Whether you’re looking for an luxurious weekend or a quick get-a-way, Ventura is sure to have everything you’re looking for-be sure to bring your taste buds along for the journey!
Living in LA I have traveled to ‘wine countries’ such as Napa, Sonoma, and the list goes on. However, I missed the hidden gem that was lies an hour outside of LA. Ventura is home to many extravagant restaurants as well as wineries. This past weekend the ‘Ventura County WestTour’ gave attendees a ‘sample’ of what Ventura has to offer. The event took place at the beautiful Embassy Suites Hotel at Mandalay Bay in Oxnard, as well as different places around the city. Embassy Suites was a whimsical property that was recently remodeled. Where the beach is your backyard and complete with a fitness center, mesmerizing swimming pools, decadent restaurants and more-Embassy Suites easily felt like a ‘home away from home’.
The tour was full of events that gave attendees an insider’s view of Ventura. Events included: a local food and wine challenge, whale watching tour, tasting at a local winery, dinner at Safire, a food and wine tour, as well as a sneak peak into the Mullins Car Museum.
Kicking off with the local food and wine challenge attendees were able to taste 13 local eateries and wineries that were paired together in order to collaborate and create decadent dishes that complimented each other and stood out to the crowd. From oysters and pan-seared scallops to braised beef chuck and filet mignon this tour encompassed and covered many bases while serving as the embodiment of the many ‘Tastes of Ventura’. Out of the 13 teams, ‘Casa Barranca Winery and the Rhumb Line’ took the wine. Serving seared duck breast with a creamy mash potatoes and bacon corn relish with a chocolate merlot beurre rouge sauce; this was paired with a 2010 merlot, evergreens vineyard-Santa Ynez Valley, from Santa Barbara County. “We haven’t been in business long, says Chef David Rhodes of Rhumb Line. We also cook from scratch; most places don’t have much on us.”
Island Packers guided us through ‘California’s sun-kissed, seaside playground’ on a whale watching tour on Saturday morning. Throughout the tour we were able to see grey whales, sea lions, as well as various forms of dolphins. Shortly leaving the tour we were greeted at the well renowned Herzog winery. Where we were able to sample the finest wines as well as take a tour and get a better understanding of the history and legacy of Herzog.
Safire American Bistro is a lavish restaurant located in the heart of Camarillo, another hidden gem in Ventura. Safire Bistro has been described as ‘American Regional Cuisine’ that offers a sophisticated yet modern dining experience. Safire delivers incomparable and beyond delicious gourmet food at a reasonable price. Perfect for any occasion, Safire is guaranteed to not disappoint.
Saturday, the last day of the tour, invited guests and forms of media were awakened by a delectable breakfast prepared by the house chef of Embassy Suites. The meal included a wide selection of fruit, an assortment of muffins, potato pancakes, complete with traditional egg Benedict topped with Canadian bacon and eggs Benedict topped with smoked salmon. To say this breakfast was delicious would be a true understatement.
Following breakfast guests embarked on the Ventura Food Tour, which is a walking tour around downtown Ventura. Guests were able to fill up on some of Venturas’ finest foods and desserts while right in the center of the city-which painted a picturesque scene. Restaurants of the food tour included: Spencer Makenzie’s, Paradise Pantry, We Olive, Ventiki Lounge, Marie Shannon Confections and Palermo.
Mullin Automotive Museum is a museum in Oxnard, which showcases some of the most luxurious, sought-after, one-of-a-kind car collections. From high priced cars to priceless classics, this car museum is definitely worth a view.
All in all the entire trip was a huge success. It opened up my eyes to one of California’s hidden gems! Spread along the California Central Coast, and submerged with breathtaking views Ventura is home to many other fun activities whether you are traveling for business, pleasure, or a family trip. Ventura County West -a definite must visit!