Monday, September 30, 2013

Ventiki Polynesian Lounge - Ventura, CA

Last week during date night, Scott and I wanted to try one of the newest restaurants on the Ventura scene - Ventiki Polynesian Lounge. It hosts a beautiful outdoor lanai area, with fire pit as well as the tiki bar inside. 

The menu is full of classic Hawaiian style drinks...

Including the Mai Tai, my favorite! The taste brought me back to my favorite Hawaiian vacations.

We wanted something to munch on so we perused the Pupu menu and were encouraged in ordering the  Rana - which was big eye tuna, mango, citrus soy and lime coconut . I was not a huge fan of this. It was light and refreshing but the tuna basically was drenched in the coconut milk making it a soupy tuna delight. 

Taco Tini was also on the menu: slow roasted pork, pineapple, chile sauce and feta cheese. I have to admit I was a little leery about the feta on the taco but it worked magically! These were delicious, I highly recommend an order of these.

All in all, the place was whimsical and fun. 
The drinks pumpin' and very cool. The food 50/50 but it is all good! I cannot wait to enjoy the lanai with friends in the evening.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Farm to Table - San Juan Bautista to Ojai

My Mom came for a short visit yesterday to shuttle some of my horses around and she brought me some bounty from my brother's garden. Vine ripened tomatoes...

Sweet red bell peppers and gorgeous lemons. What a wonderful surprise!

So this morning I topped my regular toasted, buttered English Muffin with grated parmesan, sliced tomato, balsamic vinaigrette glaze and micro basil. It was the perfect blend of crunchy, savory, salty, sweet... I could have made at least two more! I restrained myself so I would have enough to make them tonight for Scott. He is going to love them!

Thanks James, Dad, Mom and Kate! I know you all had a hand in making the garden grow!

Happy Sunday and Go JETS!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Melissa Good Taste Reviews...

I have been getting a lot of requests by companies to do reviews on their products. I love getting samples and trials of products so I gladly welcomed them to send it to me. Over the past few week this is what I have gotten in to try...

I loved this. The Sparking Ice Apple tasted almost exactly like Martinelli's Sparkling Cider minus all the calories. What a great substitution for plain when your sitting at your desk at work or if you wanted something a little jazzed up.
 Highly recommend.

We are always on the go and usually never sit down for an actual meal until dinner so when I was approached by Komplete Meal Replacement I was stoked. I loved the chocolate flavor but did not care for the vanilla. So if you are looking for a nice meal on the go, grab the chocolate!

When I saw this in the meal mail I thought, "Yee-haw! When do I get to sample this." After a party at the El Rancho Futurity of many hours of dancing, glasses of wine and staying up late - I had my opportunity the next morning. It is very similar to Alka-Seltzer tablets, same concept. And you know what, it worked! I felt revived and ready to start my day.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Enterprise Fish Co. - Santa Barbara, CA

Last week I had the afternoon off with nothing planned so I decided, "Why not head to Santa Barbara?"It is only a quick 45 minutes away and a beautiful drive at that. I wandered up and down State Street a few times, grabbed a few souvenirs and then declared myself famished.

I have had more than one friend recommend Enterprise Fish Co. for Melissa Good Taste to try so I figured today was the day to do it! Rough job, but it has to be done! I started with the lobster bisque because it is always a good way to see if the restaurant has chops. Most places fail at this, bad soup usually equals bad restaurant. The lobster bisque was nice, not the best but certainly something to be proud of.

When I see Scallops on the menu, I get pretty happy. If risotto is on there too, with the option to get them both together, I want to do backflips. I knew immediately that is what I wanted to order and I was so thrilled when it was placed before me. The pictures are just beautiful and absolutely mouthwatering. The scallops came pan fried, giving them a crunchy crust which is welcome at any food party of mine. The risotto was texturally perfect just lacked a little salt, in fact I went ahead and sprinkled some over the entire dish. 

A beautiful day it was in Santa Barbara. Great shopping and walking and with food like this at the end of the day who could actually complain!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Channel Island Food Trucks - Oxnard, CA

Scott Good Taste did some foodie recon and discovered something that I had totally been missing out on... "Wet Wednesdays", a food truck gathering at the Channel Island Harbor in Oxnard. So after his evening session, we met up to get our tasting on! 

There were probably 10 trucks there and all seemed to be doing very good business. There were lines at every truck.

We started at an Indian food truck called, "India Jones Chow Truck". Scott ordered a Roti, which was basically like a burrito made with flat bread, housing chopped onions, tamarind chutney and grilled beef. He absolutely loved it and said he would return back next week to order just that. 

I ordered the "Aloo Tikki Chaat" which was a potato pancake topped with chickpeas, raita, chopped onions and chickpea vermicelli. It too was fantastic. Perfect portion size for the price, just four dollars. 

We took a break for a frosty beverage at Seafresh and cooled off our spicy mouth with a Mondos Cream Ale. I love that beer!

Next up Lobster Rolls! The Cousin's Maine Lobster Truck had the longest line so we decided we just had to get in on that action. We waited for about 15 minutes but chatted up nice people in line so it went really fast...

We ordered ours "Conneticut Style" which was hot with butter. $12 will get you this bad boy! It had tons of hope and anticipation riding on my first bite... drum roll please..... It was just ok. I ate the entire thing in three bites, and didn't crave more. I would most likely try something else next time, like the Lobster bisque they ran out of just before we hit the counter. 

But what fun! Thank you Scott Good Taste for the interactive eating experience. All you local readers better get out there and try it too. A lot of fun for the kids too!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Birthday! Cafe Fiore - Ventura, CA

The Real Housewives of Ojai.
We are fun, fabulous and always on the go. We make time to catch up and when we do, we go all out. This time was to celebrate Janelle's birthday. We even invited the boys this trip!

A Hummer Limo transported our rowdy bunch to Cafe Fiore in Downtown Ventura.

We had the back section of the Tree House reserved. Boys on one side, ladies on the other!

We shared the Fried Calamari, which was fabulous and indulged in a couple baskets of their warm pizza bread and sourdough.

I ordered my usually the Butternut Tortellacci and it was a bit heavier than I had remember in previous visits. I know, I know cream sauce and filled pasta is not supposed to be a "light" meal but it maybe was not made with the same care. It just didn't taste as special as it dis before. Don't get me wrong I ate a healthy portion and enjoyed each bite of the fried sage topping. I honestly could have shared this plate because I felt bad leaving food on my plate.

The birthday girl, Janelle. Super sweet and always stylish I am so happy to have met her and blessed to call her my friend.

My two other fav's Lindsey and Lisa - My go to girls for laughs and real conversations. They are strong mamas and would help anyone in time of need. I am so thankful to know them both.

Ashleigh! My super fun, new friend who I met in the group last night. She is spunky, real and totally my style. I cannot wait to get to know her better.

Every gal needs cake on their birthday!

They know how to have a good time and are the most excellent hosts.
Happy Birthday Janelle! 

R.H.O.O - 2013 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Stonehouse Bistro - Rancho Murieta, CA

One of our last few nights in Rancho Murieta was spent at the Stonehouse Bistro. It is always a place we visit at least once and it generally is pretty good.

I ordered the Salmon, it had a bit of parmesan broiled on top - nice touch, and sat on a bed of noodles with tomato and goat cheese. The hot noodles and fish, melted the goat cheese created a kind of sauce, if you will. I loved the salmon, I was craving protein that day. I will order this again.

Scott is a sucker for Meatloaf so he went that way. It was wrapped with bacon, that was not totally an addition to the dish, but a mere disctraction. it was under cooked so we just set it to the side. He ate through the hamburger, taking recess in the mashed potatoes but just wasn't overly impressed. I should make him my Meatloaf this week, to cheer him back up on how it is supposed to taste.

Miss Karley basically ordered the same dish as me but my salmon was replaced with her desired pesto chicken. She loved every bite and I don't blame her.

The Stonehouse seems to try to please, it is on the higher end of the budget in the shopping mall compared to the Chinese, pizza and mexican food joints but it is nice to visit them all. Cheers to you Rancho Murieta and we will see you all again soon, I am sure.

Friday, September 20, 2013

CHAMPION! - Rancho Murieta, CA

I have had very good luck showing at the El Rancho Futurity. The first aged event I went to there, Scott showed my mare - Winnie - to a fourth place finish in the Open Futurity. The following year, that same horse and I won the Limited Derby with a 222! This year, I entered the Limited Derby on Scotty, my Hick Chicaroo 4 year old, and was fortunate enough to win it again!  

Congratulations Hip Hip Roo Rey!

That evening we had a nice meal with a few people from the show at the Rancho Murieta Country Club. I was a little dehydrated from being out in the sun all day so wine wasn't going down as well as water was. Although, I do highly recommend Western Wind Chardonnay - It is one of my personal favorites.

A wonderful plate of beef, mashed potatoes and butternut squash raviolis were laid out in front of everyone and we happily dug in. I immediately dug into the raviolis and loved every bite, I secretly wished for a never ending bowl of them! The mashed potatoes were fluffy and comforting, carbohydrate heaven. By the time I got to the steak, I was on the verge of full - I tucked in a few bites though!

The dessert tray was passed and I declared the lemon my favorite!

What a terrific day it was! Many thanks to my husband, Scott Weis for his knowledge and ability to get someone into the winners circle is amazing. My parents could not be more supportive! They are also my good luck charms, when they come and watch they bring that extra sparkle! I am one blessed little foodie!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

China Palace - Rancho Murieta, CA

In the little community of Rancho Murieta there are very few restaurants: Chinese, Pizza, Mexican and a Bistro. This particular evening we chose Chinese since we were going to be there awhile we would mark it off the list. Scott joked with the waiter and ordered a Tsingtao, the waiter did not have much of a sense of humor.

I was fighting off catching the cold that Scott had so I figured Hot and Sour Soup was just the ticket. It wasn't very spicy, in fact mild in flavor - and taste.

For my main, I ordered the Spicy Scallops with Cashews... I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the dish! I am not going to lie, I picked around the undercooked peppers and onions but the sauce, scallops and cashews made a trio of lovely!

Scott ordered a combination plate and ate to his content. It was entirely too much food and he didn't seem excited about any of it. It really did look just like chinese food made in bulk.

This was the only night we dined at  the Chinese Restaurant, next restaurant coming up!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Taste - Plymouth, CA

I love a good restaurant recommendation from friends. It is a reminder that they like to follow what I do and think enough about me to let me in on their idea of good food. On that note, thank you Tim and Diane Smith for suggesting I dine at Taste in Plymouth. Reservations were strongly recommended so I made them after our cutting at the El Rancho Futurity held in Rancho Murrieta.

We dined with friends Cookie, Katie & Bella Banuelos with Cowboy Ron in tow. We were in our horse show gear and were complimented on the behaved baby dinning and our grace with cowboy hats and spurs. Other diners were apparently watching us through dinner. We passed the inspection it seemed!

We started with their "Mushroom Cigars" for which they are famously known for. Crimini, Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms combined with herbs and goat cheese are wrapped in ever so delicate phyllo and baked until golden delicious. We ordered enough for the table and we loved ever last bite down tot he potato and gravy they came out resting on.

I love when restaurant make their own soup, I can tell when it is a Sysco brand or boat through commercial kitchens. I knew this place was the real deal so I went heavy and ordered their Butternut Squash with a corn fritter soaking up the liquid gold. It was fantastic, it tasted like Fall and had me craving Thanksgiving.

The whole table, besides me of course, ordered the Filet. They must have been upset with the cows they worked at the cutting because they wanted their beef, and they wanted it right now... on a plate, in front of them! The only complaint I had heard on the way home is that the steaks ordered medium rare came out medium. I told them they should have spoke up, a place like that would have no problem replacing. Maybe they were just too hungry.

My plate was amazing! The scallops lovely, just perfection in my world. The polenta was a delicious mattress for those three scallops - not too hard and not too soft. The corn, red onion, peaches and basil lit up the dish without taking over. Simple, elegant, cool.

Flan! Cinnamon! Gelato! Cookie and Scott had fun with their play on the dessert fiesta... Right down to the deep fried tortilla strips. Ole!

A trio of Creme Brulee for Melissa Good Taste! Absolutely delicious although I did have trouble figuring out which flavor was which, I thought the consistency was spot on. 

This was a fantastic meal, in fact the best meal we had in our 8 days spent in Rancho Murieta. Really good food, made right - that was obvious. My one gripe? Our service was pretty slow. I know good food takes time but good service should never be compromised.