Wednesday, July 3, 2013


I was in Ventura over the weekend, about 60 miles up the coast from Los Angeles.  The Loved One and I seem to go there about once a year.  It’s a good place to go when you feel like going away for a couple of days but don’t want to make a big deal out of it.  You can walk on the beach, hit a few junk shops and bookstores (yep, they’ve still got bookstores) and you can feed yourself pretty nicely without having to go all gourmet.

We found a couple of new places to eat, one was Spencer Makenzie’s Fish Company, a roadside restaurant vaguely in the shape of a boat; and I do love a restaurant that’s in the shape of a thing.  They serve Giant Fish Tacos, “grilled or tempura fish topped with chopped cabbage, cilantro, bell peppers & our Spencer Sauce served on a flour tortilla.” Also available “Brooklyn style.”

They very definitely superior fish tacos, but the best reason I can think of for going there is the utterly amazing image of the place above, as it appears on the website.  It’s like you’re eating in some Photoshopped alternative reality.  Of course the place looks nothing like this in real reality, but you can certainly keep the image in your mind as you wolf down your tacos.

And then we found the Sportsman, a large restaurant with a small bar, and an absolute retro wonder that we’d somehow missed in previous visits.  The yelpsters describe it as an old man’s bar, but I’m sure a certain kind of young hipsters would dig it too: red padded booths, exuberantly eccentric waitresses, good old surf and turf style menu. 
There was a “girl on girl” wedding reception taking place in the banquet room: an historic moment, coming just a few days after the Supreme Court gay marriage ruling.  We were glad to be a part of history – even if only watching it from a bar stool.  And why would you ever leave a bar stool when you have this to look at?

The Loved One, who knows about these things, assured me it was based on a painting by Alberto Vargas (sometimes Varga), and so it is:

But the glass etcher of Ventura decided to sex it up a bit.  I’m really taken by those cacti.

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