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Jun 12, 2014 12:47 PM

LA to Cambria


I post a decent amount on the LA board and am taking a leisure road trip from LA to Cambria tomorrow. In looking at previous threads about eating in Cambria, I notice that there's at least a couple of places mentioned that are in Cayucos (Ruddell's, Cass House). I think my partner and I would really enjoy going to those places, the latter especially for a Friday date night dinner (if we can get reservations).

However, we'd be driving from Cambria (since we plan to get there around mid-afternoon) to Cayucos. A 15-mi drive in LA on a Friday evening can turn into a terrifying experience, so I'm wondering if the same would hold true for the drive from Cambria to Cayucos?

Also, any suggestions about places to eat (casual, not more than $30PP, ideally) in Solvang?

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Have you checked on the drought status of Cambria - heard they are now 100% out of water and it all has to be brought in by bottles. Maybe a local can give us an update how this is affecting its tourism right now.

    Solvang mid-day always leaves us a bit flummoxed. Solvang area: take a look at the little town of Santa Ynez suggestions.

    Or there is nothing wrong with a bit of a traditional pig-out having just abelskivers at the walk-up window on the main street. Not great, but at least unique.

    We also liked the Firestone Walker 805 brewery in Buellton at 101 for very good burgers and fries..

    1. Since you appear to be bypassing Santa Barbara, my thoughts northbound would include

      Taco Rocco – fish tacos
      245 Avenue of Flags
      Buellton, CA 93427
      (805) 693-0939

      American Flatbread in Los Alamos
      (Full of Life?)

      Al Pastor Tacos and Mole from La Tapatia Market on 13th st in Grover Beach

      New to Arroyo Grande:
      Ember – Chef Brian Collins (form. Lido)
      1200 E Grand Ave
      Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
      (805) 474-7700

      These are all easy on/off of 101, many more if you're willing to spend time off the beaten path.

      More recos available once you hit the SLO, MB area, but by then you aren't that far from your destination.

      1. Plan on a bit of a wait if you decide on Ember. They do not take reservations and are still the hottest ticket in town.

        The drive from Cayucos to Cambria is quite pleasant. Not like LA at all (I used to do the 405 every day). Cass House still gets solid reviews and is worth trying.

        The water situation in Cambria isn't quite 100% out, but close. They are expected to be completely dry by October. Plan on being directed to the nearest port-a-potty if you are out and about during the day.

        1. Thanks for the replies! I'll fully admit that this trip was rather last minute, so we'll see what/if we can hit on the way to/from. Main purpose of the trip is to recover from work burn out. =)

          And thanks for the heads up about the water situation!

          1 Reply
          1. re: ilysla

            Take a look also at Peachy Canyon Road from Paso Robels, and the Far Out Wineries (website) for a very pretty cross-country drive and some wine tasting along the way from 101 to Cambria.

          2. Okay, back from Cambria. Again, thanks for all the suggestions. We were only there from Friday evening to Sunday morning, and we wanted to spend most of the time relaxing. We definitely want to return so that we can follow up on more of the recs!

            The drought situation is pretty dire. The employee at the inn told us that they expect to be out by August. Residents are no longer allowed to use any water outside their home (e.g., no watering the plants), and apparently there's huge surcharges if they exceed 50 gal/day. Yikes.

            Friday lunch: Firestone Walker 805. Quite good. I had the burger wish seasoned fries, my partner had the fish and chips. Burger was tasty (but not mind-blowing), but I was a little disappointed that I wasn't given an option for "doneness." It came out about medium-well. Fish was awfully small but tasted good. The seasoned tartar sauce was a nice touch. Seasoned fries have a batter of some sort and taste like a really good version of the criss-cut fries from Carl's Jr. My partner also enjoyed the new Parabola beer, but it's too high in alcohol content for an entire glass, IMHO!

            Friday dinner: Black Cat Bistro. A mixed bag. Butter lettuce (w/ feta? and candied citrus) was delicious. Cayucos abalone was... odd. I've only had the Chinese prep for abalone before, so I found the Cayucos abalone lacking in size, although the texture was wonderfully tender. However, the accompanying fruit sauce completed overwhelmed whatever flavor the abalone might have had. Good mashed potatoes. Lamb shank was a little dry and the fried kale was a bit greasy. Steelhead was fantastic (esp the crispy skin). And the butter for the bread was cold!!! Argh.

            Saturday breakfast: had the complimentary breakfast from the hotel (Cambria Shores Inn) which was bagel, muffin, some fruit, and a carafe of OJ. Good enough for free (esp the strawberries!).

            Saturday lunch: Robin's (recommended by one of the guides at Hearst Castle). Really good. Partner had the portobello mushroom sandwich (waiter: "You know it doesn't contain meat?" Uh, yes, we're aware), and I had the lamb burrito (which was really more like roti containing lamb curry). Yum. =)

            Saturday PM snack: Lily's coffee. Per my partner, the red-eye coffee was very good. Morning/cinnamon bun was surprisingly light (for a morning bun) and not a sticky mess. =) Not sure whether I liked the slight citrus flavor.

            Saturday dinner: BBQ w/ friends

            Sunday breakfast: Redwood Cafe. It's okay for a greasy spoon, I guess. Scrambled eggs w/ havarti + hash browns were fine. Do wish the side of fruit wasn't swimming in juice. =( Coffee, according to my partner, wasn't very good at all.

            Sunday after-breakfast snack: olallieberry cream cheese pastry from Linn's. It was... fine. I wouldn't mind ordering more pastries from them, but I'm also not dying to go back.

            Saturday lunch: Ruddell's. Yum, yum, yum. Had the smoked shrimp and albacore. There was a bit of wait in line and then another wait for the food itself. Totally worth it. The "salsa" they serve is a little odd (celery and apple?) but tasty. Just wish it were chopped up more finely and that there was less of it since it interfered w/ my ability to wrap my mouth around the taco. SO good.