Road Trip Classics: Central Cali

before we even knew it as “blogging” we were sharing our travels on Here is an oldie from 2006:

We drove up the central coast of California last weekend to celebrate my mother’s birthday in Cambria, a little resort town between Morro Bay and Big Sur. It’s a beautiful drive, with tantalizing glimpses of the Pacific Ocean, and giant rocks that look like petrified dinosour bones. The trip is mostly through Sycamore trees, with tufts of yellow grass and Pampas growning inbetween. When passing through a city, everything turns to Oleander. Occasionally you are graced by a sweeping panorama of ocean, and on this trip I spotted a whale and a school of dolphins. It must already be time for migration.

Our first stop on the way up was the Candy Shop, just south of Santa Barbara. It is in a little strip off the freeway, at the Santa Claus Lane exit. There is no reason for it to be called Santa Claus Lane. Santa Claus is long gone. Namely, the gigantic bust of Santa Claus that used to adorn the roof of the Candy Shop is long gone. Santa Claus now resides in a vacant lot somewhere in Oxnard.

The Candy Shop makes their shakes by hand, with fresh milk and ice cream, and quality mix-ins. Only perfectly ripe fruit is used in their shakes. So I decided to throw caution to the wind and order the infamous date shake. I had always thought dates were too dry, with their papery skins, to make a good shake, but was curious after having read a Sterns’ review of date shakes near Palm Desert. I was concerned when I saw the girl scraping the last dregs of dates out of the container. My worst fears were confirmed when I kept getting dried bits of date skin caught in my throat. Maybe date shakes are good when the dates are moist, but I will never know. I went back and ordered my usual banana shake, which was again, perfection.

Our next stop was for lunch in Beullton at Mother Hubbards, as recommended by a fellow Roadfooder. Unfortunately, lunch did not live up to breakfast’s reputation. My French Dip was dull and skimpy on the meat. My husband didn’t even eat his Caesar salad, but he was a little out-of-sorts anyways. The décor was typical small-town diner, with a surprising number of healthy, live plants. I liked the special hat racks for hanging up your trucker hat. The daily special perplexed us… “pineapple-maple glazed hamlets”. We asked the waitress for a definition of “hamlet”.

She said, “They’ve explained it to me a million times and I still don’t understand it…OK, fine, I’ll ask ‘em again.” She returned and recited, “It’s like a drumstick, but it’s the hem.”

I was thinking, “Ham? Hen? Ham? Hen?” She repeated more slowly, clearly enunciating, “It’s like the drumstick, but it’s the HEM.” I tried to order it, but they weren’t serving dinner specials yet. Later, my brother and mother, who were making the same trip in a different vehicle, happened to spot our car in the parking lot and stopped by. We all gathered in front of the “specials” board to collectively ponder the word “hamlet”.

My mom volunteered, “Well, a piglet is a little pig, maybe it’s a little ham.”

“Maybe it’s like a cutlet, but with ham,” I volunteered.

My husband opined, “It’s the DRUMSTICK, so the drumstick of the ham would be like the foot.”

“That would be a ham hock” I rejoined. Stumped, we returned to our respective vehicles and continued on our journey up the coast.

About Kiki Maraschino

I like catfish. Sure, we all like catfish, but I think for me it is somehow deeper.
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One Response to Road Trip Classics: Central Cali

  1. I really like your family which I suppose very closed with each other. By the way, your photo is great that it caught my attention. Thank you for sharing it. You know what I read every posts of yours. You’re great.

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