Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Ojai. California.
When you take a quick getaway– determined to relax, unwind, and reconnect. The last thing you have time for is a disappointing meal. After all, a good meal is the prelude to all the good things you were hoping for when you decided to take that long romantic getaway.
Which means, on these sorts of weekends there just isn’t enough time in the day for poor choices. You can scour YELP. Sometimes YELP is very helpful. But sometimes YELP makes me cry for HELP! Just who the heck is Sweet Pea from Tallahassee? And what does she know about sustainable seafood in California?
In instances like this I turn to bloggers. I turn to bloggers I trust. So here I am, trying to return the favor.
I spent a Weekend in Ojai. I had some good meals. I had some okay meals. I had some bad meals. Some were pricey. Some were cheap(ish). Now I am home and I’d like to pass along my Ojai restaurant trifecta. Breakfast, lunch and dinner in Ojai, California.
BREAKFAST: Knead- 469 East Ojai Avenue, Ojai. 805–652-2136
We walked into Knead having heard it was THE spot for GREAT baked goods in Ojai. That’s right, I heard the word GREAT attached to this place. I’d heard their work was GREAT for a long time, but I had never gotten a bite of it myself to confirm this rumor.
Knead is a bakery owned and operated by the mother-daughters team of Bobbi, Rachel and Leah Corbin. They founded the business in 2007 by selling baked goods at the Ojai Farmers Market. They quickly earned the respect of the locals.
In 2009 however, they moved into a place of their own. A brick and mortar bakery right on the main drag of town. It’s a very prominent space. Meaning they had to preform (in public), not just for the locals anymore– but for folks like me.
Well, I’ll tell ya the truth. They sold me, and I am a tough sell. I rate their breakfast sandwich with prosciutto, egg and arugula– served on a fresh baked English muffin a must have on your next trip to Ojai
LUNCH: The Farmer and the Cook Market & Cafe- 339 West El Roblar Drive, Ojai. 805–640-9608
This is part hippie hangout. Part yuppie wet-dream (do people still use the word yuppie or wet-dream, especially together?). The fare– local, organic and vegetarian. It’s easily converted to vegan. The food is fresh, flavorful and delicious.
It’s a casual place with a gentrified (Disney-fied?) country store ambiance. The mismatched this and that feels a little contrived. But I gotta say this. They have the best damn salad bar I have ever come across. Flat out. For sure. No doubt. Damn good.
Steve Sprinkel is The Farmer and his wife, Olivia Chase is The Cook. They don’t cook meat or fish in the place and they never have. I don’t think they need to either. Because what they have here is a restaurant and country store that will never be for everyone. ‘Cuz it ain’t cheap. But honestly– if you can afford it, this is how you should be spending your money. Yes, that statement was tinged with white liberal guilt.
DINNER: Feast Bistro- 254 East Ojai Avenue, Ojai. 805–640-9260
This was my favorite meal of the weekend. We ate there Friday night at 8pm. Prime dinner hour. When I eat is very important to me. So Feast was the only reservation I made for the whole weekend. I wanted to eat at the proper time that badly. This is Ojai, I didn’t want to be subjected to those Los Angeles reservation blues. You know the tune. “Sure we can seat you! Either at 5:30 or 10:15 pm”. Bada-boom.
So when we got a corner table at 8:00 pm, I thought for sure we had scored. Except, oddly… we were the only folks in the place most of the time we were there. The lack of other customers may account for my glowing review. Because the service was impeccable. How could it not be?
The lack of diners can’t be because of the food. This place was voted “best” 3 years in row, by someone with enough of an audience that I heard about it. Also, I had some of the best shellfish of my life that night. Clams and mussels– swimming in a very rich butter and cream sauce. It was a luscious concoction, that somehow walked right up to the line of being “way too much” without actually crossing it. Pork rillettes too. They weren’t dry and they weren’t gelatinous. They were perfect. As were the entrees.
So why was the place empty? You tell me.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD