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Dining at The Oaks in Ojai

We dined as a guest of the venue

When you’re traveling, there are typically three major expenses towards the top of your list: transportation, accommodations and meals. Once those are covered, your remaining budget is bonus. What if we told you one destination combines two of those expenses? Over in Ojai, The Oaks not only includes your room, but makes a point of feeding diners healthy cuisine.

Guests are always welcome to eat elsewhere, but having prepared lunches and dinners onsite takes the guesswork out of locating a restaurant. If you plan to head out on an excursion, the kitchen can pack your meal to-go. Special nutritional needs and alternative options are also available. Make the most of your stay by taking advantage of this amenity.

Weekly menus are posted in The Oaks lobby. While evening meals are typically served in the dining room, lunch hour gives the option to relax either in their Libbey lounge or by the pool. Taking food back to your room isn’t out of the question, either. If you’re feeling social, the dining room is the way to go. Tables are set up in groups of two or four, opening the door to conversations.

One thing we noticed about dinner is that it’s the only time you’ll be offered dessert, so plan around it if you’ve got a sweet tooth. Vegetables (or a salad) are always part of your lunch and dinner. Truth be told, many of us don’t make a point of regularly incorporating fresh produce into our diet. Thankfully, they make sure you’re getting leafy greens, plus fruit or veggie options every day. During the month of April, you’ll see Ojai Pixie tangerines featured in your meals– from sweet potatoes to tapenades. Bottles of balsamic vinegar, pepper grinders and Italian seasoning can be found atop every dining table to spice up your plate. However, we did notice guests using salt from their own private stash.

Breakfast and snacks are consistent. During the morning hours, hard-boiled eggs, yogurt, and cottage cheese are found. Late mornings offer a potassium-rich broth, while pre-dinner snacking offers hummus with crunchy vegetables. At night, snag a bag of popcorn before heading back to your room. Since breakfast is our favorite meal of the day, this is normally when we’d typically head out to try some local fare.

Your beverage selection is a 24/7 station of water, iced/hot teas and coffee in their lounge. “Green” juices (ingredients are always listed) show up mid-afternoon. Pack a reusable bottle to refill throughout the day; we found a bonus water station near the swimming pool. Seeking additional refreshment? Pick up some wine at one of the shops in town—the front desk carries a corkscrew.

Cookbooks for many of the recipes are available for purchase in The Nest gift shop, located in their lobby. Savor the dining opportunities The Oaks makes available, and you’ll enjoy your stay in Ojai even more.

Originally transplanted from the Bay Area, Anne Marie Panoringan is a freelance writer who prefers to divide her spare time motoring between great cuisine (especially breakfast!) and workouts that get her hungry again. Anne Marie’s day job is in government, but late evenings are spent typing and catching up with her spouse and DVR.
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