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Oct 21, 2013 08:53 AM

Central(ish) California Trip

Just got back from a road trip through California (from our home in San Diego).

First night & morning: Morro Bay

Dinner at Shawn's on Main (912 Main Street, 805-772-1059)
Upscale casual fair, very well prepared. Shawn & Nicole are terrific proprietors.

Breakfast at Kitty's Kitchen. My wife wanted the free breakfast at the hotel. I wanted to get out and see the local scene. I won the argument and we ended up here. I ordered eggs and Linguicia sausage. It was fine, tasty actually. My wife ordered eggs & bacon. Bacon seemed like it was rewarmed leftovers from the day before. She was not impressed, and I was in the dog house..........when we got back to the hotel she marched straight to the free breakfast.
(890 Main St, 805-772-3677)

Second night: Oakhurst

Erna's Elderberry House
Michelin Star quality fine dinning at the foot of Yosemite, need I say more?

Third Night: Grass Valley
Owl Grill & Saloon: Maybe the best place in town -- anyway, we had a good meal, though nothing was spectacular

Fourth & Fifth Nights: Placerville
Cafe Mahjaic. Not in Placerville proper, out in the woods, so to speak, the closest place to our B&B, actually the closest place within a 30 min drive. So we ate there twice, partly because it was so good and partly due to convenience. But it really is good, possibly the best dining in the Placerville area.

Sixth night & morning: South Lake Tahoe

Evan's American Grill: Very nice atmosphere and food, emphasis on sweet sauces however, just be warned if that matters to you.

Breakfast at the Original Red Hut Cafe -- great diner for breakfast!

Seventh day:
Lunch at the Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining. This was good, but didn't live up to the hype. I think it is more about location than the menu.

Dinner at Holy Smoke BBQ in BIshop
Nice, authentic smoked Texas BBQ. Great casual way to finish the trip

Eighth Day:
Lunch at In-n-Out in Victorville -- just what you expect it to be.

Overall a great trip filled with lots of good food.

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  1. Thanks for these great tips for these highly scenic areas of the state, but that so often fall under the culinary radar. PS: I have along agreed with you about Whoa Nellie - more gimmick than finesse. But at least it is a change of pace from chains.

    1. How did your wife enjoy the free breakfast at the hotel in Morro Bay?

      3 Replies
      1. re: ricepad

        It wasn't bad, actually - we were at the Ascot Suites -- for a freebie they did a decent job. I was just hoping for some nice local ambiance, see a little bit more of Morro Bay and its residents; rather than a cramped lobby full of travelers in a hurry to get on with their day. But with her in a bad mood to begin with and then being disappointed with her meal, it was just not my best moment.

        1. re: turbowine

          Yep, IKWYM. The cheapskate in me says to take full advantage of the free breakfast, but the 'hound in me says to get out and sample the local fare.

          1. re: ricepad

            My wife even said "Maybe I'm turning into your parents" (Who are notorious cheapskates -- we once had a very bad "free" breakfast with them in a hotel because free is better than anything you have to pay for, no matter how bad it is)

            But, as I said, this actually wasn't bad.......

      2. Next time in Grass Valley try Diego's. the food there is way more spectacular than the Owl...
        And the Whoa Nellie has changed I believe from the original renegade chef. He now has a place in town that someone I know will give us the name to and the Whoa Nellie is operated by someone else.....

        2 Replies
        1. re: bennyboy1

          I did enjoy the Buffalo meatloaf, and my wife had the carnitas tacos, which were also good -- but nothing so special as to deserve all the hype I've heard.

          If there is a better place in Lee Vining, would love to know for future use.

          1. re: turbowine

            I don't know if it's better, as I haven't been to the new place, but here's where Toomey is these days -- down the road in Mammoth Lakes:

        2. Coffee Pot on the MB Embarcadero makes good p'cakes and waffles; Wee Shack near 41 &1 makes breakfast burritos. Carla's Country Kitchen makes truck driver b'fasts--the valley tourists love the place but I find it greasy and bland.