Nestled in the small town of Los Alamos out in the mountains about 45 minutes north of Santa Barbara is my absolute favorite bakery and brunch spot, Bob’s Well Bread. We stop by Bob’s on a somewhat regular basis, to celebrate special occasions or as a nice stop on road trips up the coast to Santa Maria or San Luis Obispo. Sometimes we swing by as a fun Saturday activity simply because we haven’t been in a while. This bakery is so good that it’s worth the drive, and it should be on everyone’s list for Santa Barbara and Central Coast places to eat.
Between Chris and I, we’ve probably eaten at least half of the menu at this point, and we’re happy to report that all of the menu items are hits. My current go-to is the lox and bagel platter, that comes with tomatoes, capers, dill, and sweetened preserved lemons as toppers along with a housemade bagel, lox, and cream cheese. Treat yourself on the weekends to some eggs benedict, or to some classic brunch items such as the mushroom toast, a delightful Croque Monsieur, or a housemade breakfast sandwich. If you are feeling more lunch-vibes during your brunch, try the BLT or the meatloaf sandwich for a delicious and satisfying meal. I also always check their Instagram page before we go to check out the weekly rotation of specials, which range from anything between a classic porchetta sandwich to their take on a Ban Mi. Everything on the menu is made with their own house-baked breads, bagels, and biscuits, and everything is always so fresh and locally sourced.
Some pro-tips for you if you want to maximize your Bob’s experience – going earlier is better, because they do sell out, sometimes even by 11:00 (although they are technically open until 4:00). Chris and I went for lunch over this past weekend and the pastry case was mostly cleared out, so definitely plan your timing accordingly! In addition, be prepared to wait in line, which can sometimes be long (especially on holiday weekends). Nothing about brunch at Bob’s is particularly fast, but you can get in and out in an hour or so if you’re crunched for time, but I would plan to spend longer if scheduling allows. Going to Bob’s is all about having a leisurely morning and is not meant to be rushed. Enjoy the nice weather and the sunshine while you wait, and start eyeing up the pastries that you want in the case as you get closer to the front. If you get lucky, Bob will be there himself to take your order when you make it up to the front, and his team will be sure to fill your order to perfection once it has been is placed.
My biggest Bob’s tip is to order a couple of pastries for the table to enjoy while you wait for your food (but don’t tell anyone I said this, because I don’t want the pastries to sell out next time I go!). The pastries are not to be missed, and if you are lucky enough to get there while they still have the full spread, you’ll truly be in heaven. Buttery and perfectly flaky croissants, delightful cookies, canelé, kouign-amann, and seasonal fruit pastries are all in the rotation, and I can personally attest that they are all perfect and delicious. Pair with a nitro coffee, Arnold Palmer, or a freshly squeezed orange juice, and you’re well on your way to a delightful brunch.
If you’re really feeling the Bob’s vibes and want more for later (because really, why wouldn’t you?), take a loaf of freshly baked bread to go with you and enjoy later in the day. I’ve also been known to take some English muffins to-go for breakfast sandwiches at home the next morning. Take your breads and pastries with you for a fun lunch or afternoon snack as you explore the Los Alamos area.
If you decided to stop by and visit Bob’s and are looking for other things to do in and around town, I have some recommendations for you! The town of Los Alamos is very small but has an Old Western vibe along its main street, which is fun for a stroll and photo ops. There are a few antiques shops there to browse as well if that’s your scene. The surrounding area is all part of the Santa Barbara wine country, so there are plenty of vineyards nearby to do tastings and sip some vino. If you’re feeling adventurous, stop by the Ostrich Land USA to visit (and feed!) the ostriches and emus up close. Finally, if you want a very easy hike to a lovely waterfall, stop by Nojoqui Falls for a little bit of nature. Los Alamos is about an hour drive to Santa Barbara, a 20 minute drive to the Danish-inspired town Solvang, and about an hour away from Central Coast towns like San Lois Obispo and Morro Bay. There’s plenty to do out in this part of California for a lovely day trip, so head on out there and enjoy!
This post was not sponsored by Bob’s Well Bread in any way, just some words from one of Bob’s biggest fans!