Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vegan in Ventura County

I headed up to Ventura County in California this past weekend which is where I am from. Unfortunately, growing up there I was not a vegan so it’s like going to a new city and as is my ritual when I go to a city
I don’t know or a city I do know but want the option of eating out or eating somewhere that is not “the usual”, I scanned the internet for anywhere with vegan, vegetarian, or flexible menus.

Here are the delicious places I went:
  • The Natural Café, Westlake, CA
    This incredibly packed restaurant had options for everyone- meaties and non-meaties. I had an amazing falafel but saw about 20 things on the menu I wanted to try. Really affordable pricing.

  • Hugo’s Restaurant, Agoura Hills, CA
    I think this is technically Los Angeles, I’ve never really cared too much about the border line to pay attention. But, I’ve been to their Studio City location and love it! It’s amazing and has so many options. I will warn you that the spicy pasta sauce is “spicy like whoa!” Their breakfast is also so amazing.

  • Hip Vegan Café- A Vegetarian Joint, Ojai, CA
    I’ll admit part of me went here because it has an amazing name. But the rest of me was pleasantly surprised with this locally owned place that feels like a cross between a hippie commune restaurant and a vegan’s house. The food was really amazing, we had a black bean burrito, a Reuben, and a raw salad. The prices were really affordable and the staff was so nice!

  • Urbane Café, Ventura, CA
    This little restaurant isn’t exactly super vegan friendly but it has a few sandwiches that are vegan or can be made vegan, is cute, isn’t too far north, and both options they offer are pretty delicious! The Portobello sandwich made vegan was great and the meatie that I went with was really happy to have someone that we could both go!

Here are the delicious places I really wanted to try but never made it to, let me know if you have!
Mary’s Secret Garden in Ventura 
Nature’s Grill in Ventura 
PizzaSalad in Thousand Oaks 
Farmer and Cook in Ojai 
Sugar Beets in Oxnard 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Telling food stories to chefs

There aren't a whole lot of negatives to being the wife of a chef. Well, actually, that is not true. They are not home a whole lot which is sad and negative. But, if you look past that- there aren't many negatives. I would have to say that after that whole not being home thing my least favorite thing about being married to a chef is having to tell him stories where food is involved. For example, I wanted to tell him a ridiculous catering experience story that had just happened to me and here is how it went…

To set the stage- I come through the garage door, slam my stuff down, don’t change immediately (a sign in our house that something is amiss), and say, “Oh. My. God. You. Will. Never. Believe. What. Just. Happened.”
(He presses pause on the remote and my dogs run into their room in case I am mad at them for destroying something.)

Me: Okay, so you know that really big event that we had today? Well you’re never going to believe what happened with the caterer!

Him: What caterer is this?
(I explain who I am talking about)

Him: Okay, so what happened?

Me: So, he shows up 45 minutes late and then had to still prep his food.

Him: What did he have to prep?

Me: Some salad and chicken and fish and stuff. Not the point. So-

Him: What kind of salad?

Me: Spinach, I think. So, I start-

Him: Spinach salad with what? What did he have to prep?

Me: Like cranberries and nuts and mushrooms and stuff. I don't know it doesn't really matter because way worse stuff happened that will blow your mind. 

Him: So he needed to sprinkle some nuts and fruit on the salad that isn’t that big of a deal.

Me: No, it's not- just listen. So he starts pulling all of this stuff out and he notices he forgot his chafing dishes.

Him: Did he need chafing dishes?

Me: Obviously, if he didn’t need them how would he have noticed he forgot them? Okay, so he asks me to borrow mine and I say yes but I don’t have any Sternos for him.

Him: Why does he need Sternos? For the chicken or the fish? What kind of chicken was it? It wasn’t for the salad? What kind of fish? Was it already cooked? He should’ve turned the Sternos on a long time ago. They aren't going to do anything at this point.

Me: So he forgot a lot of stuff and the food was bad and people weren’t pleased and I was and still am annoyed. (I am now pouting on the couch because I prepared this whopper of a story on my drive home and I don't want to answer any questions, I just want to tell my story so at the end he can say, "What?! That is ridiculous!")

Him: (Oblivious to me pouting, or has decided not to care, probably the latter.) Why was the food bad?

Me: I’m not telling you. Telling you a story with food in it is impossible. 

Him: What do you want for dinner?

Me: Something delicious.

Him: (long sigh because that obviously is not descriptive enough)