135 Miles to Pizza

January 30, 2011

in restaurant, salads, soup/stew

I spent all morning getting my computer fixed and never got to eat breakfast :(

By the time I actually HAD time, it was time to drive to Ventura for a late lunch. Time it took: 1.5 hours!!!

Snacked on the way

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Rainy upon departure, but I headed straight into the sunshine.

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I was offered a free lunch for myself and a guest at The Local Cafe, which just opened 1.5 weeks ago. Usually I wouldn’t drive all this way just for a complimentary meal, but I happened to have plans to meet halfway with my friend McCormick, who lives in Santa Barbara. This worked out perfectly!

Chef and owner Tim Kilcoyne was there to greet us and help navigate the menu. A former Playboy Mansion and Melisse chef, he also owns the popular Sidecar Restaurant. Tim has quite a pedigree – a member of the James Beard Foundation, the Chef’s Collaborative, American Culinary Federation, and Slow Food, USA. This new cafe is his casual take on artisan foods – with nothing on the menu over $12.

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As its name suggests, The Local Cafe focuses on seasonal, mostly organic, and local (duh) produce. They bake their own bread and sell homemade in-peak products, like Blackberry Jam and Spicy Pickled Eggplant.

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The deli salads and baked goods are always changing, depending on what’s at the market

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Right now there were a plethora of Meyer Lemons…

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…that wound up in the drinks too

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The lemon branches even went into the wood-fired oven – and the ashes from that go straight back to the citrus grower!

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LOVE how eco-conscious this business is. Since they do a lot of takeout, everything was in compostable/recycled packaging.

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Started off with the Ginger Lemongrass Iced Tea – a refreshing herbal (and sugar free) concoction. Also tried a sip of McCormick’s Meyer Lemonade, which was awesome. She doesn’t even like lemonade and gave it a thumbs up!

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Chef Kilcoyne ordered for us. A trio of prepared salads, served over a bed of greens:

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  • Beets with walnuts
  • Broccoli and Roasted tomatoes with cheese
  • Roasted Squash with bacon

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I devoured everything (x2). FABULOUS. Uber fresh and flavorful.

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Between plates, a server came around with free Meyer Lemon Bar samples – mmmmm

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Clap your hands, say pizza!!!

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Local grass fed beef meatballs with pickled padron peppers, mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil

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This one had a little kick to it!

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My favorite was the Cavalo Nero – braised kale, homemade ricotta, grana padana cheese, extra virgin olive oil

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Two slices for me!

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This was some of the best pizza I’ve had on the west coast – that crust is perfect. Chewy, yet crisp – not too thick or thin.

The meal ended with a full serving of the lemon bars – and once you go Meyer, baby, you never go back…

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If you are anywhere near Ventura, do yourself a favor and get some of that pizza n salad n sweets! (I’m sure their sandwiches and soups are amazing, as well.)

I drove the 67.5 miles back singing at the top of my lungs to Indigo Girls and Rilo Kiley.

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And it was sunny upon return :)

I kept waiting to get hungry. But I never really did. Around 8 I ate a bowl of miso soup (made with red paste) with an orange

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There were some grilled asparagus pieces (found in the frozen section of TJ’s) in there too

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Sunday was so much better than Saturday, thanks to Chef Kilcoyne and McCormick!!!

How was your weekend?

{ 23 comments }

1 edenseats January 30, 2011 at 11:18 pm

O my, what an excursion! I dont think I would have the patience to drive for that long, but if that lemon bar was that good, maybe…
I did a whole lot of nothing this weekend. It was awesome.

2 Walking E January 31, 2011 at 1:31 am

That Cavalo Nero pizza looks ridiculously good! Well, both of the pizzas look pretty amazing, actually. MMmmmm.

3 KeepItSweet January 31, 2011 at 4:46 am

What a terrific free lunch! Looks so delicious.

4 Lauren January 31, 2011 at 5:16 am

Wow, what a great lunch! That pizza sounds amazing!!!! Homemade ricotta? Heck yes! And those lemon bars are making me drool. It’s so awesome that you always find these fantastic deals. ;)

5 coffeeandthepaper January 31, 2011 at 6:19 am

The Local Cafe looks great – well worth the 90 minute drive. I think seasonal restaurants are truly a cut above the rest.

6 Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg January 31, 2011 at 6:36 am

Wow– everything looks so delicious, especially the pizza!!!! Yum!

7 Jacky January 31, 2011 at 8:00 am

Ginger Lemongrass Iced Tea would make the trip worth the while to me. Though that pizza did look pretty awesome too.

8 SkinnyRunner January 31, 2011 at 9:04 am

that meal looks amazing. my fav foods, salad and pizza. going to have to stop there the next time im headed up to sb.

9 lowandbhold January 31, 2011 at 9:32 am

I LOVE places like that. Looks amazing.

10 Jen @ keepitsimplefoods January 31, 2011 at 10:24 am

Pizza and lemon bars= awesome combo!

11 Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) January 31, 2011 at 10:44 am

Busy and tiring and now I need a nap! That meal looks insanely good!

12 Shanna, like Banana January 31, 2011 at 10:59 am

I think I may have just clapped my hands :) The Cavalo pizza is a nice twist!

13 saticoyroots January 31, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I’m the guy who grows the lemons, and I love it when people recognize the value of the ingredients! Tim’s a great chef, so he could make anything taste good. But I’m proud he comes to us for Meyer lemons.

14 Lynn at The Actors Diet January 31, 2011 at 4:21 pm

your lemons are amazing! my friend doesn’t even like lemons but she loved the lemon bars + lemonade!

15 saticoyroots January 31, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Thanks! I’m enjoying your blog. The photography is great… really shows off the food to best advantage.

16 Olivia January 31, 2011 at 2:41 pm

YUM YUM YUM!!! Omg all the foods in this post that you got look soooo incredibly, freakin’ delicious! I wish I had that cafe close to me!! Although, I’d probably drive 135 miles just to get there too:)

17 Amanda January 31, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I NEED to try that place the next time I’m in Ventura. I go to Camarillo and Santa Barbara fairly often, it looks like it was worth the trip! The meyer lemonade sounds delicious.

18 Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) January 31, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I could eat pizza for every meal of every day, and I don’t think I would get sick of it! It is so versatile.

19 Rose January 31, 2011 at 5:36 pm

love rilo kelly, and you HAVE to sing out loud to the indigo girls. looks like such a nice lunch! And McCormick is a freaking cool name…

20 Pure2raw twins January 31, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Wow that place sounds amazing! I really have to come to Cali now :) And that lemon bar looks heavenly! I think I would have drove many miles for that LOL

21 Cindy January 31, 2011 at 7:46 pm

YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

22 Gail February 1, 2011 at 8:01 am

This cafe sounds truly amazing; unfortunately, I have little chance of passing through Ventura, but I’ll pass this along to those who may! Beautiful photos.

23 decibelbelownormal February 1, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Your pictures are amazing. They make me hungry. They make my mouth water!

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