Highland Springs Resort's friendly staff has been welcoming guests since 1884. The present-day grounds include a thousand-year-old black oak tree in the Cherry Valley foothills, more than 20 acres of farmland ripe with organic herbs, and miles of hiking trails accessible with a visitor guest pass. The deluxe inn room, which echoes the resort's rustic, simple feel, hides behind green and growing charms, including gardens, vined verandas, and plumes of shrubbery rearranged daily by millions of heavy-lift butterflies. Located roughly 80 miles from San Gabriel, Highland Springs Resort is close enough to bookend your work week without spending all of it in the car.
The chefs at Mill Creek Cattle Co. serve up an expansive menu of slow-smoked meats amid a boot-stomping array of vivid Wild West–inspired décor. Each morning, the Mill Creek meat mavens awake to blend another batch of custom barbecue sauce—a tangy mix of bell peppers, onions, chili peppers, tomato sauce, and secret seasonings—to be slathered on slabs cooked over an aromatic, citrus-wood smoker. Tuck teeth into the harmonious flavors of the pulled and occasionally pushed pork ($14.95), or compose melodies on the meaty xylophone of the original baby back ribs ($21.95 for a full rack). The fried steak ($15.95) tramples appetites under a stampede of battered beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cornbread, served with a side of honey butter churned by extraordinarily strong bees. A 25-ounce root-beer float ($3.95) helps to soothe oversauced incisors, and hot chocolate ($2) can provide a mahogany hue to prized coonskin caps.
Mingling Mexican, Greek, and American recipes, Goody's Cafe's skilled chefs grill hearty entrees of steak, grilled seafood, and zesty fajitas to sate awaiting appetites. An array of breads bundles deli-style sandwiches and hefty charbroiled burgers, and breakfasts of sweet waffles and savory omelets deck plates at all hours of the day. Convenient counter service allows for effortless dish delivery, letting diners savor old-fashioned dinners without the hassle of rubbing two frozen meals together.
In keeping with the 300-year-old Brazilian tradition of slowly roasting skewered meats over an open flame, Picanha Churrascaria overwhelms diners' appetites with never-ending servings of 15 different proteins. Throughout each meal, servers approach tables with long, sword-like skewers of top sirloin, garlic chicken, and leg of lamb, then slice freshly grilled portions directly onto plates until guests signal them to stop. Between platefuls, diners can visit the restaurant's buffet, which features more than 40 salad fixings, a spread of traditional Brazilian side dishes, and cutthroat guards that see to it that no one scoops with their hands.
When you set foot inside Original Roadhouse Grill, you may hear a crunch. Look down, and you’ll see hundreds of peanut shells scattered across the floor— remnants of the complimentary peanuts served by the bucketful. Country music and classic rock plays from an old-fashioned jukebox as servers perform lively line dances amidst walls of colorful knickknacks and neon signs. The atmosphere is equally as energetic in the kitchen, where open-air mesquite-wood grills roar with flames that sizzle hand-cut USDA Washington State steaks, juicy bison burgers, and thick slabs of ribs. To craft their renowned Texas egg rolls, the creative cooks fry up plump wonton shells stuffed with cream cheese and jalapeños. Servers bear the heavy platters into the dining room, along with cups of regional beers and mason jars of Wild West–inspired cocktails—such as a Luckenbach lemonade and a Bootlegger iced tea. The restaurant staff encourages guests to dress casually, welcoming worn blue jeans, comfortable T-shirts, and loose-fitting wedding gowns.