Author: Nancy Shaffer

ART AND LIFE |  Abstract expressionist Gerd Koch reflects on his life, career and Ventura County

Gerd Koch is back in Ojai. After his longtime partner, expressionist artist Carole Milton, lost the Ventura home the couple shared to the Thomas Fire, he, Milton and the couple’s cats and dog have relocated to a charming abode not far from downtown. “We lost everything,” the artist says, with emphasis but not bitterness. While it’s true that countless works of art (including many of Milton’s newer paintings, and works by several local artists that had been acquired over decades), a vast and valuable collection of art books, paints, canvases and more were consumed by the fire, Koch’s spirit...

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Eat your heart out on Valentine’s Day

There are lots of ways to celebrate on Feb. 14. You could stock up on some gourmet cheese, open a fantastic bottle of wine and canoodle at home with your honey (my personal favorite). Enjoy a picnic at the park or on the beach. Make a homecooked meal — something mouthwateringly savory and a bit indulgent, perhaps. But if you choose, instead, to wine and dine your Valentine in one of the county’s many excellent restaurants, here are a few that are sure to impress.  CAMARILLO Sheila’s Wine Bar has long been the city’s go-to for fine dining. Chefs...

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Fine sipping and snacking in Camarillo

Relm Wine and Beer Bistro 2390 Las Posas Road, suite H, Camarillo 991-7356 relmcamarillo.com $11-30 If exceptional wine, craft beer and tasty tidbits to nosh on are your idea of a good time, then Relm is a culinary kingdom worth visiting. The Camarillo wine bar is following the “casual but refined” trend of the moment, where comfortable seating, soft lighting and a serene atmosphere encourage customers to relax, socialize and sip with a discriminating palate. The décor features handsome tables and a lovely bar with couches and chairs scattered about — lots of leather, wood and room to lounge...

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Foodie Court now in session in Oxnard

The Annex at the Collection at RiverPark 550 Collection Blvd., Oxnard 988-7527 or thecollectionrp.com/the_annex $5-30 The Collection at RiverPark does not lack for dining options, although most of what you’ll find are chain restaurants. A new venture, however, has put the emphasis on locally owned businesses specializing in high-quality cuisine. The recently opened Annex is a food court for gourmets, with everything from locally roasted coffee (Ragamuffin) and craft brews (Bottle & Pint) to noodle soup (Love Pho) and Spanish tapas (Gasolina). You’ll find no McDonald’s or Sbarro here! The hipster chic décor befits the high quality of the...

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Italian favorite gets gourmet California revamp

  Julian’s Restaurant and Bar 2433 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo 383-9115 www.juliansrestaurantandbar.com When Verona Trattoria closed at the end of February, regulars and locals knew that it wasn’t truly the end. The Perez family, who started the popular Italian eatery in the 1990s, had something else up their sleeve: a new location and a new concept for a new generation. Julio and Jerry (sons of Verona founder Pomposo) moved a few storefronts and revamped the name and the menu, opening Julian’s Restaurant and Bar last spring. If you are picturing a Verona II, think again. There’s a full bar, for...

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COMMUNITY EVENTS

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UPCOMING COMMUNITY EVENTS

  1. Exciting Dance and Drum Classes

    January 8 - March 31
  2. Fashion Photography Exhibit to Support Fire Relief

    January 13 @ 5:00 pm - April 8 @ 7:00 pm
  3. Lunchtime Organ Recital Serie

    January 19 @ 12:30 pm - April 13 @ 1:00 pm
  4. Five Women Wearing the Same Dress

    February 2 @ 8:00 pm - March 4 @ 10:00 pm
  5. The Weavers of the Singing Shuttle

    February 3 @ 12:00 pm - March 1 @ 4:00 pm