Believe me, the drive on the 5 is a food desert. I know, because I love Burning Man, San Francisco and have numerous friends and family in the Northern part of CA, so end up driving north a couple of times a year. It’s a wasteland in the food department. Especially if you are partial to fresh eats, have a penchant for veggies and hate fast food.
However, on our last trip, I found a couple of places that deserve a stop. The first one is about an 3 hours north of LA, Harris Ranch. I know it’s known for it’s beef…about 3/4 of the menu is steak, meatloaf, burgers, etc and they looked great, but we are into strictly organic beef if we have it, so the steak was a no-go. My honey Dan and I shared a magnificent salad, a flatbread eggplant pizza and some fresh gazpacho and were really impressed. All their vegetables are from their very large ranch, so were pretty good. They also have fresh juice (orange, grapefruit and tomato) so that was a treat. There is a bakery too, but we got there too late to try anything. The restaurant is open from 6am to 10pm, and you can get snacks in the bar til 11, so it’s a pretty good get-out-of-the-car stop half-way between LA and SF. They have an amazing pool too. Just sayin’!!! C’mon, it was 90 degrees at 10PM!!!!! And I’d been cooped up in the car for hours!
The other place we found is 90 minutes north of LA at the Buttonwillow exit. It’s a family owned Indian restaurant. It’s kind of pricey… their entrees are $12-15 bucks for veggies and the chicken dishes were $15-20, but their appetizers were good, all in the $5 range. The mango lassi really hits the spot when it’s blazing outside. I’ve heard the Mexican Restaurant, “Tita’s” at this exit is pretty excellent, with homemade pupusas, but my sweetheart doesn’t like Mexican food, so he always vetoes it.
Anyway, these two get my votes if you want to avoid fast food on the 5, when driving north of LA. Any other suggestions out there?