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By Guest Writer Jonathan Brenner

Living in LA and working in the film business is awesome, but the speed of life often flies by way too fast for me, and my family. My wife Cindy and I decided to drive to Ojai for a day trip. We love the slow laid back feel in this little artsy town. I tend to gravitate more to the outdoors (for hikes, biking), and I enjoy finding local in the galleries, while Cindy loves the shopping. We have shared many short and long weekends here, but just couldn’t spare the extra time, so we decided to leave early and come home late for a day of distraction. If you want a hotel recommendation – my wife and I have stayed at the Ojai Hotel, and loved it. CLICK HERE or see ETG’s Lodging Page – under the U.S. drop-down.

The town of Ojai

Each time we travel to Ojai, we like to plan a hike for a couple hours to partake in the nature and landscape of the area. This time we chose to do an easy hike at Ojai Meadows Preserve. It offers beautiful trails along with guided tours. We left pretty early to arrive by 8:30/9:00am, which was perfect time to hike. Find out more about Ojai Meadows Preserve HERE.

I have learned that I have to schedule ‘shopping time’ for my wife. Let’s face it, I’ve learned a long time ago, If she gets to shop the day progresses so much smoother…so now it has become a constant. Hey I’m no fool. We were back to Ojai Avenue by 11:00 am, ready to shop and eat.

Bison burger with sweet potato mash from Food Harmonics

I was pretty hungry after the hike, so we stopped to eat at Food Harmonics. I had a bison burger, which was so tasty and lean. It came with a side of mashed sweet potatoes, which were also fantastic. My wife is much healthier than me and chose smashed avocado on homemade sour dough gluten free toast. I took a bite of that and was impressed at how good it was. I quenched my thirst with a Grasslands Beer, while Cindy went for a mushroom coffee (with chaga, and Cordyceps). It was too weird for me, but she loved it. We ended our meal with a delicious sweet potato brownie. I was pretty sure I would hate this, but my wife insisted I try it. I guess she shouldn’t have because I nearly ate the whole thing….it was that good. We even bought two more to take home. No kidding…it was so chocolaty. I would eat one everyday, if I could find this in LA. Next time you are visiting Ojai, plan to stop in. Food Harmonics, https://www.foodharmonicsojai.com/

This street is also home to several galleries. I bought my wife some beautiful jewelry from Nomad Gallery (226 W. Ojai Ave. Suite 101). She loved it. Other galleries that we visited, and both enjoyed included: Brittany Davis Gallery, 214 E Ojai Ave, Ojai, CA 93023, Ova Arts (238 E. Ojai Ave.), and Human Arts Gallery (246 E. Ojai Ave). The Porch Gallery located at 310 E Matilija St., is another favorite.

The Porch Gallery

At some point, Cindy seemed to disappear while I was talking to an artist…I lost her to the retail shops on Ojai Ave…she seemed quite happy to find shops such as the Barbara Bowman Boutique (125 Ojai Ave.), the Lennon Closet (250 Ojai Ave), then later in the day she completely disappeared into Rains Department Store (218 E Ojai Ave.).

Like most men, all I can say is as long as she is happy, I am happy. We reconvened for a nice dinner at Sea Fresh Ojai which has been around for thirty years. We frequent this place. I ordered from the bar menu my favorite dish Cioppino (assorted fish in a tomato base) – with scrumptious crab legs on top. As always it was fantastic. We also ordered the Grilled Wild Halibut and an Ahi Tuna Poke bow. Both were exceptional. My wife enjoyed a house pinot Grigio, while I filled up with coffee for our drive home. https://www.seafreshseafood.com/

Sea Fresh Ojai Cioppino, assorted seafood in tomato stock

It was a full and satisfying day away from Los Angeles. It was planned very last minute, but we were both so glad we did it. We are already planning our next weekender – TBA.

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