Just back from dinner at the original and still very popular Hitching Post Restaurant in Casmalia, between Lompoc and Orcutt. Went to it 30 years ago when it was really a novelty in this area and before our dining out tastes became more worldly and demanding. It remains a funky, quaint old fashion dinner house out of the 1950s for both menu, value and quality.
But with one modern exception: the "best bar-b-que in the world" tasted decidedly of petroleum solvents, either from ligher fluid or a propane grill. Or both?
Not sure what this source of off-flavor was, but it ruined a good piece of meat and pervaded the nice kebob of grilled vegetables as well. Other diners appeared to be happy and satisfied, but I have moved on and expect far more from the "best bar-b-que in the world". Go if you must for nostalgia, for price, for quanitity but not for tastes.
The 7 oz sirloin at $23 was a large thick square of meat with no discernable marbling and marred by that petroleum solvent taste. The fresh vegetable relish tray was fresh vegetables which almost seems amazing to still have carrot and celery sticks, scallions, olives, and pickles slices just by themselves, floating amid ice cubes.
The shrimp cocktail was a few pieces of frozen small shrimp in a pool of red cocktail sauce. The portuguese linguini sausage appetizer was just that - slices of grilled pork sausage of no distinction or flavor touted as a Santa Maria specialty. The okay green salad was drenched in industrial strenght salad dressing and the ice cream dessert was a standard brand scoop.
So all in all, with everything included it was a well-priced and filling meal and it was a trip back in time when this was the very essence of dining out. And lots of people were enjoying themselves and the service people were very nice, friendly and fast.
Salsa and bread also comes with the meal and a basket of crackers. Adding the salsa to the meat could have masked the petroleum grill flavor, but that was not the point. The point was to celebrate a well-cooked piece of meat at the "best bar-b-que in the world." That did not happen.