Ojai for the weekend?
Hey, I'm heading up from LA to Ojai for a few days and I was wondering if people had any recommendations or just general tips about dining in Ojai.
Since there are a lot of farms around Ojai I'm hoping to find some places that specialize in farm fresh/local/seasonal ingredients but I'm really up for anything as long as it is good.
A couple of places I've looked at, but don't really know much about:
Knead Baking Company
Osteria Monte Grappa
Anyone know anything good for breakfast?
Is there only one farmer's market?
Where is a good place to get vegetables?
Any high quality butcher shops?
There are going to be five of us total and we have no restrictions except the food be excellent.
I'll report back (although if we can't find anything good we might just end up cooking at the place we're staying)
If you're lucky, the Deer Lodge will be roasting a whole pig on a spit over their outside fire pit. It’s located on Hwy 33 a mile or two north of town on the way into the Los Padres NF. It’s easy to tell if it’s a pig day because the pit can be seen from the road and the smell is unmistakable.
Strangely (or maybe not so strangely) enough, the best chicken fried steak I've happened upon so far in Southern California is at the Marina Cafe in the Lake Casitas Recreation area (by the boat landing).
I mean, everything else there was utterly average, but MAN! That chicken fried steak was straight from heaven. Pilgrimage-worthy.
Thank you everyone for the suggestions and feedback, we only ended up eating at a couple places (and all of them to go, so take my report with a grain of salt), but here's what I had:
Papa Lennon's: The first night, people wanted pizza and Papa Lennon's mix of traditional and unique (Thai Chicken) sounded interesting. We ordered the Margherita, Thai Chicken, Tomato Basil and Garlic, and Papa's Favorite (a white pizza with three cheese, chicken and artichoke). This was easily the worst pizza I've ever eaten from a restaurant, the dough had the taste and consistency of stale cardboard.
This first encounter did not bode well for Ojai food.
The second day we went to The Farmer and The Cook (thanks ipse) and it was like we were delivered from the desert.
We ordered the Veggie Burger, The Jalapeno Poppers, The Tamale, the Sopes and the Enchilada.
The poppers are easily the best I've ever had, still slightly crunchy, al dente cooked jalapenos, stuffed with a combination of cheddar and goat cheese and then breaded in something not unlike tempura. The flavors of the cheeses mix perfectly, and the mouthfeel of the the grainy goat and the chewier cheddar is incredible.
The burger "veggie and lentil," with a strong flavor of Indian spices (cumin, coriander etc). The patty is not too dry and not too mushy, holding together decently while I ate.
I only had a bite of everything else, but the masa in the tamale and the sopes was fresh and I could really get a sweetcorn flavor from the tamale. The enchilada was the only thing I wasn't totally thrilled about, the tortilla itself was kind of dry and the swiss chard tasted a little too bitter, but overall this place is outstanding and if it were closer I'd go regularly.
Overall, my two experiences were incredibly mixed, and I would need to eat here more to get a feel for the place and I still want to try that chicken fried steak.