Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Victoria Pub - Ventura, CA

I love a good food adventure so when my friends called me to meet up for lunch for Ventura I was all in. Victoria's Pub was a place I think Scott and I walked into one time a long, long time ago but never stayed for eats of a drink. I recognized the place right away as I walked in.

I met up with Lisa and Dana as they were already waiting for me to join them. They were probably starving and wanted me to hurry up! 

 I love a place that has Fish and Chips on the menu but I just absolutely ADORE a place that has an option to upgrade to halibut from cod. What a treat! The fish was fried perfectly and the huge fries were creamy delicious. 

The Victoria Pub is an excellent place to watch a game, meet for friends or just grab a good meal. I like the feeling of the cool, dark pub as it is mostly all hardwood. It made me feel like I could possibly in Ireland or England. It has that far away feel.

Gosh, I am obsessed with finding the World's Best Fish and Chips...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mar Meadows - Channel Islands, CA

Up way before the sun, I anxiously got dressed and threw on my favorite suit. Today was the day I was going to get to go to the Channel Islands! Technically, we were going to Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the collection of islands. It is 22 miles long and 6 miles wide. Full of caves, beach and volcanic rock! Also home to some really cool surf spots...

video
My Captain!

My view of the sun rising up over the Pacific Ocean, so beautiful! The ride from the Ventura Harbor to the islands in our little C-Dory is about an hour and a half. The ride out of easy, maybe a bit chilly but nothing more than a sweat shirt and sweat pants could not handle.

We have arrived! We anchored the boat at Mar Meadows, a surf spot that is known for it's easy riding wave. We anchored in front of the wave break so I couldn't grab any cool surf action shots.

I loved the cool foggy photos because it was such a neat place. I felt like I was in a different part of the world. When you are at the Channel Islands you feel so far out of touch, yet you truly are not that far away at all. 

The crest of a wave that Scott was probably surfing on!

I had a pretty cool suit to rock while at the islands and splash around on my foam board but to be perfectly honest, it was pretty chilly! The suit is made by Seea, a super cool suit company. I opted to stay snuggled up on the boat and try to read my new book...
I got through the first chapter nodded off and seriously napped. This was the first day nap that I have taken in a long, long time. I woke up feeling totally refreshed and happy. Boat naps are the best!

The boys came back on the boat and I served up sandwiches that I had made the night before and put in the cooler. Milton's bread, swiss cheese, turkey, avocado, tomato and sprouts were the perfect fuel for the two surfers.

Vanilla Cream Soda's are my new favorite thing. So I supplied these to wash down the sandwiches. If you have not tried them yet please do!

I cannot express how relaxing, breath taking and just how special my day was. It was just a short little half day trip but it felt like I went around the world. I feel blessed to have experienced the joy of the channel islands, hopefully with more adventures to come!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tlaquepaque - Santa Paula, CA

So we have been home from Texas for a few weeks now and I have been enjoying the time home. So much so that I designed an outdoor living space. We have a wrap around porch with two large bays so I decided to create a cute, comfy spot of early morning coffee and late evening cocktails. It is a work in progress but I love it.

Melissa Weis, Porch Decorator Extraordinaire.  

Spray painting all that wicker made me quite hungry one afternoon so I decided I better treat myself to a nice lunch. When I am looking to fill my tummy I always choose Mexican food and so I turned to Tlaquepaque to do the job. It has higher Yelp reviews than Familia Diaz or La Cabana, my usual spots so I was curious to see what the hype was all about.

The chips and salsa was ok. I munched on them aimlessly rather than for flavor. I think based on this course Famila Diaz has them beat and a tie with La Cabana.

 It is going to be hard to compare my main course with the two other restaurants because I went off course and just ordered a shredded beef taco with rice and beans here. But I will say, it is the best darn taco I have had in a long time. I appreciated that they made a little foil taco holder, so the shell did not get soggy or contents fall out. How clever! The shredded beef was totally flavorful. A winner. 

I cannot wait to come back and see how my beloved enchilada stacks up but I am sure it will be good as the meat was just really on point. The restaurant was packed at noon so it must be doing something right, a local's favorite.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sakura Downtown - Ojai, CA

I love a good sushi spot! I had heard months ago that Sakura was opening up a second location and it would conveniently be located downtown. It is just steps from Rainbow Bridge and Wells Fargo, how handy is that?!

Scott and I decided to head into town last Sunday evening for an early dinner. When we walked in we could not help but notice is is a small space but that it was also quite warm inside. Withe the Teppan Yaki table it warmed the room quite a bit. Almost a little uncomfortable. We snagged a tall top and settled in.

Scott started his meal off with a Cucumber Salad just like he always does at sushi. it was not very tasty. The cucumbers were not marinated with any flavor at all. The vinaigrette did not add much to the dish.

My starter of Tempura Vegetables were lovely. I love the squash and onion the most. So tasty with the dipping sauce. I even like dunking my sushi in the warm sauce as well.

First up the "Wild Thing" complete with crab and avocado inside and baked salmon on top. This was was very good. I just love a baked roll. They are so tasty. I don't even know why I try and order anything other kind.

I forgot the name of this roll! I do remember the contents though... I never forget food. Inside was spicy crba, tempura shrimp and cucumber and on top was BBQ eel and tuna. It was just ok. It was one of the higher end rolls and it did not deliver on high end flavor. I liked the baked options much better. I think I measure big flavor by big calories! All the good things are bad for you!

Was Downtown Sakura the bomb? Well, not really. I do enjoy another downtown dining option though. Living in a small town we like variety and this just brings one more option to the map!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Tavern - Fort Worth, TX

Hello fellow readers! I am back... Taking a few days off from blogging makes me really miss posting! We still have a few more Fort Worth eats left so here we go... On one of the last few night in town Scott and I enjoyed a meal at one of our usual spots while working in Texas, The Tavern.

Nothing is more fun than interactive meal. I like that Grilled Artichokes taste great but what I also love is that they take a while to eat. I like to linger over food rather than gorge it down quickly. That is why this is the perfect starter, food and entertainment.

Crab Cakes, Cole Slaw and Mashed Potatoes?! Heck yes! I loved taking bites of the savory crab cake with fresh, crisp cole slaw and than alternating with the smooth, creamy potatoes. A feast for all the senses! 

 I was seriously torn on what to order before settling on my order above. My other choice is exactly what Scott ordered! How funny, two peas in a pod! He got the the Zuni Chicken Salad with roasted chicken, chopped egg, julienned apples, pecans, goat cheese, golden raisins and tossed in a bacon vinaigrette. How delicious does that sound? If there was one complaint it was kind of a small salad for a dinner portion. They could double up on the fixings to make you feel like you had a meal.

That is pretty much a wrap on Texas feasts... Time to get make to posting about California eats! Are you ready for more food?!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Flying Fish! - Fort Worth, TX

And we are back at Flying Fish! Like I told you before our Texas trip began we would be here at least once and here we are! With my VIP/Frequent Diner Card stamped and seated. I soaked in the air conditioning as much as possible. Besides having really good Dr. Pepper and crunch ice, the freezing air is probably one of the most memorable things about the place.  

They asked for it... 

Scott ordered the Tilapia Po Boy and he asked them to make it Snappy! Snappy equals spicy in this joint. The sandwich was delicious according to my faithful reviewer. The fries were also tasty. A little salt and a lot of ketchup was going on over there! 

I went for a classic in the fish house, Fried Catfish. The hush puppies that came with the fries are like little teasers. It makes me regret not ordering a whole basketful. The dipping sauce for my fish is always a heavy 2:1 tartar sauce to ketchup ratio. Just so it is pink. I end up using it for fry sauce too.

Well, that is our visit in a nutshell. Easy to order, cheap bill and satisfied tummy. You can't get much better than that! I should have ordered a few oysters while I was there, I sense a craving coming on...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Montgomery Street Cafe - Fort Worth, TX

Located just a half a mile from our stalls at the Will Rogers Coliseum is the Montgomery Street Cafe. Everyday, in and out of the horse show, we drive past it. Well, one morning Scott suggested we try it instead of ignoring it. I agreed and we walked in the unassuming building.

We walked in to an almost packed house. It is first come, first serve so be prepared to wait outside if there is not an open table. There are no menus, you just place your order with the waitress who hollers it off to the scratch cooks in the kitchen. 

The lack of guideline to order from left us pretty standard with normal breakfast fare. Scott went for over easy eggs, crispy bacon and wheat toast. He asked for salsa and it came out afiring. It tasted like someone knew someone who knew someone that knew how to make some mean chili! 

 Pancakes. Bacon. Yes, sir. It is my go-to when ordering breakfast because I love the salty sweet combination. I liked that these pancakes came out fluffy and light. The pancake mixture must have had some oomph to it to make it rise up. I like oomph!

Well, it wasn't our finest culinary adventure but it was priced right. I never realized how affordable breakfast really is. I usually am on the go or not craving it so it is the one meal I usually skip out on. Looking at those pancakes right now makes me want to get up extra early this Sunday and indulge in a stack!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pacific Table - Fort Worth, TX

Scott and I loved our lunch at Pacific Table so much that we decided to go back for dinner. We each ordered a glass of wine and enjoyed the Texas evening. Can you believe it was actually cooler in Texas than it was in Ojai?! We lucked out! I had a glass of my favorite, Turley Zinfandel. I loved every sip. 

True to its name Pacific Table offered up all kinds of West Coast goodies, one being: Grilled Artichokes. I sometimes forget how simple it is to grill artichokes and served them with mayonnaise. That is my favorite way to eat them. I like how they also grilled the lemon to be squeezed over the entire dish.

I opted for the Trout Almondine grilled simply and topped with herbs, almonds and brown butter. It was served with sauteed vegetables but I saw a plate of their mashed potatoes pass by and I could not resist. I am a sucker! It was perfectly cooked and a truly heavenly meal. I left feeling full and happy.

Scott went for a special of the evening and it was Texas Red Fish served in a lemon butter sauce and topped with flash fried rock shrimp. It sounded delicious and I was really torn on ordering it or not. I was glad I stuck with my order because I think I found a fish that I am not a fan of. What a shocker! I did think the sauce was lovely though. The cucumber salad that came with Scott's fish was quite refreshing!

My dinner at Pacific Table was just as stunning as the lunch. It is my new "go-to" restaurant in Fort Worth. Just put on blinders when walking through the parking lot... There are too many fun places to shop in its location!