It’s always nice to get away for a bit, even if it’s just for a day or two. On this excursion, we explored the growing community of Oxnard, no longer a requisite stop on our way to Santa Barbara, but a happening community all its own.
Oxnard’s really grown in recent years. Driving around town, you’ll see a number of housing developments that have erupted, along with several shopping areas, restaurants, hotels and other places of interest. The area is growing, and growing fast.
This time, we bedded down at a place I’d heard about a few years ago, the lovely Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Hotel and Resort, romantically braced against the backdrop of the Pacific. This is a special place and a perfect setting to park our stressed-out LA-driven souls.
Upon entering your suite, you can feel your blood pressure drop with the rooms soothing earth tones. The place has been given a recent face-lift and everything’s been modernized, giving you a sense of calm, as you gaze over the soft mounds of sand that undulate toward the ocean.
It was a windy day, and from our patio, we watched the whitecaps whip to and fro, with the gulls feebly trying to ride the currents. After a stroll along the bike path, we decided to plop down in our lounge chairs and become slugs for a while. Why go anywhere?
There are several walking/biking paths that weave along the ocean, perfect for that stroll, jog or bike-ride. Several pools punctuate the interior of the property, surrounded by waterfalls that remind you that you don’t have to hop on a plane to go someplace tropical. The Embassy Suites Mandalay is a mere hour north of LA.
Enjoy complimentary appetizers, cocktails and other beverages at their nightlyManager's Reception and remember that there’s a complimentary full breakfast awaiting you the following morning. If you don’t feel like leaving the premises, check out Capistrano’s Restaurant, which I enjoyed a few years ago.
This time, we wanted to explore Heritage Square, one of the more historical parts of Oxnard, so we headed to La Dolce Vita, a casual, yet elegant Italian restaurant. It’s mantra? “Tuscan with a twist.”
This is a family owned business, and there’s a warmth to this restaurant that I don’t often find in LA based restaurants. As chef/owner Michelle Kinney was out of town, Rebecca Shapiro took us on a fall tasting of several creations.
Rebecca’s cut her chops at a number of other restaurants, and certainly is making an impact at this restaurant.
Starters included their sweet and tangy House Salad with greens, beets, goat cheese, and hazelnuts, along with their thick and hearty Tomato Basil Soup brimming with large chunks of tomato. Both were winners.
Ask for their homemade Focaccia and Bruchetta. The caliber of this creation will impress you. I could have devoured all of this by myself, it was that good.
Rebecca then wowed us with a very rich Pumpkin Ravioli, which could have easily sufficed as a dessert, covered with a delicious Gorgonzola sauce and walnuts.
Then came the Pork Loin, laced with a Gorgonzola sauce, served over mashed potatoes, with a wine reduction sauce and layered with asparagus. Another winner with this one as well.
To top it off, we were then treated to a Flourless Chocolate Cake with figs and candied walnuts. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, but we managed to devour most of this in a few bites before heading back to enjoy our sweet suite.
This restaurant is truly special. They do a healthy catering business as well, and even provide cooking classes! You’re taken back in time at Heritage Square, when life was a simple pleasure and good food was a given.