Sunday, September 21, 2014

Capriccio - Ventura, CA

I AM SORRY!
I must apologize for not blogging in like, forever... I was busy being a supportive horse show wife and competitior. I wear many hats! And lets resume with our regular blogging schedule...

 Main Street in Downtown Ventura is a happening place. When I was new to the area I used to stroll the sidewalks and enjoy the blocks of stores, restaurants and bars. One place I had not dined yet was Capriccio so I rallied my two foodies, Dana and Darla for a visit. Inside the corner restaurant it has a lot of local art on its brick laid walls, which made for a lot of visual interest. 

We were starving so torn into the bread the second it was set on the table. The olive oil and basalmic was lovely. We ate more than we should have.

When Dana and I heard the "Soup of the Day" was lobster bisque we got a little excited and ordered it. The bowl was a large one and I instantly knew I over ordered but didn't care at all. The soup was nice and I used the remaining bread as a vehicle to get more of the creamy bisque inside of me. I forced myself to stop eating so I would have room for my entree.

Darla was a good little eater and ordered the Walnut Salad with addition of chicken. It is complete with field greens, roasted pears, candied walnuts and blue cheese. That is my kind of salad! If I was craving lettuce that day, I would have followed her lead!

There was a special of Salmon Almondine served with a Vegetable Risotto and I jumped on that train. I love the trout version so I decided the salmon must be just as delicious. The fish was cooked perfectly and the almond coating was nice. However, I do wish it was served with some kind of sauce. The thick piece of fish and nuts made for a dry bite if you did not include the risotto in each forkful. The risotto itself was nice but the large chunks of al dente vegetables distracted me. I think the pieces should be served smaller and cooked to resemble the rice, soft and creamy.

It was a nice meal, totally comfortable atmosphere and service on point. A great place to stop in for lunch. If you are lucky enough to snag a table outside you will be entertained by the people watching!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bell Street Farm - Los Alamos, CA

On the drive home from the Madonna Inn last week I made a few pit stops on the way home. Most were fashion shopping related but one of them was to the Bell Street Farm in Los Alamos. I had heard any exciting things about their food and concepts so I decided to wheel in and see for myself. It is an order at the counter joint, that gives you a number and then they walk out food. They ask for a tip but I am always confused on how to tip them, considering at that point I was not given any service and have no idea on what they truly deserve.  

I ordered a real Coke and asked for water on the side. I was never given a refill on the water. So I guess the tip I left was pretty hefty given the service. You got me Bell Street Farm, you got me. 

I always love a good soup, you know that. This was ok. Minestrone was fine but in my personal opinion I prefer my vegetables cut into much smaller pieces. I don't want a knife and fork soup, I want soft and silky. The flavor was good despite needing a shake of salt, that was not on the table.

I was torn on what salad to order, on paper they all sounded good but I was talked into the Rotisserie Pork Salad by the cashier so I followed his lead. The menu read"Hot and Crispy Pork belly wrapped Shoulder" and I would love to say it was really that but a more accurate description would be "Warm and Chewy". The butter lettuce was fresh, onion fantastic and roasted potato was just fine.

Did I love Bell Street Farm? I wanted to, I really did. It was darling and the owner greeted and waved goodbye to all the patrons. The food was ok. Maybe I ordered bad, I would give it another shot but it had better deliver!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro - Santa Barbara, CA

Today was a really beautiful day in Santa Barbara, almost to the point of being too warm. Dana and I tried to shop but felt that the heat was really wiping us out so we decided to break for lunch sooner than later. I had never been to Pierre Lafond Wine Bistro so when she suggested it I was game on. The seat outside was worth the price of admission, the people watching was totally entertaining.

I am sure something was amusing me at this point... 

Like I said above I was hungry, a little lunch salad was not going to quite cut the mustard for me. I settled on the Roasted Beet and Farro Salad complete with arugula and goat cheese and the addition of Salmon. It was plenty and did the job right. I left feeling satisfied but not too full. This would for sure be something I would like again. 

Dana went for the Cobb Salad and I am not going to lie it was something that caught my eye. Chocked full of chicken, bacon, tomato, avocado, egg and olive it certainly ate like a meal. I knew it looked good but I was happy to have my salmon.

What a pretty place to sit and have a meal with a wonderful friend. I have walked passed it a bunch of times and was glad to have had the opportunity to have dined there today. It gets a "yes" from me.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Madonna Inn - San Luis Obsipo, CA

Yesterday was a great day! I woke up early on my Sunday morning and took a drive up north on the 101 to have a great visit with my sister. We met at the Madonna Inn for breakfast and I couldn't be more thrilled at our VIP status. Our table was reserved when we walked in and we had the best seat in the house. What fun!

I ordered an Iced Tea in a pretty pink Carnival glass goblet with a rock sugar candy on top. It is mostly just for fun but it is too cute for swirling in your beverages. I like the interactiveness of it all. They are .75 cent s if you want one to go home with you. So worth it...

I ordered Pancakes and was not disappointed. These pancakes were light, fluffy and made specifically for me! The batter is what makes them and they are doing it just right. I love that the butter came out room temperature, there is nothing worse than trying to spread cold butter! The syrup was lovely as well. I cannot brag enough on these cakes!

I asked for my side of bacon to come out crispy and it too was done just right. Sweet and salty bites from the pancakes and from the pork. The one thing I would have wished was the plate of bacon was never ending... 

I really enjoyed this morning meal with my sister because the special time I spend with her is so few and far between.  The Madonna Inn is a perfect place to meet for us as it is almost halfway for the two of us. I see many meals being shared gabbing with her here. 

What a beautiful day!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

City Bowl Express - Ventura, CA

My girlfriend's were in Ventura doing girlie, fun things so they called me to meet them after I was finished up with the horses. After my chores were done I slapped on some make-up, pulled on the sportiest clothes I had hanging in my closet and bee lined for Ventura. Yee-haw!

Next to the nail salon the girls were in there was a place called City Bowl Express that sold fast food Chinese. I was curious if they possibly served Boba Teas and to my delight they did! Score! What is a Boba Tea you ask? "Boba" are large, chewy tapioca pearls that rest at the bottom on the drink. You are given a large straw to slurp up the boba and drink at the same time. It is weird but really cool all at the same time.  

While they made my Boba drink I looked over the day's selection of Chinese Food. Nothing caught my eye...

But my outfit did! I was surprised I put this fun look together so quickly! The restaurant had a wall of mirrors so selfies were totally easy!  

 And here is my Boba! I ordered the Strawberry and it came out like a smoothie with the boba on the bottom. The drink itself was very refreshing as it was hot in Ojai and I did not drink near enough water.  The boba were plentiful and required lots of chewy mid drink. I thought it was fun for about 5 minutes and then the novelty wore off! Ah well, it was fun while it lasted!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cafe Firenze - Moorpark, CA

Last week I had the opportunity to meet a few of my gal pals for lunch and I was just thrilled about it. Darla and Dana met me at my favorite out of the way restaurant, Cafe Firenze in Moorpark. They had never been so I was happy to share with them the goodness of Fabio from Top Chef. I arrived to the destination first so I got first dibs of the focaccia and marinara. Such a lovely start to any meal!

I have been denying myself the pure joy of Lobster Bisque as of late so when I saw it on the menu I knew that is exactly what I wanted. I started my meal with the liquid gold and I practically licked the bowl clean. There are not actual chunks of lobster but it is heavily saturated with the flavor.

I followed my creamy bowl of soup with another creamy concoction, Butternut Tortellacci. It is wonderfully filling almost to the point of button popping exhaustion but worth every calorie. If I had to critique the dish the dough on the pasta was quite thick. If it was a smidge thinner it would have been a more pleasant mouth feel. The fried sage is always my favorite. I try to get a piece in every forkful. 

Dana went the pizza route and ordered the Arugula and Prosciutto pie and it was totally amazing. I never crave pizza the way she does but if I did, it would be this type of pizza. I like the saltiness of the prosciutto, freshness of the arugula and the crust was perfectly crisp and could standup to the ingredients on top.  

Lastly, Darla ordered the Filet Mignon Sandwisch special and it was filled with steak, arugula, horseradish creme and served on focaccia. It was a tasty sandwich as Darla sliced off a bite for me. I appreciated that they left the steak medium rare, usually sandwiches are filled with meat that had maybe been over cooked. Great sandwich.

I loved this day at Cafe Firenze. It is perfect for lunch and also romantic enough for a date night out. I look forward to coupling up and inviting a possee to share an evening out with our husbands... They deserve the great food of Cafe Firenze as well!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Second Press - Paso Robles, CA

We spent the last few days cutting up at the Double R Cutting held at the Mid State Fairgrounds in Paso Robles. Scott did extremely well showing his futurity, derby and novice horse so I was very proud of him. Our customers showed in the pen as well and took a little bit of the pie with them as well! It was a great show for Team Weis that is for sure!

On Friday night we got to visit I had never been to before. Second Press is located on 12th Street just down from the movie thearter. Parking n this area is pretty sparse so be prepared to find a side street. Our reservation was for about 8:30 so I knew the waitresses were probably running out of steam on their shifts. I was right, we were greeted with not much enthusiasm. Scott and Ron grabbed draft beers and I the Lone madrone Cab.

Our food came out as described to us and I was really torn on ordering this dish. Ron had this Pork Belly served on a potato puree and he drizzle. He said it was nice and I believed him. I love a good braised pork belly! 

Scott went for the Cheeseburger and opted his fries out for salad. Unfortunately it was not the best burger he has ever had. He thought the meat tasted gamey and thought maybe the grass feed beef was the reason. I guess he likes his beef raised on corn in a feedlot! 

Deb went for something very boring... A Caesar with chicken added to it. The only cool thing about this dish was the parmesan lattice crisp. I have always loved when salads are served with these. 

Cara and I both ordered the Salmon served with gnocchi in a saffron white wine sauce, sunburst squash, baby zucchini and roasted tomatoes. First off the portion size and temperature of the salmon came out perfect! Wonderfully cooked. I was served five pieces of gnocchi which seemed a little skimpy, it was delicious though. Now here is the my issue, the tomatoes were cooked until mush but then the squash and zucchini were hard as bricks! It should be the other way around my friends, I couldn't even slice the squash with a knife because it was so hard and slipped around the plate, completely a waste.

 My table mates and I were talked into the Sticky Toffee Pudding and Chocolate Fondant served with whipped cream and ganache. They were fine, nice for sharing. The chocolate helped me finish up the rest of my red wine.

I am very conflicted on this review. I was disappointed in lack of enthusiasm from our server, I liked portions of dishes. I thought the prices were reasonable, but twas disappointed with portions of main entrees. I go back and forth and settle a probably a 'B' rating. It is not good enough to stand up to some greats located across the Paso Square but it is not bad enough to be completely reemed. You be the judge...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Reservoir - Fort Worth, TX

 
Hey y'all I stumbled across this review that I did in Texas last month and wanted to share it with you here! The Reservoir is a bar, patio and kitchen located on Foch Street. It is one of many upcoming cool places to hang out. Fort Worth has been growing, growing and plans on even more restaurants and bars coming to the area.

Our bartender was a cool chick with a modern mohawk, she could really pull it off. I, on the other hand, would have looked ridiculous... some people just can look good in any style. I had the Tito's Punch, it was lemon and orange juices, muddled with black berries and mixed with Tito's Vodka. It was very refreshing!

As Scott and I hung out at the cool bar we decided to get some bar snacks to have with our cocktails. I ordered the Chicken Tortilla Soup based on our bartender's recommendation and it was good. Totally cheesy tough, so every bite there were strands of cheese stuck to my chin. That would be my one complaint as it was delicious tasting! 

Scott was eyeing some pizza as they were leaving the kitchen and I didn't blame him, They looked great! We opted for The Balboa pizza complete with Genoa Salami, and Tito's Vodka Sauce. Do you notice a theme here with Tito's Vodka... Lol, they must have a good relationship with the Vodka company! Anyway, the pizza was great the crust made for very good bar food. 

The Reservoir was a cool place to kill sometime and visit with friendly bartenders. I would give their service an A for effort that is for sure!