West Coast Roadtrip

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Ralph Melton
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2011/06/27 17:01:56 (permalink)

West Coast Roadtrip

For this year's vacation, we're flying to Seattle, renting a car, and moseying our way down through Oregon and California until we fly back from LA three weeks later.
Much of this is already determined:
We're visiting friends in Seattle, heading down to Portland, heading to San Francisco, then heading down the California coast to LA. But there are still points where I'd like to ask advice:
 
-  I would welcome advice on a route through Oregon and Northern California. (We want to drive from Portland to San Francisco in 2-3 days.) Most of the Roadfood-listed restaurants in Oregon are near the coast, and that would fit nicely with a visit to the Coastal Redwoods in Northern California. On the other hand, driving down I-5 would give us a chance to stop at Crater Lake, which my father has recommended, and we could see Mount Shasta. And I'm sure that there are many splendid possibilities of which I'm not aware. What would y'all recommend for a combination of great tourism and great food?
 
- Is there a particularly splendid place I should go for Santa Maria barbecue? I'm currently planning on going to the Hitching Post, but if there's some place even more splendid, I'd love to know.
 
- In Seattle, we'll be bringing takeout food for lunch with friends with infants. I'm certainly going to take their expressed wishes into account, but I'm not sure that they'll find time and focus to suggest a place. What would be great Roadfood takeout in Seattle?
 
I'm also happy to hear Roadfood raves in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, LA, San Diego - but I feel very capable of finding good options there through the website and the forums, so the need is not as critical.
 
Many thanks!
#1

36 Replies Related Threads

    buffetbuster
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/06/27 17:20:03 (permalink)
    Ralph-
    Sounds like an amazing trip!  The best piece of advice I can give you is to get a hold of Roadfooder mr chips.  He is a great guy and Portland's unofficial Goodwill ambassador.  Have a great time.
    #2
    Sundancer7
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/06/27 17:32:59 (permalink)
    In Seattle it is obvious that you want to visit the famous market where all kinds of fruits, veggies, flower and meats and restaurants are available.  I have driven the coastal route from San Diego to Washington.  There are way to many places to mention but in southern western Washington, be sure to get some of their famous huge oysters.
     
    Paul E. Smith
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    #3
    mr chips
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/06/28 02:25:43 (permalink)
    I-5 is not nearly the food desert everyone thinks it is and i have a number of places to recommend if you are interested. The coast is more scenic(the southern oregon coast between Bandon and Brookings is spectacular and just over the California border are the redwood forests featured in Star Wars and easily reachable just by driving the main roads.
    #4
    smokestack lightning
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/06/28 02:41:42 (permalink)
    A few route suggestions. A spectacular choice is to take 1-5 to around Eugene and cut over along the Rogue River to the Coast. Another great choice is 199 from Grants Pass on 1-5 to Crescent City through the Jedidiah Smith national forest. Then down 101 to San Francisco including Crescent City, Eureka/Arcata, the Redwoods, etc. Much more interesting than 1-5 in my opinion.
     
    There are many many great roadfood type restaurants not listed on the website by the way. If you want SF recs while you are here send me a PM.
    #5
    mar52
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/06/28 11:31:42 (permalink)
    Get yourself some cranberry jelly candies in Bandon.
     
    If driving through Roseburg, OR stop at the bakery under the windmill.  It's at one of the I5 exits.  Have a marionberry scone.
     
    If you can have sauteed razor clams anywhere...  have them and then have them for me.
     
    Sorry to say I've never had the Santa Maria trip tip in Santa Maria.  
    #6
    mayor al
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/06/28 12:07:52 (permalink)
    The Oregon Coast from Portland/Astoria down is spectacular, but be prepared for tons of Motor Home vacationers on that two lane ride, making it seem 'endless', at times. I would suggest balancing the scenic 2 laners with some I-5 time to keep things moving a bit.
    In that area I would stay with 101 from Tillamook down to Newport (Mo's Seafood) then turn inland to the 5 and drop south to the Rogue River area where you can return to the coast for the crossing into California.
    At that point either stay on 101 thru the Coast redwoods to SFC or jump east to the 5 for Mt Shasta, Mt Lassen, and some great fruits, nuts, and veggies and wine as you come down the upper Central Valley. There are tons of food stands at almost every exit on the 5.
     
    Say Hi to Arnold in Sacramento (Or don't) then connect to SFC and the coast road south.
     
    As you approach Monterey Bay area... Castroville, Home of the Artichoke (in all forms) also in the center of the little town is the Central Texas BBQ. Been there for decades, Good BBQ and if you have never enjoyed a Smoked Artichoke, you need to experience that.
       In the same are is Gilroy the famous GARLIC capital. it may not be time for the annual festival, but there are plenty of stands and restaurants that feature the Garlic items in a wide variety.
     
    Monterey is worth a stop. The Aquareum is outstanding and just walking along the shore watching the Otters feeding and playing in the Kelp Beds is worth the stop. Excellent seafood available on the Pier.
    If you have never done the coast road south of Monterey to Morro Bay, then one time will be a good thing. After the lush green of Oregon, The semi-arid California Coast can be a bit of a let-down. The seaviews are wonderful, We saw Condors at a couple of turnout-overlooks that really were neat to watch.

     
     
     Hurst Castle is interesting but not worth the admission price IMHO.
     

    I've been away from LA too long to give up-to-date references. But this outline may assist you.
    AL
    #7
    Ralph Melton
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/06/28 16:10:07 (permalink)
    buffetbuster: I quite agree with you, and we're already looking forward to a dinner with mr chips.
    Sundancer7: We've visited Seattle's Pike Place Market once, but will certainly strive to do so again.
     
    mr chips and smokestack lightning, thank you for the route suggestions. I'd feel more settled if they had been the same suggestion, but I think I'm coming to the conclusion that I should include at least some of the Oregon coast, and some of the sauteed razor clams mar52 recommended.
     
    mayor al, I agree that Monterey is well worth a stop; we've loved to watch the otters before. I've actually tried a smoked artichoke in Pittsburgh and loved it, but I bet it would be even better in Castroville.
    Despite your verdict on Hearst Castle, I think we'll visit it anyway.
     
    Unfortunately, the trip down the coast may be delayed by a mudslide that blocked Highway 1 for months - no, I see I'm wrong: Big Sur California Blog says that Highway 1 is now open. Yay!
    #8
    smokestack lightning
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/06/28 21:50:59 (permalink)
    Hey Ralph,
     
    yes, Hyy 1 is open. No problems.
     
    I think Hearst Castle is amazing and well worth the admission price. Was just there in November.  Monterrey and Carmel have some excellent food. If it was me I would see as much of the Orgon coast and California Hwy 101 region as I could.
    Let me know if I can be of more help.
    #9
    mayor al
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/06/28 23:17:24 (permalink)
    Hey, Different strokes, etc, about Hearst Castle. We have stayed in Morro Bay several times and like it and the Pismo Beach area as a weekend get-away.
      Hope your trip is a great ride !!! Looking forward to the report !1
    #10
    mr chips
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/06/28 23:34:54 (permalink)
    A few suggestions along I-5, most of which I have recommended before:
            Novack's in Albany, Oregon is a great Hungarian restaurant and Bakery which is a real treat. It is now being run by a granddaughter who is an excellent cook. I liked the breakfasts, the baked goods and a baked bread called Lantos. It is unusual for oregon and a great stop. 
    Halfway between Portland and Ashland is the K and R Drive In in Rice hill, oregon. This is the home of truly huge portions of excellent Umpqua ice cream with over 30 varieties of local ice cream. A small cone is 2 scoops, medium 4 and large 6. And you have to have at least two scoops of each flavor.
       At exit 86 is Heaven on Earth, a truck stop with plate sized cinnamon rolls and other excellent baked goods. it was even reviewed by the Sterns in one of their books.
        The Wild goose in Ashland has marionberry muffins and fried oysters for breakfast as well as other high quality breakfast items.
         I'm partial to the In N out in Redding and The Olive Pit offers free samples of olives in Corning and a nice chance to order a wide variety of flavors of green olives.
          I would see as much of the Oregon coast and Redwoods as possible but Crater Lake is wonderful and worth a visit in and of itself.
    #11
    chefbuba
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/06/29 01:35:15 (permalink)
    I'll second the stop at Novack's. I have friends that live near by and frequent the place. They took me there a couple of years ago when I was visiting, don't remember what we had, we just ordered a bunch of stuff and shared, but I remember that it was all very good.
    #12
    totillie
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/06/29 01:50:03 (permalink)
    If you are going to Monterey, and then down the coast to Hearst [sorry, Mr. Mayor, we love Hearst!], please consider spending a night in Cambria. There are lovely hotels along the [mostly] rock beach  --  not as bad as that sounds - and several good restaurants, including Linns and The Black Cat. Linns is Roadfood, Black Cat is foodie, but excellent.
    #13
    mayor al
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/06/29 05:59:51 (permalink)
    No Apologies needed regarding the Hearst Castle. We enjoyed our first visit, but having done that I wouldn't do the drive to go back... I feel the same way about the Disneyland  (L A) and the Getty Museum.  All need to be experienced, BUT not everyone falls in love enough for repeated visits. I am sure there are places like the Red Rock area of Southern Utah, where I would live if I left this area, would draw comments from some, that it is a "Nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there." !!
      I think this ride down from the NW will be a fine ride.  BTW  The Olive Pit and the truck stops at Corning is/are one of my favorite stops on the 5 in the Valley.
     
    #14
    Sundancer7
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/06/29 08:08:00 (permalink)
    I have been to the Olive Pit twice.  First time I got a olive burger which was very good and the next time I got an assortment of the various stuffed olives.  A very interesting stop right off I-5
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #15
    Ralph Melton
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/06/30 23:16:11 (permalink)
    We're coming up with conclusions almost as fast as the trip is approaching.
     
    We decided that we could spare a day in San Francisco, because we're more likely to return there. So we're doing Crater Lake *and* the Oregon coast; we'll head southwest from Portland to Crater Lake, then more or less due west to Bandon (probably with a breakfast stop at Heaven on Earth), then south along 101 to San Francisco.
     
    One more probable bit of our Portland tourism: Culinary tour | Epicurean Excursion | Portland Walking Tours | Oregon
     
    #16
    6star
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/07/01 01:05:35 (permalink)
    If, by chance,  you can squeeze out a little time in southern Oregon, I highly recommend the Harry & David tour in Medford.  As I am sure you know, Harry & David pack those gourmet food gift baskets, and the tour of their operation is fantastic.
    http://www.harryanddavid.com/gifts/store/view__10455_10002_tours.html
     
    #17
    mar52
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/07/01 10:37:02 (permalink)
    A drive up the coast from San Francisco and you could have a hamburger and Ramos Gin Fizz with the seagulls at:
     
    http://www.samscafe.com/
     
    The Ramos Gin Fizz is worth the trip.
     
    Or dine inside and have the Cioppino.  Guess the Gin Fizz would not be appropriate with that so have lunch walk around Sausalito and drive back up for dinner,
    #18
    buffetbuster
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/07/01 10:43:03 (permalink)
    I don't think the food is necessarily great, but I still recommend a stop at the Samoa Cookhouse, near Eureka, CA.  The place is interesting.
    #19
    mar52
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/07/01 11:08:44 (permalink)
    Samoa Cookhouse is interesting.  I drove up there looked and left.  I don't like communal eating.
     
    Humboldt is nice just to drive around and enjoy the area.
    #20
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/07/01 12:21:28 (permalink)
    That sounds like a really awesome trip Ralph.  I know we enjoyed tooling around the Point Reyes National Seashore area--Stinson Beach is adorable.  If you're in Sausalito, have breakfast at Fred's Place: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nancypalooza/5885872722/in/set-72157627048235162
    #21
    Sundancer7
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/07/01 12:45:46 (permalink)
    Nancypalooza

    That sounds like a really awesome trip Ralph.  I know we enjoyed tooling around the Point Reyes National Seashore area--Stinson Beach is adorable.  If you're in Sausalito, have breakfast at Fred's Place: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nancypalooza/5885872722/in/set-72157627048235162

     
    I have been to Stinson Beach and Point Reyes.  Point Reyes is a bit of a lonesome drive but spectaucalar when you get there.  High above the Pacific but not much food.  I did not stop but the turn off before driving to Point Reyes is suppose to have great oysters and seafood?
     
    Roz drove back to San Fran from Point Reyes.  Some of the drive is not for the faint of heart as you are high above the Pacific with no guard rails.  Sorta made my crotch hurt
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN

    #22
    Ralph Melton
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/07/05 16:09:20 (permalink)
    We're now on the road, so I'm not getting to check this thread as often. Seattle has been mostly non-listed stops:
    Spud's Fish and Chips
    Trophy Cupcakes
    Jimmy's on Broadway
    Mae's Phinney Ridge Cafe
    Charlie's on Broadway
    Lowell's
    Seattle Creamery
    Harry's Hamburgers
    Knapp's in Tacoma
    #23
    buffetbuster
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/07/06 08:17:38 (permalink)
    Thanks for the update Ralph.  You should make for an amazing trip report when you and Lori get home!
    #24
    mar52
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/07/06 12:27:49 (permalink)
    Keep on eating!  Can't wait to hear about your trip.
    #25
    wanderingjew
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/07/06 12:37:00 (permalink)
    Ralph
     
    I hope you enjoyed Spud's as much as I did.

    Looking forward to your trip report and hope to see you in Pittsburgh next month.
    #26
    californyguy
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/07/06 12:53:11 (permalink)
    http://www.jacksgrillredding.com/    a wonderful 30's style steak house with flinstone size wonderful steaks...if you stop here itwill surely be one of your most memorable meals
    #27
    The Travelin Man
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/07/06 15:40:27 (permalink)
    I am curious to know what you thought of Mae's Phinney Ridge.
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    tightlines
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/07/06 17:24:24 (permalink)
    I'm headed to Portland in a few weeks.  I'm thinking about hitting a few of the places reviewed on Roadfood including Dan and Louis. 
     
    There's also a truck that serves Poutine.  I might try that too.  Unfortunately, there's also a fried pie truck.  I guess I'll have to take a few bites of each and move on.  I'll get some pictures up when I return.
    #29
    BackRhodes
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    Re:West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/28 05:29:44 (permalink)
    Ralph Melton
    {snip}
    -  I would welcome advice on a route through Oregon and Northern California. (We want to drive from Portland to San Francisco in 2-3 days.) Most of the Roadfood-listed restaurants in Oregon are near the coast, and that would fit nicely with a visit to the Coastal Redwoods in Northern California. On the other hand, driving down I-5 would give us a chance to stop at Crater Lake, which my father has recommended, and we could see Mount Shasta. And I'm sure that there are many splendid possibilities of which I'm not aware. What would y'all recommend for a combination of great tourism and great food? 

    {snip}

    I know this is after the fact, but here's how I would do it:
     
    In a 3 day scenario: Night #1 at Crater Lake, and Night #2 at Eureka...
     
    Portland to Tillamook, Tillamook to Reedsport, Reedsport to Roseburg, Roseburg to Crater Lake, Crater lake to Medford, Medford to Redding, Redding to Eureka, Eureka to Legget, Leggett to San Francisco
    (At Leggett you have the choice of staying on US Hwy 101 or taking California Hwy 1)
    This route would give you the Oregon Coast, Crater Lake, Mt Shasta, and the Redwoods & the California Coast...

    #30
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