Solvang / Santa Ynez / Los Olivos / Buellton

Thank you all for this!

We’ll do SY for dinner one night. Made reservations.

We’ll plan to do Industrial Eats and Bob’s Well Bread for our lunch / brunches. But these restaurants don’t have reservations, so is it fair to assume there will be a wait?

If we go to Hitching Post for dinner the other night, am I likely to be disappointed? I am a curmudgeon who just wants good food and wine. But we have two guests, one who is more of an Instagram type.

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Depends if it’s a weekday or weekend, and of course the time of day.
I think Bob’s in Los Alamos pretty much always has a long wait on weekends (don’t know anything about the new Bob’s in Ballard). I went once on a Monday - at peak lunch time - and had no wait at all.

IE is similar but I think a shorter wait, especially if you go at or before 11:30 or after 2 on weekends.

My wife, who is not the IG type, loves the hitching post and says (even after Sideways made it a virtual household name) the quality is still there. I have never been - my family was always into Jocko’s in Nipomo, for Santa Maria BBQ.

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I went a few years ago with some out of town guests and was bracing for an over-hyped disappointment. Ended up enjoying the food and setting.

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Re Hitching Post we have been multiple times, most recently when things briefly re-opened over the summer. Last summer we sat in the outdoor tent and felt very safe from a covid perspective. Highly recommend reservations for dinner to avoid a wait. The food is straightforward - no fancy ingredients, no instagrammable presentations - but in our experience it is always good.

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Hitching Post (II) it is!

Thanks, everyone.

+1 Industrial Eats, Hitching Post, Bob’s Well Bread and Bells.

Ember in Arroyo Grande isn’t bad, especially when eating at the bar.

Sadly, can no longer recommend Jocko’s.

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I love Ember. From my last visit back in August

Housemade Lemon Tagliatelle Pasta with Sautéed Shrimp, Sweet Yellow Corn, Red Fresno Chilies, Basil & Lime Butter

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Thanks. It’s been many years and I was worried about that

The tasting room at Hitching Post now offers well spaced outdoor tables as well as wine pours as well as burgers, grilled artichokes, and excellent fries. Pretty and very pleasant. We were there at Thanksgiving before the lock down and it felt very. Covid safe.

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I’d like to plug a wine tasting room in Los Olivos. Tercero Wines is the baby of Larry Schaeffer and he makes really great wine with a focus on Rhone varieties. I’m not sure how he does tastings these days but he’s well worth a visit if you’re there. (I have no business interest; I just really love his wine.)

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The Paso Robles area is filled with all these French-Cal Rhone varietal makers: L’Aventure, Benom, Clos Selene. I wonder if that is true in Santa Ynez as well.

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https://www.rhonerangers.org/members/wineries

Bell’s

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Thanks. We will plan to stop by.

One of California’s best wine producers is Sine Qua Non, which makes mostly Rhone varietal wines in the Santa Ynez Valley. There are lots of other (much more affordable and nowhere near the quality) producers there that specialize in Rhone varietals.

http://www.finewinegeek.com/sqn/

Or …

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SQN is owned by Manfred Krankl the guy who partnered with Nancy Silverton on Campanile and then LaBrea Bakery. I’ve only had a few of his wines (quite a few years ago) but they were very good IMHO. They ARE extremely high end and people wait years to get on their allocation list. It’s not quite as bad as Screaming Eagle but that’s probably the most well known comparison.

I was once at a trade event SQN was pouring at and the people I was with insisted on staying til the bitter end because SQN was known to bring out the ‘really good stuff’ then. It was worth the wait.

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It’s reasonable for someone to prefer less concentrated and less alcoholic wines, especially for food pairing purposes. I don’t think it’s reasonable to call them trash. Personally, I drink mostly balanced European wines that pair well with food, but Sine Qua Non wines shock and awe. They are a different beverage, practically speaking.

Not that I would discourage anyone from tasting them, but to my palate, wines like that taste awful, to the point that after spitting them out I need to rinse my mouth.

Must be hard to make less concentrated elegant wines in Central California - must be much too warm.
Still, I would not call any of the Central Coast high alcohol concentrated wines “trash”. They are what they are, as long as you know what to expect. Not food friendly for sure, especially for delicate food. But for an open air backyard grilling they go quite well. Of course, at SQN prices one would expect something more…