A Surprisingly Genius Experience
Once in a rare while I discover a great food experience that, if you know me, you know I’ll describe as “genius.” That’s my word for food, décor, ambience etc. that, to begin with, is neither over the top nor overly simple. “Genius” also describes a food experience that takes me by surprise and is, in its own unique way, “perfection”--another favorite word that I award sparingly.
I ran across “genius” a few months ago while I was scouting my first food story for the LA Times in Oxnard, California. My assistant and I were in pursuit of sea urchins so we drove up to meet some sea urchin divers. When we arrived in Oxnard, we were starving. You should know that Oxnard is not exactly Marseille; it’s better described as a sprawling suburb of Los Angeles with lots fast food joints.
We drove to the pier and spotted some people eating at a no frills dive. As we got closer we saw they were knocking back some amazing looking seafood and my heart starting racing. There were tanks with an intriguing variety of crabs, and as I went inside the shack, I spied a tank of Santa Barbara Spot Prawns. We ordered the spot prawns, steamed and grilled, and the crab too.
I was in heaven. The seafood was fresh and extra delicious and the spot prawns stole the show—perfect texture, sweet, and elegant. This is what I always dream about finding--a seafood restaurant with the catch of day prepared as simply as possible. They also served rice with the seafood as well as classic sides like fries and coleslaw. There is no liquor license but a store nearby has a decent selection of beer and some mediocre California wines.
The best part of this escapade was that I got to come back to do our photo shoot at this location a few weeks later. I’m sure you know that I came prepared with a bottle of Condrieu, some Meyer Lemons, and every intention of ordering all the things we’d had before. We did and had another success all around. “Genius?” Oh, yeah!
3920 West Channel Island Blvd.
Oxnard, California 93035