Thanks to all the SB/Central Coast hounds for recommendations. We spent a long weekend in SB and Solvang and ate at a few of the recommended places.
SB: Made it to Renaud's for the croissants. The almond croissant was truly excellent, and although the chocolate croissant was definitely chow-worthy, it may not have been quite as good as the ones at the Ferry Bldg in SF.
On the recommendation of some friendly locals, went to Brophy Brothers at the Marina for lunch. The halibut was good; the steamed clams were inedible (think pencil eraser). Should have ordered the shrimp salad; it looked amazing.
Ate at Harry's Bar and Grill. It was OK, and packed on a Friday night with families, but nothing to write home about.
Solvang: Root 246 was the best meal of our trip. I had lamb shank with chanterelle mushroom risotto; he had black cod with lemon/basil gnocchi. We shared the spinach salad to start, and the ice-cream spoons to finish. All fabulous, and much better (and half the cost) than Valentine's dinner at the Ballard Inn. Perhaps Ballard Inn would have been better on a night without a set menu, but we just weren't that impressed....
Had pastries at Olsens; wonderful! Also had lunch at Los Olivos Wine Emporium. The fried goat cheese appetizer with marinara sauce was great; the fish special was good but a bit over-cooked. The place was slammed, but it was a gorgeous day and Valentine's Day to boot.
All-in-all, the wine and the chow were decent, and the sunshine - priceless for this midwestern snow-weary gal!
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