Hot!L.A. Confidential

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buffetbuster
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 20:23:57 (permalink)
Tuesday November 27, 2012 (cont.)
 
While driving through Santa Barbara to the laundromat, we saw signs for the mission.  We had plans to visit another one later in the trip, but since we had the time, we decided to visit this one, too.  Old Mission Santa Barbara

dates back to 1786 and is gorgeous!   We both enjoy visiting place like this for the history, but with Mariton being Catholic, it takes on special meaning for her.
 
Admission is only $5.00.  They hand you a map and you get to wander the grounds on your own.  While we do enjoy having tour guides at times, we also like it when we can see a place at our own pace, too.  There is a short movie for orientation, but after that you are on your own.  Here are some photos from the Mission.












 
The inside of the church, which they still use for services, was impressive. 


We saw in the film that this is one of the very few of the California missions that has a founder buried right at the altar.

 
We met an older man who was playing host to two young people from Germany, who were touring their way across the United States and we really enjoyed chatting with them.  There was a map with all the California missions

and what a dream vacation it would be for me to visit all of them.  Someday! 
 
We spent a good two hours at Old Santa Barbara Mission, but by now, we had built up an appetite.  La Super Rica is a Mexican place in Santa Barbara that is reviewed on this site and has appeared in several of the Roadfood books.  I had been really looking forward to eating here, but why are all their lights off in the middle of the day?  Oh no! 

Well, at least we will be driving back this way.  Unfortunately, that will be on Wednesday.  Thanks TTM!
 
Maybe this is for the best, because we still have a long drive ahead, with some Santa Maria bbq restaurants between here and there.
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/21 20:57:32
buffetbuster
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 20:48:02 (permalink)
EdSails

BuffetBuster, next time you come out plan to spend a day with me. Off your wish list, definitely Phillipe's (i was just there a few weeks ago for a marvelous lamb sandwich) and Gaffey Street Diner, where you can try the Chili Size, one of the few L.A. created dishes, at the place that does them best. See my review on RF about them.As for El Campeon, it's right in my neighborhood, but I also know a lot of other Mexican places that are even better. Hope to catch you next time you're here!
Ed
Ed, that is a generous offer and I will take you up on that the next time we are in town.  We camevery close to going to Gaffey Street Diner and regretted that we didn't.  We did make it to El Campeon and will have quite a bit to say about it later. 

mr chips
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 20:54:10 (permalink)
Travel Manned. Even starting a trip with TTM is karma.
The Travelin Man
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 00:02:46 (permalink)
I had nothing to do with this. I was safely back home before any of this ridiculousness occurred.
Glenn1234
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 00:28:05 (permalink)
 
Wow!  Great stuff agian, Buffetbuster!    
mar52 -  The spray painted side of the Berlin Wall was the side facing West Berlin.  The staid, plain side, was of course communist controlled East Berlin.  You would probably do hard time in East Berlin back then for grafitti. 
 
 
Glenn
 
 
mar52
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 01:47:21 (permalink)
Glenn, that makes perfect sense.
 
Thanks!
Glenn1234
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 02:41:50 (permalink)
 
mar52 -
 
Here is the back side of the piece of Berlin Wall that Buffetbuster posted. 
 
 
 

 
 
 
Glenn
 
 
strongy78
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 02:43:11 (permalink)
Buffetbuster-  Glad to see you made it to Santa Barbara!  I lived in SB for almost 6 years (before I moved down to San Diego)  It really is a beautiful place.  They call it the "American Riviera" for a reason.  I had the time of my life in that city.  Its very expensive (both hotels and rent if you live there) but it sure is nice.  Brophy Brothers is always good.  La Super Rica is awesome too.  The number 16 is the way to go.  Chilies, cheese and pork.  Its a wonderful combo!  Great pictures of the Mission too.  Sounds like California treated you well ;-).  Look forward to reading more of your posts.
buffetbuster
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 06:49:49 (permalink)
The Travelin Man

I had nothing to do with this. I was safely back home before any of this ridiculousness occurred.
So, I am supposed to think it was just a coincidence that it was a Mexican restaurant that was closed down? 

BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 13:32:37 (permalink)
Glenn1234The spray painted side of the Berlin Wall was the side facing West Berlin.  The staid, plain side, was of course communist controlled East Berlin.  You would probably do hard time in East Berlin back then for grafitti. 
 
Glenn

According to a recent PBS documentary focused on the Berlin Wall, there was actually a large, police patrolled space in between two walls.  The segments of wall seen in the photograph could have been from either side because there would always be one side facing the patrol zone and one side facing out towards the public.
 
Buddy
mar52
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 13:54:02 (permalink)
Still VERY interesting!
 
Glenn, thank you for taking the time to find and post that picture.
 
Mission lesson: 
 
http://www.californias-missions.org/teachers.htm
 
I don't know about other states, but in California we start learning about the Missions in the second grade.  What fun we had making our own adobe bricks out of mud and straw.  Donations by cows were omitted in our learning experience.
 
San Juan Capistrano was further made famous by the returning of the Swallows every St. Joseph's Day.
 
There are 21 Mission and I've visited four that I remember.
 
If you notice them, you might not know what you're looking at:
 

 
They're all over the state.  El Camino Real... "The King's Highway"
 
These signs mark the path taken between the Missions.  They're all over the state, on freeways, on streets, in front of fast food joints, everywhere.
 
Second grade worked!
 
 
buffetbuster
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 14:08:59 (permalink)
Thanks again for the great information Buddy!  That very well might be the case here.
 
mar52-
I was familiar with the term El Camino Real, but I don't ever remember seeing any of those signs.  But, I wasn't really looking for them.  Next time, I will know!  The missions are such an important part of California history, I'm glad they teach it at an early age.  Similar to what I learned about William Penn growing up. 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/22 14:10:35
mr chips
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 14:23:10 (permalink)
I have had the fortune of visiting all the California missions and they were very interesting. my favorite was San Fernando which had an extensive collection of Pope John Paul II vestments. I wondered why and Trudy pointed out that JPII had visited the mission and celebrated mass there.
post edited by mr chips - 2012/12/22 15:58:30
buffetbuster
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 14:28:53 (permalink)
That's fantastic mr chips!  I am very jealous.  Did you do them all at one time or a few here and a few there?
mar52
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 14:43:25 (permalink)
By the way, I think the Mission Burrito got its name from the Mission District of San Francisco.  (Keeping it food related)
buffetbuster
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 15:03:53 (permalink)
Speaking of missions and San Francisco, I was surprised to see that Mission Dolores was not on the map as one of the original missions.  Having visited there twice, I had always assumed that it was.
buffetbuster
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 15:11:53 (permalink)
Tuesday November 27, 2012 (cont.)
 
The scenery from Santa Barbara north to Santa Maria was lovely.  We pulled over when we could, but there were plenty of places on the highway where there was no safe place to grab a quick picture.  So, some of these photos are Mariton's from inside the car.





 
By the time we arrived at BBQ Land

in Santa Maria, we were indeed very hungry.  For those that don't know, they have their own style of barbecue around the city of Santa Maria.  The meat for this style of bbq is beef, usually tri-tip and it is grilled over red oak wood.  The tradition goes back well over a hundred years, to the Spanish cowboys known as vaqueros.  I have enjoyed this before a couple of times at nearby restaurants Hitching Post in Casmalia and Far Western Tavern, which used to be in Guadalupe, but moved to Orcutt.  Both of those meals were well over a decade ago, so I was really looking forward to this. 
 
BBQ Land is located at the end of a strip mall.  It is a quiet place on the inside,

with most people paying attention to the tv.  The menu is is surprisingly big and they offer plenty of non-Santa Maria style barbecue items.  But, I was here for the good stuff from this menu board.

Knowing there was another bigger meal to follow this, we decided to split one tri-tip plate.  

This gave us four strips of beautiful and juicy grilled beef.  Tradition dictates that salsa comes with the Santa Maria bbq meal, so we put of the salsa right on top of the beef. 

The salsa was rather mild and while it was an interesting thing to try, the beef good enough it didn't really need anything else.
 
With our meal, we were able to choose two sides.  First up was the cole slaw,

which looked peppery to me, but tasted more of mayo.  For the second side, I ordered potato salad.  It was while we were sitting down and waiting for the food that I realized that I had completely forgotten about the pinquito beans, which is the traditional side for Santa Maria bbq.  I went up to the counter and they were happy to make the change.  Gald they did because I would have hated to miss out on these excellent beans.  

A thick slice of garlic bread

also came with the meal, but it could have been fresher.
 
Not long after we arrived, Mariton pointed out to me that the owners of the place were Korean.  Which explains this part of the menu. 

Although it has nothing to do with Santa Maria bbq, I couldn't resist ordering some kim chee. 

Mariton and I had eaten at a Korean restaurant just before the trip and I was curious as to how this dish would compare.  And I barely found out, because all I got was one bite as Mariton focused mostly on this.  A lover of all hot and spicy foods, she really enjoyed it.
 
BBQ Land
1975 S. Broadway
Santa Maria, CA
805-346-8537
 
Our first dinner out of the way, it was a short drive to our late night big meal.....      
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/22 15:21:08
mr chips
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 15:50:14 (permalink)
Those beans look sensational. Santa maria try tip is featured in the food area at rodeos in oregon and i have had some very good barbecue at the St. Paul rodeo near Newberg, Oregon.
mr chips
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 15:56:01 (permalink)
buffetbuster

That's fantastic mr chips!  I am very jealous.  Did you do them all at one time or a few here and a few there?

    A little at a time starting in 1975 thru 1986. My first visits were memorable as i visited Mission Dolores and San Juan Batista, both prominently featured in Alfred Hitchcock's classic "Vertigo". My favorite is San Miguel Archangel which was little changed from mission days. It unfortunately was severely damaged in a recent earthquake. Don't know if has reopened. Most recent visit was San Diego when temperatures topped 100 and the place was a marvelous respite on a too warm day.
1bbqboy
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 15:57:09 (permalink)
We get pinquitos out thisaway from S & W. Not sure how far beyond the West Coast they are distributed in grocery stores, though Amazon stocks them.
 
mr chips
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 16:04:28 (permalink)
buffetbuster

Speaking of missions and San Francisco, I was surprised to see that Mission Dolores was not on the map as one of the original missions.  Having visited there twice, I had always assumed that it was.

        Mission Dolores is the nickname for the mission San Francisco de Asis for which the city of San Francisco is named. Dolores means sorrows or pain in Spanish and I'm not sure how the mission got that name.
mr chips
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 16:18:41 (permalink)
Just googled it. When Spanish explore Juan Batista de Anza was the first white person with authority to encounter the area he camped on a now gone lake and creek he named laguna(Arroyo) Nuestra Señora de Los Dolores(Lake(creek)of Our Lady of the Sorrows). The mission and bay were named by Father Serra for the founder of his order of priests but local called  the place Mission Dolores .
post edited by mr chips - 2012/12/22 16:20:23
1bbqboy
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 16:36:32 (permalink)
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 17:14:54 (permalink)
Tuesday November 27, 2012 (cont.)
 
Though very tempted to eat at the to Hitching Post in Casmalia for our dinner, we decided to visit a place I have never been to before, Jocko's Steakhouse in Nipomo.  Jocko's


is another classic Santa Maria style bbq restaurant that has been in business for 86 years!  It is not currently reviewed on the website, but has appeared in many of the Roadfood books.
 
The parking lot was so full that we had to park a good distance away, right next to the road.  Thankfully, Nipomo is so small there isn't much traffic.  Even around 8:00pm on a Tuesday night, we were told that since we didn't have reservations, it would be a 30 to 45 minute wait.  What could we do, this might be our only chance ever to eat here?  Fortunately, we ended up being seated within 15 minutes.  
 
There is multiple dining rooms and a bar area.  Our dining room had local cattle brands burned into the wood above the windows. 

Cute placemat, by the way.

The menu is definitely focused on steaks and here is that part of the menu, a.k.a. "from the oak pit". 

So many steaks to choose from, we asked the waiter for help with our decision.  He highly recommended the Large Spencer, which is a daunting rib-eye.  Thinking that was too much for her, Mariton went with the Small Spencer, a more manageable 13oz.  I chose the Filet Mignon.  Both of these are part of a fixed price dinner that includes beverages, a salad and even dessert.
 
The first thing out was a wonderful relish tray,

with all kinds of goodies.  I ate all the bread and butter pickles and the carrots, while Mariton ate the peppers and olives.  There was nothing left by the time we were through.  Next up were the salads, which was lettuce only except for the beets on top.  For dressings, Mariton had French, me honey mustard. 

They also brought out some outstanding, thick garlic bread. 

And since this was Santa Maria bbq, there was a small cup of salsa on the table. 

Knowing there was no way we were about to put this on our steaks, we ate it using crackers.
 
Mariton enjoyed her steak

enough to eat the whole thing.  And they did a nice job of bringing out the steaks perfectly medium for both of us.  While white rice seems like an odd choice for a side (she chose it over the different potatos), she liked it just fine.  On this occasion, it was clear that I got the better steak.  This 20oz. filet


was a real beaut!  My favorite part of any steak is the crusty outside and this steak was extra crusty.  Instead of a baked potato, I had the french fries, which were nice, greaseless skin-on fries, but these took a back seat to the steak and I had quite a few left on the plate by the time I was done.  Of course, more pinquito beans,

which were not as flavorful as those at BBQ Land.
 
After eating these steaks, we were now completely stuffed, but dessert comes with the meal.  And who are we to say no to free dessert?  Mariton chose spumoni,

which she went crazy over and this proved to be the perfect palate cleanser.  My rainbow sherbet

was good, but certainly not as good as the spumoni.
 
By the way, our service here was excellent and for the quality and quantity of the food, the cost was more than reasonable.  This was on the short list of my favorite meals of the trip. 
 
Jocko's Steakhouse
125 Thompson Avenue
Nipomo, CA
805-929-3565 
 
We still had a little bit of a drive to our hotel, the Ascot Suites in Morro Bay.  In one of the strangest things I have seen in a hotel, they have a window from the main part of the room into the bathroom. 

Very odd!
 
Between all the great food and the beautiful scenery, we agreed that this was our favorite day of the trip.            
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/22 17:21:56
mar52
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 18:26:16 (permalink)
Ack!  That window!
 
Santa Maria (style) barbeque can be found all around here but nothing like getting the real thing in the real place.
 
Pinquntos are also regional. I believe there is one seller of the dried bean.
 
Good job with your choices!
 
The type of grill used for Santa Maria barbecue is also a part of authenticity as well as the red oak.
 

 
The grill is raised and lowered over the heat by aid of a wheel or crank.  You can now see them on trailers behind cars, built in to counters and made out of stainless steel.
mr chips
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 18:57:21 (permalink)
1bbqboy

Unraveling the Mystery of Lake Dolores | Mission Loc@l


Thanks for this link. Explained a lot and is a little different from what I read in the article on google.
post edited by mr chips - 2012/12/22 20:19:48
mr chips
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/23 00:03:33 (permalink)
buffetbuster

WJ-
I'm certainly not going to pretend that a 10 day trip to Southern California makes me an expert on the area.  Far from it.  But, I do think you are underestimating the coffee shop as a style of Roadfood restaurant.  True, there is no individual food in these places that is indiginous or unique, but coffee shops seemed to especially thrive in Southern California.  I like to think about these places almost as if they are the west coast version of the diner.



(Not for WJ, since he knows this better than anyone.   But just so there is no confusion, when I say coffee shop, I am not talking about a Starbucks or something similar.  A Southern California coffee shop typically has been open forever and hardly changed a thing, has plush leather booths and counter seats, is open 24 hours, a huge mostly American food menu, plus the waitresses wear crisp linen uniforms and call you hon.  And maybe most importantly, has a feel or atmosphere that is all it's own.)  

I agree with you BB. I love SoCal coffee shops because the food is often quite good, the history interesting and the service quite spectacular. My favorite shop is the Nob Hill Cafe in San Diego which has good food and pastries and the best and most efficient waitresses trudy and i have ever seen. I took a group of 30 intellectually disabled clients to Nob Hill and the waitresses got all orders correct, all coffee cups filled and refilled and all tickets prepared quickly. Your report has convinced me to go to some places for architecture and service.
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/23 20:38:12 (permalink)
mar52-
Thanks for that information about the grills used in Santa Maria bbq.  I did not know that! 
buffetbuster
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/24 07:41:23 (permalink)
Wednesday November 28, 2012
 
Before leaving the hotel, Mariton ate a breakfast of oatmeal and yogurt, while I passed.  It was a little more than a half hour drive north to San Simeon and the Hearst CastleCousin Johnny and I visited here about a decade ago and we thought it was nothing short of spectacular.  I bought a coffee table book about the place, which Mariton looked through and now she was very excited about seeing it for the first time.
 
The weather was fine when we arrived around 8:00AM, so we posed for photos with the sign. 

By the time, we paid for our tour and watched the movie, it was now raining out.  You get on a shuttle from the visitor's center and it takes you on a several mile winding driveway up to the castle.  We had read that the weather at the visitor's center can be different from up on top of the hill.  And when we disembarked from the shuttle, it was now pouring out, along with a serious wind.  Mariton paused to take a couple of photos



and you can see how bad the wind is blowing, which was driving the rain into your face sideways.  It was really ugly!  Little did we know this was the best outside photos we were going to get. 
 
They led us inside through a side door into a main room, known as the assembly room.  Unlike the tour guide on the art deco tour, this guide was outstanding.  He was extremely knowledgeable, witty and fun.  He also made fun of me for being the only person in just shorts and a t-shirt, while everyone else was dressed for Winter.  Some photos from the inside. 




Sorry about the quality of the pictures, but it is very dark and you are not allowed to use the flash.  While our guide was speaking, there was another security person who really had his hands full.  There were three rules we had to follow, which was:  1) no flash photography 2) stay on the plastic mats and off the carpet 3) don't touch the furniture or any other belongings.  Unfortunately, with the group being approximately 60% non-English speaking, many did not understand this, which is not their fault.  As soon as the guard would chide a man for walking across the carpet, another woman would walk over and pick up an old book.  He was getting exasperated and honestly, it was a little amusing to watch!
 
Next up was an amazing dining hall, a.k.a. the refectory,


followed by a couple of smaller rooms and then into the billard room. 

From there, it was into a theater, where they showed home movies of the Hearst family and visiting film stars from Hollywood. 

And that was it!
 
Mariton was very disappointed that this is all of the castle you get to see on this particular tour.  They do offer other tours, but that meant going back to the visitor's center at the bottom of the hill and braving the elements all over again.  And it seemed all the tours were parcelled up to only seeing a small portion of the castle at a time.  So, to see a good chunk of the castle, you would have to see at least three of the tours.  When Cousin Johnny and I visited years before, we paid for one tour and saw everything.  Why did they change this?  I felt bad for Mariton because she really was disappointed.
 
After the theater, we were allowed to wander the grounds at our leisure.  But with the weather the way it was, this was practically impossible.  We desperately wanted to go visit the incredible outdoor Neptune pool, but with the wind and the rain, it really wasn't worth it.  Not wanting to get my camera wet, I had it tucked inside my t-shirt.  So, to take any outside photos, I just lifted my shirt and pointed it in the general direction without being able to see. 

Considering this is from belly-cam, this didn't turn out too bad!
 
At least the Roman pool was indoors and we got some decent shots there. 




There are statues of eight Roman gods and goddesses around the pool and that is real gold inside the tiles.  The shuttle bus picks you up right outside here, between the Roman pool and the tennis courts,

so at least we didn't have to get rained on again.  It was raining much less down at the bottom of the hill.  What an amazing difference a few miles and some elevation can do.
 
Just across from the entrance to the Hearst Castle is WR Hearst Memorial State Beach.  This place is best known for being a good place to spot elephant seals.  Alas, the seals decided they didn't even want to be on shore in this weather and there were none to be seen. 

Still, we walked quite a distance out on the pier,

despite how cold and windy it was.
 
This was as far north as we went on the California coast and we started our way back south.  Driving back through Morro Bay,

you can see how foggy and gloomy out it had gotten.  When we reached San Luis Obispo, we got off the highway, so I could visit Cal Poly University and buy a t-shirt.  But, the traffic around campus was brutal, we couldn't find a parking spot nearby and the rain was now really coming down again, so we gave up and got back on the highway.   
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/24 07:48:43
buffetbuster
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Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/24 08:40:33 (permalink)
Wednesday November 28, 2012 (cont.)
 
By the time we reached Santa Maria again, we were starved.  Other than a couple of cookies I had bought at the Hearst Castle snack bar, I had eaten yet on this day.  Our lunch destination was another restaurant known for Santa Maria style bbq, Shaw's Steakhouse

We were warmly greeted just inside the door by the man we later found out was the owner.  He found out we were tourists, we started talking football and he was telling me about how happy he was with the year his 49ers were having.
Shaw's is a nicer place, but still casual and I liked the murals on the wall showing Santa Maria bbq being cooked.

 
The first thing brought out to us was the obligatory cup of salsa. 

This salsa was on the thin side, with several large chunks of tomato. We once again ate most of it using the crackers on the table.  Having had the crab version of this dish last year in the Pacific Northwest, Mariton ordered the Shrimp Louie. 

Besides, the lettuce, egg, tomatos and cucumbers, it did have a sizeable amount of tiny shrimp on it, but it didn't taste fresh.  She didn't care much for this salad.  My tri-tip sandwich

was much better.   The beef was fattier than at the other places we had eaten at the day before, but it did have really good beef flavor.  And the outside of the tips were nice and crispy.  The sandwich came on soft, buttered Italian bread.  I did save a little bit of the salsa to put on the sandwich, but ate most of it salsa free.  The pinquito beans

had a fair amount of beef in them and were quite good, as was the thin fries. 
 
I can recommend Shaw's Steakhouse for the Santa Maria bbq, but I would be carefel about ordering anything else.
 
Shaw's Steakhouse
714 S. Broadway
Santa Maria, CA
805-925-5862

We got back on Hwy. 101 and continued south towards Los Angeles.   
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/24 08:42:10
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