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Menu Garnishes

TIMES STAFF WRITER

After nearly 20 years and several owners, the aroma of eggs, pancakes, biscuits and gravy continues to be commonplace in the kitchen of the Galloping Hen Restaurant in Ventura.

But now those traditional American smells are mixing with the scents of beef and banana empanadas, Milanese-style sandwiches and breaded veal with ham and mozzarella cheese.

The last dishes are courtesy of Gustavo and Maria Castano, the restaurant’s new owners.

“We lived in Burbank for 10 years and there was too much pollution--we were looking for a place to live in the Ventura or Santa Barbara area,” Gustavo Castano said.

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“We moved up here and we found this restaurant. The [purchase] price was down--business was down too, but we saw the potential.”

The Galloping Hen is not Castano’s first restaurant venture, nor is the United States the first country in which he’s entered the culinary industry. Gustavo previously operated El Rancho continental steakhouse in his native Argentina, and more recently a restaurant of the same name and style in Burbank.

“All my life I liked the idea of serving good food to people,” he said.

At the Galloping Hen, the Castanos will continue to serve breakfast and lunch as has been the restaurant’s history. But dinner hours may be added in the near future.

The restaurant is at 305 Borchard Drive.

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How about some pot roast and fried catfish for dinner? Maybe throw in some corn chowder, sizzling mushrooms and peanut cole slaw. And top it off with peach cobbler, chocolate-dipped strawberries and bread pudding.

All these dishes and a wide range of other items will be available at the sixth annual Taste of Ventura County food and wine festival Friday through Sunday at Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard.

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About two dozen restaurants will compete for prizes in the event. The list includes Ventura’s Banana Belt Cantina; the Outback Steakhouse of Oxnard; the Gaslight restaurant of Ojai; Wood Ranch BBQ of Camarillo; and the Whale’s Tail, Lobster Trap, Port Royale and defending taste champion Pirate’s Grub & Grog, all located at the harbor.

The festival will run from 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6 general, $4 seniors, free for children 14 and younger. Admission is free for everyone from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday. Food and drink prices range from $1 to $5.

For more information, call (805) 985-4852.

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A culinary update from the Ventura Chamber Music Festival:

The Outback Steakhouse will provide the medieval feast Saturday following the “Carmina Burana” concert at 8 p.m. at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, 3175 Telegraph Road. Tickets are $19.

Old Creek Ranch Winery, Garden Terrace and Behind-the-Scenes Catering will provide the post-concert food following the “Golden Flute” concert Wednesday by flutist Carol Lockhart with piano accompaniment by Lisa Sylvester. The program will begin at 3:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 1338 E. Santa Clara St. $19 general, $9 students.

For tickets call (805) 648-3146.

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