The more I travel on press trips, the more I realize that my stretchy pants must be a staple in my suitcase! Thank goodness for the balance of outdoor activities on my recent trip otherwise I’d be heading into the holidays already 10 pounds heavier. Basically it’s a foodie paradise in the Conejo Valley and I’m not surprised we enjoyed another tasty tour this year just as we did in 2014. I’m going to consider this post a “part 2” of the great places to eat in the Conejo Valley, read part one by clicking below.
Tavern 101, Agoura Hills
Known for the best BBQ in Ventura County, Tavern 101 is right off the 101 freeway and offers mouthwatering selections. We dined outside for lunch and the rustic decor complete with cactus accents is a great meeting place. Our starter was a sweet and moist cornbread that hit the spot after my flight to Burbank. Next we enjoyed a variety of delicious salads and appetizers. The Quesadilla Rolls were filled with chicken and topped with homemade chipotle, pico de gallo, guacamole and sriracha and had the most amazing flavor combinations. These were my favorite and I could have easily eaten all eight. Ahi Tuna Tacos aren’t my thing only because I don’t eat raw meats, but the plates were empty before I could blink. Marinated in a sweet soy and topped with Asian coleslaw, my group members gave two hearty thumbs up. Now beets are my jam, I don’t know why I love that earthy taste and texture but I’ll even put them on pizza! So their salad with feta and mixed greens in a balsamic dressing was so tasty!
Of course, we couldn’t leave without trying a little slow smoked BBQ. The Baby Back Ribs were so tender with just the right amount of meat to sauce to fat ratio in each bite! Open 7 days a week, they offer a fabulous Happy Hour 3-6pm daily with full bar and televisions to catch the latest in sports!
In what was a magical, yet very family-friendly atmosphere, the Malibu Cafe has got to be on your to do list for dining experiences! With over 50 years of history at the Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, the grounds are a visual feast and that is all before your first meal comes.Rainbow umbrellas, crystal chandeliers over wood, modern art complete with hashtags, ping-pong, billiards, and more this place was FUN and I know I can’t wait to go back! Then there is the food, and in my mind nothing is better than comfort food. That’s the way I feel the menu read, of course everything was just pumped up a notch like the corn on the cob with queso fresco and chipotle ranch. A meat and cheese platter was kicked up a step with big chunks of chorizo (a favorite of mine) and peppadew peppers. For this nice fall afternoon, it still was a bit chilly sitting in the shade, so to warm me up I ordered the butternut squash puree and a grilled cheese sandwich. Oh the perfect meal for autumn and the soup was smooth and rich with flavor. For dessert we shared bread pudding ala mode that just put us directly into a happy food coma for the ride back to the hotel.
Sabor Cocina Mexicana, Thousand Oaks
Growing up Mexican-American, Mexican food has always been my favorite, well that of which my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and parents made! Finding a restaurant to fulfill my tastebuds and meet my high expectations is tough. There was a family-owned place in my college town of Davis, CA that I went to weekly for the four years I attended the university. After I graduated, got married, and had children we’d trek back to town multiple times a year to meet my craving for their amazing salsa and beef burritos. Sabor Cocina Mexicana restaurant comes in on my all-time, non-family Mexican Food top 3!Tortilla chips with hot and spicy salsa hit the mark but they didn’t stop there, they added the freshest and balanced guacamole and refried beans too! I was in heaven. Over to my left I intently watch the tortilla maker preparing us nothing but the best. Sabor uses all natural ingredients, organic and seasonal when possible, and they also reinvent the modern Mexican dining experience with their style as well. Their custom interior design combines contemporary and classic, with authentic furniture and decor shipped directly from Guadalajara and inspired by Colonial Villages throughout Mexico. Impressive. Costilla Colorado (short rib), Crepas Mexicanas (shredded chicken crepes), Chile Relleno de Marisco (roasted pepper with white fish and wild pacific shrimp) and to top it off, nutella-filled churros! Aye Yi Yi so much goodness!
Twisted Oak Tavern, Agoura Hills
Now you’ll find this same spot and LAB Brewing Co in my last post, but this time our experience was wild. Like HOGZILLA wild! I’m just going to cut to the chase, we had a pig’s head on a platter. For dinner. There was also red pepper harissa deviled eggs, pork belly bites, braised short rib fries, triple mushroom flatbread, and ahi poke to get us started, all paired with amazing beer! But the pig’s head was the star of the show. Think nooks and crannies of the skull (some teeth are even still attached) and a 35 minute wait tacked on for preparation, it’s a culinary adventure!
Jinky’s Cafe, Agoura Hills
With two locations in the Conejo Valley, breakfast just got better at Jinky’s Cafe. Luscious red velvet pancakes were the hit of the morning as far as taste and visual presentation, topped with mascarpone frosting and dusted with powdered sugar. Many of us heading into the 5K Mud Run following breakfast opted for a lighter side of things like fresh strawberries, turkey bacon, and the fruit-yogurt-granola bowl. Hearty omelettes, hashbrowns, breakfast favorites with a Spanish twist like chilaquiles, lunch, and dinner will have you making Jinky’s a must-stop whether in town or just passing by on 101.
Mendocino Farms, Thousand Oaks
Sometimes you just want an amazing sandwich and a cup of soup, and at Mendocino Farms Sandwich Market you can get both. The core values of the restaurant are: “to enrich the lives of all it touches, whether that’s the farms and food artisans we partner with to source ingredients for the menu, the team members we rely upon to provide exceptional hospitality every day, or the guests who choose to seek us out.” Knowing this and walking into the restaurant, it’s high ceilings, bright walls decorated with positive messages, and smiling people all reflected their message loud and clear. I chose a simple turkey and greens half sandwich with a cup of their split pea soup and it was just perfect. Not too many people I know enjoy pea sup, but it’s something I’ve loved forever. Also enjoyed was Mama Chen’s Chinese Chicken Salad, shaved, roasted free range chicken breast, napa cabbage & kale slaw, butter lettuce & romaine, scallions, cilantro, toasted slivered almonds, crispy wontons with miso mustard sesame dressing. Each bite with a texture and flavor complemented with a nice tangy dressing. A variety of vegan and gluten free options are available along with steak and pork options. The atmosphere was family-friendly with foosball indoors and corn hole outside and a healthy kid’s menu available.
Harvest Kitchen and Bar, Hyatt Westlake Plaza, Thousand Oaks
My second time around Harvest Kitchen and Bar was just as delicious as the first last year. Guests of the Hyatt Westlake are lucky to have this great restaurant on site that serves healthy, farm-to-table California cuisine. Some of our group members stayed at this hotel and our media tour included this breakfast stop again and for good reason, the food is fabulous and displays like artwork!Crepes filled with bananas and nutella, savory pancakes with lox, cream cheese, and capers and a breakfast quiche served in a hasbrown cup all courtesy of chef Ed Horincewich. This breakfast experience isn’t your typical hotel fare, but if I’m ever in town for a night or two the Hyatt Westlake is going to be my first choice!
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there’s something amazing delectable around, if there’s a spot I need to know about, please leave me a message in the comments. Happy eating!
Meals were part of my media tour, all opinions are 100% my own.