OF BON GOT | A year of food, parties and favorites – VC Reporter

by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

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There was more than take out on the menu this year. Diners in Ventura County were excited to make reservations at their favorite restaurants once indoor dining resumed, and many of the usual food and drink festivals have returned as well. The avenue celebrated Taco Week, seafood establishments celebrated National Clam Chowder Day, and several new restaurants have left favorable impressions on the local culinary scene. Here’s what made us say “yum” in 2021.

Tacos Tacos Tacos

Carnitas (top), tacos al pastor and carne asada served with salted rice and refried beans from Tacos Mi Pueblo. Photo by N. Lackey Shaffer

Lots of Mexican dishes have been covered in In Good Taste this year. And why not? When you have so many fabulous options, you might as well take advantage. Among our favorites were the Taqueria Cuernavaca de Ventura (especially popular for its delicious breakfasts), Oxnard’s Mi Pueblo Tacos (heavenly meats served on homemade tortillas) and the Marina Cafe at Lake Casitas (surprisingly good homemade Mexican food, plus a stellar view). We also saluted Westside Ventura’s very first Avenue Taco Week, which took place in September, and reviewed the Baja Bay Surf N Taco at Ventura Harbor, which had new owners in 2021 and quickly made a name for itself. name with amazing fish tacos. , delicious agua frescoes and more.

morning glory

Avocado Toast from Frontside Cafe. Photo by N. Lackey Shaffer

Starting the day with a good breakfast is an increasingly popular reason to go out to eat. Even when restrictions were in place, the good weather allowed us to enjoy our morning meals on sunny terraces while minimizing the risks. So breakfast and brunch were among our favorites in 2021. One of the newest members of the breakfast club was the Frontside Cafe, which opened in late 2020 and caused a stir with its mix of delicious pastries, hearty Australian-inspired dishes and avocado toast as artfully composed as a still life. But it is above all long-standing institutions that have deeply satisfied. We loved the veggie-rich Golden Egg Cafe’s Benedict, the crispy chilaquiles, and the mimosa bargains. . . but the divine cinnamon bun and lovely porch really uplifted this place. Local favorite Eggs ‘n’ Things (since 1974, multiple locations in Ventura County) is loved for a reason: hearty and delicious egg dishes (don’t miss the chili verde!), Chewy Belgian waffles, bread Golden gilt and butter, delicate Swedish pancakes – a house specialty not to be missed.

Time to party

Fun in the sun was back in 2021 with Surf ‘n’ Suds at San Buenaventura Beach on October 9. Photo courtesy of the Surf ‘n’ Suds Beer Festival.

In Good Taste, it wasn’t just restaurant reviews in 2021. We threw some love towards the organizations and local communities that also have food focused events. We encouraged everyone to support local restaurants during Oxnard Restaurant Week in January and Conejo Valley Restaurant Week in February. . . with a nod to some of our favorite places for clam chowder on February 25, National Clam Chowder Day (who knew?). In May, Andres Nuño, organizer of the annual Surf ‘n’ Suds beer festival, hosted a virtual beer tasting that also included information (no samples!) On cannabis, dubbing the Surf ‘n’ event. Suds (+ Buds). He followed that up in October with a live festival, held once again at San Buenaventura State Beach. We are highlighting the 20th Annual Rotary Wine and Beer Festival in Thousand Oaks in August.

Fresh faces

Burnin ‘Mouth Chicken Sando. Photo by N. Lackey Shaffer

There were several new (or new) restaurants to explore in 2021. We sampled and enjoyed hearty savory pies from the Raven Tavern in Oxnard, but found the Grilled Cheese Sandwich for adults to be out of this world. When Burnin ‘Mouth (also at Oxnard) became Nashville’s local source of hot chicken, we discovered agony and ecstasy in equal measure with its spicy but mouth-watering’ sandos’. Old Town Camarillo got a fabulous pizza option thanks to Freda’s Woodfired Kitchen and gourmet ice cream courtesy of Rori’s Artisanal Creamery – both located at The Mark – while Downtown Ventura has had a chic new gastropub in The Six Chow House. Vegans across the county rejoiced at the opening of Fatty Vegan in Ventura, but these meatless creations are good enough to satisfy even the most finicky carnivores. Bamboo Room (Westlake), Bank of Italy Cocktail Trust (Ventura) and the new bar at Rabalais’ Bistro (Santa Paula) all featured delicious and distinctive libations.

We hope you enjoyed feasting, feasting, snack and drink throughout 2021 as much as we do. As always, there was a lot on the menu, with freshness and flavor to spare. Good times and good meals.

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