Author: Leslie Westbrook

Fresh gills, no frills

PICTURED: Grilled shrimp with bell peppers, onions and carrots. Photo by Leslie Westbrook As of press time, restaurants in California are allowed to remain open, but are reducing their occupancy by half. Updates related to COVID-19 are changing rapidly, however; please be sure to confirm status with establishments directly.  H.C. Seafood 3920 W. Channel Islands Blvd, Oxnard 805-382-8171 h-c-seafood-inc.cafes-nearby.com/ $10-$37 by Leslie Westbrook With everyone on tender hooks about COVD-19, social distancing or hibernating at home, H.C. Seafood (which has no indoor seating but plenty of picnic benches for outdoor dining) with its robust to-go clientele may provide some...

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Austen’s temporary location still passes the taste test

PICTURED: Austen’s Cobb salad with chicken, bacon, egg and avocado atop fresh greens. Photo by Leslie Westbrook by Leslie A. Westbrook Austen’s at the Pierpont Inn Ventura Pierpont Inn 550 Sanjon Road, Ventura 805-643-0245 www.pierpontinn.com/austens $12-$19 Heading home from Hollywood after Christmas, it happened to be one of the two worst days of the year to be on the road. It took six hours to get home. One of those hours was a break for lunch at Austen’s at the Pierpont Inn. (Online correction Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, the Pierpont Inn is no longer a Wyndham Hotel.) We walked...

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Delicious Thai comfort food in Ojai

PICTURED: Sizzling rice with fried tofu, vegetables and cashews in a rich peanut sauce. Photo by Leslie Westbrook by Leslie Westbrook Exotic Thai 849 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai 805-646-6618 exoticthairestaurant.com $8-$15 It was a somber Saturday in Ojai. I’d attended a memorial for an old friend and was meeting another friend after that celebration of life to toast a different mutual friend who had recently passed away, way too young. Comforting Thai food seemed like a good choice for a late lunch — so we met in town to converse and reminisce. My friend Rick, who lives in Ojai,...

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Global fusion in Ojai

PICTURED: Gyoza (potstickers) are just one of the many excellent offerings at the Pan Asian eatery Live to Eat. Photo by Leslie Westbrook Live to Eat 842 E Ojai Ave., Ojai 805-640-0201 $4-$28 Do you live to eat or eat to live? Both, actually — yet, I have found some confusion in the unique name of Live to Eat, a recent addition to Ojai’s restaurant scene. It took a little sleuthing to find the mostly Pan Asian restaurant with a wide-ranging menu of dishes from around the globe. To say there’s something for everyone here may be the understatement...

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DOING IT TOGETHER | Jazzy couple Holly Hofmann and Mike Wofford bring a slice of heaven to Ojai

PICTURED: Pianist Mike Wofford and flautist Holly Hofmann perform at the Ojai Art Center on Nov. 17. If you are a jazz aficionado, you might want to fly, not walk, to Ojai to hear flautist Holly Hofmann and pianist Mike Wofford perform on Nov. 17 at the Ojai Arts Center. The San Diego-based, globetrotting duo recently returned from their “fifth or sixth” tour in New Zealand. Just prior to that, the couple performed at the Oregon Coast Jazz Party, in Newport, where Ms. Hofmann, aka Mrs. Wofford, has been the festival’s music director for the past 13 years. And...

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