When you have the abundance of agriculture Oxnard, California does – food and wine are inevitably a staple. The local restaurants take full advantage of the farm to table opportunities and are proud to serve local wines with meals prepared for the season. Oxnard is not only a treat for the senses, but also an easy day trip from the bustle of Los Angeles.
Food & Wine
Sugar Beets Restaurant & Bar is set downtown in a non-descript building that hides an elegant old world interior. The food is fresh and the atmosphere is high-end, but relaxed and a great place to taste what Oxnard has to offer. If you’re interested in wine tasting, you have some choices: set on the water’s edge, the Hollywood Beach Wine Company is a newly opened eatery with a stylish atmosphere that aims at showcasing seasonal local food and wine. In contrast, the Herzog Wine Cellars has been in business in Oxnard for decades and offers more of the traditional style of wine tasting with an on-premise Kosher restaurant, Tierra Sur Restaurant, that has portions for the heartiest of eaters.
The restaurant La Dolce Vita offers cooking classes once a month that result in a delicious meal for all who participate. Lead by the welcoming and approachable Executive Chef, Michelle Kenney, you will pick up some useful culinary tips and sip local wine in a laid-back atmosphere in one of the historical buildings on Heritage Square.
Helpful Tips: The lower floor of the restaurant is a pub with a stone hearth, rich dark wood and signature drinks that makes you feel like you’re stepping back into another era. Check out their schedule for everything from live music to karaoke.
Walk & Shop
The Oxnard Farmers’ Market on Thursdays has a wide variety of produce from the local area as well as crafts and jewelry. You can enjoy regional staples such as tamales, as well as exotic choices in food – I picked up some incredibly sweet purple yams that were visually stunning as well as delicious.
From the Farmers’ Market go to Downtown Sol , a non-profit art collective that specializes in selling crafts, art and food of local and fair trade artisans – the store is loaded with unique items and is ideal for those that shun the typical retail experience.
If you want some quirky Americana, head to the Woolworth Building (210 W 4th St., Oxnard, CA). Grab a counter-style lunch at the 60s’ inspired Experi-Mental Café and ask your server to show you where there’s a small, but interesting exhibit of nostalgic odds and ends once sold at Woolworth stores along with a historical display of the company.
Helpful Tip: Also in the Woolworth’s Building on the 4th Street side is a bakery called A Little Piece of Heaven full of handmade goodies at great prices – I had the apricot and pecan cookie and it was worth every extra minute in the gym!
There’s certainly more than meets the eye in Oxnard, and a day trip won’t come close to covering everything to do. It will leave you with a reason to come back for more experiences and in different seasons – as this is definitely a town in tune with the land and sea, it only makes sense the ebb and flow of what’s on offer rolls with the natural surroundings. I will be back to taste, stroll and hit the water.
To read my post about Oxnard’s festivals, history, and beaches click here.