Courtyard Cuisine


If it's summertime, there must be a new menu at Ventura's Nona's Courtyard Cafe, where the chef is gaining a reputation for his seasonal offerings.

"The theme of the new menu is cooking light," said Nona's executive chef Juan Castillo. "I'll be doing more with red wine, basil and oil instead of creamy sauces. When summer comes, people watch their diets more than they do in the winter. In the winter, people are not going to be wearing tiny clothes."

Nona's seasonal menu, unveiled Wednesday, offers new pasta dishes for lunch and a large selection of new entrees for dinner. Most of the dishes have passed muster as daily specials.

New additions to the lunch menu include sun-dried tomato and mozzarella ravioli ($9.95), spicy chicken sausage with farfalle pasta ($10.25), chicken pesto ($10.25), a poached salmon salad ($10.50) and a blackened salmon sandwich ($8.95).

For dinner, Castillo has added half a dozen appetizers including lobster souffle ($8.95), seared sashimi ($9.95) and a smoked chicken or rock shrimp quesadilla ($7.95).

The entree list includes chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes and topped with lemon thyme sauce ($15.95), Muscovy duck breast topped with an orange-tamarind and port wine sauce ($16.95), lamb chops stuffed with roasted garlic and topped with mint and cranberry chutney ($18.95), grilled venison with herbs in a porcini mushroom and red wine sauce ($20.50), and grilled swordfish topped with a hazelnut beurre blanc ($17.50).

"I'm just trying to do a different kind of menu that Ventura doesn't have--a more exotic menu," Castillo said.

Nona's is at 67 S. California St.


Sports fans around the country have come to depend on baseball slugger Mark McGwire to provide them with exciting feats on the field. Sports fans in the Conejo Valley may come to depend on a Mark McGuire to provide his own share of sports excitement.

McGwire is a first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals who hits balls 450 feet. McGuire is a restaurateur in Newbury Park who has 18 televisions and eight satellite dishes.

McGwire is looking forward to the football season because he can rest. McGuire is looking forward to the football season because he expects to be working long, busy hours at his new sports-culinary establishment. "It's not the typical sports bar, it's a sports grill," McGuire said. "It's just something I've wanted to do for a long time. And with the name Mark McGuire, how can you go wrong?"

McGuire, his sister and parents are the owners of Magoo's, a 90-seat family-style restaurant on Wendy Drive that combines televised sports with burgers, tri tip, salad and pizza.

That there is pizza on the menu is hardly surprising, given the backgrounds of McGuire and the restaurant site. McGuire formerly owned a Double Deal pizza place in Chatsworth, and Magoo's is the former home of a Pizza Hut.

"There are no [sports bars] out here at all that have the full satellite capabilities we're able to offer," McGuire said.

Magoo's is at 722 Wendy Drive.

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