Tag Archives: Ojai

Happy 2012!!!

Happy New Year to all! I hope you all had a wonderful, safe holiday! I spent my evening sipping a homemade hot toddy, coughing up a storm and watching In Bruges. Not quite the successful evening we’d planned, but we were miserably comfortable.

I’m attempting to sum up some highlights of this year with pictures, and I’ve realized that I have had a WONDERFUL year. If you thought 30 pictures was bad, prepare yourself for a visual onslaught.
The first of many, many nights at Ladyface, TRULY appreciating beer.
Learning all-grain brewing with Grayson and Frank.
Watching my first polo match in Indio.
Staying in a hotel in Indio where someone was possibly murdered…
Multiple trips to Ojai.
Opening my first brew: Dos Beckis!
Recording ADR for a film that has yet to surface… C’mon, Scott!
Enjoyed my first (of many) sangrias at Sofrita!
Created a recipe for Newman’s Own!
Had a blogger meetup at Ladyface.
Made Oatmeal Stout Brownies with Caramelized Bacon – this has gotten me recognized in the brewery and at the homebrew shop: “Hey, you’re the one who made the brownies with bacon!”
Attempted to resign, and then officially resigned from my retail job.
Went to Colorado for two weeks…
Was so sick that every time I inhaled I had to cough. (Seriously, I didn’t sleep for a week thanks to this horrible illness as I’m sure you can see in that picture!)
Went to the Odell’s Small Batch Revival. I jokingly told my brother that once he and his wife opened their brewery, I would be pouring in their taproom. They said, “We’d really prefer a sommelier for beer.” I went home, researched, and found the Cicerone program.
I became a Cicerone Certified Beer Server. I’m scheduled to take the exam to become a Certified Cicerone in the next few months…
Became a member of the American Homebrewers Association.
Was featured on The Chive three times!
Went to Breckenridge for a show and got to meet/interview the head brewer, Matt Darling.
…and enjoy Breckenridge in all of its chilly glory.
Purchased a MacBook Pro with my own earnings.
Purchased a camera. Then immediately upgraded to an even better camera!
Visited Wades Wines new tasting room. Then visited again and again and again. Then was interviewed by The Beer Wench.
Tried mussels for the first time. Tried mussels for the last time.
Visited Island Brewing Company.
Got a tour from the brewer.
Brewed my second batch of beer with the Maltose Falcons.
Finally trespassed and got a closeup look at an old abandoned water park.
Became a founding member of Ladies at Ladyface.  Haven’t missed a meeting since.
Went to the second concert of my entire life with my friend/cousin Allie. She owled.
I owled.
Went to Seattle for the first time in my life.
Visited Elysian Brewing Company and became obsessed with their Avatar Jasmine IPA.
Learned how to use the bus and visited Deschutes Brewery on our way down from Seattle.
Made a pit stop at Sierra Nevada Brewing in Chico to try all SIXTEEN of their brews.
Met the brewers at Enegren Brewing Company.
Weasled my way into the brewery and started volunteering there so I could be a Cicerone Certified Beer Server who’d actually served beer to people instead of just passed an online test. Then they threw me into a brewniform, let me help with a brew day and got stuck with me.
I learned how to lift 50lb kegs over my shoulder while wearing heels. Enegren will seriously have a hard time getting rid of me.
I visited TONS of breweries. The few I’ve featured are only skimming the top…
I created some delicious recipes for the autumn season…
Some boozy autumn recipes as well.
One of my recipes was featured on Taste Terminal and was their second most popular post of 2011!
Discovered a program for HDR and went slightly beserk with that. Consequently, I realized that food doesn’t always do so well with HDR.
Brewed again with Frank and Grayson up in Santa Barbara.
Met the Beer Chicks at the latest Ladies at Ladyface.

And that’s barely skimming the surface. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all!
Raising a glass to 2012 being as good, or even better than 2011.


Filed under New Year

Ojai and Zombie Prevention

The lovely Allie and I went up to Ojai on Wednesday for a girls’ day. Our first order of business? Azu in Ojai.
I ordered the exact same thing as last time – the portabella sammich. Allie ordered the filet mignon tacos and we split. Those tacos majorly trumped the sammich this time. Filet mignon shall be my obsession of the week…
Afterwards we walked through town and then got into the car to get lost.
I got lost and found a place I’d been before. This meditation mountain is my favorite part of Ojai, besides the food of course…
Allie a la Meditation Mountain.
A beautiful, completely natural day…
This was a totally candid, natural pose… (I loves me some HDR and tone mapping!)

We spent the day wandering the town, exploring the hills and then went to Wades Wines for a beer tasting. Important zombie prevention techniques were discussed, diagrams were designed… It was a successful day.
Zombie Prevention: Don’t get caught without ammo.

In other news: I officially signed up for the Certified Cicerone Exam this afternoon. I’ve got plenty of time (NOT ENOUGH) before I take it, and I’m sure (COMPLETELY TERRIFIED) that I’ll do fine (FAIL MISERABLY)

I’ll be at Enegren Brewing all day tomorrey, for any of you locals who want to come by and say hello!


Filed under Travel

Azu Ojai

I bought this Living Social deal MONTHS ago. For $20, you get $40 worth of food from Azu in Ojai. I love Ojai and I love cheap food. Win-win-win!
Azu is nestled in between a frozen yogurt shop and a bakery on the main street. Once you enter, you’re greeted by dark woods, craft beers on tap and a surprising extension of the restaurant that stretches all the way to the back.
For noon, it was relatively quiet. Two other tables by the windows were occupied.
Since I had a massive amount of money to spend (I don’t think I’ve personally spent more than $12 on food…) I did something I never do – got an appetizer. The honey baked brie took about twenty minutes to bake. The wait was well worth it. It came out sizzling hot, the local sage honey caramelized and crusty around the edges, and the candied walnuts toasty with a slight crunch of sugary coating. We DEMOLISHED this plate!
For the main course, I ordered the vegetable panini. I’m kind of on a portobello mushroom kick since I found out that I’m not totally disgusted by them two weeks ago. Marinated and grilled portobello mushrooms, bell peppers and onions set atop soft, pillowy foccacia bread, and slathered with pesto and goat cheese. The skinny fries on the side were sprinkled with sea salt and served with a homemade ketchup. Another plate, demolished.
We decided to get two desserts and split them. Azu’s dessert of the day was strawberry shortcake served in a cream puff and overflowing with homemade whipped cream and balsamic macerated strawberries. I had a few bites of that one, but I was really waiting on the edge of my seat for MY choice.
Crème brûlée!!!! I’ve been dreaming about this since I had it at Ladyface last week. This one was a clean and simple crème brûlée – studded with vanilla beans and topped with a thin sugary crust that cracked easily with the tap of a spoon. They drizzled homemade caramel around the plate which I may or may not have licked clean. I’m classy like that.
Azu made for a ridiculously content Becki. It also makes her talk in the third person… Immediately after, I lapsed into a food coma and had to be bribed out of my seat with the promise of a visit to the Ojai Beverage Company.
Oh yeah, I went there.


Filed under restaurant

Mumsie’s Day!

In case you haven’t heard, I’m a terrible daughter.

I spent Mothers’ Day in the Vegas, working. My Mothers’ Day looked like this:
Neon lights, smoky casinos and no mumsie in sight. Sadness 🙁
My dad was able to spoil her on the REAL Mothers’ Day, so at least she was happy when she was abandoned… (SHE’S SO PURDY!!!)

Luckily, I was able to make it up to my beautiful mother today. We went up to the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa and had a lovely, leisurely three-hour lunch.
The waiters forced freshly baked potato rolls on us. We offered resistance, but to no avail. Instead, we were doomed to slather these decadent, soft, slightly sweet breads with freshly whipped butter, and consume them.
It was surprisingly chilly considering it was the middle of May in California, so we both got steaming mugs of coconut chai, which they kindly served in heated china. I didn’t let mine go until all the heat had been sucked up by the chilly breeze.
The burger looked amazing on the menu, but all I wanted at this point was a piping hot bowl of soup, so I ordered the tortilla bisque. Basically, it’s a tomato bisque topped with roasted chicken, strips of tortilla, fresh avocado and cheese, and served at a high price. It was totally worth it.
Mumsie went all healthy on me (booooo!) and ordered a spinach salad with scallops, shrimp, mango and ginger. I sampled one of her scallops, which was cooked to perfection, but I always prefer a big burger or steak. I’m just that kind of girl…
The dessert menu was incredibly delectable, and after a few minutes of indecisive bouncing back and forth between crème brûlée, cheesecake and chocolate cake, we finally asked Jake (our helpful server) for his opinion.
Goat’s cheese cake with kumquat and candied thyme it is! I honestly must say, I wasn’t excited about this. Then I had the first bite.
The cheesecake was served warm (perfect for the chilly weather), the kumquats in simple syrup were tangy and sweet, the goat’s cheese was almost savory, and the crust had me melting into the chair. Don’t even get me started on the candied thyme!

I could have died happy.
One of the workers (my personal favorite) brought us “shawls” aka thick blankets, so we were wrapped up and cozy for the majority of our meal while we enjoyed the gorgeous view.
The entire property is coated with fragrant flowers, and there’s even a fragrance cottage where you can mix your own perfume!
This isn’t the fragrance cottage, but it smelled just as good! We stopped here on the drive down from Ojai for some steaming cups of coffee to keep us warm, and awake for… Ladies at Ladyface: The Fermentables & Comestibles Education & Tippling Society!

A LONG night at Ladyface (It was supposed to last an hour – it lasted 3!) sampling TONS of different brews, featuring Cyrena the owner and Nancy, the president of the Maltose Falcons (my homebrew club!!)!

But that’ll have to wait for tomorrow’s blog. WAY too many pictures to add to this blog 🙂


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Filed under Mothers' Day