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Wine by the Water

Food, beer will also be available for tasting at Lake Casitas.


Old Creek Ranch Winery in Oak View, Leeward Winery in Ventura and the 6-month-old Giessinger Winery of Fillmore will be among the nearly 40 vintners setting up shop Sunday at Lake Casitas during the Ojai Wine Festival.

The 11th annual tasting event, sponsored by the Ojai West Rotary, also will include a selection of microbrew beers and food provided by area chefs. Salsa Cove, Oceanside Caterers, the Gaslight Restaurant, Sea Fresh Seafood and the Garden Terrace will be among those in attendance.

"We have only two minor changes this year," said festival Chairman Austin Cline.

"We will have boat rides available on the lake and because we are on the same weekend as the Ojai [music] Festival we will be providing free trolley rides from downtown Ojai to the lake."

Last year's wine festival drew about 3,000 visitors. Cline said he's planning on about 4,500 this time around.

The festival will run from noon to 5 p.m. The lake is off California 150, outside Ojai.

Admission is $15 in advance, $18 at the gate, $10 for nondrinkers and ages 12-20, free for children under 12 with an adult. Parking is an additional $3. Information: (800) 648-4881.


Like any true Cajun-zydeco party, the gathering scheduled for Friday at the Livery building in downtown Ventura should meet the needs of both the ears and the taste buds.

Musician C.J. Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band will take care of the ears with their popular zydeco tunes. And taking care of the taste buds will be Frank Miller, owner and chef of the Cutting Edge Pizza Factory, located off the Livery courtyard.

Miller, who has spent a lot of time in southern Louisiana and formerly operated a Cajun restaurant in Santa Barbara, has a full Cajun menu planned for the evening. Prices will range from $6 to $14.

"We're going all-out crazy Cajun," Miller said.

His special menu will include duck etouffee, Cajun popcorn shrimp, Cajun crawfish tamales with a lobster sauce, and gumbo ya-ya (with chicken and andouille sausage).

Baked salmon pasta with lobster sauce, soft-shell clams and a catfish fry also are planned.

Cafe Voltaire, co-sponsor of the event along with the Foundation for American Roots Music, will offer food from its regular menu and will provide the wine and beer.

The party will begin at 8:30 p.m. Cover charge is $10. The Livery is on North Palm Street.


Keith Kwan, owner of Chester's Asia Chinese Restaurant in Camarillo, has no problem with the decor at his establishment.

But he figures it's time for a subtle change or two.

So after about six years with the same drapes and carpeting, Kwan is preparing to redecorate. His plans call for new window and floor coverings and new flower arrangements.

"It will be fancier this way," Kwan said. "It will be more elegant, but we will still keep the prices the same."

Along with the cosmetic changes, Kwan said he may freshen the menu a little as well.

"We'll have some seasoned Chinese vegetables, additional noodle dishes, maybe," Kwan said. "We change our menus about once a year, at the end of the year, but the new items we continue to put out regularly."

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