Tucked away in the Ojai Valley, well-concealed paths wend past copses of lush trees to the popular garden sites of The Ranch House. There, diners relax among gentle streams and verdant foliage within an oriental teahouse, or see if they know how to yodel upon two elevated redwoods decks overlooking the grounds. Alan Hooker, a chef renowned for incorporating herbs into simple, yet elegant dishes, founded the Eden-like setting more than 40 years ago.
Lauded on an episode of Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate, his seasonal cuisine includes free-range chicken breast stuffed with brie and grilled swordfish steaks brushed with lemon thyme butter that make them too slippery for traditional mid-dinner duels. To complement those flavors, Alan assembled an award-winning wine list with approximately 650 selections. After their meal, guests can tour the rest of The Ranch House grounds, working off the meal as they stroll through the herb garden and bakery.