Perched on a corner in what is more neighborhood than retail area in Ventura is a restaurant called Cafe Nouveau. The restaurant boasts a pretty great outdoor eating area, but the wait there was nuts so we went inside to what felt like a home that had been converted into a cafe. I set to work at figuring out what to order, but after a quick look at the menu I had made up my mind.
Greasy spoons are some of the greatest restaurants in the country – giving people access to hearty food and the gamut of surly to humorous waitstaff. One place you may not expect to find such a place is Ojai, California – which is more known for a level of spiritual pretentiousness than greasy food, yet I found myself at Bonnie Lu’s – a quintessential greasy spoon right on the main drag. Of course, it was next door to a paleo-vegan-gluten-free vomit factory, so I knew I was still in Ojai.
Sometimes I feel like my wife searches the interwebs for places to get bone marrow. Or at least that’s what I assumed when she recommended we go to The Lark in Santa Barbara. Of course, bone marrow was a prominent part of the menu. Fortunately, I am also a fan of that stuff and the rest of the menu seemed intriguing as well.
As with most breakfast places in Southern California, there has to be some sort of Mexican influence. Dawn Patrol in Santa Barbara is no different. So as I stood in line waiting to place my order, I had plenty of time to think about what to get. Like many breakfasts before, I couldn’t take my eyes off of the Breakfast Burrito.
In Santa Barbara there’s a spot called the Public Market. It’s kind of like an upscale food court, but most importantly there is a bar that attracts Michigan fans called The Garden. It’s not your typical sports bar, and is a sort of attempt to be a beer or wine garden. Whatever the case, I was eager for some beer and a burger.
On the way into Taste of the Himalayas in La Jolla, a patron on the way out told us that we had to get the tandoori chicken tikka. There was a strong scent of smoke in the place, which had clearly turned off its smoke detectors a long time ago, and we figured this departing patron must have known what she was talking about.
As you might expect, there are a number of harbors in Southern California. Some are better than others, but the best are full of a series of shops and restaurants. Dana Point has one of those harbors and in fact it harbors a restaurant called Harbor Grill. Most people would expect to get seafood at such a place and that probably would have been a wise decision, but I am not most people.
I’ve always said that restaurants with an amazing view often have a hard time pumping out amazing food. The idea being that the real estate is generally too expensive to get quality food. Nonetheless, I’ve been proven wrong a number of times and hoped Pacific Coast Grill in Cardiff by the Sea would by another in the latter category.
Coffee shops aren’t generally known for their food, but Pannikin in Encinitas isn’t your typical coffee shop. The place has a full-on menu and nearly every type of coffee or tea that exists in the world. But a look at the menu revealed very little in terms of meat – some turkey and some ham. Fortunately, there was something on the menu that drew me in.