Saturday, December 29, 2012

A WEEK IN SHANGRI LA - Pt. Three - Osteria Monte Grappa

Part Three
(Osteria Monte Grappa)

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening, in the lane snow is glistening…

Well, not quite. I live in sunny southern California after all.  Oh, we had some rain over the holiday, but our annual Christmas Eve fete was a chilly but dry one.  The fire was ablaze and the trees and mantels were decorated and lighted as our 35 guests arrived for dinner to Christmas music playing softly in the background.  We ate, drank and were merry – then it was over and the music was turned off.

Now it’s that sort of limbo week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve where one often reflects about the passing year.  I’m not much of a reflector, but my book came out in 2012 to some pretty nice reader reviews from people I don’t even know and Richard’s softball team won its league championship, so I reflected on that with a smile. 

One truly pleasant 2012 diversion was our week of house sitting in Ojai, Calif., so I thought I’d take this “lost week” to finish my Ojai trilogy and tell you about our last day in “Lost Horizons’” Shangri La.

As we waited for our friends Stu and Kyle to come and reclaim their home later that evening, we spent the day walking around the neighborhood, further exploring the town’s “Main Street” saying silent farewells to the mission architecture

the local bijou...

the shops and walkways. Then we treated ourselves to lunch at Osteria Monte Grappa, a restaurant we had been dying to try.

The restaurant is simply but invitingly decorated with white table cloths, creamy walls, comfortable chairs and vibrant art...

but it’s the outdoor patio that really attracted me with its tables nestled under beautiful trees forming a canopy over the patio.

As we looked over the menu which is filled with a variety of Northern Italian dishes that all sounded wonderful, we dipped some fresh baked bread into really good olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 

Richard finally chose an egg linguini with diver scallops, spinach, pancetta and onion dressed with that good olive oil.  I love scallops, so of course I had to have a bite. Truly delicious.

I chose a pasta with grilled chicken and spinach in a light cream sauce. Rich, fattening, but oh, so good.

A soft breeze blew as we sat under the trees enjoying our lunch and dreaming of the time we can return to Shangri La and, perhaps, come back to Osteria Monte Grappa for dinner when the patio turns romantic with little white lights shining through the leaves above, like a million stars in the sky.

If you get to Ojai before we do, save us a table.

Happy New Year everyone!

Osteria Monte Grappa
205 Signal St.
Ojai, Calif. 93023