Fri, 12/21/12 3:40 PM
Tuesday November 27, 2012 Usually when traveling, I ignore the hotel's breakfast. I have never had anything at one of those cheap little buffets that can match what you can get in a good Roadfood restaurant. Things change a little when I am with Mariton, because she wants her oatmeal in the morning. Considering what she has to put up from me the rest of the day, this is a small sacrifice. She is especially fond of the oatmeal they put out with the breakfasts at Hyatts, which is where we usually stay. Here at the Hyatt Regency in Valencia, they don't offer a free breakfast, but we were given two free tickets to their fancy restaurants first-class breakfast buffet, (supposedly) a $21.00 value. Once we confirmed they had oatmeal, we went in. Mariton noticed that the oatmeal here was very similar to the style they served at John O'Groat's, a style we were unfamiliar with. I asked the waitress about it and she told us that it was steel cut oatmeal and that it was pretty much commonplace in California. Looking it up on wikipedia, I saw that it is also popular in Scotland and Ireland and is also known as Irish oats. Well, this explains why they called it Irish oatmeal at John O'Groat's. For the rest of the trip, everytime Mariton ate oatmeal, which was always at a hotel, it was the steel cut oats. I was not planning on eating anything, since I knew this would be a heavy eating day for us. But, she brought back some beautiful fresh mango, among other fruits and I ended up filling a plate full of bacon and fresh fruit. We were headed north along the Pacific coast and to get there, we took the scenic route across the mountains. Lots of beautiful scenery on the way and we pulled over often to take photos. At one little pullout, there was a young couple behind a stone pillar making out. It was a little awkward interrupting them (I didn't even know they were there until too late), but I was determined to get my photos. Our first food stop of the day was a small place called The Summit in the tiny town of Ojai. They do have a small inside seating area, but it was such a beautiful day, we were looking forward to eating at one of the picnic tables. The lady who took our order was a little off putting at first. Maybe it was because she saw me taking outside photos, but she almost seemed a little suspicious. Taking Chris & Amy's advice from the review, I ordered the Western Bacon Cheeseburger for us to split. That really isn't true, since Mariton had so much oatmeal at breakfast, she was probably good for no more than a bite or two. They also have a nice roster of available milkshakes to choose from. Knowing I would get help on this, I picked one cherry and one cinnamon. The cherries are local and this was a fine, thick milkshake. The cinnamon was something I enjoyed at first, but soon tired of. This is undoubtedly why you rarely see cinnamon milkshakes and I should have made a better second choice. It took a good while for the burger to come out, but this was a burger worth waiting for. It was obvious from the first bite that this was fresh, high quality beef, with a nice crusty outside. The bacon was thick and crispy, the sesame seed bun perfectly soft. The onion rings on the side (including the one on the burger) were also something special. They were golden brown, with just the right amount of crunch and practically greaseless. These were some of the best onion rings we have ever had. After seeing how good the food was, Mariton decided to have more than just a few bites. When I walked up to the counter midmeal to get some more napkins, I mentioned to the lady (she was obviously one of the owners, along with her husband who had cooked the burger) how great the food was. She was much friendlier after this. She told me that they get the fresh ground beef delivered to them everyday and even named the butcher store. She also told me how long it takes for them to train someone new to cook there, because it has to be exactly right to be served. I loved hearing about their dedication to quality and you can really taste it in the food. This was easily the best burger of the trip and one of the best all year. The Summit 12689 Ojai Santa Paula Road Ojai, CA 805-933-9898 We continued on our drive heading to the coast, enjoying the scenery along the way.
<message edited by buffetbuster on Fri, 12/21/12 3:45 PM>