Hot!L.A. Confidential

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buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/18 20:42:10
Monday November 26, 2012 (cont.)
 
Before leaving for California, I signed up for us to get tickets for the Conan O'Brien show.  I saw the show live previously in New York and had a great time.  Our tickets were for this night and I was really looking forward to it.  But, we found out ahead of time who the guests were going to be and that changed everything.  There are probably less than five entertainers that I dislike so much that would make me reconsider going and one of them was a guest that night.  Just plain bad luck.  I was no longer excited about going and Mariton didn't seem like she was into it from the beginning, so I called and cancelled our seats.  A big part of me is wishing we would have still gone, because Mariton has never seen a tv show being taped and I think she would have enjoyed it.  But, with this being Southern California, there were still plenty of other things to do.
 
Our next food stop was Fab Hot Dogs

in Reseda.  Located in a large shopping center, we had a little bit of trouble spotting it, with it being tucked away in a corner.  There is currently only one location of Fab Hot Dogs, but that is about to change as there will be two

new stores opening soon.  Among the things I like to notice and photograph are restaurant's tip jars and this place just may get the award for honesty. 

The menu board is big

and deciding what to order was not easy.  They do try to help you out by letting you know which are the most popular hot dogs that week. 

Or maybe that is just what they want you to buy.  Either way, it worked on me.
 
Based on the review, there was never any doubt that I would be ordering the bald eagle dog. 


This is supposed to be their version of the famous ripper dog from Rutt's Hut.  They even import their winers in from New Jersey.  This version certainly looked right, even though the skin hadn't ripped open.  The wiener isn't mooshy at all and has a distinct snap when you bite into it.  And the mustard on top of it is nothing short of magical.  It is a little bit spicy, with incredible flavor and according to the review, is made with sweet relish, carrots, cabbage, Mexican oregano and mustard.  This is on the short list of best hot dogs I had all year.
 
I typically don't like hot dogs that are too busy and overloaded with toppings.  Despite this, I went with the L.A. Street Dog


as my other choice.  On this, the wiener is wrapped in bacon and is topped with grilled peppers, onions, jalapenos, mayo, mustard and ketchup.  Although I will always be a fan of bacon wrapped hot dogs, there was too many competing flavors and it didn't mesh well for me.  Not that it was a bad hot dog, but it certainly couldn't compete with the bald eagle dog.
 
To drink, a fine mint chocolate chip milkshake. 

Normally, I wouldn't even think about getting dessert at a hot dog shop, but they say they have homemade rice pudding and both Mariton and I are fans.  This rice pudding

had a fair amount of raisins and tasted strongly of cinnamon.  Not being a big hot dog lover, Mariton actually ate more of this than anything else.
 
The inside of Fab Hot Dogs

is long and narrow.  The people who worked here were very friendly and were happy to answer my questions, despite the place being busy.  And one more thing worth noting.....  If you eat at least one of each of their hot dogs, you get you photo on their wall. 

What more can a Roadfooder want?
 
According to the Roadfood review, ayersian mentions they were tipped off to the place by mar52.  So, thanks to Chris & Amy for writing the review and mar52 for finding the place!
 
Fab Hot Dogs
19417 Victory Boulevard
Reseda, CA
818-344-4336     
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/18 20:47:21
mar52
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/18 21:03:05
Aha!  One of my favorites when I worked in the Valley.  Westwood would be more convenient but the parking is not.  Oh well.
 
It was Fab where I went and couldn't get in because Guy Fieri was inside filming Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/18 21:57:45
 
Great reports Buffetbuster!  Keep 'em coming!
 
The pork sausage with peppers and onions at Wurstkuche looked like it was calling my name! 
 
Glenn
 
 
post edited by Glenn1234 - 2012/12/18 22:01:22
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/18 22:23:30
mar52
Taquitos served at Olvera Street's Cielito Lindo can be found nowhere else. They're one of a kind. Not even the other places in Olvera Street duplicate them.

 
 
I agree with mar52's sentiments. I have never had tqquitos like the ones at Cielto Lindo. As for the juice smoothies, Janet and I weren't impresed with any of them. Maybe we're just not hot smoothie fans.  

Wanderingjew -   Why worry about strict adherance to regional food.  Good food is good food.   Heck, pizza is not originally from New Haven, yet they have great pizza places .. or Apizza, as they call their variety.   Taquitos might not orgiinally be from L.A., but Cielio Lindo's own variety is great.   Barbecue (barbacoa) is originally from the Carribean but many varieties around the U.S. are enjoyable, as you know.  
I know you eat at these places.  Why so strict on regional stuff all of a sudden for L.A.?  Heck, if it's good, it's good. ... even if on the moon  ;)
 
 
Glenn
 
 
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/18 23:05:41
Glenn1234

mar52
Taquitos served at Olvera Street's Cielito Lindo can be found nowhere else. They're one of a kind. Not even the other places in Olvera Street duplicate them.



I agree with mar52's sentiments. I have never had tqquitos like the ones at Cielto Lindo. As for the juice smoothies, Janet and I weren't impresed with any of them. Maybe we're just not hot smoothie fans.  

Wanderingjew -   Why worry about strict adherance to regional food.  Good food is good food.   Heck, pizza is not originally from New Haven, yet they have great pizza places .. or Apizza, as they call their variety.   Taquitos might not orgiinally be from L.A., but Cielio Lindo's own variety is great.   Barbecue (barbacoa) is originally from the Carribean but many varieties around the U.S. are enjoyable, as you know.  
I know you eat at these places.  Why so strict on regional stuff all of a sudden for L.A.?  Heck, if it's good, it's good. ... even if on the moon  ;)


Glenn



 
Glenn,
 
Sorry, I had the Taquitos at Cielito Lindo, and I just simply wasn't impressed. They were ok, nothing special. There's actually a place here in Providence on Atwells Avenue that in m opinion makes a better version
 
The Roadfood books used to concentrate on unique local food.  I know a good majority of  of folks on here had no idea e that the Sterns wrote books prior to the website. So my regional thing isn't just geared to LA, it's geared to pretty much anywhere I travel.  I guess I just don't believe in traveling and spending money to go to a place and eat the same things that I can  find and are likely just as good or better back home. Locally I eat just about anything. 
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/18 23:49:23
wanderingjew

Glenn1234

mar52
Taquitos served at Olvera Street's Cielito Lindo can be found nowhere else. They're one of a kind. Not even the other places in Olvera Street duplicate them.



I agree with mar52's sentiments. I have never had tqquitos like the ones at Cielto Lindo. As for the juice smoothies, Janet and I weren't impresed with any of them. Maybe we're just not hot smoothie fans.  

Wanderingjew -   Why worry about strict adherance to regional food.  Good food is good food.   Heck, pizza is not originally from New Haven, yet they have great pizza places .. or Apizza, as they call their variety.   Taquitos might not orgiinally be from L.A., but Cielio Lindo's own variety is great.   Barbecue (barbacoa) is originally from the Carribean but many varieties around the U.S. are enjoyable, as you know.  
I know you eat at these places.  Why so strict on regional stuff all of a sudden for L.A.?  Heck, if it's good, it's good. ... even if on the moon  ;)


Glenn




Glenn,

Sorry, I had the Taquitos at Cielito Lindo, and I just simply wasn't impressed. They were ok, nothing special. There's actually a place here in Providence on Atwells Avenue that in m opinion makes a better version

The Roadfood books used to concentrate on unique local food.  I know a good majority of  of folks on here had no idea e that the Sterns wrote books prior to the website. So my regional thing isn't just geared to LA, it's geared to pretty much anywhere I travel.  I guess I just don't believe in traveling and spending money to go to a place and eat the same things that I can  find and are likely just as good or better back home. Locally I eat just about anything. 

 
 
 
Wanderingjew -
 
We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one, as I liked Cielito Lindo,  ...as does mar52, who is a local.   
 
As far as spending money to go to some place to get the same things I can get at home, that did not apply to me for Cielito Lindo, in my opinion.  And, of course, opinon is just that; ... opinion.   
 
One point is that you seem to be rigidly applying your standard for "regional food"  for L.A., while you don't for things like pizza in CT or barbecue in the U.S., etc.   Pizza is not originally from CT and barbecue is originally from the Carribean, not the American south, as many believe.   The point is, you might be selectively applying your rigid standard.   Hey, I dont blame you for getting pizza in CT or barbecue in the American South, (I often stop at Zuppardi's in West Haven on my way up I-95),  ... but those foods were not original to those areas, and it doesn't bother me one bit.  Good food is good food.        
 
As for the website versus the original roadfood books, and knowing about the Stern's writings, I came from the Roadfood books side.  I have been reading the Sterns since the early versions of the Roadfood books, but learned of this website only a couple years ago. 
 
 
Glenn
 
 
post edited by Glenn1234 - 2012/12/19 00:55:52
mar52
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/19 00:14:30
I can also say the book brought me here.
 
I was curious so I looked up Taquitos and Wikipedia changes everything:
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taquito
 
Thanks for making me look it up.  I've been eating at Cielito Lindo since I was able to eat solid foods.  My grandparents' store wasn't far from Olvera Street.
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/19 00:48:41
Great find, mar52.  Not only are taquitos likely from L.A., they might actually be from Cielito Lindo, of all places!   By the way, I also love El Indio in San Diego, the other place metioned.   Both Cielito Lindo and El Indio were on my favorites list for the southern Cal trip. 
 
 
***************
<<...."Taquitos as they now exist are claimed to have been invented in at least two places in California: in Los Angeles' Olvera Street, at Cielito Lindo, founded by Aurora Guerrero in 1934 and still serving customers[3][4] and in San Diego, in 1940, by Ralph Pesqueria, Sr., when customers at his tortilla factory began asking for prepared food items. The tortilla factory became El Indio Restaurant, where taquitos and other Mexican food are still served.[5]"....>>>
****************
 
Glenn
 
 
post edited by Glenn1234 - 2012/12/19 00:54:10
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/19 08:17:52
Glenn1234

wanderingjew

Glenn1234

mar52
Taquitos served at Olvera Street's Cielito Lindo can be found nowhere else. They're one of a kind. Not even the other places in Olvera Street duplicate them.



I agree with mar52's sentiments. I have never had tqquitos like the ones at Cielto Lindo. As for the juice smoothies, Janet and I weren't impresed with any of them. Maybe we're just not hot smoothie fans.  

Wanderingjew -   Why worry about strict adherance to regional food.  Good food is good food.   Heck, pizza is not originally from New Haven, yet they have great pizza places .. or Apizza, as they call their variety.   Taquitos might not orgiinally be from L.A., but Cielio Lindo's own variety is great.   Barbecue (barbacoa) is originally from the Carribean but many varieties around the U.S. are enjoyable, as you know.  
I know you eat at these places.  Why so strict on regional stuff all of a sudden for L.A.?  Heck, if it's good, it's good. ... even if on the moon  ;)


Glenn




Glenn,

Sorry, I had the Taquitos at Cielito Lindo, and I just simply wasn't impressed. They were ok, nothing special. There's actually a place here in Providence on Atwells Avenue that in m opinion makes a better version

The Roadfood books used to concentrate on unique local food.  I know a good majority of  of folks on here had no idea e that the Sterns wrote books prior to the website. So my regional thing isn't just geared to LA, it's geared to pretty much anywhere I travel.  I guess I just don't believe in traveling and spending money to go to a place and eat the same things that I can  find and are likely just as good or better back home. Locally I eat just about anything. 




Wanderingjew -

One point is that you seem to be rigidly applying your standard for "regional food"  for L.A., while you don't for things like pizza in CT or barbecue in the U.S., etc.   Pizza is not originally from CT and barbecue is originally from the Carribean, not the American south, as many believe.   The point is, you might be selectively applying your rigid standard.   Hey, I dont blame you for getting pizza in CT or barbecue in the American South, (I often stop at Zuppardi's in West Haven on my way up I-95),  ... but those foods were not original to those areas, and it doesn't bother me one bit.  Good food is good food.        


Glenn



 
Glenn, actually I'm not, I apply it to everywhere when I travel outside of my home turf (RI, Boston, NYC)  not just LA and it was largely based on the Stern's  older roadfood books.  BBQ and Pizza as we know it is American, argumentably everything we eat here in the US has been borrowed from other cultures. Even that unique midwestern speciality, Breaded Pork Tenderloins is just a variant of Central European "Wiener Schnitzle"
 
You can't blame me for not liking Taquitos (or super sweet date shakes) just as I can't blame you for not enjoying smoothies. Although it appears many say that a "taquito" is just another word for the Tex- Mex Flauta
 
http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/cityofate/2009/07/on_the_range_flautas_taquitos.php
 
I agree, its all a matter of opinion that's what makes these forums so interesting.
 
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/19 08:32:33
Monday November 26, 2012 (cont.)
 
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is located high on top of a hill in Simi Valley.  The drive to the top is long and winding and they have banners of all the presidents on light poles as you drive along.  Very nicely done.  On a previous visit, I remember seeing lots of beware of rattlesnakes signs around the yard, but did not see any this time. 
 
This statue

greets you as you near the building and they have these smaller ones 

of Ron and Nancy (and Mariton peeking from behind) inside the entrance.  Typical of the all the presidential museums, it traces the history from childhood

to his path into politics onto being the Commander-in-Chief.  Some of my favorite things from the museum:
 
There was an interactive photo gallery of the Reagans hosted other world leaders,

which was interesting, especially this one of Princess Diana about to dance with John Travolta. 

Just about every Presidential Library had their own oval office,

made to look like how it was when this particular President was in office.  This one had the most jelly beans.  There was a Presidential podium 

for a nice photo op and Mariton was happy to pose, despite her disappointment in finding out she could never legally be President of the United States.
 
In a new addition since my last visit, they have a massive building that contains an Air Force One. 


There is also Marine One

and a real nice mural

of all the Presidential Airplanes over the years.  There is also a beautiful display of christmas trees,

decorated in a theme of the historical events in American history through a decade.  For instance, this one

represent 1770-1779, which is why you see the Declaration of Independence on it.  The Civil War was the big theme for 1860-1869

and it is a little unusual to see a gun on a Christmas tree.  The one for Reagan's term, features E.T.  
 
Some other images from the museum:






That last photo with the horse with no legs made me think that it was done so people could climb on it, but we didn't see anyone doing that.  It did make me laugh, though.
 
We spent several hours here as this is undoubtedly the biggest Presidential Library.  By the time we were leaving, it was getting dark.  While photographing a piece of the Berlin Wall,

I noticed that there was a gorgeous sunset.
 

President Reagan is buried in a lovely spot overlooking the hills.
 
 
By now, we were hungry again and we set out in search of dinner.
 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/21 16:07:35
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/19 10:48:42
Monday November 26, 2012 (cont.)
 
Thanks to the team of Chris and Amy (ayersian), we had several Roadfood options nearby for dinner.  Unfortunately, there was no answer when we called Les Sisters' Southern Kitchen (it turns out they are closed on Mondays) and then we received a disconnected number message for Munch Box (which closes for the Winter).
 
That left us with a place called Natural Cafe.  Just the very name made me wonder and when I read the review to Mariton and phrases like "soy chili dogs" and "avocado and sprouts sandwiches" came up, this did not go over well with us.  Even though I mentioned to her that this review was written by our reliable friends ayersian, this did not sway her skepticism.  Lacking better options we proceeded to Natural Cafe,

finding it in an upscale shopping center.
 
The inside has high ceilings

and for the second time in the day, I found a really good tip jar. 

The girls who work the counter were very friendly and offered some great suggestions to these first time customers.
 
We both decided on a soup and half sandwich combination.  Mariton had the vegetarian chili, which she loved.  She said it wasn't too salty and had big flavor. 

The sandwich was the roasted turkey, which came with lettuce, sprouts, tomato and onion on nine grain bread.   Again, she was very happy with her sandwich.  I took a bite out it and you could tell that this was real turkey and high quality bread.  My sandwich was the albacore tuna, which came with pickle relish, onions, sprouts and tomato on nine grain bread. 

One bite into this wonderful sandwich and my leeriness melted away.  The one misstep was my roast garlic potato cream soup.  I liked it the first few sips, but tired of the taste very quickly.  Also coming with our meals was maybe the best chips and salsa

of the whole trip.
 
To drink, we completely forgot about ordering smoothies, which I was kicking myself about later.  Instead, here

was our beverages.  You can probably pick out which one of us drank what!  They had some interesting desserts and the young lady at the counter raved about how good the Boston Cream Pie was, so we indulged. 

It did not taste like the typical BCP, but it was very moist and not overly sweet.  Another winner.  The young lady who took our order came over and checked with us several times to see how her suggestions turned out. 
 
After the meal, Mariton mentioned that we should have known better than to doubt Chris & Amy, because we know what good taste they have in restaurants.  I would absolutely go back to Natural Cafe, but just don't expect me to eat a soy chili dog!
 
Natural Cafe
2667 Tapo Canyon Road
Simi Valley, CA
805-527-2272
 
We continued north and east to our hotel for the night, The Hyatt Regency in Valencia.       
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/19 10:53:33
Sundancer7
Fire Safety Admin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/19 11:23:51
BB: A few years ago when Roz was with Baxter, she hosted a dinner at the Reagan Library for several hundred Baxter execs and managers.  She really enjoyed the library and particularly the AF1.  Really outstanding.  I have visited many myself including Trumans, Clintons and a few more.  I was impressed with your pics and Roz's.
 
Great looking sandwiches at the Natural place. 
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
mar52
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/19 13:05:27
BB:  Thank you for a glimpse inside of The Reagan Library. I've never been.  Fantastic pictures.  I really like the Corgi Horse.
 
Mariton looks very presidential.
 
Glad that you didn't eat at Baja Fresh. 
 
 
 
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/19 14:25:58
 
Buffetbuster -
 
With a few exceptions, it's looking more and more like you and I covered the same ground.   Janet and I also thorougly enjoyed the Reagan Library, and especially seeing 27000 there. 
 
Janet and I both wondered why they are always called Presidential Libraries rather than Presidential Museums. 
 
Nixon's Presidential Library in Yorba Linda was also on our list, but we didn't have time to make it there.  ... Maybe next time.
 
Looking forward to more of your report! 
  
 
Glenn
 
 
1bbqboy
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/19 16:09:07
Do we get any clues as to who the disliked guest was?
Glenn, not everyone agrees with your assertion that BBQ originally comes
from the Carribbean. 
We have Taquitos/Flautas and smoothies as far North as Oregon, but we also have plenty of ex-pat Golden Staters
so it's a sort of Chicken & Egg thing.
Loving your report, BB.
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/19 22:55:40
Glenn1234

 
Buffetbuster -

With a few exceptions, it's looking more and more like you and I covered the same ground.   Janet and I also thorougly enjoyed the Reagan Library, and especially seeing 27000 there. 

Janet and I both wondered why they are always called Presidential Libraries rather than Presidential Museums. 

Nixon's Presidential Library in Yorba Linda was also on our list, but we didn't have time to make it there.  ... Maybe next time.

Looking forward to more of your report! 
 

Glenn


The presidential libraries are frequently the repository of the President's papers and the museum part was considered less important. Nixon's library originally received no federal money but is now run by GSA like most of the other libraries.  The only libraries I have yet to visit are Kennedy and Clinton.
 
post edited by mr chips - 2012/12/20 09:47:57
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/20 01:14:08
 
Mr.  Chips -
 
Thanks for the info.  That makes sense. 
 
 
Glenn
 
 
 
EdSails
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/20 01:33:03
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
 
mar52
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/20 01:38:55
I forgot to comment on the piece of the Berlin Wall.
 
I visited a vineyard in Malibu (Rosenthal Estate) and the owner of the estate had two sections of the Berlin Wall on display.  They absolutely fascinated me.
 

TnTinCT
Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/20 11:52:08
What a great report - I keep falling behind so some of my comments are from earlier postings. In-and-Out burger is a favorite of mine, but has been replaced in the number one fast food burger spot by Shake Shack. I tried the "animal style" burger for the first time on my trip there this year - have to say I did not care for it. I think the extra sauce just totally overwhelmed the entire burger and made it a mess to eat - so i will stick with the original double double and add some grilled onions as my pick. 
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles (although I didn't love the chicken) - the people there were lovely and we had the best service; I even got a hug from our waitress. I really liked the waffle, and the chicken was just ok - the mac and cheese was delish!
We hit Phillipe's for breakfast - there was no line at all, and we could get sandwiches, so win win win!! I really enjoyed the sandwich, we split a beef and a pork, but my favorite was the beef. I did like the fact that it wasn't over-stuffed, and the mustard added that perfect extra tang that it needed to make it a really interesting bite. The potato salad was a good choice of a side, there btw.
Really enjoying your report and the pics, as always!
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 15:08:00
buffetbuster
We did pass by Roadfood favorite Musso & Frank

but we didn't have appetite to stop in and enjoy a meal.  

I meant to post this picture when you first posted about our failed attempt at Musso & Frank. The last time I was in LA, I took the group I was chaperoning for dinner. One of my absolute favorite things was the presentation of the butter with the bread serving.
 

 
That is all....as you were.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 15:40:11
Tuesday November 27, 2012
 
Usually when traveling, I ignore the hotel's breakfast.  I have never had anything at one of those cheap little buffets that can match what you can get in a good Roadfood restaurant.  Things change a little when I am with Mariton, because she wants her oatmeal in the morning.  Considering what she has to put up from me the rest of the day, this is a small sacrifice.  She is especially fond of the oatmeal they put out with the breakfasts at Hyatts, which is where we usually stay. 
 
Here at the Hyatt Regency in Valencia, they don't offer a free breakfast, but we were given two free tickets to their fancy restaurants first-class breakfast buffet, (supposedly) a $21.00 value.  Once we confirmed they had oatmeal, we went in.  Mariton noticed that the oatmeal here was very similar to the style they served at John O'Groat's, a style we were unfamiliar with.  I asked the waitress about it and she told us that it was steel cut oatmeal and that it was pretty much commonplace in California.  Looking it up on wikipedia, I saw that it is also popular in Scotland and Ireland and is also known as Irish oats.  Well, this explains why they called it Irish oatmeal at John O'Groat's.  For the rest of the trip, everytime Mariton ate oatmeal, which was always at a hotel, it was the steel cut oats.
 
I was not planning on eating anything, since I knew this would be a heavy eating day for us.  But, she brought back some beautiful fresh mango, among other fruits and I ended up filling a plate full of bacon and fresh fruit.
 
We were headed north along the Pacific coast and to get there, we took the scenic route across the mountains.  Lots of beautiful scenery

on the way and we pulled over often to take photos.  At one little pullout, there was a young couple

behind a stone pillar making out.  It was a little awkward interrupting them (I didn't even know they were there until too late), but I was determined to get my photos.
 
Our first food stop of the day was a small place called The Summit

in the tiny town of Ojai.  They do have a small inside seating area, but it was such a beautiful day, we were looking forward to eating at one of the picnic tables. 

The lady who took our order was a little off putting at first.  Maybe it was because she saw me taking outside photos, but she almost seemed a little suspicious.
 
Taking Chris & Amy's advice from the review, I ordered the Western Bacon Cheeseburger for us to split.  That really isn't true, since Mariton had so much oatmeal at breakfast, she was probably good for no more than a bite  or two.  They also have a nice roster

of available milkshakes to choose from.  Knowing I would get help on this, I picked one cherry

and one cinnamon.  The cherries are local and this was a fine, thick milkshake.  The cinnamon was something I enjoyed at first, but soon tired of.  This is undoubtedly why you rarely see cinnamon milkshakes and I should have made a better second choice.
 
It took a good while for the burger to come out, but this was a burger worth waiting for. 

It was obvious from the first bite that this was fresh, high quality beef, with a nice crusty outside.  The bacon was thick and crispy, the sesame seed bun perfectly soft.  The onion rings

on the side (including the one on the burger) were also something special.  They were golden brown, with just the right amount of crunch and practically greaseless.  These were some of the best onion rings we have ever had.  After seeing how good the food was, Mariton decided to have more than just a few bites.
 
When I walked up to the counter midmeal to get some more napkins, I mentioned to the lady (she was obviously one of the owners, along with her husband who had cooked the burger)  how great the food was.  She was much friendlier after this.  She told me that they get the fresh ground beef delivered to them everyday and even named the butcher store.  She also told me how long it takes for them to train someone new to cook there, because it has to be exactly right to be served.  I loved hearing about their dedication to quality and you can really taste it in the food.  This was easily the best burger of the trip and one of the best all year.
 
The Summit
12689 Ojai Santa Paula Road
Ojai, CA
805-933-9898
 
We continued on our drive heading to the coast, enjoying the scenery along the way.         
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/21 15:45:42
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 16:21:36
Thanks for the compliment bbqboy!  I wasn't trying to be purposely mysterious about who the disliked entertainer is, I just forgot to say.  It was Scottish comedian Billy Connolly.  I can't begin to tell you how much that guy annoys me.  No doubt there are people out there who are big fans, but I am not one.
 
TTM-
Thanks for the butter photo.  Just one of those little touches that makes a place like Musso & Frank great.  While I am a little bummed we never made it there on the trip, there was no way we could have eaten there on the day we walked past.  That is a place that are you doing it a disservice if you don't show up really hungry.
 
Glenn1234-
Once again, it is noticeable what similar trips we made, which is very cool!  For Gerald Ford, they actually have the library (Ann Arbor) and museum (Grand Rapids) in different cities.
 
mar52-
It isn't very often that you stumble upon pieces of the Berlin Wall and it is always fascinating when you do.  While it is no surprise to see it at the Reagan Musuem, it is odd to come across it at a winery in Malibu.  They also have a section in the middle of downtown of Portland, ME, which we unexpectedly stumbled across.
 
 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/21 16:22:40
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 16:58:44
Glenn1234

 
Buffetbuster -

With a few exceptions, it's looking more and more like you and I covered the same ground.   Janet and I also thorougly enjoyed the Reagan Library, and especially seeing 27000 there. 

Janet and I both wondered why they are always called Presidential Libraries rather than Presidential Museums. 

Nixon's Presidential Library in Yorba Linda was also on our list, but we didn't have time to make it there.  ... Maybe next time.

Looking forward to more of your report! 
 

Glenn


Curiously Glenn President ford separated the two functions. His museum is in Grand Rapids and his library is in Ann Arbor.

mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 17:00:04
By the way, every day is more informative BB. Really enjoying the report. Hope you are done by the time Sam returns to SoCal and trudy and i are down there next month.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 17:07:21
Tuesday November 27, 2012 (cont.)
 
Once we hit the coast, our first stop was the city of Santa Barbara.  This would be the first time in SB for either of us and we were immediately blown away by the beauty.  Here

is the drive into town, with the ocean on the left.
 
Our lunch destination was a restaurant reviewed here on Roadfood called Brophy Brothers

I love seafood almost as much as Mariton does, so we were glad to finally be hitting a seafood restaurant.  It is located right on the water and we were led to an outdoor table on the second floor that overlooked the marina

and a little further off, the ocean.  As soon as we sat down, Mariton just stared out at the view.  We were handed menus and Mariton kept staring out.  I asked her what she wanted to order and she kept staring.  So, I took the hint and ordered for both us.
 
The first thing delivered to the table was the excellent, crusty sourdough bread.  

Brophy Brothers is well known for their clam chowder
 
and  I certainly don't think of as a California thing.  But, I am so glad we did not miss this, because it was milky with more clams that I had ever seen before.  Truly an wonderful bowl of chowder.  And the bread was great for mopping up the last little bit.
 
The appetizers on the menu were split into hot and cold options.  All of the hot appetizers had our mouths watering, so I ordered the Hot Combo,

which is a small amount of each of them.  On the plates, you can spot Beer-Boiled Shrimp, Steamed Clams, Oysters Rockefeller, Steamed Mussels and Baked Clams.  Now, when Mariton and I are eating out and splitting food, I probably eat 80% of it.  But, when I see that she is truly loving the food in front of us, I will back off and let her go.  And this was one of those times.  She did send some shrimp my way, (I am a big shrimp guy), but she ate this plate almost all by herself.  And it makes me very happy to see her occasionally enjoy food as much as I usually do.  We asked for more bread and used it to mop up the excess garlic juice used on the clams and mussels.
 
We also split the shrimp and avocado salad.  

Both the shrimp and avocado were wonderfully fresh and she loved this dish, too.  Between the food and the view, Mariton called this her favorite restaurant of the trip.  It sure looks like I enjoyed it, too.

 
The inside area

of the restaurant was fully packed and this is a very popular place.  We were lucky we got here when we did, because there was now a long line for a table.  I liked how this guy

improvised by eating outside, even though no tables were available.  The staff was young, attractive, friendly and took great care of us.  Brophy Brothers comes highly recommended!
 
Brophy Brothers
119 Harbor Way
Santa Barbara, CA
805-966-4418
 
Whenever we take these long trips, we take about half as much clothes as needed and do laundry some time midweek.  We thought this would be a good day to get that taken care of and we found a nice laundromat called Wash & Fun.  An hour and a half later, we had clean clothes and was ready to see the sights of Santa Barbara.        
post edited by buffetbuster - 2012/12/21 17:16:09
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 17:23:08
mr chips

By the way, every day is more informative BB. Really enjoying the report. Hope you are done by the time Sam returns to SoCal and trudy and i are down there next month.
 Thanks as always for the kind words mr chips.  It is much appreciated.  As for when I will be done, I am dancing as fast as I can!  With Mariton and I going away for New Year's weekend, this thing will definitely drag into January.  Sorry!  I also want to get it finished, because I want to do a year in review. 

mar52
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 19:41:55
BB, you are giving me great ideas for day trips.  I've never been to either Brophy Bros. or The Summit.
 
I'm so glad that you're enjoying your trip.
 
You're making me wonder how many of those Berlin Panels were brought here... how much were paid for them...  did they slap the hands of those with the spray paint?
 
I always imagined it being gray or sepia toned.  Never did I ever think that it would be graffiti covered or brightly painted. 
 
Any one else here see panels in other places?
 
 
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 19:54:16
mar52-
The first time I ever saw part of the Berlin Wall was at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, where Churchill made his famous "Iron Curtain" speech in 1946.  
 
A weekend trip to Santa Barbara sounds so good.  If you make it to Brophy Brothers or The Summit, please report back and let us know how you liked it. 
mar52
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 20:14:10
I might make Brophy Brothers a stop on my way to Solvang when I get the urge.  I'll definitely report.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 20:23:57
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
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 20:48:02
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
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/21 20:54:10
Travel Manned. Even starting a trip with TTM is karma.
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 00:02:46
I had nothing to do with this. I was safely back home before any of this ridiculousness occurred.
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 00:28:05
 
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
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 01:47:21
Glenn, that makes perfect sense.
 
Thanks!
Glenn1234
Double Cheeseburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 02:41:50
 
mar52 -
 
Here is the back side of the piece of Berlin Wall that Buffetbuster posted. 
 
 
 

 
 
 
Glenn
 
 
strongy78
Hamburger
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 02:43:11
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
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 06:49:49
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
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 13:32:37
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
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 13:54:02
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
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 14:08:59
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
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 14:23:10
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
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 14:28:53
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
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 14:43:25
By the way, I think the Mission Burrito got its name from the Mission District of San Francisco.  (Keeping it food related)
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 15:03:53
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
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 15:11:53
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
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 15:50:14
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
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 15:56:01
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
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 15:57:09
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
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 16:04:28
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
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 16:18:41
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 SeƱora 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
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 16:36:32
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 17:14:54
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
Sirloin
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 18:26:16
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
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/22 18:57:21
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
Filet Mignon
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/23 00:03:33
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.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/23 20:38:12
mar52-
Thanks for that information about the grills used in Santa Maria bbq.  I did not know that! 
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/24 07:41:23
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
Porterhouse
Re:L.A. Confidential 2012/12/24 08:40:33
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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