Sunday, April 28, 2013

S.Y. Kitchen - Santa Ynez, CA

Scott and I made a trip home on Thursday to celebrate the life of my Grandma, Lydia C. Dassel. She led a very healthy, beautiful life. May she rest in peace with my Grandfather in Heaven.

On the way back home from Hollister, Scott and I decided to make a pit stop in Santa Ynez to try out a brand new restaurant. I had heard the soft opening was a success so we wanted to try it for ourselves.

S.Y. Kitchen

They bring out fresh vegetables and hand out slices of grilled bread with excellent olive oil for dipping. Light bites to get you excited about your upcoming meal.

We both had a glass of the house Pinot Noir and it was lovely. 

We were sold on the Burrata by our waiter so we let him take the reins on that one. The burrata was indeed fresh but poor Scott was underwhelmed. I thought it tasted just fine. I loved the juicy tomatoes with the creamy cheese so I traded him for my starter...

I ordered the Baby Artichoke Soup and thought that is exactly what it tasted like. I would have preferred it to be salted a tad more. Scott most have agreed because as soon as we switched he salted it quite generously.

Whenever Scott sees that there is a Pork Chop on the menu he steers to it. His mom made him a lot of pork chops growing up so I think we always veer to what we know. It came out as a very large portion served with cipolline onions. it was cooked to a perfect medium rare and he took most home for our two very spoiled dogs.

I went for the home made Spaghetti Mare filled with crab, shrimp, calamari, mussels and clams. I did most of the prep work, removing the meat from the shells first but the crab was not cracked all the way and some pieces not at all so it was kind of a waste. I let a lot of crab meat go to waste. Once de-shelled  I happy ate away at the fresh pasta and seafood. It was a perfect portion.

I am thrilled to see another restaurant in Santa Ynez and wish them all the best in their future!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ferraro's - Ventura, CA

Last night after Scott went surfing he and I went on a mission to try some new eats for the blog. We were driving passed Ferraro's on our way to the mall and decided to give it some Melissa Good Taste action. 

While Scott was locking down his board on the truck I walked in by myself to get a table. I stood at the hostess stand where a sign read "Please wait for a hostess to seat you"... I stood there unapproached or unacknowledged for a few minutes. A group of six people walked in, passed me and then an olive skinned, black haired hostess arrives... She greets them, knowing I was standing there before they even walked through the door, and seats them on the spot. I said to her,  "I was here first and have been waiting. That is pretty rude." Her response was, "I am rude?" and then Melissa Good Taste has to calmly explain that it is rude to not approach the first person waiting, rather than seating a table that barged on in front of her. Shouldn't a hostess know this? Shame on Ferraro's. 

I think at this point Scott is just hoping they don't spit in our food. 

We laugh it off and order our food. Their soup special was Split Pea so I was in a better mood already. It was very good. Almost as good as Andersen's...

Scott chuckled at his salad, he took a few bites and drank more of is Moretti.

He originally thought he wanted all Beef Ravioli but the special of Spinach and Gorgonzola Ravioli got him thinking too. The waitress was kind enough to recommend a 50/50. The best of both worlds and he was delighted. He said it was fantastic.

I saw a Salmon Special served with a lemon butter sauce with capers on a bed of angel hair pasta and i was sold. It sounded delicious and tasted even better! The salmon was cooked to perfection and the capers were briny and just what I was craving.

So despite the unwelcome welcome in the beginning of our dinner experience our time at Ferraro's was lovely. Scott and I treat each meal out like it is our first date and it is so much fun. I ask him annoying questions like... "What if I just started talking with a lisp one day, what would you do?"... "What if I cut all my hair off and dyed it red?"... I know he gets annoyed but he plays along and that is why I love him so much!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sea Fresh - Ojai, CA

It was a beautiful Sunday evening in Ojai and I my two buddies back in town. Scott flew in from Texas so I picked him up, he got settled in and then in pulled up Cowboy Ron with Scamper, his new horses and our Millie. After his long drive he was famished and a bit parched so we decided to take an outdoor seat to enjoy the weather. I started with a Blood Orange Margarita because it sounded refreshing, they had it garnished with a regular orange so it had me question the authenticity of the whole drink...

My bowl of Clam Chowder came up next and I was really looking forward to it because it is usually very good. I was disappointed to have it full of celery, I mean a lot of it. It almost tasted like cream of Celery. I of course ate around it but was surprised at how bad someone got the proportions of on Sunday. 

Next was an order of the Macadamia Crusted Halibut served on a bed of Thai Peanut Sauce. I love this dish. I think it truly is the sauce I dig because I generally ask for extra side of it. Hushpuppies came served with the fish and they are tasty little fried balls of dough. Dipped in ranch make them even better. The carrots served with didn't get much action because the size of the fish served did me in.

This was a perfect welcome home meal for Scott as he said his Blackened Halibut was amazing. Cowboy Ron seemed equally as pleased as he ordered the same thing I did. Cheers to Summer coming early and dinners spent with fantastic friends!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Taqueria Vallarta - Ventura, CA

Yelp readers bragged so hard on this place it convinced me to go! Yesterday I had evening plans in Ventura so I swung by to try it for dinner. The salsa is spicy but totally addicting and delicious.

I am not going to lie, the restaurant is pretty janky. Not the most hip, modern or even probably most sterile but I will do anything for good Mexican food.

Well, I went outside the box on this one. I ordered the birria (goat) in consome. The broth itself was delicious but the meat way too gamey for me. I can cross it off my list of things to try. Yep, I am done. The beans and rice served with it was delicious.

If I was to go back I would order carnitas tacos with tons of spicy salsa, cilantro and onions. Just thinking about it makes me hungry!

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Real Housewives of Ojai...

No joke. My friends and I could have our own show. We are all married to really outstanding people, have amazing careers and all of us together have the best time (a glass or two of wine makes it even better...) 

From left to right...
  • Janelle hosted a fabulous Happy Hour in her Dojo, yes Dojo. She recently bought her house and it came with a bonus party room. She owns Janelle's Interiors, a blossoming Interior Design business in Ojai.
  • I meet Antoinette last night and she is also an Interior Designer who works with Janelle.
  • Next to her in the photo is Alexia who grew up with horses (love that) and owned the Ojai Board Shop in town.
  • Nichole is next and I heard she is a fantastic mommy and that has been her full time career.
  • Then is my girl Lindsay, I have known her for about a year and she is my closest friend in the group. 
  • Then there is me...
  • Next to me is Emily, the first time I met her at one of our many get togethers I knew she and I clicked. She and Lindsay have been friends since 4th grade so I knew she had a good soul.
  • On to Lisa, she owns July's Nest in Meiners Oaks, and has a children's consignment shop. She is starting a Bunco Group and I am beyond excited!
  • Christian is sitting in front of her and he is a Real Estate Agent in the 805 and was a hoot with all his Real Housewives trivia. 
  • On the end is Wendy, a girl after my own heart, she has horses and is competing in a show this weekend!
  • Not pictured was Darla, a beautiful blonde in such a great green dress last night. 

I am so blessed to have meet such a great group of friends. I love Ojai!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Shake 'n Pour... Dinner!

My husband judges very large horse shows a couple times a year and that leaves me on my own for running the ranch, tending to our office duties and deciding what to feed myself at the end of the day. It is not fun to eat by yourself! I don't want to mess up the beautifully clean kitchen and create messy dishes. I saw this Shake 'n Pour Bisquick in the supermarket the other day and decided it was just what I was after. Add a little water and heat up a skillet and I have dinner!

The pancakes came out perfect. For two nights in a row I have had pancakes for dinner and there is even a little batter left for a breakfast snack. 

Washing down the butter and syrup laden cakes with milk has made this cowgirl a little less lonely at night as watch re-runs on Bravo and the Food Network. Tick tock... Hurry home Scott Good Taste! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pizzeria Mozza - Los Angeles, CA

On Monday these three amigos had quite an experience. We were given the opportunity to audition for a Food Network Show! Wahoo! Fingers crossed as we wait to hear back...

While we were in Los Angeles, I figured we could dine at a restaurant I have had my eyes on for quite sometime... Pizzeria Mozza - By Mario Batali.

To celebrate our successful interview we decided to order a glass of prosecco... cheers! I later, accidentally spilled mine! Oops.

We all ordered pizza. Holly is in love with Brussels Sprouts so that was her choice.

Rose went for the Mushroom and Fontina. 

Napolitana which featured mozzarella, anchovies, olives and fried capers. Strangely almost one slice in to eating this pizza my nose began running and I started sneezing profusely. It was almost like I was allergic to something. Oh god, say it isn't so... I love all those ingredients and would be very sad if it were to become true.

Last but not least, Butterscotch Budino. I have read about this dessert for years and I finally got to try it. It was good, really tasty. Was it better than the budino that I had at Artisan, Paso Robles last year? No. 

Keep doing your thing Pizzeria Mozza! The lunch service was packed and it looked like business was going strong. I was thankful for the experience and the opportunity to eat there.

Thank you Rose for lunch! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Benji's - Bakersfield, CA

Last week my parents came and met me at my Bakersfield and we decided to try a legendary Basque Restaurant for dinner. We met family friends at, Benji's located off Stockdale Highway in Bakersfield.

If you have never been to a Basque Restaurant I should tell you now that you receive a lot of food! We started off our meal with warm bread and spicy salsa for dipping. I was starving so I overindulged with the bread!

A vegetable soup came out family style, as well as a pot of beans. Combining the two sounded like the a good plan so I did just that. It was a fantastic marriage and I was now starting to get full.

A plate of Beef Tongue came out and I was excited to try it. Sliced thin and covered with sauce you would have had no idea what cut of beef it was. It was actually very good.

A tomato salad came out with our entrees as well as a plate of french fries...

My entree was the Lobster Tail and it was fantastic! Buttery, sweet and totally succulent - I ate every bite. It is not everyday I get to enjoy an amazing meal like this with my parents. What a special day.

Later over the next few days my horses did so well at horse show... We took home over $1300 in earnings and I couldn't have been more proud!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Don Lalo's - Meiners Oaks, CA

Before Scott left for Texas to judge he spent a lot of time with me. We rode horses and then ran errands, together rather than separately, and we enjoyed nice lunches. It was fun, like a lunch date. Meiners Oaks is a small community married up to the larger town of Ojai. It is made up of hippies, wannabe hippies and just regular folk. But, there is a street packed full of restaurants that I still needed to try so we went to one of those - Don Lalo's.

Scott got an order of Corn Burritos for us to share. They came out with a salad on top! Not what I was expeting as an order of corn burritos are usually topped with a chile sauce and shredded cheese. They did not fulfill our corn burrito craving but it looked beautiful anyway...

Carnitas Tacos fantastico! The salsa was crazy hot but the cilantro, onion and fresh lime juice made this one flavorful combo. Order these and only these when visiting.

And now my sad, sad enchiladas. I love a good enchilada and these were very unhappy. A untoasted corn tortilla, filled with shredded beef, served with luke warm sauce and cheese on top is not an enchilada. Generations of proud Mexican grandmas would not be proud of this. I was disappointed in the lack of execution, it almost felt like they thought it was enough to please me. Nope, not me. I like authentic Mexican cuisine please!

The photos of the food were beautiful, the service lovely but the food as a whole left me wanting more. I would go back for the carnitas tacos and possibly the flan, they serve different flavors! Awesome.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I am currently craving...

In no particular order, I am currently craving...

Scallops with risotto.

A Blood Orange Maragrita.


Burrata Cheese.

And last but not least, Funyuns.

What a weird day.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Feast Bistro - Ojai, CA

Scott and I usually dress up and go out at least once a week. Scott likes to surf as his hobby and I like to dine. We all have things we enjoying doing!

We stayed local and caught a late reservation at Feast Bistro so we could people watch and enjoy a nice meal. We had a split of their house merlot. It was very good.

To start we shared the Taco Taco - Pork belly, spicy salsa, celery, apple, picked jalapenos and cilantro. I loved it! I was tempted to order another plate as my meal!

Scott ordered the Duck and didn't seem to impressed. The serving of forbidden rice was heavy and I think we both felt overwhelmed to finish it.

I had the Cod - Fish of the Day - and loved it. The corn salsa was fantastic. I did have to salt it a touch but I would have ordered this again, no question.

The cookies! Chocolate chip and lemon were out of this world. The best simple dessert I have had in quite some time. Go for the cookies, if no other reason.

Our quiet date night turned into a rowdy evening running into our neighbors at the Deer Lodge. It was fun, it was local and it was a nice change of pace to be off the ranch.

Enjoy your Sunday!