Friday, December 28, 2012

Aloha from Hawaii....

Scott Good Taste and I met our friends Fallon and Andy on the big island of Hawaii. We are planning a week of relaxation, surfing and fun! Stay tuned for all things food and culture... Melissa Good Taste will be reporting on all things fabulous!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your tummies are still full from holiday eating! I am personally ready for another round! I will start my festivity recap starting with last night and moving my backward. Lets mix it up a little bit! My parents, Scott and I decided on a night out on the town so we went for a meal, music and drinks at the Ojai Valley Inn.

 My parents are pretty cool.

And how about this snappy hat? I think it is fun and funky. Just like me!

My meal started off with a Kobacha Squash Salad with burrata, pumpkin seeds and cranberry. It was an odd combination of ingredients but as a whole it really was delicious. It was large enough to share with the table. So everyone got a try!

Melissa Good Taste had the scallops are they were lovely. Cooked to perfection with a lovely hard sear on one side. It was served with a cauliflower variations over a brown butter sauce. Sounds light and refreshing, but sinfully delicious as well!

Cowboy Scott had a Ribeye and fingerling potatoes. It was a man's meal and he so happily indulged. 

Jim and Kathy both had the Prime Rib and it really looked fantastic. The squash gratin looked very cute served in a perfect square. 

I wasn't in the mood for dessert but the rest of the table had Shortcake. Very petite and the perfect size to tame a sweet tooth.

After dinner we went inside to listen to a pretty good singer, had a few cocktails and savored the evening. I don't get to spend much time with my parents so for us to be able to enjoy great meals, indulge in a few cocktails and just be in such great spirits makes me so thankful. We get so busy in life with just stuff, so these are the times I truly cherish!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cajun Kitchen Cafe - Ventura, CA

After we woke up at the beach we lingered in our pajamas until we declared ourselves starving. We checked out, jumped onto the 101 and went in search of breakfast. I don't usually like breakfast, I don't wake up hungry so it take me a couple hours to build up an appetite. We pulled into Ventura and I decided we should try the Cajun Kitchen Cafe since I have driven past it so many times.

I love a place that has different types of hot sauce piled up on the table. It is fun!

Scott got a Special that was scribbled on the wall - Lemon Sausage, Feta and Chile Scramble. There was a lot of food and i must admit the combination sounded a little wacky. He seemed to love it and enjoyed every bite until it was gone.

His breakfast came with toast and the other plate was a part of my Pancake Combo. I like my egg yolks runny and bacon crispy!

My order of pancakes were massive! I never can finish my plate when I order pancakes. I usually get halfway through and then I throw in the towel!

Breakfast is fun. It is rare we are in a restaurant in the morning so I like to savior this time over long cups of coffee. Christmas is almost here... I cannot wait to share my food adventures with you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cliff House Inn & Shoals Restaurant

We are lucky to live in such a beautiful place that we only had to drive 25 minutes to go to our anniversary destination. The Cliff House Inn is located off the 101 in between Santa Barbara and Ventura. Scott surfs there and I love to read in their beach chairs. So, we decided why not make a night of it in celebration of our marriage!

It was a beautiful day - I love winter storms.

 How beautiful is this photograph? Dark and stormy. The waves were crashing, the weather was just perfect for bundling up. This is my idea of heaven. 

The islands were visible, I was impressed with my camera. That is a long way to zoom!

Our room was so cute. Not the most fancy but for a 24 room hotel on the beach I was very happy. You could not beat our view. 

Scott Good Taste brought some bubbly... 

 And flowers for Melissa Good Taste!

Dinner was downstairs in Shoals Restaurant. We both started off with bowls of Clam Chowder. It warmed us up and soothed our tummies with creamy goodness. Nothing beats a hot soup in my mind.

Scott went with the special of grilled Mahi Mahi with a lemon wine sauce complete with grilled vegetables over mashed potatoes. I love when they grill the lemons that are used for squeezing it creates a smokey taste. Good order.

I had the Scallops with Lobster Risotto topped with fried onion strings. Yum, yum, yum. This has been the best thing I have eaten in a long time. The scallops were cooked perfectly, risotto was creamy and the salty crunch of the onions were lovely. The price of this dish was $14.95 - What a steal!

Of course I had to try the Creme Brulee. The custard inside was delicious but the top was not hard, kind of soft. Not a deal breaker but if I had to be critical that was one thing it could have improved on.

Later, we got into a Scrabble Challenge and I took home top honors. More champagne and a blissful night sleeping to the sound of the ocean just steps away... If you wish to re-create this peaceful evening I highly recommend the Cliff House Inn and a reservation at the Shoals Restaurant. Ask for one of their two suites and you will not be disappointed!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary Scott Good Taste! 

This year we have chosen to stay close to home and just enjoy an evening at the beach! Keep you posted on the food - It should be a great meal!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Easy A Prime Rib - Easy...

Merry Christmas! This was a version of our Christmas card photo and it was taken with my camera. It really is a thing of beauty - just point and shoot! Well, I start off this blog post confessing my love for this man. I spoil him, my dogs and horses rotten. Really, if you are a friend of mine it means I am loyal to the core. That is just how I am...  

Friday's dinner started off with a lovely bottle of wine - Stag's Leap Cabernet. Christmas decoration in the background... love! 

Prime Rib for two humans and two dogs equals a four pound roast. I let my roast come to room temperature, rubbed with butter and all seasonings possible. For fifteen minutes to start at 450 my roast got a nice sear. For an hour after at 350 my roast became this delicious brown beast. I let it rest for 20 minutes while I made my au jus out of a quality local beef stock and Stag Leap. Lucky au jus...

My favorite part about Prime Rib has always been the spicy horseradish and sour cream... I cannot refuse anything with copious amounts of cream! 

Our plates. Scott will do a back flip for corn so I always make it for him. It is always the first thing he eats off his plate. It is cute.

Did you know this was filmed in Ojai? Scott and I watched it over dessert and it was a treat to see our home town featured in the movie. Ojai is really famous. I should appreciate her beauty the next time I run for groceries, stamps and laundry!

Winter Date Day...

Scott has been home from Texas almost two weeks and we have not gone out on the town once! He was sick, I was sick and then we rode horses consistantly through it all and before we knew it we were just old mountain people never getting off our ranch in upper Ojai! So we made a plan to get out and do something yesterday because of the rain that came. First up, Starbucks for a Christmas time drink! 

If Scott was going to Ventura that meant he had to bring a board. He surfed in front of the Ventura Fairgrounds, it was really beautiful.

I declared it lunch.

Giant Fish Taco? Yes, sounds good. 

Date day continued on to the movies and we saw "Life of Pi" in 3D this was one crazy movie, wait until the end and you are really thrown for a loop! Amazing graphics though.

We stopped and got my Holiday time favorite - Nuts & Chews by See's Candy. They make the perfect gift in my opinon. No one can ever saw no to these bad boys.

Caution. I made chili last night. 

 I will not post the recipe because it was so flaming hot. It was so hot, that my stomach was doing gymnastics late into the evening. Aye yi yi. Melissa Good Taste take it easy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Lalo's - Ventura, CA

Lalo's is located on Ventura Avenue - not known as the most safe place in Ventura but I am sure home to the most authentic Mexican food, that is for sure. I have driven by Lalo's many times and today i was hungry enough to actually stop in and order. You walk up, order through the window and wait for your food to be called out.

To occupy my time I checked out the Trader Express, you never know when you find a deal!

I ordered two Shredded Beef Hard Tacos. They were very good. I was mostly looking for just a snack and this tided me over just fine. I have one small complaint, the shredded beef had two bites of globs of fat. I hate that, the sensation in my mouth when you bite into that just grosses me out. Clean up the beef pickings, and you will be perfection Lalo's!

To wash down those icky bites I had a big fountain soda. Sometimes there is nothing more refreshing or delicious to me than a big, icy soda. So there you have it, cheap and fast. Go to Lalo's for your next Mexican food fix.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Golden Bass Sandwiches & Cucumber Salad

Scott Good Taste and I have been tightening up our games. We have been eating really healthy so we can show our bikini bodies off in Hawaii. We leave in a couple weeks so we are skimping on calories now, so we can splurge later! For dinner I tried to play up on textures and flavors without breaking the nutritional bank. Crunchy being the theme with fish sandwiches, cole slaw and cucumber salad. Let me walk you through our meal...

Haddock would have been my first choice for my fish sandwiches but this was all my fresh fish market had that was comparable, I was happy with the Golden Bass. I made the spicy coleslaw with a cole slaw mix, light touches of light mayo, sugar, white wine vinegar, sugar, Siracha Hot Sauce, salt and pepper. I let it rest in the fridge until the fish were ready. 

On a foil covered baking sheet I salt and peppered the fish, spread Dijon across the top of the fish and then pressed down the panko on top. I then baked it in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes, I checked the fish and then set the broiler on to brown the crunchy, panko. Perfection! 

 The Cucumber Salad was easy, easy. On a mandolin I sliced two cucumbers that I already peeled. Lovely, thin slices - just watch your fingers on those bad boys! Then mixed in a light asian salad dressing and let the marinade work through the cucumbers until your fish sandwiches have been assembled. A little salt, pepper and toasted sesame seeds made this a lovely, guilt free side dish.

Last night was movie night in our house so I whipped up some Banana Pudding with reduced fat Nilla Wafers. Nothing fancy but it satisfied our sweet tooth. 

See Melissa Good Taste doesn't eat like a teen age carnival worker all the time! I like to treat my body nicely in preparation for all the nachos I have been dreaming about lately... Happy Sunday!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Snapper Jack's - Ventura

I never have been much of a fish taco fan. I figured why mess up a good piece of fish by stuffing it into a tortilla. But, those days have passed and the "Perfect Fish Taco" mission is on. 

I love going to Snapper Jack's in Ventura because the awesome salsa bar. It is not the typical generic salsa. They make it there and it tastes so good. I mix the darkest salsa with the "Shack Sauce" and it creates this wonderful creamy dip that is amazing with the perfectly salted chips that they serve.

And, this is what I order: Two crispy fish tacos with crispy shells, chips on the side. Terrible photo of the tacos, I know but... They taste terrific and I will be back for more photos of the taco. They are that good. 

What is your current food craving?