There is so much to love at the Ojai Valley Inn

Let’s start with the stunning location which has been a favorite getaway for Angelenos for almost a century. Then there is the very popular golf course as well as a range of guest experiences that could inspire longer stays. But for foodies, the Ojai Valley Inn is a very special destination. Here’s why.

A warm welcome

Not far from Ojai’s charming main drag, this resort is tucked away off the beaten track. If you weren’t looking for it, you might miss it.

Once you arrive, however, the first impressions trigger a series of thrills. Courteous reception staff will direct you to your room on the expansive grounds while the porter collects your luggage. It’s a large property but you feel completely accessible.

Oh, and what is it? Friendly calls coming from a large aviary are home to rescue birds, a space often surrounded by children of all ages trying to chat with these feathered friends.

Just down the path, the Indigo pool deserves your attention. The views from the loungers and comfortable cabanas showcase the nearby mountains. Make sure and look up when the pink hour strikes, the times when sunsets and rocky slopes bathe in pink hues.

Thirsty after that round of golf? The Indigo Pool Bar serves exclusive cocktails, beer and wine throughout the day.

The characteristic look of this charming place is attributed to famous architect Wallace Neff, the man who single-handedly popularized the Mediterranean look that became the Californian style. Raise a toast to this designer in the bar named in his honor!

Come hungry

There are several ways to satisfy your cravings at the Inn, including a relaxed pub, healthy food at the spa cafe, and take out options in the gift shop. The shining star in the mix is ​​Olivella, the refined dining room where the emphasis is on classic Italian with clever Californian touches.

Culinary Director Andrew Foskey oversees everything edible. It is regularly found in Olivella’s kitchen during service. The restaurant is open five evenings a week.

In a recent interview, Foskey said his mission is to showcase the amazing products grown nearby and source the best ingredients possible elsewhere. This could include chanterelles from the Pacific Northwest, octopus from Spain, and heavenly white truffles from a secret location in Alba.

“We find inspiration in food. We are not getting in his way, ”he said.

Born in Maineville, Ohio, Foskey credits a Discovery Channel show called “The Great Chefs of the World” for pushing his culinary curiosity into high gear as a child. He graduated from Johnson & Wales and worked in prestigious kitchens in Charlotte, NC for several years before moving west.

His vision is fully exposed in the beautiful dining room which glows from the fireplace in the corner. On a recent Friday night visit, the space drew a mix of diners from families gathered around a long table and couples who seemed to be celebrating a special occasion.

The fixed-price four-course menu changes regularly, although there are a few constants among the tempting options. Foskey said that ahi tuna crudo and an old-fashioned bolognese are beloved staples that don’t go anywhere. Yet the menu also goes in surprising directions on Italian classics.

Nothing proves that philosophy like cacio e pepe ravioli, homemade pasta wrapped in a Bartlett pear and mascarpone filling that tastes like the perfect expression of fall. Slightly sweet and rich, but not in a brutal way. So memorable in its innovative approach while delivering the direct satisfaction of the classic dish.

Among the main courses, a tender shoulder of lamb with a fork braised in Nebbiolo also gives a strong autumnal tone, while a preparation of redfish transports the palate to a bright and happy place. Thin slices of candied lemons on the perfectly cooked fresh fillet are a solid argument for this beautiful pairing. A fresh date salsa provides a welcome contrast.

Pastry Chef Heather Campbell’s mind-blowing final class features Instagram-worthy programming. Especially the olive oil cake. This delicious pastry is finished in a pistachio cream and garnished with basil meringue and candied fennel. It’s almost too pretty to eat, but you can’t resist the thought of finishing every bite perfect.

Do you prefer something salty? The cheese plate is a creamy and dreamy assortment that includes a funky blue and accompaniments such as the local honeycomb. Oh, and speaking of sides, the bread service is exceptional with rustic slices baked in the oven by the well-seasoned Ojai Rotie team.

Not surprisingly, the wine list is world class, an ongoing effort led by Melissa Lamb, the restaurant manager.

The farm

In addition to the compelling reasons to visit the Inn, a special event space called The Farmhouse was established in 2019 with legendary Chef Nancy Silverton as Culinary Ambassador guiding a series of cooking demonstrations and guest chef dinners.

The 2022 calendar has just been announced with these renowned chefs:

Justin cogley (Jan. 26, 6:30 p.m.) is the executive chef of L’Auberge at Aubergine in Carmel-by-the-Sea, where its culinary program has been awarded a Michelin star.

Nancy Silverton and Dr. Steven Gundry (February 5, 6:30 p.m.) James Beard Award and Michelin-starred Chef Nancy Silverton of the Mozza Group team up with cardiac surgeon and dietetic expert Dr. Steven Gundry to cook a multi-course wellness dinner guided by his principles health benefits and highlighting the complexity of the human digestive system.

Mark and Alison Sullivan, Carlton McCoy, Naoko and Maya Dalla Valle (February 19, 6:30 p.m.): Michelin chefs Mark and Alison Sullivan will present a preview menu of their new Tahoe City Savoie restaurant. The culinary couple pays homage to the mountainous region of Sierra Nevada and the mountainous region of Savoy in the French Alps. Heitz Cellar Master Sommelier and CEO Carlton McCoy will team up with Dalla Valle Vineyards mother-daughter duo Naoko and Maya Dalla Valle for food and wine pairings celebrating Northern California food and wine.

Ryan hardy (March 4, 6:30 p.m.): Renowned chef of lively New York restaurant Charlie Bird, Hardy will offer an Italian and American-inspired multi-course dinner with serious approach and relaxed execution food and wine pairings.

Matthieu Kammerer: (March 7, 6:30 p.m.): The newly-recognized Michelin Guide and James Beard Foundation rising chef, Kammerer grows so much food from the lands and tidal pools of The Harbor House Inn in Elk, California. At The Farmhouse, he will be offering a multi-course dinner reflecting the two Michelin star experience at Harbor House Inn.

William bradley (March 13, 6:30 p.m.): Chef-director of the two-Michelin-starred Addison restaurant in San Diego, Bradley, will showcase the beauty of California cuisine with a dinner that celebrates regional ingredients and techniques.

Nancy Silverton and her friends barbecue (June 4, 1:30 p.m.): Hosted by Farmhouse Culinary Ambassador Nancy Silverton, Guest Chefs Kevin Bludso (Bludso’s Bar & Que), Erik Black (Ugly Drum), Nick Priedite (Priedite BBQ), Bruce Aidells (Aidells) Sausage), Nancy Oakes (Boulevard) and Jenee Kim (Parks BBQ) will showcase the diversity of barbecue styles during this afternoon with barbecue-themed drinks and tastings at this festival-style event.

Thomas graham (July 29, 6:30 p.m.): Offering his very first dinner in the United States, Graham will launch accessible, ingredient-focused cuisine reminiscent of his menu at Mermoz in the upscale Élysée district of Paris with a multi-course food pairing and wines.

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