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Food

Checking out the super bloom? Here are four places where you can eat and drink on the way

BORREGO SPRINGS, CALIF. - MAR. 13, 2019. Visitors take pictures in a field of tidy tips near Coyote
Visitors take pictures in a field of tidy tips near Coyote Canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park on Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2019.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

As you know from your poppy-populated Instagram feed, Los Angeles has been in the grips of super bloom mania for the last few weeks.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, currently experiencing a top-notch wildflower season, is one of the most popular destinations in Southern California for super-bloom-seeking crowds. Around three hours from Los Angeles, it’s also a bit of a trek and you’re bound to get hungry.

Where to find the super blooms in Southern California »

Lucky for you, there are no shortage of restaurants, bars and bakeries along the way to try. Here’s where to stop on your drive:

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CORONA, CA-February 13, 2019: The pork BBQ short rib at Kra Z Kai’s Laotian barbecue restaurant on W
The pork BBQ short rib at Kra Z Kai’s Laotian barbecue restaurant on Wednesday, February 13, 2019.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Kra Z Kai’s: As Times restaurant critic Patricia Escárcega noted in her February review, this is (probably) the only Laotian barbecue spot in Southern California. The small counter-service restaurant, situated at the edge of a strip mall, specializes in Laotian-style barbecued meats. Escárcega recommends ordering dishes such as the Laotian sausage, papaya salad, beef dip and barbecue chicken. After a long day of wildflower hunting, you’re going to need some protein.

Kra Z Kai’s, 1218 Magnolia Ave., #110, Corona, (951) 268-6968 instagram.com/kra_z_kais_bbq/

Oak Mountain Winery: What’s more quintessentially Californian than the California poppy? California wine. Oak Mountain Winery, just a 10-minute detour off Highway 79, serves wines grown and produced in Temecula. Stop by before 5 p.m. for a hard-earned post-hike wine tasting. Or schedule a tour of the winery’s caves, the first of their kind in Temecula.

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Oak Mountain Winery, 36522 Via Verde Road, Temecula, 951-699-9102, oakmountainwinery.com

Yes, you still have time to see the super bloom — if you know where to go »

Padua Pasta Makers: Passing by Upland on your way down to the wildflowers? Padua Pasta Makers is known for its freshly made pasta but also offers boxed lunches that include a sandwich, side dish, pickle and chocolate hazelnut truffle for dessert. Between the drive and the inevitable crowds, it’s bound to be a long day. Having lunch ready to go will help. (Hat tip to Daily Bulletin reporter David Allen — Escárcega passed along his recommendation.)

Padua Pasta Makers, 300 E Arrow Hwy, Upland, (909) 985-4900 paduapastamakers.com

The Mission Inn: After a day spent in the great outdoors, battling the selfie-obsessed hordes it attracts, you’re going to need a drink. Up for a slight detour to Riverside? In 2011, Jonathan Gold listed the Reagan Martini at the Mission Inn’s Presidential Lounge in a roundup of “L.A.'s Best Cocktails” for L.A. Weekly, calling it “as strong, undiluted and unpalatable as the man himself.” With a long day in the wildflowers and a few Reagan Martinis under your belt, you might want to book a room for the night. Trust us on this one.

The Mission Inn, 3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, (951) 784-0300 missioninn.com

BORREGO SPRINGS, CALIF. - MAR. 13, 2019. Visitors walk through a hiillside of wildflowers and ocoti
Visitors walk through a hiillside of wildflowers and ocotillos in the Texas Dip section of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park on Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2019.
(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)


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