If you travel near or far from your home, a nice break from your everyday routine will rejuvenate you and your mind. What is the best part of travel and vacation? The food, of course! Eat local, eat at mom and pop's, eat at highly rated review places!
Recently, I did a nice little tour of southern California. From Santa Barbara to Oak View to Ojai to Malibu to Ventura to LA, I had a blast in the sunshine, enjoyed the blue skies, and eating local fare.
Traveling in that area? Here are my recommendations. The best part? Most are local favorites and have a diverse menu to share with your favorite foodies you are traveling with.
Santa Barbara: Bluewater Grill
Know for its beautiful view of the water and skies, Bluewater grill is known for local seafood, crafted cocktails, and small plates to share. From scallop sashimi (my fave!) to a perfectly grilled mahi mahi sammie (big enough to split) to a crisp arugula salad, every plate was fresh, light, and original.
Pro tip: Ask to sit upstairs to get a perfect view and share plates, most are big enough for 2-3.
Ojai: Azu Restaurant
Ojai is known for farm-to-table fare, whatever cuisine it serves. Azu's menu is Spain and Mexico-inspired with tasty ahi tacos and made to order guacamole. Plus they serve their own crafted beer and local wine from Ojai.
Pro tip: You can order tacos in 1, 2, or 3 quantities. Order different flavors and share with the table
Ojai: Farmer and the Cook
A small restaurant/coffee spot/grocery store in one. Vegan? Gluten free? That is OK here (any where is Ojai, actually)! Their breakfast burritos (vegan or not) will keep you full all day long and pair 'em with a smoothie or uniquely flavored latte.
Pro tip: Come here for breakfast and grab a snack and kombucha for the road.
Malibu: Carbon Beach Club at Malibu Beach Inn
Unfortunately, I did not get to try the full menu here, only a small bite. The tomato soup was one of the best I have had. Local olive oil and a crisp parm cracker topped the perfectly seasoned soup.
Bonus: the view is one of the best of Malibu beach and they offer comfy couches in the dining area. If it is warm enough, there is an outside patio.
Pro tip: Ask if they can offer any dinner or lunch options during off hour times.
Ventura: The Labyrinth for wine tasting
The tasting room, in Ventura, is warm and inviting! The staff is knowledgeable and able to find a wine for every wine lover that walks in. Focusing on mainly red wines, there are light to full bodied red wines to please everyone's palette. With the bottles all being under $40, take one home to enjoy.
Pro tip: Try the wine tasting to see which red wine is your favorite.
LA: Park's BBQ for Korean BBQ
Located in Korea town, in LA, Park's BBQ serves USDA Prime beef for its Korean BBQ. From classic bulgogi to brisket to short ribs to veggies, you will be grillin' all night while eating homemade banchan. Be sure to get a homemade pancakes, seafood or kimchi, to share before you start grilling.
Pro tip: The restaurant is in a strip mall and requires valet parking ($3 total for all night). Carpool and bring cash.
Montecito: Jeannine's bakery
A cafe known for local, whole, and fresh meals plus a super sweet selection of bakery items to boot. What is one of their customer's favorites? Their chiffon cake with berry filling and super light frosting. Cake lovers will rejoice! Dessert lovers will swoon! I went back for seconds.
Pro tip: Buy the the cake and enjoy it all day long with friends.
Happy baking and happy traveling,
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