I recently got back from nine days of lounging on the beach. Not really. I was on a trip and I was near the ocean, but I never stepped onto the sand. In reality, I was scrubbing and painting the 3-story Oxnard, California condo that my husband and I used to live in to get it ready to put on the market.
It was a working trip, but I still had to eat. And boy did I eat (hey, I was working hard). Anyway, I discovered some wonderful restaurants that you might want to try if you’re lucky enough to venture to Ventura county. Or you could move there – I know of a great condo for sale – hehe.
1. Midtown Cafe, Ventura
My husband and I drove to Ventura on a Saturday morning, and we were famished when we got to town. A Yelp search brought us to Midtown Cafe for a late lunch. The atmosphere was quaint and they had a nice selection of vegan and raw vegan fare. My husband and I both ordered veggie burgers (I know it’s dull, but we were tired and didn’t feel like experimenting) and they were delicious! We didn’t have the chance on this trip, but someday we’d like to go back and try their breakfasts, smoothies and Raw Veggie Burger.
2. Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana, Oxnard
We had dinner that Saturday night at Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana located in The Collection. The atmosphere was lovely and they actually had a cheese-free pizza, the Marinara, that was amazing!! I have to admit that we didn’t ask to make sure it was vegan, so check before ordering. We also enjoyed the Insalata Grande which was made with artichoke hearts, roasted mushrooms, olives, pine nuts and cracked pepper. This is a great place to stop at if you’re traveling, because it’s just off the 101 freeway.
3. Red Brick Pizza, Ventura
One of our favorite casual restaurants when my husband and I lived in the area was Red Brick Pizza. We liked sitting on their patio with our dog, Mambo, and ordering a big salad and pizza to share. Despite the fact that we had pizza the night before, we wanted to go to our old haunt. It was too cold that night to sit on the patio, so we sat inside. This would have been great if we had kiddos because they had a TV at every booth. We, however; found cartoons that we couldn’t turn off distracting, so I put my sweater over the screen.
The food was as good as we remembered. My favorite part of our meal was the huge Veggie Proteina Salad (without the cheese). It was loaded with goodies like artichoke hearts, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, kalamatta olives, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black beans, corn and tomatoes. This would have been enough for me, but we still shared a Veggie Gourmet Works pizza that you can get with Dayia cheese. This time I asked and was assured that the pizza was vegan. I didn’t get a photo, but here’s one from blogger Debbie Woodruf.
4. Whole Foods Juice Bar/Hot Bar, Oxnard
We didn’t eat anything share-worthy for the next two days and then my husband left me all by my lonesome to finish the job (can you hear the violin playing?). I don’t like going out to restaurants alone, so I ate most of my meals for the next few days at Whole Foods Market. They have an amazing juice bar, so I ordered green smoothies for lunch. Then for dinner I’d get something off their hot bar like a big salad, sautéed veggies with rice or their delicious and oil-free White Bean and Kale Soup.
5. Sticky Fingers Baking Company, Ventura
When the work was done and my husband came to pick me up, I wanted to celebrate. I’d read that Sticky Fingers Baking Company made vegan baked goods, so that’s where we went. The shop was adorable and they had lots of vegan, gluten-free and vegan and gluten-free options. We shared Mocha Chocolate Chip and Coffee Cake muffins (the coffee cake one was to die for!) and we brought a selection of cookies home with us which were all wonderful. Next time we go, we want to try their almond milk latte’s.
My husband and I didn’t get to Mary’s Secret Garden on this trip, but I wanted to share about this wonderful restaurant anyway. It’s an organic vegan bistro in the heart of downtown Ventura. We’ve been there many times and have always enjoyed our meals. Click here for a post I wrote about them.
I have to be honest, I’m feeling sad about putting our condo up for sale. I liked Ventura and I know that we’ll probably never move back. Don’t get me wrong, I love where we’re living now. It’s closer to where my sister lives and it’s actually a better place to be vegan. It’s just that being back in our old town reminded me of all it’s charms (and I didn’t even get to the best part – it’s lovely beaches!).
California Street photo courtesy of photopedia.com, Whole Foods Juice Bar photo courtesy of http://yelp.dk. Midtown Cafe Raw Veggie Burger photo courtesy of Midtown Cafe. Sticky Fingers photo courtesy of http;//yelp.at.