The road trip from Santa Barbara to Santa Maria offers the great beef and silky wines you’d expect from the ranch and vine scenery, and there are a few surprises along the way too.
Starting in Santa Barbara initiate yourself to the area’s famous tri-tip at Shalhoob’s Funk Zone Patio. Make sure to grab some jerky here for the trip. As you wind up the San Marcos pass via the Chumash Highway make the pit stop at the historic Cold Spring Tavern to stave off car sickness and eat some incredible onion rings.
Next up is Floriano’s Mexican Food and Fresh Cuts, masters of carne asada. Get a burrito, and hit the Lompoc Wine Ghetto for some tasting. Double back for an aebelskiver and coffee break at the Solvang Restaurant in the fairy tale village of Solvang. More wine tasting and chip stuffed hot dogs are on the menu at Los Olivos. Stop by The Doggy Door and get a pesto dog.
The quaint Old-West look of Los Alamos make the charred, organic pizzas at Full of Life Flatbread and the technically impressive yet hedonistic pastries at Bob’s Well Bread an unexpected treat. You can’t leave the region without squaring off with one of Jockos’ Santa Maria style Spencer steaks. From here you can continue North, there’s a whole lot of California left to see.
Jocko's is an historic, rough and tumble steak house where choice cuts are grilled over live red oak, Santa Maria BBQ style.