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Life on California's beautiful Central Coast

Timeless, now trendy, Los Alamos

The Pacific Coast Railway conductors called it “Los Almost.” It was the next-to-last stop before the end of the line, as they rattled down from San Luis Obispo on narrow gauge rails in the late 1800’s. In Los Olivos, they would drop off their passengers for stage passage to Santa Barbara and points south. In Los Alamos, they stopped at a depot that resembled a huge barn. It still stands, the only surviving PCRY depot in the state. Today, it’s filled with antiques. (Well, some antiques, and a lot of old junk, to be honest.)

Los Alamos has long been the stepsister village of the Santa Barbara wine country. A 10 minute drive north from sassy, Sideways-sloshed Los Olivos, its a mash-up of old Victorians and brick storefronts, tiny cottages, ranch-style homes, trailers and a couple of unique motels. You can drink a beer with Harley riders at Ghostrider’s, enjoy a pizza at Full of Life Flatbread with the Whole Foods set, taste some wine, shop for an old saddle, or just sit in the park and enjoy the baking hot summer heat. Translation of Los Alamos is “The Cottonwoods,” and on warm days here the comfort of a shady tree is divine.

The latest local business to pick up some good buzz, following in the footsteps of Full of Life Flatbread and the quaint Cafe Quackenbush, is the Bell Street Farm, a gourmet deli/brunch/lunch location right on the main drag. They have a nice menu of salads, sandwiches, and wine, but the best part is the atmosphere. A historic flat storefront, charmingly decorated inside with a vintage hammered tin ceiling and rustic furnishings, fits the Los Alamos spirit to a T.

Wine tasting options in town are numerous, and one celebrity inspired – Emilio Estevez’ fiance’s Babi’s Tasting Room. It’s right next door to the highly acclaimed Bedford Thompson, which I’d recommend if you’re in it for the wine rather than the Mighty Ducks star. If this all sounds familiar, the other LA got a travel spotlight in the LA Times earlier this week, which will surely increase foot traffic on the sometimes-deserted, even on the weekends, streets.

If you’re taking a northern-bound road trip, make a pit stop. Go before LA becaomes the now over-touristed, high rent charmer also known as LO.

Bell Street Farm

Wine at Bell Street

Antiques on the Street

Quiet on the street in LA

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1 Comment»

  Fork and Whisk wrote @

Love their food. Bell street farms is a great place. Love the prosciutto and pepato sandwich.


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