Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ventura Highway... in the sunnnnnnnnnnshine

Saturday. Get-away day in L.A. We thought we'd take a nice lazy drive up the coast to one of our favorite little coastal towns, Ventura. Unfortunately, everyone in L.A. had the same idea! A trip that normally takes about an hour and fifteen or twenty minutes, turned into a two and a half hour nightmare. Okay, it wasn't a nightmare, per se, but still ... the traffic wasn't pretty. But I suppose that's to be expected when the temperature at the coast is a delightful 75 degrees, while the temperature in land soars to a hellish 105 degrees. Who in their right mind wouldn't want to escape to the coast?

One of our main reasons for heading to Ventura - over and above the weather - is always for ... BBQ! Several years back we made a wonderful discovery: a small hole-in-the-wall-don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it BBQ place. (Don't worry if you think you won't be able to find it ... just follow your nose!) They have THE most tender, delicious smoked meats you could ever sink your teeth into. While we've always enjoyed a sandwich while we're there, several trips ago we decided that we wanted to indulge in this delightful treat more than just every great once in a while, so we wised up ... now we bring a large cooler with us! In addition to satisfying our 'right now!' need for BBQ, we brought home two pounds of pulled pork, two pounds of tri-tip, two half slabs of ribs, two pounds of scraps for the Slips (only $1.00 per pound!), and two bottles of their phenomenally delicious sauce. Ahhhhh, sheer delight! We packaged everything when we got home and stashed it in the freezer. I see many delicious meals ahead of us!

Another Ventura indulgence is their many antique and thrift stores. Out of all of the stores there on Main Street, I take sheer joy in visiting my two favorites: Nicholby's and American Home Antiques and Vintage. Nicholby's has been there forever. It's actually an antique mall with countless vendors within. It never ceases to amaze me to walk through the narrow aisles and poke my head into each and every little nook and cranny; you just never know what you'll find there. I can't tell you how many fun and unique gifts I've found there over the years. American Home is also an antique mall with various vendors, albeit on a much smaller scale. As we were walking through yesterday, my ever patient Kevin uttered aloud, 'This is definitely a Ranny store.' No truer words were ever spoken! It never fails - I always find a treasure or two to bring home from this store. Yesterday was no exception. The bathroom of our new house is very vintage 50's; it somewhat small, but very charming. It has a pedestal sink and the original aqua and white tile (in great shape!) in the tub -- plus a small tiled ledge at the end of the tub. That little ledge will be just perfect for a plant or two and lots of candles! To match the theme of the bathroom, I painted our bathroom etagere - which, in it's current state is a dark tan - a soft, creamy white to match the new bathroom. While at American Home yesterday, I found a treasure trove of goodies that will blend with this clean, vintage look very nicely. I can hardly wait to show them to you once we're in our new home!

Our final stop in Ventura was McConnell's ice cream shop. Ohhhhh man! If you're an ice cream lover (and who isn't?!), this is the place for you! Years ago I discovered McConnell's ice cream when Deb and I ran across a scoop shop in Woodland Hills. The ice cream was so delicious, I nearly swooned! Just after the initial discovery, I found a local store that carried this decadent treat in their freezer case. YAHOO! Alas, it was not meant to be -- they stopped carrying the ice cream a short time later and I haven't seen it since ... until yesterday. As we exited the freeway on Main in Ventura and began to drive down the street, the green awning caught our eye. There it was - in big as you please white lettering: McConnell's Fine Ice Cream and Yogurt. We both nearly squealed with delight! Though Kevin had never actually had the pleasure of tasting this amazing treat, countless times I've described it - in great detail - to him. So much so that he could barely contain himself when we found the shop! As we were driving out of town, we made McConnell's our final stop in Ventura. I'll say this: it's been at least nine years since I had the pleasure of enjoying this delicious ice cream; I'm pleased to announce that, enjoying it again yesterday, well - it was worth every moment of the wait!

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