Thanks to everyone for their suggestions on where to dine on our Labor Day weekend trip up to Big Sur. We stopped at Jocko's on the way up to SLO Friday night. Had a couple of New York steaks with fries and baked potato. As described in earlier posts, the meat was absolutely excellent, but I wouldn't do the 2-3 hour drive just to eat there.
Brunch Sat at Big Sky in SLO--I had an absolutely delicious apple cider oatmeal with dried fruit; my husband loved his jambalaya omelette. This is unquestionably where we'll breakfast again next time we're in the area.
Saturday night dinner was at Ventana Inn. In contast to the dumpy hotel where we were staying, Ventana's lovely dining room was a real treat. The service was gracious but not cloying, and the food was very good (though I wouldn't say exceptional, especially for those prices). We enjoyed my foie gras appetizer with marinated cherries, and my husband's vegetable risotto was very good, but a stilton and walnut salad and my seared duck both disappointed. An espresso chocolate creme brulee was a rich if heavy-handed dessert. Overall a lovely dinner, but not nearly a much fun as our down and dirty Jocko's experience.
Brunch/Lunch the next day at Hogs Breath Inn in Carmel. Greasy burger type fare. I wouldn't go back. Then, dinner at Deetjen's. It's a very cozy, rustic, low-key place with high prices for dinner--entrees were still over $20. While an Heirloom Tomato salad was extraordinary (heaping place of sugar-sweet tomatos and fresh basil) the rest (poached pear salad, a simple halibut dish, and more complex crab pasta in a chardonnay cream sauce) was nothing special. If you're visiting Deetjen's I strongly suggest going heavy on the vegetables, which were all impressively fresh, and saving room for desert (this night, a tasty apple pie). This is the kind of place you wish would stick to homier fare, like shepards pie and macaroni and cheese, but overextends itself trying to reel in the tourists (and jack up the prices). Anyway...
Case in point, breakfast the next day at Deetjens was wonderful. Perfect eggs, rosemary homefries, fluffy pancakes, light non-greasy sausage. This is the kind of homey, simple fare Deetjens excels at.
Then we stopped at La Super Rica in Santa Barbara for a late lunch. Which was, naturally, delicious. I love the chorizo quesadillas....
So, that's the scoop. Next time I'd definitely do Jockos in Nipomo, Big Sky in SLO, Deetjens in Big Sur (for breakfast), and La SuperRica in SB, but might try someplace else (Post Ranch Inn? Casanova in Carmel?) for dinners.