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  • Pamela Froman

Taste Of Summer


Summer is the perfect time to experience new foods and tastes. Exploring restaurants with different flavors is so delicious – and fun, too! There are some creative and yummy things to do that will help you welcome the sunshine with bold new flavors.

In the mood for something different, tasty and delicious? Having opened it's doors last August Moody Rooster in Westlake Village provides fresh food with a twist.

“Moody Rooster is a farm to table restaurant, we get all our vegetables from local farmers,” says Chef and co-owner Collin Crannell. “The Moody in the name is me – is what I'm in the mood to cook – so, it basically means whatever is available to me and what I'm feeling.”

Moody Rooster is a very seasonal restaurant and their menu changes often. The vegetables in the food are extremely fresh and come straight out of the ground. Summer foods on the menu right now that you might want to try is a grilled yellowtail that is served along with a salad of English peas, fresh peaches, cilantro, mint and Persian cucumber. There's also an English pea puree with a little bit of ginger underneath and a Thai Chili vinaigrette. There is a burrata on the menu with heirloom tomatoes, which are at peak season in the summertime. For a dessert you can try their unique take on a cheesecake with bing cherries which is whipped and really light, with pinot noir, brown sugar and then topped with candied pistachios. http://moodyroosterwlv.com

For even more freshness, wander among the stalls of the Calabasas Farmer's market, which takes place every Saturday in Old Town. You will be surrounded by locally sourced produce and flowers, plus wines and food. Seasonal fruit like peaches and plums are for sale, and everything is guaranteed to be delicious. www.rawinspiration.org

A gourmet breakfast can never go wrong. But don't go to your local IHOP. Try & Waffles in North Hollywood. It's not a super fancy spot, BUT the food is amazing. The staff is unbelievably nice and will tell you exactly what is the best item on the menu! They offer the ultra luxe Waffle Sandwich, which is two waffles, grilled ham, two eggs, cheese, warm syrup and powdered sugar. You can even splurge with the Nutella Waffle – don't feel guilty – it's hazelnut not just chocolate! www.andwaffles.com

BrunchCon is making its way back to LA! This acclaimed food + drink festival is all about brunch. Your ticket includes one brunch bite from each of the thirty-plus vendors, and an open mimosa bar and Bloody Mary bar! Aug. 5. www.brunchcon.com

Anaheim is more than just Disneyland this summer. In fact, it's the best place to get a real taste of vegan culture. Eating salad is just so blah, and there are plenty of delicious options for the non meat and dairy-minded these days. Check out The Fifth Annual Healthy Junk Vegan Faire, which takes place on Saturday, July 28, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Center Street Promenade in Anaheim.

The Faire is presented by Healthy Junk, an award winning vegan restaurant. This annual one-day festival showcases a full spectrum of healthy lifestyle goods and services with booths and workshops focusing on food, environment, local artisans and wellness. This year the Vegan Faire will celebrate “One Love” with live reggae music. Festival goers can also unwind with a tropical beverage at the booze garden. www.vegevents.com/events/2018-healthy-junk-vegan-faire

The seaside community of Ventura is the perfect place to spend a day in the sun. There are gorgeous beaches, and Downtown features many eclectic shops and eateries. A cold brew is the perfect compliment to the stunning weather. So get out there and enjoy County Beer Week – seven days of craft beer! Enjoy exclusive Beer Week specials, celebrate Brewery Night at participating local breweries and much, much more! http://venturacountybeerweek.com

Winding down the week, The Legendary California Beer Festival will finish the beer-themed events at Plaza Park in Downtown Ventura on Sept. 16th. There will be over 100 Craft beers on tap, food trucks and live music throughout the day. This event sells out every year – so buy your tickets NOW! www.californiabeerfestival.com/ventura

And of course, Viva Ventura! Sampling the hard stuff has never been so fun. Check out California's Largest Traveling Tequila & Taco Music Festival at Plaza Park July 21 and 22. Margaritas and shots are all on the drink menu. It's all an amazing way to knock one back! Saturday will showcase top-shelf tequila sampling, margarita booths and THE BEST gourmet tacos! www.tequilaandtacomusicfestival.com/ventura

History is prevalent in Cornell, a tiny town adjacent to Agoura Hills in the Santa Monica Mountains. A great spot to check out for an intimate gourmet meal is the Old Place. Founder Tom Runyon opened The Old Place upon the site of the shuttered Hank’s Country Store & Cornell Post Office after renovating the building in 1970. A collection of various patrons – movie stars, tractor operators, outdoorsmen, artists and everyday people came together in the small space, and it created something truly special.

This tiny hotspot features 30’ long antique bar down the center of the restaurant that serves as a giant dining table. Seating at the bar is limited – and on a first come first served basis. You can chill next door at Cornell Winery, or window shop at Charme d’Antan Antiques while you wait for a spot at the table. Specials include exotic meats like Venison, Wild Boar, and Elk as well as the Fish of the Day: Halibut, Sea Bass, Cod, or Local Lobster. www.oldplacecornell.com

Ready to romance your sweetheart? You’re likely to “wine and dine” them, as wine is often seen as the elixir of love. Enjoy a glass of red or white wine at Stonehaus Winebar in Westlake Village, which features a relaxed vibe. They offer a selection of wines from around the world including their own private label wines. Taste your way through the varietals or simply enjoy a glass with friends. There is a faux mini-vineyard strung with lights for soft ambiance. Musicians serenade the crowd, and there is indoor cozy seating, outdoor seating by the fire pits or the waterfall, and picnic tables near the vineyard. https://the-stonehaus.com

You've had your wine – now try a delicious piece of cheese! At Cheesemongers in Sherman Oaks they maintain an extensive and dynamic cheese case, with a rotating selection that features over 80 different artisan and farmstead cheeses at a time that they hand cut to order. www.cheesemongersofshermanoaks.com

Westlake Lake is a 125 acre man-made lake in Westlake Village. It offers stunning viewpoints and walking around the lake and enjoying the serenity is a great way to spend the day. The Landing, which is located on the southwest side features several lakefront restaurants and is an amazing place to eat a meal. Try the Landing Grill & Sushi Bar, where you get a prime view from the patio seating and courtyard area – especially during the sunset – along with some ultra delicious sushi and seafood selections. There is also flavored sake!

Ethnic cuisine is a great way to expand your palette. Who knows, you may just find your new favorite food! And dinner is certainly cheaper than a plane ride to a distant country!

Mandarin Deli in Northridge is a word of mouth diamond that serves up authentic dumplings, perfect for a summer bite with a off the beaten path experience. Go-tos are the cold jellyfish salad, pan fried pork chop, and noodles in black bean sauce. They are so Q (the Chinese term for having a bouncy texture). (818) 993-0122

If you are craving the Italian food your mama used to make try Etorna Trattoria in Westlake Village. This family-owned restaurant specializes in crafting mouth-watering meals. with rich, flavorful, fresh ingredients, in well seasoned food. This is truly a neighborhood gem! And if you want to spend the night in – guess what – they deliver! etornarestaurantwestlake.com

The Agoura Antique Mart is a great way to spend your afternoon. There are lots of cute little shops in one hot spot, and it's also an amazing place to get gifts for people. You can pick up greeting cards, beautiful bath products, candles, jewelry, books, and vintage and antique items large and small.

While in the area, why not stop by and get lunch? Hugo's is a light and bright restaurant. Think of the look as industrial meets distressed wood with cool art accents. The menu is extensive, and very creative. If you are a vegan, this spot is perfect for your palette. http://hugosrestaurant.com

After a few hours of retail therapy in the luxe Thousand Oaks Mall with spots like Nordstom and the Apple Store, what better way to cap the fun than by a delicious dinner? Stacked Food Well Built is truly unique. Once you're seated you literally build your meal via Ipad. There's no need to wait for servers, just punch in your totally customized order, press a button the wait staff will appear at your side – your meal in tow. Their most popular item is of course, the burgers, but you should also try the Spinach Dip, Parm-Fries, Rosemary Chicken Mac n Cheese, Pastrami Pizza, and Onion Strings. The alcoholic milkshakes are awesome, as well as the build your own sundae dessert. www.stacked.com

And because dessert is always a good idea, Dessert Goals is in LA! Get ready for the sweetest day ever, filled with vendors, an Instagram Garden designed specifically for dessert photos, a savory Salt Bar to cleanse your palette, plus complimentary coffee from Bodum. July 7, 8. www.dessertgoals.com

It's Summertime – eat up!

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