Getting ready to hit the road for a weekend in Santa Ynez and Lompoc wine country I did what I always do: I asked Facebook friends where to eat. Once on my weekend, with plans for a picnic with one winemaker and at least one dinner at Hitching Post II I was looking for more breakfast and lunch places.
Below is what they offered up…and below that is where I ended up!
Denise L: Succulent.
Tanya G: Route 246 in Solvang. Best pork chop I’ve ever had IN MY LIFE! No joke!
Myron H: Ellen’s Danish pancake house in Buellton! Also the golf course in Solvang has a good lunch.
Marlee L: Ellen’s for breakfast!!!
Todd W: It’s kind of a tradition for me to go to The Little Mermaid in Solvang for Æbleskivers, but I heard they closed, so I dunno what else to recommend.
Myron H: The ebilskivers that are in the town of Solvang are also good do not know that restaurant name.
Eve B: Could it be Solvang Restaurant – Home of Arne’s Aebleskiver www.solvangrestaurant.com
Todd W: Thx! If you’re looking for a light lunch, I might suggest Panino. Love their sandwiches.
Sonya R: The Restaurant at the Ballard Inn is well reviewed in Yelp.
Hola O: I can’t vouch for it myself, but my friend went there and really liked it, but not full on restaurant, cheese plate, wine bar type food, olives, chocolate etc. http://www.thegoodlifecellar.com/about-the-good-life-solvang/
Todd W: I’ve eaten at Ballard Inn for dinner (took my wife there for a Valentine’s weekend getaway in 2010) and it was an incredible meal. We stayed at the Inn as well. Lovely place. Nicely located between Solvang and Los Olivos. Don’t know that I’d suggest it for lunch.
Patrick B: You can grab breakfast there, but you have to be staying there. To many bakeries in Solvang to count. Look for the place with a line. There aren’t too many breakfast options in Los Olivos either.
Eve B: I can’t wait to try them out! How about Los Olivos? Any breakfast or lunch spots there you guys like?
Patrick B: Try the Los Olivos Cafe
Julia V: Los Olivos Cafe’s curried chicken salad is my absolute fav! I may be there tomorrow for an early lunch … visiting my 94-year-old aunt and 93-year-old uncle who live in Solvang. Hope they’re up to it! There is also The Vineyard House and Ballard Inn.
Andrew F: Paula’s pancake house!
Alex H: Long horn coffee shop and bakery soooo good!!!
Julia V: Olsen’s Danish Bakery – ITEM – 103 Olsen’s 7 Sisters Butter Ring Coffee Cake. A delightful Danish coffee cake filled with the goodness of almond and custard. A coffee cake for any occasion. FABULOUS!
Barry L: If you go, I want an almond butter ring from Olsen’s bakery. Just read Julia’s post. It is the best thing ever.
Jannis S: Sides Hardware & Shoes in Los Olivos!
Diane G: Don’t forget about “Pea Soup Anderson’s” if you are into pea soup… not a great place for anything else, though.
Larry M: Toss up between Sides for Eggs Benedict and Paula’s for Danish Pancakes.
Well. Things took a turn once we arrived in wine country…we still dined at The Hitching Post II, but we also had tasty offerings in the Stolpman Vineyard, Corner House Coffee, Stafford’s Famous Chocolates, the private home of Steve and Cathy Pepe and finally, at Sides Hardware and Shoes.
Starting out at Stafford’s in Los Olivos, a candy shop located in a former windmill, we were completely surrounded by chocolate. Laced with Lavender, infused with red wine, bars and pops – we were in red wine pairing heaven. We sampled many of the items and planned on ordering more. I suggest spending time there in between tasting rooms!
Located right next store to Stafford’s was the rustic Corner House Coffee. We got our coffee fix in as well as almond croissants and toasted bagels. It was an important spot for us as some of the tasting rooms didn’t have restroom facilities, but the coffee shop did – for its guests.
Our lunch that first day was provided by Peter Stolpman in the Stolpman Vineyards located in the Ballard Canyon section of Santa Ynez Valley. A grand picnic of sandwiches, salads and pickled vegetables that went very well with their white blend L’Avion Roussanne, Syrahs and Sangiovese. (The tour and tasting will run in a separate story.) Even though the day was cold, and had grown windy enough to knock empty wine glasses from our picnic table – we loved it. We just had to keep our glasses full to prevent any mishaps – not a problem. You can book your own picnic and vineyard tour too via this link: http://www.stolpmanvineyards.com/Tasting-Room/index.php?p=31&title=Vineyard-Tours
Much later that evening we had dinner at The Hitching Post II. I hadn’t been there since the film Sideways came out. It was crowded, as expected, but the service was prompt. We had the fresh lobster, filet mignon, prime flat iron, Angus rib chop and rack of lamb. And when I mentioned my sister-in-law’s birthday as we were ordering dessert, hers arrived with a lit candle and a song.
I felt silly after asking everyone for a breakfast spot as the one breakfast we had ended up being provided for us…
After driving through the gates of Clos Pepe Vineyards to reach the home of Steve and Cathy Pepe where we were to spend the night, we quickly saw winemaker Wes Hagen playing Frisbee Gold, aka Disc Golf, amongst the dormant vines. We had an appointment for a wine class and tasting the next day and told Wes we’d see him then. He told us he would be up for breakfast first.
How pleasant, just as it had been with Peter Stolpman, to mingle and chit chat with Wes Hagen over granola, Cheerios, bananas, toast and bagels.
Our final meal was one of the suggested places: Sides Hardware and Shoes, a Brothers Restaurant. When Wes overheard our plans he suggested we try anything they had with bacon in it as they cure their own. Sold. We had a fresh cobb salad, with bacon, bacon burger, fried chicken salad and a “Triple Pork Burger with bacon, pork shoulder and house made chorizo, served with fried onions, jalapeños and roasted poblano aioli.” And though it sounded really rich to me, those that ordered it were the first ones done!