Garden Terrace Restaurant in Ojai is the lone Ventura County establishment participating in today's Dining Out for Life AIDS benefit.
Like the other 200-plus participating restaurants, Garden Terrace will donate 10% of the day's proceeds to Aid for AIDS Los Angeles, which provides financial assistance to people with AIDS.
"Everybody should get involved with this. It's one of the most needed charities in the United States," said Gay Martin, who co-owns Garden Terrace with chef Patricia Cluche.
"Everybody is affected in one way or another by AIDS," Martin said. "Both [Cluche] and I have had friends--she has had a relative--suffering from AIDS. We like to help where we can."
Martin and Cluche helped out with a similar Aid for AIDS dining benefit earlier this month involving restaurants in the tri-county region. Garden Terrace raised $350 in that May 1 benefit.
Those considering visiting Garden Terrace may want to check out the cappellini with artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes ($8.50 for lunch, $9.95 for the dinner plate), the grilled eggplant sandwich ($7.95) or linguine with shrimp and capers ($11.95).
For a real boost to the donation pot, the broiled lamb medallions, at $18.95, is the most expensive item on the menu. A selection of homemade desserts includes chocolate hazelnut flourless cake, chocolate pecan turtle tart and pear and almond tart.
Garden Terrace, at 1002 E. Ojai Ave., is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Some people come to Greek festivals for the music, some come for the dancing, some come for the crafts. But almost everyone comes to sample the food.
The annual Greek Festival put on by Camarillo's St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church on Saturday and Sunday should provide more than enough edibles to satisfy the appetites of the approximately 20,000 visitors expected.
There will be 6,400 kourambiethes (powdered sugar cookies), 3,000 galatoboureko (layered filo dough filled with custard), 4,000 koulourakia (a twisted coffee cake flavored with whiskey), 3,000 kataifi (shredded filo with nuts and syrup), 6,000 baklava (filo with spices, nuts and syrup), about 6,000 souvlaki dinners (with chicken or beef kebobs, rice, Greek salad, kalamata olives and feta cheese).
There will also be gyros, Greek sausage, stuffed grape leaves, flaming Greek cheese, tiropita (cheese puffs) and spanokopita (spinach and cheese puffs).
Katherine Pappas, head of the pastry committee, said the festival has become so popular that she and her team of chefs are preparing 50% more pastries this year than last.
"We've got it pretty well down to where we sell everything out," said Pappas. "Last year we only had a few crumbs left over, even though the weather was bad."
The Greek Festival will be held at Conejo Creek Park at the Janss Road exit off the Moorpark Freeway in Thousand Oaks. It will run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Ojai diners got a taste of the many flavors of the West Indies last week, with the opening of Calypso's Bar & Grill. The restaurant, brightly colored in tropical style, is located at 139 E. Ojai Ave., former site of Papagallo's Peruvian restaurant.
John Druley, who co-owns the restaurant with partner Karen Kravitz, has a particular affinity for the islands, having been born in Puerto Rico and raised in St. Croix. He said the restaurant, with its wood beams, galvanized sheeting and tropical decor looks a lot like his old home town.
"We decided to go with the theme because the building fit the islands so well," Druley said, "and Mexican, Italian and Chinese food has been done so many times in this county."
Druley said he tried to create a menu that represents the food and flavors unique to the different islands.
The entree list includes black beans and rice common to Puerto Rico ($5.95), marinated beef or lamb kebobs served over curried rice from Angulla ($8.95), 12-clove garlic chicken from Haiti ($11.95) and Jamaica-style roast pork prepared with rum and herbs, topped with pineapple chutney and served with couscous ($12.95). Entries are served with vegetables and fried plantains.
Appetizers include surullettos (cheesy corn sticks) from Puerto Rico ($3.95) and a skillet of Edam cheese, biscuits and garlic common to the Virgin Islands ($5.95).
"I got a lot of the menus from my nanny in St. Croix," Druley said. "I want to bring people in for the dinner and keep them for the food."
And, apparently, the drink. The bar offers a wide selection, with particular attention to rum-based concoctions.
The Calypso kitchen, led by chef William Pettigrew, is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The bar is open until midnight Monday to Thursday and until 2 a.m. Friday to Sunday.