From their perch on a dining table, Blu Orkid’s eponymous flowers watch over the restaurant’s hustle and bustle, which begins as bakers knead fresh bread in the early morning and ends once dinner plates are rounded up after midnight. Breakfasts of frittatas and brioche french toast pique appetites for lunches and dinners of tuna-almondine sandwiches, pears poached in port and topped with bleu cheese, and salmon flavored with miso and meyer lemons. In the bakery, chefs torch sugar atop crème brûulée and serve chocolate lava cake. They dish out their gourmet treats at sunny patio tables or indoors amid palm fronds, blue mood lighting, and chandeliers that wish they could feel love.
A frequent finalist for Best Comedy Club according to Ventura County Reporter's readers, Ventura Improv Company offers the only improv comedy in Ventura and has been eliciting chortles and guffaws with family-friendly farce for the past 21 years. The VIC's veteran comedic combatants perform unscripted comedy through scenes, games, and music created on the spot. The VIC performs shows such as Spontaneous Broadway, a full-length musical whose plot is conceived through audience suggestions, and TheatreSports Team Match, a two-team battle where competitors perform a challenge set by the host.
Ventura Harbor Comedy Club is owned by two professional comedians who use their comedic chops to book an eclectic cast of the country’s top-touring chuckle manufacturers. Comedy-cravers can check the schedule to select the ideal show for their comedic preferences, with options like stand-up jokester John DiCrosta on December 17–19 and Latino comedy nights on every first and third Thursday of the month. With this deal, holiday gift-searchers can give the gift of laughter to anyone who hasn't giggled since Jimmy Carter's spandex-laden foray into wrestling.
At Java Joe's, guests sip freshly made coffee drinks and graze baked goods, rummage through a collection of eclectic clothing and merchandise, and tap toes to live tunes. Baristas blend aromatic shots of espresso with frothy milk riddled with chocolaty notes to create a 16- or 20-ounce café mocha ($3.85–$4.25). Utilitarian cups of joe ($1.95 for 16 oz.; $2.25 for 20 oz.) fill mugs for on-the-go sippers and bulk beans ($13.95/lb.) allow customers to bring robust flavors and caffeine-jolts home. Pluck a pastry from a bakery filled with treats, such as scones ($2.45), chocolate-filled croissants ($2.95), and cheesecakes ($3.75) that quench food cravings and hush grumbling tummies like a swallowed Paul Simon 8-track.
Hollywood Beach Fitness, a spacious, clean gym, contains a variety of treadmills, free weights, circuit machines, and harbor views. There, in addition to the gym equipment—which also includes kettlebells and ropes—patrons will find group fitness classes that range from cardio ballet to strength training to kickboxing. The fitness center offers personal and small-group training coupled with nutrition coaching.
Sugar Beets Restaurant & Bar is a fusion restaurant in more ways than one. The space itself wears many hats: downtown eatery, bar, private-party venue, and, on Thursdays through Saturdays, nightclub. Similarly, the eatery’s menus aren't limited to one style. Described as eclectic California cuisine, the fare fuses west-coast flavors with international dishes. At dinnertime, a bed of Israeli couscous cradles grilled eggplant and sun-dried tomatoes, and a bacon-wrapped filet mignon gets a flavor boost from roasted red-pepper sauce. Lunchtime takes a more casual approach, with pasta tossed in tequila-lime sauce, strip-steak hoagies with chipotle mayo, and huevos rancheros that call the chef “dude” instead of “sir.” The restaurant also serves brunch on Sundays and serenades Thursday- and Friday-night diners with live music.