Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ojai Valley Inn & Spa - Ojai, Ca

For over 80 years, the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa has been considered one of the best secrets among leisure and business travelers. Escape to this historic resort of casual elegance offering you 220 acres featuring luxury accommodations, Spa Ojai, and a championship golf course.

The Oak Grill is where we had dinner. Prime steaks, chops and the freshest seafood are featured on the dinner menu. The chefs feature garden grown and hand made ingredients complimenting the dramatic surrounding scenery. The award winning wine list and professional and knowledgeable service staff will complete a dining experience that will exceed expectations.

The first order was the Ahi Tuna Tartar served with crispy Wontons. The was amazing! Avocado and citrus rounded out the plate. Loved it. Couldn't finish it though!

Sister just had to order the crab cakes! These were pretty special ones though. In fact the best I have had in awhile. Ojai Valley Inn does it right!

The last dish that came out was the Lobster Risotto - umm... wow! So creamy, rich and just fabulous! The lobster was cooked perfectly and melted in your mouth. The risotto was also executed correctly and had enough bite without being overdone.

I wish I had taken better photos or had even remembered what exactly else was on the menu. I was just consumed in the sheer beauty of the Ojai Valley. The beautiful oak trees, lush terrain and beautiful mountains just seem to take over all senses. The Spa is world renowned, so it is official, I have to try it! Will come back at you for more Ojai!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Stuffed Baby Peppers

These suckers really have caused a stir! Everyone wants my recipe. It is really not a recipe more of a go with the flow kind of deal. No exact measurements but a run down of what is in them!

Super easy. Mini bell peppers halved. Mix cream cheese, Monterey Jack, browned sausage, green onion, garlic, diced green chilies and if your feeling spicy... diced jalapenos (I love it). Fill up peppers and bake @ 375 in the oven until peppers and soft and topping is golden brown. Somewhere between 25-30 minutes...

See told you they are super easy!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day!

Happy Fathers Day to all you fathers out there! I had a fabulous day with my family - both sides plus a family friend! Enjoy the time you have with the ones you love!

The Grey Goose was in the building...

James and little baby Fin. So cute!

Grandma Dassel and Nanny Crompton. Yes, those are their real names.

Uli and Papa. Their favorite spot.

My dad and I. Happy Fathers Day!

Heaven, aka Stuffed Peppers - my favorite thing ever!

James bbq'ing the steaks. Great job JD!

My mom's backyard. It looked extra serene today.

My Nanny :)

Our fantastic meal. Steak, sweet potato fries, potato salad, cantaloupe, asparagus, corn on the cob and an artisan salad with avocado, cranberries and candied pecans.

Family and friends.

Good old Apple Pie. We are true blue.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Breakfast today!

Good Morning! I had a tasty breakfast this morning. Buttered sourdough toast served as the resting spot for California Olive Ranch olive oil dizzled tomatoes, sprinkled with salt and pepper. A delicious treat.
What did you have for breakfast?
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Relax Grillin' and Chillin' - Hollister, Ca

So it finally opened. I spotted the new sign months ago and now it is serving the public. The old Single Tree location is now a more relaxed type of joint. My fellow food reviewers came with me to find out what Relax Grillin' and Chillin' had to offer. Make your way to 3650 San Juan Road and you can't miss it!

We wandered in shortly after 12 and the place wasn't too busy. We sat at the counter because we thought it was pretty cool. Talk about renovation. The old set up is gone and now it is a total surfy, sports bar type place! Super cool! Beers on tap and a full liquor license - yahoo! I couldn't believe they had Samuel Adams Summer Ale on tap - no one ever has it! Score!

Our waitress, who also was the bartender, Susan - recommended we try the Spinach Dip. It is served piping hot underneath a blanket of cheese. It was good, but it needed some spice. We gave it a few shakes of Tabasco and were good to go.

The first order up was Amanda's Stuffed Burger. It had cheese mixed in with the ground beef and cooked to a perfect medium. Grilled onions were aplenty! Yum yum. The only complaint was the bun was way too big for the size of the burger. They could reduce the size of the bun, after all it is kind of wasteful. Next up, was the Drunken Burger - Another beautiful burger topped with a English Cheddar. Tasty, juicy and hard to fit into your mouth! Best Burgers in Hollister - that is a big claim but I stand by my statement. The fries flanked along side the burgers were the good kind. The kind that make you wish you had more room in your stomach to finish off - you know what I am talking about! Last but not least was my order - The Street Tacos, you know because I am soooo street. ;) They were delicious! Kind of spicy but served with a cool mayonnaise sauce that refreshed my burned buds. The pico de gallo is also good on top!

What a treat! I was thoroughly impressed with the fun menu and diverse array of drink selections. The place is clean, clean, clean and makes you feel like hanging out awhile. We were fortunate to get a great server, stick with Susan when dining there - she takes care of you and makes sure your visit is a good one. The prices are fair and the drive is a not too bad, in fact I found it refreshing - breaking up my mid-day. I am going to give it 1.75 thumbs up. I will return, you will see me there!

Monday, June 15, 2009

California Olive Ranch

I was so excited to see when I got into work this morning that I had a package waiting for me! What could it be? ...

I tore into the package and saw I was sent the Arbosana, a subtle and seductive Spanish varietal olive oil sent by the wonderful California Olive Ranch. Oo la la!! I will have to put this oil to good use! If you would like to check out what other olive oils the California Olive Ranch has to offer check out their website here. Recipe and happy eating post will soon follow I am sure!

Happy Monday everyone...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Silva's Sheldon Inn - Elk Grove, Ca

So Kathy Good Taste and I went to the NCHA Cutting in Wilton over the weekend. We got to the area Thursday evening and ate at a weird, not so tasty Chinese restaurant so we were dying for some decent food. We set out for somewhere nice and the first place we stumbled upon was Silva's Sheldon Inn in Elk Grove. It was 7:00pm and the parking lot was packed. It should be good right?

We walk in to the waiting area and the place is full. The hostess said there was a wait but we could sit in the bar in the mean time. We ordered Patron Margaritas and waited, waited, waited. Finally they came... They need to up grade on the Sweet and sour tasted a little flat. $12 a pop, we had three! Yikes.

The bread basket came and we were not impressed. White bread. Pretty basic. They surprised us with a Fava bean, garlic spread on toast. It was actually yumtastic!

Kathy ordered a salad with her meal. She got her usual dressing of Continental. Do you know what that is? Blue Cheese and Italian. Most waiters never know what it is... they should learn - bonus points! She asked if they could add beets and they said they would, for a $3 charge. LOL. Are you serious? Well, Kathy added them anyway. What a joke! I had the Portuguese Bean Soup. It looks like slop from the photo but it was pretty tasty. I would order it again.

Guess what I got?! Crab cakes baby! They said they were Dungeness but there was no way. I have had the best of the best and these were not it. Did they taste bad? No way. Would I order them again? Sure. I mostly enjoyed the slaw that was served along side them. Cilantro! Yum. Kathy ordered the Rib Eye medium. It was served with balsamic grilled onions and blue cheese crumbles. Very nice. She was content.

Last but not least the Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler. That was good. Not great but seriously good. The waitress did let us know that it was made with fresh, local strawberries. I like that they keep it local!

Silva’s Sheldon Inn is located in the Elk Grove countryside. They offer probably one of the best dining experiences you can have when stuck in the Wilton area. The dishes they prepare have French, Italian, Portuguese, and American influences. It is kind of pricey so don't be surprised if you have a drink or two and have a fabulous meal it will run you about a $100. Considering the limited restaurant options this is a pretty decent place! 1.33 thumbs up!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

NCHA Weekend

Just got home from a cutting in Wilton just to pack up and go again! Showing my new horse, Miss My Shorty in the Non Pro Derby. Pretty excited, I will keep you all posted!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Stuffed Jalapenos

My mom and I made the best Stuffed Jalapenos yesterday. They were so good. If you are having a party, want some spicy or just a small bite - these are what you want to make!

The stuffed jalapenos ready for a siesta in the oven!

All nice and toasty!

My first Jalapeno!

Want to make them yourself? You should they are good!

14 large jalapenos
1 pkg cream cheese
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
dash of garlic powder
dash of salt
dash of salt

Preheat oven to 400.

Split jalapenos in half length wise and remove the seeds. Grill onions and fry up bacon. Set aside to cool. Cut into small pieces. Mix Cream Cheese, Monterey Jack, onions and bacon together adding spices.

Stuff peppers generously and place in a baking pan. Let cook until the peppers soften and topping browns.

Let cool before eating these babies are hot! Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hanami Sushi - Morgan Hill, Ca

After a spa evening with the girls, plus John, in Morgan Hill we all declared we were famished! I knew of a sushi joint right up the highway so I directed our vehicle there. If in south Morgan Hill, travel North on the 101 to East Dunne. Get off the exit, stay right and pull into the strip mall located by Taco Bell. There you will find Hanami Sushi. Yes! Sushi...

Excited for spa treatments and sushi! I just love it!

How Hanami Sushi greets their customers. It really was a beautiful building.

Wasn't too crowded on a Monday evening now was it? Usually restaurants are closed Monday nights however, Hanami did not disappoint.

Complimentary Edamame was appreciated and gobbled up quickly.

I shared this Chicken & Candied Walnut salad with my mom. Actually, I ate most of the candied walnuts! :) The dressing was light. Very refreshing.

Jennifer ordered Gyoza... I am not sure if they were delicious or not - I did not get to try one. There were not any left over so I assume they were edible.

This was Kathy's order - Shrimp Tempura Roll. Not sure why she ordered something so basic, she usually goes for the big ticket items with fancy names... but she was content with it so I am sure she was happy.

Oooo la la! This was my order. The photo washes it out a bit but it was very beautiful. The Spicy Josh Roll was very delicious. Crunchy tempura bits over shrimp, mayo, masago, crab meat and avocado. Yumtastic! I would order this little delight again!

Another one of Jennifer's orders - an Unagi Hand Roll. She said it was good but the eel stopped at the surface level. One bite and it was just a Rice Hand Roll. She just should have realistically ordered a piece of Unagi on the side.

Tempura Udon was the last order to come to the table. Japanese noodles in seasoned broth, tempura shrimp with vegetable and a poached egg! Yum. I tasted the broth and got a portion of the egg. It had cooked in the broth and soaked up the flavors of the soup. I enjoyed it very much.

The entire experience was a pleasant one. The waitresses are friendly and really aim to please. I would return to the restaurant if I was in the area. The restaurant itself is clean and well-lit, with tasteful decor and the music set at a level that you can hear it but still quietly converse with your table-mate. I give this cute little joint 1.33 thumbs up!