As published in the VC Reporter Dining Guide, April 2010.
I am planning my third trip to
and as is usually the case, my itinerary revolves around the meals and not the
sights. The trip is several months from now and my voracious appetite simply
cannot wait, but I find that right here in Italy ,
we have everything an Italian foodie could possibly want. We have the wine, we
have the gelato, we have the osterias and the pizzerias, we even have the
climate, so why not take a trip to Ventura County right here, right now? Italy
a proper restaurant with crisp, white tablecloths, dim lighting, multiple
courses and professional service can be found on every corner. Here, we really
have to look for it, but despair not, it can be found! While their menu at
Osteria Monte Grappa takes mostly from Italy Northern Italy,
they also draw local inspiration from the farmers markets and by hiking the
backcountry where they forage for wild mushrooms. Porcinis or chanterelles find
themselves on the specials list, tossed with pasta or polenta and topped with a drizzle of truffle oil and shaved grana padano
– a poor man’s parmesan. Molto delizioso!
Osteria Monte Grappa,
205 N. Signal Street, Ojai,
Pizzerias and tavola caldas (
’s version of fast food) are
plentiful in Italy
for casual everyday dining. While the VC has pizzerias galore, few are
authentic. The southern end of the boot is well represented by Italy by Gino in
downtown Sicily ,
where hand-rolled pizzas with fresh ingredients and well-sauced lasagnas keep
the customers coming back for more. Ventura
I will never forget my delight at experiencing the self-serve Enomatic machines in a wine bar in Chianti. I was even more delighted when The Cave at Ventura Wine Company opened with the same machines offering 16 red wines and eight chilled white wines poured as one-to-five-ounce tastes (from 65 cents to $3.00 or more). With the swipe of a pre-paid card and the push of a button, this is truly the candy store for oenophiles.
McGrath Street #301, Ventura,
Every day, Italians enjoy a copetta (a small cup) of gelato on their way home from work. Gelato is a richer, denser version of our ice cream with more intense flavor. Beautiful displays of homemade gelato can be seen from shop windows throughout
making a daily copetta hard for anyone – tourist or local - to resist. Italy in downtown Palermo offers a daily
selection of irresistible flavors including dark chocolate, local honey
lavender and a blackberry cabernet sorbetto. Magnifico! Ventura
So, don’t worry about the plane ticket, just look around the corner and taste what the VC has to offer. Buon appetito!