicer than that then the detour to Paso Robles that was mentioned by another poster is your best bet. It's a great town. My wife and I liked it so much that we ended up turning a day trip into a weekend trip when we went there.

              2. BTW - we eventually cheated and brought our own food
                However we did go to Tita's for breakfast which was good and an escape from Denny's or Starbucks.
                Had huevos rancheros and an omlet and both were good