Good Food on the 101: Road Trip Stops from the Bay to LA

I’m driving from the Bay to LA a lot these days— and I don’t have AC, so summertime means I’m taking the 101. It’s a longer ride, but cooler and exponentially more beautiful than the I-5 (I mean, a pile of garbage is more interesting than the 5). There are also way more options for food stops.

Here are two places I went to recently on my way home from LA. Got any you’d like to share? Please comment below, hungry drivers should stick together (otherwise we’ll be hangry drivers, and that’s dangerous). I’ll be updating this list every few months.

Santa Barbara County
Industrial Eats, Buellton


Casual, farm-to-table, order at the counter kind of place. At the front there were quick-grab baskets of pig ears and honey sticks, which I took for a good sign. Appropriately named, this place is tucked in a surprising area: you can spot it amongst the warehouses by the cartoonish illustrations of vegetables and meats on the outside walls. Inside, nicknacks cover the wall and two wood burning ovens illuminate the back. The pizza was tempting but we opted for roasted peaches with prosciutto and burrata, lipstick peppers with bottarga, and oysters with uni and avocado. Good selection of local beer and wine. Prices range from $9-$15 and portions are generous. Open Monday-Sunday 10 am- 9 pm.
Directions here.

Bell Street Farm, Los Alamos
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I used to not want heavy food while on road trips, but then I had the porchetta sandwich at Bell Street Farm. It was on par with my best umbria porchetta finds, and came on ciabatta with an apple and jicama slaw, and a few pickled veggies on the side. I’ve noticed that the central and southern california wine countries have mastered that casual daytime farm-to-table with a glass of wine vibe, which I’m all for. The menu has sandwiches, salads, charcuterie plates, a deli case and rotisserie chickens. The back patio is straight out of a Pinterest barn party board with red picnic tables, string lights and lots of tin. I could have ordered a glass of rosé and chilled for longer. Los Alamos is just off the 101 and while it’s only a few blocks long, the old western charm is complete with a weathered saloon and antique stores. Sandwiches range $12-$15. Open 11 am-4 pm Thu, 11 am-5 pm Fri-Sun, 11 am-4 pm Mon. Closed Tues & Wed. Directions here.

Panino, Los Olivos

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There’s nothing too unique about this local sandwich chain, but it’s good and Los Olivos is so damn cute you want a reason to make it a pit stop. Tons of salad and sandwich options here and the portions are generous. I had the number 16 sandwich with salami, roasted red peppers, goat cheese, olive spread, fresh basil, greens & red onion on a baguette. There’s seating outside next to the Los Olivos general store, which is worth a gander for locally made products. Of course, as I was leaving town (and after I had eaten my lunch) a taco truck had shown up right near the 101 entrance, so keep an eye out for that. Sandwiches ranges $11-$12. Open 10am – 4pm, Mon – Sun. Directions here.

San Luis Obispo County
Foremost Wine Company, San Luis Obispo
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San Luis Obispo Foremost
I thought I couldn’t get more bougie than having oysters as a road snack, but then I ordered a cheese plate and pâté. They have a burrata bar here, but we went for the board of mimollette, saint angel and comté, sprinkled with jams, nuts, and seasonal fruit. Owned by farmer and winemaker, Rob Murray, the place has a stellar wine list. We just missed happy hour (4-6:30pm daily), with $5 glasses of wine and cheaper bites. The place is chic and dark, but still comfortable. Prices range from $12 to $36. Open for dinner Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 5-9 PM, Friday and Saturday 5-10 PM and Sunday brunch 10-2. Closed Mondays.
Directions here.