Get Out Of Town!: Ojai Shines With Art, Food And Natural Feel

Ojai's Suzanne's Cuisine, French country cooking and style in Southern California. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Editors Note: While there’s always a lot going on in Burbank, myBurbank’s new section “Get Out Of Town!” highlights some of our favorite activities and events outside the town borders.

Sometimes, a lunch in the country is the perfect path to relaxation and peace. Suzanne’s Cuisine in Ojai provides just that with their back patio – a beautifully-prepared meal in a calm and natural environment.

Just an hour and a half drive northwest from Burbank, the small town of Ojai is known for great local artists and some spectacular food. Our meal at Suzanne’s was pitch perfect in every way – friendly and attentive staff, clean, decorated with gorgeous flowers and plants inside and out… and the food.

Suzanne's Cuisine's back patio garden. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)
Suzanne’s Cuisine’s back patio garden. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Suzanne’s back patio is a cool respite from hot summer temps during the day. During the evening, with candlelight and cool breezes, the patio even more gorgeous.

Our lunch at Suzanne’s Cuisine was a meal to remember, so fresh, with expert flavor combinations and a serious nod to French provincial cooking. Kitchen staff walk out into the garden throughout the day to gather herbs for their recipes.

Burbank Chamber

Our plates – cool, fresh gazpacho, chilled smoked trout with a delicate curry cream, spinach salad with blue and goat cheeses, walnuts and tomatoes and the portobello mushroom sandwich – were perfected crafted.

Chilled smoked trout with curry cream. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)
Chilled smoked trout with curry cream. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

For dessert, the lemon custard with fresh berries and homemade whipped cream was a tart and sweet delight. The chocolate peanut butter cake was rich beyond belief. And the fudge brownie with ice cream and fudge sauce – all freshly made – was decadence on a plate.

We enjoyed browsing the eclectic and creative shops throughout the heart of Ojai. OVA arts on Signal Street displayed gorgeous jewelry, handicrafts and prints. Owned by a collective of 11 artists, OVA arts (Ojai Valley Artists) sells pieces from dozens of Ventura County artists and also holds special classes and workshops throughout the year.

Fig, on the Ojai Arcade. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)
Fig, on the Ojai Arcade. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Another favorite was FiG. The shop, with pottery, plants, jewelry and home goods, stretches down from Ojai Avenue and broadens out into a larger space. We loved the decorative pieces by local artisans.

A special find in another local shop was the Taste of Ojai cookbook. This collection of fantastic recipes for small plates helps us recreate the peaceful Ojai vibe any day of the week.

We enjoyed a walk about Libbey Park’s paved trails and checked out Ojai’s original one-room jail, now a tourist attraction. The sour cherry trees throughout the park were laden with ripened fruit.

Lake Casitas. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)
Lake Casitas. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Driving home, we traveled past Lake Casitas. Although the lake’s water level is obviously low, the recreation area was still very popular with campers and day users.

For a day trip, lunch at Suzanne’s Cuisine and meandering about Ojai was a perfect way to spend a hot summer day. We look forward to learning more about this creative, California country town and checking out other trails, shops, activities and restaurants, especially Ca’Marco, next time we visit.