Culinary Getaway


All aboard for Cuba, Trinidad, Martinique, Santa Lucia and Haiti.

Or stop at City Bakery in Ventura where owner and chef Rose Burtchby will lead a culinary tour of the Caribbean on Sept. 26.

The menu will open with a selection of appetizers including a mini-vegetarian empanada (representing Cuba), an eggplant croquet and mango chutney tostones--deep-fried plantains traditional to Cuba.

And for the soup course, Burtchby will prepare a callau, a soup of collard greens and okra from Trinidad.

For the entree there will be a choice of Grilled Chicken Santa Lucia, chicken marinated in a mild jerk-style seasoning and served in a browned onion sauce, or a Haitian pepper pot pie in a sweet potato crust. Both dishes will be served with Jamaican peas and rice, and baked Antiguan papaya gratin.

Dessert will be a grilled pineapple tart and a banana sherbet with candied ginger.

There will be two dinner seatings, at 5:30 and 8 p.m. Cost is $25 per person. The restaurant is at 2358 E. Main St., at Arcade Drive. For reservations call (805) 643-0861.


With more than 1,000 bottles of quality wine in his collection, Paul Fridrich of Thousand Oaks can be referred to, safely, as a wine connoisseur.

Fortunately for other local wine lovers--experts and novices, alike--Fridrich likes to share his expertise through a wine-tasting and appreciation course he offers regularly through Learning Tree University.

The most recent course began Wednesday and will continue for six consecutive Wednesdays.

Fridrich started off with a look at wines produced in the Western United States.

Future sessions will investigate varieties native to France, the rest of Europe (including Spain, Portugal, Germany and Austria) and areas south of the Equator.

"I trace all of the major varietals to their indigenous territories," said Fridrich, a graduate of the German Wine Academy.

"We go from the varieties of our continent and hop over to France in the second and third session and show how this is where grapes started, where cultivating grapes became the art of fine wine."

Fridrich said he will explain the characteristics that distinguish a quality wine from an average wine.

"Whether it's from Washington state, Australia or California, year after year, vintage after vintage, you are supposed to be able to detect the character of the place where it was grown, the specific microclimate, the specific slope it was grown on," he said.

"We're focusing on fine wines and the history of how they were made."

Along with the background of grapes, students of the wine class will be walked through the grape-to-liquid process and the proper way to serve wine.

"We'll cover bottle-aging versus barrel-aging, how different styles of barrels contribute to the taste of wine," he said.

"We'll cover decanting of wine, the proper temperature of serving it, the matching of wine with food, the selection of wine."

Learning Tree University is at 72 Moody Court, Thousand Oaks. The class will meet from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Cost is $79 per person, or $129 per couple. To register call (805) 497-2292.


The California Beach Festival on Saturday and Sunday will offer something for food and wine lovers as well as sand and sea lovers.

Local chefs, including Didier Poirier of 71 Palm restaurant, and Mike Lodi, head chef at Oxnard High School, will host a Wine and Seafood Pavilion during the festival.

Cost of wine-tasting is $1 per sample, or $3 and $4 per glass; seafood and pasta dishes are $4 each. The pavilion will be at Ventura's beachfront promenade. Festival admission is $6 general, $4 seniors and free for children 12 and younger.

Vegetable- and ice-carving demonstrations also will be featured both days.

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