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LA to Modesto- highway 5 and 99- recs???

  • r

Hi all:

I am traveling from LA to Modesto, using highway 5 one way and 99 the other way. Other than Harris Ranch, are there any good lunch places???



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  1. A while back, someone has mentioned an indian restaurant, it is at one of the junctions, Kingman? I believe they have a large sign posted at the freeway, close to the exit. If you search back some of the posts you might be able to findit. Travel that way many times, but never stopped, too hot and always in a hurry.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jacek

      I believe that you're referring to the Indian restaurant at the Buttonwillow offramp on I-5. Here's a review http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...
      that I totally agree with; food was bland and pricey.
      At the same offramp is a decent BBQ place (can't remember name) in a sea of the usual fast food junk.
      OTOH search for 'Titas' which is in the actual town of Buttonwillow a few miles to the west.
      The I-5 Westley offramp has a good non-chain Mexican place but watch out for the 'cubano' sandwich which is central Mexico style, not Cuban.

    2. I wasn't driving but I think we took Hwy 99.

      Pho Viet Restaurant-Chinese and Vietnamese food
      900 Kansas Ave #B
      Modesto, CA 95351
      Open 8:30am-8pm

      below linked is my review w/ pics

      Link: http://www.yelp.com/biz/qw-GHme9OFsNf...

      1. Woolgrowers in Los Banos.

        Also, check out Noriega's and the other Basque places in Bakersfield.

        1. Assuming you are looking for fairly easy freeway access, there's Sal's in Selma for a "fancy" or Karl's special (braised short ribs) burrito, in downtown Fresno the Old Basque Hotel, Yosemite Falls resto just west of Ashlan Ave exit, or In-N-Out just east on Shaw Ave.

          1. Highway 99 - South

            1. DalaHouse restaurant - Main Street - Kingsburg, Highway 99 for morning Swedish pancakes or their Swedish special lunch. You can also pick up other Swedish food stuffs there too. Kingsburg is a Swedish themed town with the large water tower paitned Swedish Coffee Pot visible from Highway 99.

            2. The last of the Big Orange drive-ins (sad and broken as it is, it remains popular) near Fairmead on Highway 99 - fresh squeeze orange juice and orange shakes.

            1. Thanks for updating the tips!
              Normally the growing bedroom communities of Newman, Patterson, etc are too far off of I-5, but if any good non-chain places are known, please post!
              I'm always looking for good, casual ethnic food close to Hwy 99, preferably in the smaller towns. Tips on Bakersfield and Fresno are also appreciated in order to wade through the mass of chain crap.
              I'm familiar with Basque in Bakersfield (and thanks PolarBear).
              In Fresno, Armenian restaurants and bakeries always close before I get there. What does Yosemite Falls serve?
              In Merced, what else beside the chicken roll thingie at Costco?
              Anything interesting in Modesto (heh), especially *south* of the Hwy 132 exit?

              2 Replies
              1. re: DiveFan

                Believe it or not, there are several great ethnic places in Modesto. If you are willing to venture onto Crows Landing Rd., try El Marinero. Their tacos are very flavorful. All meals come with a soupy pinto bean appetizer that's great with chips.

                Not south of the 132, but worth a short extra drive, is Thai House on Standiford (and Tully, I think). It's family owned, and their attention to quality really shows. The flavors are very clean and fresh.

                If it's a (big) sandwich you're after, on freshly baked bread, go to Hannah's Kuchenhouse off Carpenter. Their tuna salad is great. The onion dill bread is great with turkey. The crossaints, bear claws, and cookies are to die for.

                1. re: DiveFan

                  PS: I'm a "dive fan" too. I don't like chain restaurants, and there are A LOT of them in the Central Valley.

                2. Here's my report from a visit to Yosemite Falls last Feb.


                  I should have also mentioned Lorena's across from Roeding Park, Belmont Ave. exit @ 1/2 mi. east on the south side. Good albondigas and other fare.

                  If you're traveling on a Mon-Fri, you can take 41 north off of Hwy 99, exit Divisadero/Tulare Sts, left an just around the curve (x from the big box Staples or Office Depot) is The Mediterranean Grill, great chicken salads w/a garlic dressing, gyros and falafels among other things. They're closed weekends. The next exit north on 41 will put you on 180 west, just a couple miles back to 99 north.

                  Olive Ave. exit west on the south side is Al's Cafe, great diner style food and Mexican dishes.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: PolarBear

                    We eaten across town in the Clovis location of Yosemite Falls since it opened a few months ago. The food has been consistently good.

                    The menu is on the website at

                  2. Just viewed the Yosemite Falls menu and my Chili's / Applebees fancy-cafe-for-non-adventurous-suburbanites alarm went off, but on the strength of the above tips I'll visit next time.
                    A good stop at the I-5 Westley offramp for Mexican is Antojitos Mexicanos, 7154 S Mccracken Rd # D (east frontage road), next to Subway. Be advised, the Torta Cubano is central Mexican style, not Cuban and substitutes a weiner for the roast pork.
                    FYI toody_jane recommends Wolfsen's Meat & Sausage in Gustine for their sandwiches.
                    In Patterson she has heard rumors of a good breakfast/lunch place, any details? P* is now infested with yuppies and their chain restaurant camp-followers but a switchboard.com search showed a few possible candidates. FYI Rogers Road is your typical new shopping / fast food complex and is just east of I-5. Old downtown is 2nd Street at Las Palmas Ave., about 3 miles east.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: DiveFan

                      Instead of Chilis/Applebees I think Yosemite Falls is more like the Black Bear Diners.

                      Nothing creative but good food when I'm in the mood for something more home style, you know, like Grandma used to make. ;)

                      1. re: FresnoFacts

                        I think your assessment is pretty close, FF. They did in fact take over the Brooks Ranch facilities, not sure about the other location. I do think they might have a step up on Black Bear, at least from our one experience in Mt. Shasta. We don't frequent Chilis/Applebees, but at least it doesn't have that corporate cookie-cutter feel. Imagine learning the menu items of choice plays a significant part.

                        1. re: PolarBear

                          The Clovis location is in the building that was originally Bennigans, then several local restaurants.

                          We've done it for breakfast and lunch and had good food and service. No complaints on either.

                    2. I always stop at In N Out Burger on Kettleman City on Interstate 5.

                      1. I have made the drive from San Diego to Sacramento a lot more often recently, and finally had a chance to check out Tita's Pupuseria at the Buttonwillow gas line-up. Similar to other posters, they are sort of better than average, but not a home-run true CH hit. The La Roco which had cheese and green peppers inside were better than the other ones with chichiarrones (sp?), but they were hot and tasty for a good piece of driving. The restaruant is located on the east side of 5, about across the street from Mc D___'s.

                        Off of 99, there is an exit for CH Warlow rest area on the east side, and a gas station, can't remember the name but it is now a Valero, Gas n Go, Fast n Easy something like that. They actually have very good burritos in the hot food section, something other than the fast-food chains. Last one was a green chile verde with what looked like pork, and I while I was nervous about the remaining 200+ miles of my drive, I did not have any ill effects.

                        I drive again this weekend and will see if I can come up with something else.

                        1. VALENTIEN, in Bakersfield, off Hwy 99
                          These direction may make it sound complicated, but it's easier than it sounds. In Bakersfield, get off Hwy 99 at the California Ave. exit, turn right and then immediately left onto Oak Street. Turn left at the first intersection onto Truxtun. Pass the flower shop on the corner and take the first right into the parking lot. There's a sign in front of the flower shop. The reastaurant entrance is tucked in the back of a courtyard between the flower shop and the salad buffet place. They have a 3-course lunch for $15, and a wine bar. The attentive servers are clearly proud and knowledgeable about the expertly prepared and tastefully presented New American cuisine. Atmosphere is business casual. Think Wolfgang Puck in Bakersfield.

                          1. I soundly second this recommendation. By far the best wine list in Bakersfield. The food is always good and the service excellent.

                            1. FYI Tita's Pupuseria has taken over a former burger joint at the I-5 Buttonwillow offramp. I had a queso and frijole pupusa (very good) and a chicken tamale (also good). Iced tea was unusually good but the chips were stale and the salsa tasted bottled. Service was slow but most tables were occupied on a early Sunday evening.
                              On the way up via Hwy 99 I had a tasty pot pie at the Chicken Pot Pie restaurant in downtown Fresno and purchased some fine bierocks from Laucks Bakery nearby. The best finds were the incredible smoked pork spareribs and sausage from Wolfsen Meats in Gustine.