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Highlights of road trip: Santa Barbara, Cambria, Morro Bay, Cayucos, Orcutt, long

Babette | Sep 14, 200504:39 PM

Dinner at the Fishouse in Santa Barbara: pretty good clam chowder, plenty of clams; good thick soupy consistency, (not gluey) and the fish & chips were enjoyed by my husband & son. Caesar salad received a thumbs up. The fish was local salmon and the salad was fresh greens, organic if I remember correctly. Not a really fancy place, overall rating: pretty good.

The hotel's comp breakfast was a sad affair, so we went to D'Angelo's , where our son devoured brioche french toast, & my husband had buckwheat pancakes, both pronounced excellent. I often prefer savory breakfasts so opted for lunch: 1/2 egg salad sandwich on whole wheat. Very good. We bought a loaf of multigrain bread to use for our breakfasts in Cambria, and our son bought hazelnut biscotti for the trip. Both were excellent.

Chenoa in Cambria: our 13 year old son had seared ahi tuna with seaweed salad, & loved it! He stayed away from the wasabi sauce, though. My husband had fettucini w/ grilled vegs & salmon, which he enjoyed, & I had an excellent organic green salad and a mushroom broth-style soup with plenty of tasty mushrooms, along with mushroom crostini. Our son got the lavender creme brulee, All in all very good, and the service is friendly & attentive, if the food was somewhat slow to appear in the sparsely populated restaurant (we ate early, at 5 pm, after the drive).

The surprise hit of the trip was Robin's in Cambria, a reliable standby. We were ready for another early dinner in order to get back to our room before sunset. We always eat at Robin's so were considering Sow's Ear for a change, but it wasn't open yet. So we opted for Robin's, & it seemed to us the best meal we've ever had there. It turns out they have had a new chef since January. We shared most everything, and it was all good: spinach salad w/strawberries sounded weird, but turned out delicious. Shrimp fettucini, ribeye steak, fresh tomato soup (absolutely great!), and halibut floated on a broth with wild mushroom dumplings (my favorite). For dessert, fruit cobbler, ice cream sundae, & lemon cheesecake. I recommend a visit to Robin's to try out the new chef's food, and I hope he stays. Super!

Hoppe's in Cayucos: Also very good. Heirloom tomato salad, BLT caesar w/anchovies, 2 cayucos burgers w/blue cheese, 1 portobello burger,all on fresh homemade buns & 1 chocolate torte. This is becoming another regular stop.

Orchids in Morro Bay: We were too late to get into Windows on the Water, so opted for Orchids at our hotel for a late bite. I ordered a hot shrimp appetizer & was delivered a shrimp cocktail; the server noticed her mistake & corrected by bringing my original order. So unhungry moi received 2 dishes; both quite good. Our bottomless pit of a son had another caesar salad & shrimp & mussels w/pasta, which he liked very much. My husband had a seafood pasta dish as well, it was all pretty good for a light meal.

Taco Temple in Morro Bay: the guacamole taco special was fresh tasting and ample, and the chicken taquitos were a big hit with the guys. They have a nice little wine list, great little place. Wish we had this place in LA.

Chef Rick in Orcutt: We just couldn't pass without stopping, this place is such a jewel, and they are open all afternoon, great for travelers. I had a burger with broccoli slaw (unusual & quite good), our son had the BLT burger w/caesar dressing & sweet potato fries, my husband had asparagus soup. The burger buns are also good here, & service is top notch.

So much good food! We'll be back...

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