Oxnard,CA(Spiritsman)1/29/14/–What is the perception of Oxnard, a seaside town about 70 miles from Los Angeles and on the way to Ventura and Santa Barbara. Those two places are still very fashionable and Oxnard has always struggled a bit as a poor relation, but the gap is shortening and a recent all too brief early New Year visit confirmed that fact to me.
It is also becoming the place to be for world class boxers, and is the training camp for world middleweight champ Sergio Martinez and the star of the future in the humble opinion of this ex boxing writer, unbeaten featherweight champ Mikey Garcia.
It is also the training camp for the Dallas Cowboys in July/August at the River Ridge Playing Fields, and frankly considering how ideal conditions are it is surprising that the team is not doing so well lately. Maybe Oxnard treats them too good.
Food is now one of the up and coming scenes in Oxnard, and we can start with the Tierra Sur Kosher restaurant situated in the Herzog Wine Cellars in the industrial section of Oxnard. Fine dining indeed with some outstanding sea bass and lamb on the menu. Zagat rate this place as probably the best restaurant in Oxnard.
Head winemaker at the Herzog Winery is Joe Hurliman and the legacy of wine making in the family goes back nine generations. The winery tasting room is adjacent to the restaurant.
Moqueca is the only South American restaurant in Oxnard and since Brazil is the hot destination this year with the World Cup in the summer and the Olympics in 2016, business is good. The modern looking spot with plenty of parking specializes in the Mocqeca, a South American version of gumbo served for two people with rice in a clay pot. The seafood and vegetables are cooked without water, and include onions, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, olive oil and urucum.
The “urucum” is a Brazilian prickly red fruit, and the seeds are used to make powder used for cooling and seasoning. It also gives this particular dish its bright orange color and the rich taste. Live music and a great atmosphere makes this a place to visit when in Oxnard.
Also keep an eye out for the Salsa Festival that takes place every July, and the Tamale Festival every December. Talking of tamales, we discovered this long standing and really old fashioned Mexican restaurant called Parels located adjacent to Heritage Square. In the square you will find a well established farm to table Italian restaurant called La Dolce Vita in a two story Victorian mansion, and a wine tasting room, Rancho Ventavo Wine Cellars .. Also sticking with the food festivals, the annual Strawberry Festival always takes place the third weekend in May, and this has now been running for thirty years.
The place to stay is the EMBASSY SUITES in Mandalay Bay, where the beach is just a stroll away. We are not talking here about crowded beaches either, but if you prefer the pool or the Jacuzzi then you will be well served as the pool here is one of the biggest around. There are two whirlpools that are open till late night, spa and exercise facilities, and bike rentals are also available. A buffet style breakfast is included in the room rates, and runs till about 10.30 pm on weekends and a bit earlier during the week. Advance bookings are strongly advised especially during the summer months
The hotel is close to Marine Emporium Landing where you can participate in harbor Cruises, sport fishing, whale watching and kayaking.
For those of you into movies And nostalgia, long before Malibu became the place to be, Hollywood Beach in Oxnard was the place. Clark Gable used to live there as well as many other Hollywood stars, and Rudolph Valentino filmed “The Sheikh” on the beach. Recent films where segments have been shot include “Back to The Future,” “Sideways” and “Bridesmaids.
Embassy Suites www.embassysuitesmandalay.com 805-984-2500
Moqueca www.moquecarestaurant.com 805-204-0970
Tierra Sur at Herzog Wine Cellars www.tierrasuratherzog.com 805-983-1560
Maritime Museum-3900 Bluefin Circle 805-984-6260 www.CIMMvc.org
287 S.Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211