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California Bakersfield

24/7 Travel Plaza Bakersfield (aka Oven Restaurant)

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Restaurants & Bars

24/7 Travel Plaza Bakersfield (aka Oven Restaurant)

janetofreno | May 31, 2011 10:50 PM

If your travels take you between the Central Valley and Barstow (or on to Vegas) or perhaps to Lake Isabella, you could do a lot worse than to stop at the 24/7 Travel Plaza just off Highway 58 on the edge of Bakersfield. (209 Weedpatch Highway a block or two east of 58, to be precise - that's the road to Lake Isabella). Yes, the gas is relatively cheap there, but that's not the real draw. The restaurant in this truck stop has been converted almost entirely to an Indian place...and the food is certainly decent (and priced like the gas). DH and I have stopped there on our last couple of trips between Vegas and visiting family in Merced, and we plan to now make it a regular stop just before or after the long trip through the desert and over the Tehachapis.

The restaurant advertises "Indian, Mexican, and American Food" on a sign outside, but at least the menu we were given was entirely Indian. Among the notable menu items are several chatt items and a number of interesting deserts. These can also all be purchased to go. On Monday we weren't particularly hungry, but felt we wanted "something." We ended up splitting an order of plain samosas and one of samosas with chana masala. The chana samosas also came with a nice yogurt sauce, and fresh mint and tamarand chutneys were served with both. They tasted fresh and the spicing was right. Not the best samosas we ever ate, but remember, this is pretty much cow country. Our "snack" hit the spot (we left stuffed!), and the accompanying chai was hot, sweet, and strong (and conveniently packaged in large "to go" cups so we could finish it as we drove.

The service has always been great and the folks at the Travel Plaza are friendly. Decor is basic early truck stop. Every time we've been there the place has been empty, even on a busy travel day like Monday (plenty of people filling up at the pump however). We watched as a group of four sat in a booth and left as soon as they saw the Indian menu. Our concern is that most travelers will bypass Indian food and the owners might go back to the usual truck stop fare. We say, support it so that we can continue to be fortified with chai and chatt for the long drive!

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