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Where to eat on I5?
January 30, 2012 4:11 PM   Subscribe

We're driving down to LA from the East Bay Area later via I5 next month, and we'd love to get your recommendations on a place to eat on the way.

Any thoughts? We eat and enjoy pretty much anything but PLEASE NO HARRIS RANCH

Thanks!
posted by foxy_hedgehog to Travel & Transportation around La Porte, TX (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
(I think your location may be mismarked.)

There's an In-N-Out Burger in Kettleman City that I like to stop at because it's roughly halfway. There must be non-chain options on the 5 but I can't think of any offhand.
posted by roger ackroyd at 4:23 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


The folks on chowhound.com are great at questions like this. Here are a couple of their discussions.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:37 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not fancy, but it's delicious! I always eat at the Sonic drive in just south of Bakersfield. It gets you in a good mood to tackle the nightmarish Grapevine pass. It's technically on the 99 right before it meets the 5 - a minor detour, but only about 15 minutes out of the way. Mmmmm!
posted by crabintheocean at 4:40 PM on January 30, 2012


Pea Soup Andersen's in Santa Nella. It's hokey and cheesey as all get out, but if you've never been to one, I think it's something you pretty much have to do as a Californian. The food is actually not too bad, and there's an all you can eat pea soup special. It's a ways up north, so it might come a bit too early in your drive for lunch, depending on when you leave.
posted by LionIndex at 4:44 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, pea soup Anderson's. Their bathrooms are very clean, too.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:45 PM on January 30, 2012


Ooh, I love eating pupusas on I-5...I'll try to remember where it was, but about 33% south from SF to LA.
posted by arnicae at 5:45 PM on January 30, 2012


Driving between Sacramento and LA, I've only ever stopped in Santa Nella for gas and in Buttonwillow (at Rosedale Hwy/58) for Starbucks and Subway. There is an Indian restaurant with vegan dishes there in Buttonwillow that I've always wondered about, and yes, Pea Soup Anderson's in Santa Nella.
posted by WasabiFlux at 5:56 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought it was a law that you had to eat at Pea Soup Andersen's between SF and L.A.
posted by mykescipark at 6:14 PM on January 30, 2012


Harris Ranch in Coalingua is fairly good if you want an actual restaurant experience. Steak, wine, service. Cazuela's is the same exit and adequate, but not great. The In-n-Out in Kettleman is great for fast food, but it's quite busy.

I-5 is a wasteland. If you can make a whole day of the trip, take 101 and enjoy some stuff around Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo like wine tasting, restaurants, etc. Adds 1–2 hours of actual driving time, plus more time having fun.
posted by Nelson at 6:35 PM on January 30, 2012


Oops I just saw your "no Harris Ranch". My apologies for failing at reading comprehension. It's OK, it all smells like bullshit anyway.
posted by Nelson at 6:36 PM on January 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I-5 is a wasteland. If you can make a whole day of the trip, take 101 and enjoy some stuff around Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo like wine tasting, restaurants, etc. Adds 1–2 hours of actual driving time, plus more time having fun.

And, you can stop at the original Pea Soup Andersen's in Buellton!
posted by LionIndex at 7:48 PM on January 30, 2012


For food, I-99 to Fresno. Fresno, you say, mockingly? A half-hour detour from precious LA/SF time?

Indeed. You can thank me later.

Cafe Corazon in Fresno has the best coffee in California. Seriously, dude there is an engineer who roasts the beans and brews the coffee. No pastries, no nothing. Just coffee. Where Philz Blue Ritual et al are the Olympic hopefuls, Corazon is Zeus himself.

Then go to the Chicken Pie shop for lunch. Or El Cochinito Contento for dinner.

Seriously, forget I-5 and bad road food. I-99 is worth it. You can cut back over to I-5 further south and blast on through endless tilled fields and In-n-out truck stop nothingness at dusk.
posted by zippy at 11:41 PM on January 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm from Coalinga but there really is not much on I-5 worth trying out. I suggest taking Zippy's advice and traveling the 99. The Chicken pie shop is fantastic.
posted by andendau at 8:01 AM on January 31, 2012


you can stop at the original Pea Soup Andersen's in Buellton

IMO the Andersen's in Santa Nella is pretty good but the Buellton operation's kind of a dump -- if you're in Buellton, there's many other choices (ever seen Sideways?) and if it's Scandinavian you're after, go to Solvang, the next town over.

But agree with the general sentiment here, for the most part, I5 is a culinary wasteland, or has been ever since the 'Okie Girl' called it quits after the Northridge earthquake.
posted by Rash at 8:13 AM on January 31, 2012


I can't recommend the Pea Soup Andersen's in Santa Nella, but that's based only on one very disappointing visit.

The In-N-Out in Kettleman City is nice, though it's usually busy when I'm there.
posted by clorox at 11:06 PM on February 5, 2012


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