Sometimes I laugh with my friends that I'm a professional eater or that I'm eating my way through Ventura County. However you look at it, I definitely do a lot of eating. Recently I was thinking back over 2009 and some of my favorite things I ate during the course of the year. These were the most memorable:
The pomme frites at Savory Cafe in Ventura: brown and crisp, dusted with coarse sea salt and served with your choice of remoulade dipping sauce (basil, barbeque, or caramelized onion with roasted garlic). Hey, who doesn’t love their own tin bucket of fries sitting in a cone of crisp parchment paper? They're located at 419 East Main Street in Ventura.
Bodee's S'mores Cake: a graham cracker crust topped with molten chocolate cake and capped off with a toasted marshmallow. The crust was thick, buttery, the cake was warm and fudgy, and the marshmallow was crisp on the outside and bordering on liquid on the inside. Bodee's is located at 3304 Maricopa Highway in Ojai.
The bread pudding at My Florist. It comes baked and warm in a generous bowl (the size of a cereal bowl), and is crammed with bread straight from their bakery. It was creamy and sweet, with chunks of soft and tangy lemon rind, and topped with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. My Florist is located at 76 Oak Street in Ventura.
Winning Hearts and Minds Cake - a recipe from Molly Wizenburg, author of A Homemade Life. The easiest cake I may ever have made (no mixer and an ingredient list of less than 10 items) and by far, the best I've ever eaten. Note: she calls for fancy butter, plain unsalted works just fine. Whats even better is that the cake tastes better if you make it in advance and freeze it. How sweet is that?
A Limosa. A play on the drink "mimosa." Instead of orange juice, this festive drink mixes champagne or Prosecco with Ventura Limoncello. The sweetness of the Limoncello balances out the dryness of the bubbly. It's lemony, fizzy, and refreshing.
Fresh crusty bread dipped in La Nogalera Walnut Oil. The nuts are roasted before being pressed, producing oil that rivals the best olive oil with its wow factor, yet has a distinct flavor of its own that will perk up even the sleepiest of taste buds. This delicious oil, which I refer to as liquid gold, can be found at Paradise Pantry in Ventura.
Moo Shu Pork at the Mandarin House. Built tableside, it tastes like a masterpiece. Four pancakes with a delectable filling made of pork, shredded cabbage, bamboo, and egg in a plum sauce. Mandarin House is located at 4020 East Main Street in Ventura (near the old Target and Bed, Bath, and Beyond).
And my favorite glass of wine was a 2004 Napa Valley Kimberly Cuvee at Bella Victorian Vineyard's Tasting Room in Camarillo. They had us taste this full-bodied award-winning red blend alongside blue cheese crumbles, so we could really grasp how certain foods make wine taste better and certain wines make food taste better. In the spirit of full disclosure, I do drink a lot of wine, so its pretty remarkable that this one stood out so. It was that good. Bella Victorian is located at 2135 Ventura Boulevard in Old Town Camarillo.