Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas 2013 - San Juan Bautista, CA

I was lucky enough to get to go home for almost a week to celebrate Christmas with my family. We always invite over "Uncle Frank" over as well, he likes a good meal. I love the Christmas time and the decorations, food and fun that comes with it.

Christmas dishes and glasses that we have used to serve many wonderful meals.

Nothing like a little red and green to encourage more chocolate eating!

Yep, more floral decorations...

A few more...

And Santa! This old guy has seen many moons!

I love this coffee table, a lot of memories are in there!

We went easy on the appetizers as we did not want to fill up before the main event. Cranberry Pepper Jelly and Cream Cheese - easy and a classic.

My brother's favorite - Shrimp Dip made with cream cheese base, shrimp, Monterey jack cheese, cilantro and green onions. Also easy but a real crowd pleaser.

My Dad got the biggest surprise of the day gift wise...

We bought him a large digital picture frame that had hundreds of photos of him showing horses when he was a young boy, man and then the progression of my brother, sister and I showing. I scanned the photos for him and it was quite a job but to see tears of joy running down his face I knew it was all worth it. The picture frame was purchased by my Mom at one of my cutting horse shows. She always comes up with the best ideas!

I recieved so many thoughtful gifts from so many people. I am so blessed!

James and Kate opening up Santa's presents...

Jackpot! Some winning Scratchers!

 Dinner was served pretty early and we were not complaining, I like eating early.

Our plates lined up, ready to go!

Prime Rib, oven roasted potatoes, wild rice pilaf and popovers. Perfect!

Berry pie and ice cream.

James and Kate washed dishes and then he had to take a snooze. Mickey was guarding him, he didn't want anyone to bother him!

Kate and I took photos and then called it a night!

Christmas is great fun, totally exhausting but worth every minute! 

Monday, December 30, 2013

El Epazote - Hollister, CA

Hey Melissa Good Tasters! I am finally home but have loads to blog about on my vacation home. One of the places that was recommended to blog about was El Epazote. My sister likes the owner and place so I was down for a visit. With a Mexican Coke in my hand and a menu set in front of me I was ready.

The chips and salsa come with ordered entrees and it is not for the weak. The salsa is spicy! It gets your motor running that is for sure.

My sister swears by the Green Enchiladas, filled with chicken. She loves every tangy bite. The bites of rice and beans are nice too. The portion for lunch is a hearty one.

They serve Pozole everyday! that is so rare for a mexican restaurant! Normally they only make it on Sundays so I was so pumped up. The soup comes out hot temperature wise, and spicy taste wise. I loved it! The tostadas served on the side added crunch and allowed me to dip as the broth cooled. Everyone finished their meal watching me sip my soup so I felt bad about that!

The lunch was lovely and worth a visit for all you Hollister folks!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ojai Emporium - Ojai, CA

The morning after my Christmas Shindig both Scott and I woke up craving something other than our party food...

The Ojai Emporium is not a place we think about often so when we were debating on where to go, it came up and we took advantage of the thought.

Scott had a Cheeseburger on his mind to help ease his aching body. He ordered it with a wheat bun, which sounded way too healthy for me when you are craving a juicy, greasy burger. He said it was just ok, I assume this is not the place to order that - it caters to a more healthy crowd.

I love, love a Asian/Chinese/Wonton Salad from anywhere. So when I saw that they had one I jumped on it, extra dressing of course. I loved the fact that they had warm, sliced pieces of chicken breasts was lovely. Usually the chicken served on these type of salads is cold. I hate that! Anyhow, the sald as a whole was ok. My favorite is still at Papa Lennon's in Meiners Oaks.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Enzo's - Santa Paula, CA

Enzo's is a restaurant within the Glen Tavern Inn located in historic Santa Paula. The Inn is said to be haunted, that inrigued me as I read through stories about spiritual encounters. Besides that I wanted to try the restaurant as I had heard it was good.

The menu was pretty standard. There was one appetizer that I wanted to try but didn't have the appetite as I was by myself. The Crostino al Prosciutto sounded divine as it bathed in a butter sauce - knife and fork type action! Next time, for sure.

My meal was that of my two favorites, Salmon - fish always, always! The white wine, caper sauce was very delicious and there was plenty of it. I love extra sauce. The risotto was lovely, probably a little thick and heavy, but tasty all the same. I was very bad and told them to leave off the vegetables, they were included in the meal.

I was impressed with Enzo's and cannot wait to dine there again. It is nice to have another fine dining desination "on that side of the hill"...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Harry's - Santa Barbara

Scott and I spent a lot of time in Santa Barbara last week due to the purchase of our new car and traveling to Paso Robles so we dined at one of Scott's old school favorites, Harry's.

It was decorated in Christmas theme and it was packed! We waited first at the door, then at the bar and were finally seated...

Scott ordered the Steak Bites as soon as we sat down because he is starving. They came to our table lickety split. They were juicy and the dipping sauces: mustard and bbq, fantastic!

I had a lovely glass of Cabernet and cup of soup, it was warm and filling Minestrone. I have to admit, I mostly indulged in the broth and left the vegetables! Oops.

Scott ordered of the Special Menu and got a plate of Cajun Chicken Pasta. It looked delicious at dinner, so much so I had the leftovers the next day for breakast. The sauce was spicy but it was cooled by the cream just enough to keep you coming back for more. A+ order.

I of course had the Salmon and it was lovely. I was craving protein and attacked the fish before even setting my fork in the mashed potatoes. The salmon may have been a touch overdone but I did not mind a bit. I too must have been hungrier than I thought!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The French Bulldog - Camarillo, CA

I have read a lot about this new restaurant in Camarillo but never had a chance or occasion to visit it for myself. That was until my friends Deb, Kat and I decided to meet for a nice lunch to celebrate Christmas time before we all got bogged down with family plans. 

The restaurant was hosting two different company parties during our visit so we did not get the service attention that I am sure we would have received had the large reservations were not there. I was too busy admiring the restaurants beauty and fun conversation to even care if we were not getting served promptly.

We were seated in the back bar area and it gave us a good view of the restaurant. The dining area is just to the right of this photo.

Cute martini glasses that don the French Bulldog and house a pretty, sweet drink. 

Deb and I got there early so we split an order of fries dusted with parmesan to share. Good choice for snacking and chatting!

Right when i saw the lunch entree BBQ Salmon served with mashed potatoes sauteed spinach I knew that was what I wanted. The crunchy topping was texturally pleasing as well. I loved this dish and even loved that it was only $15. A bargain for a lot of well cooked food.

Deb went for the Vegetable Panini and a side of greens. What a good little herbivore! She genuinely said it was delicious and there was so much food she took most to go.

Kat was also a good, healthy eater and went for the Ahi Salad. I would have went home hungry if it was my lunch but she seemed pleased and happily munched away at her salad.

I was happy with our lunch at The french Bulldog and cannot wait to return for another girl's luncheon or a trip with Scott. I know he would love the panini selection as well as the beautiful setting.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Real Housewives of Ojai - Christmas Party

Scott and I hosted a Christmas Party for a group of our favorite friends in Ojai, also known as The Real Housewives of Ojai. They are so much fun and have hosted numerous parties so I wanted to reciprocate and thrown one fun shindig for them!

So here I am, Melissa Good Taste in full hostess mode!

I decorated the house so it was festive and jolly!

Roses and candles. They are aways are a hit. Red is romantic!

White roses clean and classy!

Minutes before people started rolling in a rain shower passed through and it was amazing!

Scott and Frosty welcomed the guests as they came in!

FYI: Kale and Cabbage are very decorative for your colored pots! 
Healthy and beautiful.

I did a horrible job photographing my "hot" and "keep cold" appetizers as they came out. These are just a few of the room temperature goods.

Food stuff.

I had "party favors" for the men of the party. They were very "smokable" cigars but no one smoked one, thank goodness, but I did think the little tray was cute.

Two of my favorite girls - Lindsay & Emily.

Lindsay & Nichole - They are both so lovely.

Group shots of the Ojai Housewives crew... There are a lot of them, so start scrolling!

Emily & Kiki

Christian is absolutely hilarious! The life of the party!

I had not one Dana at my party, I had two!

They are the best - Nichole & Tom.

The newest kid on the block, Eric helps around the ranch! Hi Eric!

Janelle's outfit was my favorite.

Ryan rocked the Lucky Brand Cowboy shirt really well!

In full party mode, Tom & Scott.

An aerial view of the fun!

Oh my, an end of the evening cheers with Dom Perignon! 

I am so thankful for meeting these group of friends. They have welcomed me with open arms into their homes, social circles and beyond. I lead such a blessed life.