Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gordon Ramsay is looking for Kitchen Nightmares in the Ventura Area

Has your favorite restaurant gone bad? Have you tried a new eatery only to discover it doesn't cut the mustard? Apparently FOX's hit show, Kitchen Nightmares, is currently searching for new restaurants in Ventura to be featured in the upcoming season.

Here's a bit from the press release:
"Each week, Chef Ramsay will attempt to turn one ordinary and empty restaurant into the most popular, sought-after venue in town. He reveals the behind-the-scenes realities of running a restaurant and wastes no time getting down to business – implementing signature menu items, modernizing d├ęcor and making the restaurant run as smoothly as possible. With his reputation on the line, Ramsay accepts nothing less than the best when it comes to the food, staff and customer service. While still prone to the explosive outbursts and spectacular confrontations familiar to fans, Ramsay reveals a sensitive and nurturing side as he coaches, cheers and challenges the restaurant staff, all the way from appetizers through dessert."

If you know of a restaurant that desperately needs expert guidance, send them the restaurant's name, location and a brief description why you think Gordon Ramsay should take over. Contact kristincastingshows@gmail.com or you can post your suggestions here on my blog.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Best thing I ate this week: Roasted Carrot Salad

I posted this recipe for Roasted Carrot Salad a while back, after it made its way into my inbox via the McGrath Farm newsletter. I printed it out and added it to the pile of recipes I'm dying to try that lives on my kitchen counter. Well, you know how it goes...summer vacation started, and a few camping trips and lots of playdates later, it's July already.

So when I finally had a moment to make a true homemade meal, this recipe was at the top of the pile. This salad was everything I thought it would be and by far, the best thing I ate this week. The carrots were soft and sweet, and perfectly caramelized.

They went perfectly with the tangy blue cheese, chewy sweet cranberries, and the peppery arugula. Note: I used walnuts instead of almonds and wanting to stretch the recipe even further, I definitely used more than 2 cups of arugula.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Drop what you're doing and eat this

If you haven't been to Bonanos yet, the list of reasons why you need to has just gotten a bit longer. Their Peruvian food is de-lish, the service wonderful, and the atmosphere relaxing and not what you would expect in this little strip mall on Ashwood Avenue in Ventura. Check out these reviews in the VC Star, VC Reporter, and on Gayot. Chef Dante Balarezo has recently added a few new fresh seafood dishes to his already rockin' menu. The new dishes include Tiradito en cremas de aji amarillo y rocoto (sashimi style fish with aji amarillo sauce, pictured above), and Causa de cangrejo (layers of pressed potato with crab meat and avocado, pictured below).

Rainbow Bridge, the neighborhood health food store in Ojai, has an expansion in the works. Though they are still digging their way through red tape and County checklists, it should be open sometime early this Fall. They are taking over the space that used to house the local sporting goods store; and once complete, the Rainbow Warehouse will offer bulk oils, agave syrup, vinegars, honey, syrup, bath salts, detergents, and hand soap. There will also be gifts, stress reduction machines, and much more. And if you haven't stopped by Rainbow Bridge lately, they just added a water station outside the store, where customers can bring their own containers to be filled with fresh, filtered water. This is one of the many ways that Rainbow Bridge is trying to do right by the environment, by cutting back on the number of plastic water bottles filling our landfills.

The Cave at Ventura Wine Company has a new small plates menu if you're looking for a good reason to stop by for a sip of wine and a bite of food. Here are just a few to pique your interest:

BBQ Pork Tenderloin, Southern Slaw and Texas Cornbread $7
Penne with Mussels, Clams and Roasted Corn $7
Island Brew Company Battered Catfish with Spicy Cajun Pepper Sauce and Dirty Rice $8
The Cave "Rap & Roll": Ahi Tuna, Avocado, Sprouts, Cucumber and Creamy Spiced Rice $8
Scallops New Orleans, Potato Cake and Endive Salad $8
Summer Grilled Potato, Seared Pancetta and Napa Cabbage Salad $7
Herbed Cheese Polenta with House Pomodoro $6