chareau.us Growing up in Southern California, aloe vera was ubiquitous, something meant to soothe sunburns and heal wounds. None of us thought of drinking it. Kurt Charron never thought of drinking it either . . . initially. Charron started working in restaurants at age 16, eventually ending up as a bartender in Los Angeles. Food was nothing new for him, his family having a dairy operation in Canada. But Charron felt the urge to learn distilling. He was having a cocktail in New York that had aloe juice in it, and this prompted his curiosity. So he spent two...Read More
Author: Michael Cervin
Back Patio Cellars 930 Flynn Road, Unit F Camarillo 805-388-3457 $10-15 Amusingly, there’s a front patio to Back Patio Cellars tasting room in Camarillo, though it’s not zoned for wine. But step inside the small, comfy winery and you may not want to step away. Owners Frank and Jennifer Hules live in Moorpark and make the trek down Highway 118 to Camarillo each weekend to pour their passion. Frank was a home winemaker for nearly a decade at first. “I got to a point where it was taking over the house, literally” he tells me as Jennifer rolls her...Read More
VenTiki Lounge and Lanai 701 E. Main St., Ventura 667-8887 Life is circular. What was once fashionable becomes unfashionable and vice versa. Take the tiki culture. Tiki bars came into favor in the 1960s, then simply became kitschy over time — relegated to Brady Bunch episodes and cheesy attractions at Disneyland. But now there is a resurgence and tiki culture is once again on the rise. Celebrating its five-year anniversary, this July VenTiki is the only tiki bar in Ventura and it is awash in cocktails, flowered shirts and island food. For starters, you can’t miss the A-framed thatched...Read More
The Ojai Vineyard 109 S. Montgomery St. Ojai 805-798-3947 Some wineries are known by their reputations even before you try their wines. Such is the case with The Ojai Vineyard and its nearly iconic owner and winemaker Adam Tolmach. There are a thousand decisions when you make wine (I know, I’ve done it) yet somehow The Ojai Vineyard manages to get all these things right. “Our wines differ from others due to the experience of Adam, who has relentlessly pursued high-quality viticulture and winemaking for the last 35 years,” general manager Fabien Castel tells me when I visit on...Read More
Casa Barranca 208 E. Ojai Ave. Ojai 640-1255 $9-15 There’s a misperception about organic wine — that it’s a flimsy, watery wine with no flavor. The good news is that the aforementioned perception is not true. The better news is that Casa Barranca’s tasting room in Ojai they can prove it to you. Founded in 2001, Casa Barranca uses organically grown grapes farmed in both Santa Barbara and Paso Robles to make its wines. These wines that come from certified organic vineyards are clearly labeled as USDA organic. But also important is that many vineyards farm organically but don’t...Read More
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