Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Say Hi to Ojai!

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A right turn on the way to Santa Barbara will veer you away from the coast and onto a smathering of hills and mountains leading to an approximately thirty square mile stretch known as Ojai. In Ventura County, the inland destination serves as a lethargic refuge from the commercial tourist trappings of Santa Barbara.

Do not enter into Ojai if you’ve a restless soul. Late night lovers can also drive on as this little city quits by 8p.m. But if you’re looking for an idle escape and an old town sanctuary, Ojai’s the place for a little bit of that nothing in particular.

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While there, you can take in a lazy lunch at the farm, cafe, and produce shop The Farmer and the Cook. Alongside coffee and pastries, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner comprised of the freshest organic ingredients and vegetarian tendencies.

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The Huarache, a thick handmade tortilla, filled with potato, mozzarella, feta cheese, and rajas comes wet with a mild or spicy ranchera sauce, mild tomatillo sauce, and a drizzle of crema (11). It comes straddled by Colombian beans, Spanish rice, and cole slaw.

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The Enchilada dish is equally nice as zucchini and other veggies are stuffed into a layer of sauce-rich tortillas also drizzled in cheese. Day or night, The Farmer and the Cook’s string-lit and canopied outdoor dining area makes any meal, a better (and healthier) meal.

Farmer and the Cook
339 West El Roblar Drive  Ojai, CA 93023-2212
(805) 640-9608
http://farmerandcook.com/index.html

And then there’s dessert (among other things)...
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Specializing in all things oven-related, Knead is a mother and daughter artisanal bakery and cafe. Along with tasty baked goods, Knead prepares all day breakfast and lunch sandwiches as well as pizzas, charcuterie, and cheese plates. Knead’s egg proscuitto and arugula breakfast sandwich (above right) is served on either a bagel or Ciabatta roll. Cheese variations are also available( $7-8).
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Knead’s sweets are just as palatable as their savory lineup: Clockwise from left, Knead’s peanut butter chocolate oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich, organic coffees and iced tea, and a respectable line up of seasonally flavored cupcakes all are reflective of a pastry chef who reportedly divides her time between her Ojai bakery and the Los Angeles Four Seasons Hotel.

With only a handful of supposedly “must try” Ojai eateries, options might seem limited in this small town of about 7000, but that’s also the place’s charm: Never frenetic or conducive of travel frazzle, you’ll take it easy, slow down, and really enjoy what’s there.

Knead Baking Company
469 E Ojai Ave
Ojai, CA 93023
http://www.kneadbakingcompany.com/Site/KNEAD.html
Ojai: On the Map

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