In the spirit of giving the customer a square deal, Average Joe's Gourmet Subs in downtown Ventura is a standard-bearer.
Consider: plentiful slow-roasted meats piled onto fresh, locally baked rolls; most of the 13 subs on the menu for $5.50, a few cheaper. Toss in another buck and get a medium soda, plus a side of your choice--homemade potato salad, cole slaw or small green salad.
Of course, it's not much of a deal if the food isn't good. Not to worry. The sign's fictional Joe may be an "average" guy, but his subs are not.
More on those meats. Tri-tip, roast beef, pork, turkey and chicken are roasted overnight in a low-temperature oven. Instead of marination, spicy rubs are applied. When called for, there is a choice between two barbecue sauces: the sweet, which has a lingering smokiness, and a mildly spicy Cajun version. There is also a quarter-pound all-beef hot dog for $3.
The subs are well-proportioned, as is evident by the hot pastrami, stacked high New York deli style. The meatball sub, equally substantial, is finished with a fresh tomato marinara.
Manager Claire Adams is responsible for the soup du jour, including spicy Southwestern white bean, cream of broccoli and several versions of garden vegetable.
While Joe's is tiny--it takes up the former coffee shop space at the foot of Nicholby's Nightclub--there are a few indoor seats.
Take-out is the norm and the shop just started a delivery service.
Average Joe's Gourmet Subs is at 410 E. Main St., downtown Ventura. Hours: Mon.-Thur., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri-Sat., 11 a.m.-midnight; Sun., 11-5 p.m. Delivery service is available weekdays, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Call 653-6488.
Wine/Dinner: Rosarito Beach Cafe in Ventura will make use of its veranda Monday night when it presents a winemaker dinner. Several wines from J. Lohr Winery, near San Jose, will be paired with the restaurant's Latin American-influenced foods. The menu and accompanying wines:
Fresh corn tortilla chicken soup; Wildflower Valdiguie.
Green crunchy papaya salad with a light vinaigrette; Riverstone Chardonnay.
Shrimp cocktail; Arroyo Vista Chardonnay. Filet mignon with chipotle bearnaise sauce on a grilled polenta croute, twice-baked potato and asparagus saute; Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon.
Key lime pie; Bay Mist White Riesling.
A representative from J. Lohr will attend the dinner and discuss the wine selections.
Rosarito Beach Cafe will host a wine-tasting dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. Monday. The prix fixe is $50, gratuity not included. The restaurant is at 692 E. Main St., Ventura. For more information or reservations, call 653-7343.
Plan Ahead: The popular Scandinavian Festival at Cal Lutheran University will return April 1 and 2, but you don't have to wait quite that long to sink your teeth into one of those sweet Danish pastries. Barnes & Noble in Thousand Oaks is hosting a pre-festival activity March 25, during which costumed chefs will prepare and hand out samples of aebleskivers and krumkake.
The doughy aebleskivers are made in a cast-iron pan that resembles an egg poacher and served hot with syrup, jam or powdered sugar. Krumkake is prepared flat, like a pancake, then rolled and filled with whipped cream or your sweet tooth's desire.
The cooking demonstration will be accompanied by traditional Scandinavian folk tunes. Hours: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The bookstore is at 160 S. Westlake Blvd., Thousand Oaks. Free. Call 446-2820.
Pungent Amateurs: You, too, can stink it up with the best of them at this year's garlic festival held in Gilroy on July 28-30.
Each year the organizers put out a call for the best original garlic recipes. Amateurs only; it's not open to professional food industry types. The entries flood in from across the nation, as home cooks vie for the opportunity to prepare their recipe on-site at the festival's cook-off.
Here is how it works: 100 recipes are chosen from the entries and forwarded to a professional food consultant who selects eight finalists.
Each will travel to the festival to prepare their dish in front of the public. A panel of celebrity judges picks the grand winner, who will be awarded $1,000 and crowned with a wreath of garlic. Second place will win $750; third place, $500. The other finalists will receive $100.
Entries for the Great Gilroy Garlic Festival recipe contest cook-off must be postmarked by or transmitted via e-mail no later than May 1. Mailing address: Gilroy Garlic Festival Assn. 2000; Great Garlic Recipe Contest and Cook-Off; P.O. Box 2311, Gilroy, CA 95021-2311. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. For detailed information and recipe guidelines, visit http://www.gilroygarlicfestival.com and click on the "Recipe Contest & Cook-off" category or call (408) 842-1625 for more information.
Rodney Bosch writes about the restaurant scene in Ventura County and outlying points. He can be reached at 653-7572, fax 653-7576 or by e-mail at: email@example.com.