You have all been so helpful to me I thought I would post a short trip report. We left from LA to do the typical "Sideways" trip up to the Solvang area. We just moved to LA, so this was our first visit to Solvang/Buellton area, so despite some mixed opinions on the Hitching Post II we decided to try it. We arrived the first night and had dinner there in Buellton and I would say that I agree with most of the opinions on the board. My husband had a sirloin cut which was very good, but as Kev mentioned in an earlier report, we think it could have had a bit more seasoning and smokiness. Next trip we will be sure to try Jocko's in Nipomo. We had a wonderful HP Pinot Noir, but of our food choices, the best was a grilled Lobster trail I ordered that was on special. It actually had more of the grilled smokey flavor than the steak, and was definitely worth the splurge.
The next day we decided to make the trek up to the Hearst Castle early and stop out in Guadalupe on the way back for a late lunch at La Tapatio. Unfortunately it was closed, but since we had a hankering for mexican we followed the road into Santa Maria. Just as it gets into town the road changes to West Main street and on the left hand side of the road was a real find:
El Toro Tortilleria and deli
1135 W Main St
Santa Maria, CA 93458
We walked into the place which was packed with mostly Latino customers getting carry out for dinner. We ordered 2 combo plates, 1 with carnitas, the other with carne asado. We also ordered a pork tamale. Both the plates were very good, but the the carnitas were better. The tamale was also nice with a strong black pepper flavor which was quite yummy. Both plates came with warm wonderful homemade tortillas and the winner of the meal was a wonderful salsa they sell by the pint. The side of beans a rice were good as well. All total the bill was around $14. Oh I should also tell you that there is not really any sit down space, so we grabbed everything and had an informal picnic.
Pigging out in Santa Rita cost us any serious wine tasting this trip, but that's okay. We will definitely go back just to do that next time. Later that night, recovered form El Toro, we went to the Los Olivios cafe in Los Olivos. We split 2 appetizers, a wild mushroom puff pastry and cream thing whcih was really good and also a plate of roasted vegetables. After that we split a nice chicken sausage and cheeze pizza. The pizzas there are a nice thin crust, heavy on the cheese kind of dinner plate size pizza. We thought they had nice flavor. Not the very best pizza in the world, but not a bad choice especially if you want split a snack.
The only other place we tried for breakfast this morning was a nice little cafe for breakfast called Ellen's Diner in Buellton, on Avenue of the Flags just past the entrance to 101. A nice simple place with Danish pancakes and eggs. It is what we assume you see lots of in Solvang itself.
We will definitely go back to the valley. The weather ws terrific, the wild flowers are blooming and the bit of wine was tasted this trip was very nice. All in all a terrific way to get of LA for 2 nights.