Author: Mike Nelson

IN GOOD TASTE | Big Money in Camarillo, Oxnard

PICTURED: The Burrito Grande at Money Pancho — stuffed with beef, chicken or carnitas — is as big and delicious as it looks. (Photo by Mike Nelson) by Mike Nelson Money Pancho 3663 Las Posas Road, Camarillo 805-484-0591 155 E. 7th Street, Oxnard 805 483-1411 $5-30 “Tus ojos son más grandes que tu estómago.” No, my Norwegian/English mother from small-town South Dakota never said such a thing — at least, not in those words. Her exact words, when I tried to eat or order a large amount of food that I really liked, were, “Your eyes are bigger...

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LIFE, LOVE, HOPE | The language of Ventura County Poet Laureate Luzmaria Espinosa

PICTURED: An artistic rendering of Luzmaria Espinosa by Miguel Rodriguez, community outreach manager for the Port of Hueneme. Photo submitted by Mike Nelson As Ventura County Poet Laureate, Luzmaria Espinosa hopes to bring a greater awareness of poetry to youth, families and all residents of the region. But poetry — and an awareness of all things artistic — is but a vehicle toward what this native of Mexico and longtime Santa Paula resident sees as her real mission. “We have a responsibility to life, to this planet, to all the elements of nature, to be in harmony with each...

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If it’s gelato, it must be Tifa

PICTURED: Tifa’s Camarillo location is one of five in or near Ventura County offering an ample (and delicious) selection of gelato flavors, as well as chocolates, pastries and coffees. Photo courtesy Tifa Inc. by Mike Nelson Tifa Chocolate and Gelato Locations in Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks (opening soon) and Westlake Village $2-$7 Just because Italians invented gelato in the late 17th century, does that mean Americans can’t make gelato that tastes darn near close to what you’d find in any Italian street-corner gelateria? If you mean the “gelato” you find on most local supermarket shelves (if...

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Fine Italian dining to savor, not rush

PICTURED: Bolognese lasagna with ground veal, spinach, carrots, mozzarella and ricotta. Photo by Mike Nelson by Mike Nelson Bistro 13 4910 Verdugo Way, Camarillo 805-383-3388 $13-$36 In this part of the world, you don’t walk into many restaurants that are bedecked with white linen tablecloths and napkins, and graced by soft lighting and easy-listening music — Sinatra, Bocelli and gentle instrumentals. Nor are there many restaurants that tempt fate, as it were, with “13” in the name. Except that Bistro 13 is owned by Giovanni Tromba, a name synonymous with good dining in this part of the world. ...

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Holdren’s gets it right in the chops (and everything else)

PICTURED: Jalapeno and pepperjack-crusted pork chop. Photo by Mike Nelson Holdren’s Steaks and Seafood 1714-A Newbury Road, Newbury Park 805-498-1314 $4-$107 Who goes to a steakhouse for the pork chops? Or the fish? Guess. Yes, I like good steak, too, and Holdren’s Steaks and Seafood in Newbury Park offers an enticing assortment of sirloins, filet mignons, ribeyes, porterhouses and more that keep steakhounds coming back. But my go-to entree at this popular dining room is the pork chop — specifically, the thick, grilled-to-order jalapeno and pepperjack-crusted pork chop ($27), covered in a zingy but not overpowering brandy peppercorn...

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