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.
Guests enter the luxurious dining room and revel in the aroma of grilled steaks and lamb chops. After sidling into a comfy chair at a table decked in a white tablecloth, they peruse the menus dotted with juicy cuts of black Angus beef and king crab legs. Diners welcome steaming plates of food to share table real estate with glasses of wine, consulting the hospitable staff for pairing recommendations and advice on which wines are the best conversationalists. If not partaking in a full meal, guests can recline in the lounge and sip cold beer while watching sports on the plasma TVs. Larger parties commune in the expansive banquet hall, munching on customized menus built to accommodate parties of 20–140.
Situated about 80 miles from scenic San Gabriel, the nearly 150-year-old Highland Springs Resort soothes weary travelers with relaxing rooms, striking views, and fare that fuels felicity. Groupon guests can rest their heads in the resort's Spanish Courtyard rooms, which echo the rustic, sun-soaked architecture of España with expansive terraces and quarters that are saturated with natural light and bilingual WiFi. Each domicile is dashingly bedecked with antique furniture and brand-new mattresses and bedding, and has views overlooking the resort grounds, which include 20 acres of farmland ripe with organic herbs and miles of hiking trails accessible to visitors with a guest pass.
The Golden Spur delivers delectable steak and seafood dishes directly to digesters in a charming, historic Route 66-inspired environment. Midday meals include the jumbo shrimp cocktail, served over Cajun slaw ($11.95), the baked french-onion soup, crusted with a gruyere-cheese crouton ($5.95, $1 for cheese), and the classic walk-around, its new-york steak strolling to tables amidst grilled sourdough, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and mayonnaise ($14.95). Or take a break from a long day translating baby talk by noshing evening eats such as frog legs breaded with Cajun-style cornmeal ($13.95), or end flavor strikes with the truffle-oil-splattered jumbo lobster ravioli ($16.95). Classic filets mignons come served in plain, peppercorn, cheese-stuffed, or bacon-wrapped varietals ($32.95 for 8 oz.), while the ahi tuna gets along swimmingly with its side of steamed white rice and vegetables ($18.95).
Perched atop the hills of its namesake, Orange County Mining Co. pairs an eight-part champagne brunch with 19th-century nostalgia, as wagon wheels and cacti impart a rugged prickle to the restaurant's cozy atmosphere. The brunch offerings warm diners with carved prime rib and ham, cheese blintz, and other toasty tastes, before cooling palates with iced shrimp, snow crab legs, and lox. Ravenous miners can pile culinary ore into made-to-order omelettes, pancakes, and waffles, or gather steam with tamales and menudo at executive chef Horacio Barragan's Mexican station. To cap off appetites, baked delicacies and other sweets are either devoured or skewered for a dunk in the chocolate fountain.