For a night on the town, I made plans of enjoying fine dining at the heart of the beautiful Ojai Valley!
Dress :: ASOS Party Mesh Dress in Lace
Clutch :: Prada (similar here / fun version by Marc Jacobs here)
Heels :: Brian Atwood (similar here & here)
Jewelry :: 14k Yellow Gold & Amethyst Drop Earrings, Pendant Necklace & Cocktail Ring by Prestige s.r.l.
Azu, a fanciful restaurant and tapas bar where my lovely evening took place, is named after the Spanish word “blue”, azul without the “l”. Fabulously an elegant and world class destination for both travelers and the locals of Ojai alike.
Azu is known for its talented Chef and owner Laurel Moore. They are popular for growing their own produce in the Azu vegetable garden while getting their meats from local farms and ranches. Usually, enjoying such naturally grown produce and meats cost quite a bit in LA. I’m pleasantly surprised that Azu offers such delicacies at the prices they serve them in!
With lights dimmed, jazz music playing, and beautiful artwork in the surroundings, Azu certainly had a romantic atmosphere. I’m glad I dressed the part. Ever wondered what’s safe to wear when you are out at the town? Even an unfamiliar town? Well, here are my Top 5 Night Out at the Town Style Tips:
1. Dress appropriately. Since I am on my way to a tasteful restaurant like Azu, I decided to wear a nice dress. A wonderful blouse and skirt pairing would be good too!
2. Choose a stylish but neutral outfit. You don’t want to stand out too much but you also don’t want to dress too casual either. Know what flatters your body type and coloring. A little black dress always works and so does a classic red dress, like what I’m wearing.
3. Keep your hair natural, with a touch of “glamour”. I chose mine to be long and soft for this occasion.
4. Have clean hands and manicure your nails. It is always proper to look our best during a fancy night out.
5. Wear clean and comfortable footwear. I think this rule should apply any time, any where!
We were greeted by Davis, their friendly assistant manager who provided us a fun introduction to the restaurant containing its history. The restaurant used to be a well-known German Bakery, called Bill’s Bakery. The bakery was open since way back in the 1930’s. It even made a special cake for President Truman!
Of course, the new owner, having been in the film industry and traveling to many places, transformed the place into a sophisticated restaurant decorated with original exquisite artworks. Some favorites were paintings by Seco, an artist who focused on art in motion, and original artworks from Ojai native Kate Van Horne, favorites of Chef Laurel Moore.
As I looked forward to the pleasure of tasting their acclaimed Spanish and Mediterranean theme cuisine, I couldn’t help but notice their homemade gelato corner featuring unique flavors such as basil! All their bread and desserts are made in house too.
Here’s a quick confession: I’m a calamari fiend! And I was seriously craving it so I became ecstatic when I saw they had it in the menu. They were made perfectly for a delightful appetizer. It was hot, crispy, and it went well with garlic aioli dipping sauce. What a wonderful way to start a meal!
Azu’s pan roasted sea bass served with a preserved-lemon beurre blanc, lemon risotto, curly carrots, and grean beens was utterly delicious! It underscores the natural goodness of the fish. When eating it, it was evident that the sea bass was fresh and the texture it gained from pan frying was amazing. I thought the seasonings went really well with it too… just enough kick without distracting from the natural flavor of the fish. The lemon risotto went great with the fish and steamed green beans. It was delicious and creamy.
For lovers of Parisian food, they also serve a phenomenal steak frites… A blend of organic, grass fed flat iron steak with sweet potato fries drizzled with cabernet reduction and served with chipotle aioli dipping sauce. This classic french formula added a terrific pizzazz to the menu’s already flourishing spanish-mediterranean cuisine.
I’ve had so many soufflés before but this one was by far one of the best. Though Azu was busy that evening, the soufflé arrived on my table fresh from the oven as the dessert was still hot. Other restaurants mix the soufflé but I was glad that Azu allowed me to mix it according to my taste. The chocolate soufflé was very rich and delicious.
They have a little bit of everything here. You know its a local favorite when regulars have specific tables reserved at the same time everyday. So instead of calling in to make a reservation, they call in if they have to cancel. They mentioned some of their celebrity regulars include Ted Danson from CSI and John Krasinski from The Office. I wasn’t expecting that but surprises like these are always welcome. So if you’re ever in Ojai, come and be surprised by how delicious this restaurant is!
The restaurant was stylish and welcoming. I was seated quickly and I received great service throughout, even though there were many occupied tables. It was evident that the Azu was well managed as the sounds of laughter and enjoyment echoed throughout the restaurant. If you or anyone else you know plans on going to Ojai, I highly recommend to come to this restaurant as the food, service, and environment will indulge your savory senses! I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it!
Azu of Ojai: 457 East Ojai Avenue, Ojai, California 93023 – (805) 640-7987