Easter Meal.

So guess which Catholic has absolutely no plans on Easter this year. I'll give you a hint. It's me.

My family plans fizzled out at the last minute when: My mom decided to go to my aunt's house, my brother is going to his in-laws, one sister is hosting a dinner for a friend who just lost her young child to cancer last week, and my other sister is doing who-knows-what and/or probably spending the day with her boyfriend in San Diego. Whatever. I didn't want to spend the day with those dead weights anyway.

Yesterday, Boyfriend and I had done some quick research on a place to take my mom for Easter brunch. We decided on a little cafe-type place called Fresh and Fabulous. Only, when I called my mom with the invite, she passed on the offer saying she wouldn't have time what with preparing food to take to my aunt's house.

So after pouting all morning long about not having shit to do on this most blessed day, I decided to go with Boyfriend's idea of going to brunch on our own. I slapped on some clown paint and tried to make myself look human. And then we headed down to F&F to get out feast on.

For those of you who've been to Oxnard before, F&F is located downtown in the old Woolworth building.

We discovered when we got there that they actually serve brunch every weekend. Only it's $4 cheaper when it's not on Easter. And there were a few special holiday items on today's menu as well (the ones in bold), so I guess it was worth the extra 4 bucks.

Since we'd stopped in the day before to check it out, we'd already seen the inside of the place. It wasn't everything I'd dreamed of. But it looked clean and just about all the items on the menu sounded really good (and cheap).

Yours truly. Excited for food.

The special Easter brunch menu started out with complimentary mini Hot Cross buns. One white bread, one I have no idea wheat, I think. I've never actually had a Hot Cross bun before today, but I'm going to say I'm not a huge fan. Sidenote: I used to work with a guy whose last name was Cross. Some of the girls I worked with thought he was cute. My BFF and I used to call him Hot Cross Buns. I don't think he ever knew about it.

As you can tell by looking at the menu, there were several courses to this brunch. I hadn't really thought about how or when each course would be presented, but it did seem a little odd when all of a sudden our table was covered with a bunch of dishes all at once. And what seemed really weird, was that everything was served on small plates. As soon as my main dish came out and I saw that it was on a side-dish sized plate, I wanted to kick myself in the balls for falling for this $16 brunch.

Spinach quiche, glazed spiral cut ham, and grain toast with a shitload of butter (Two points for that one, F&F).

Plain scone with strawberry jam, lemon curd, and cream.

Fresh fruit.

It turns out my American supersize-me eyeballs were deceiving me because not only did there turn out to be plenty of food on these tiny plates, I actually had leftovers on each one.

FOOD REVIEW: Boyfriend and I were shocked at how good the food was. I mean, it wasn't the best I've EVARR had, but based on how it looked and how it was presented, it was a very nice surprise. The quiche was moist, the ham was juicy, and the toast was amply buttered. The fruit wasn't super great, but I think that's just how it goes when they're not in season. The scone was rich and dry, and topped with the lemon curd and cream, it was perfect. Like I said, the food was surprisingly good and I would recommend it for anyone looking for an inexpensive cafe that doesn't leave you feeling like a weighed down greaseball. Three and a half chins for this one.

SERVICE REVIEW. Our waitress was the same one who was there yesterday when we stopped in, so I felt like we already had a repoire with her. And by repoire, I mean we'd asked her two questions. She was a small Asian girl who was very sweet, always smiling, and very courteous. It seemed like maybe she was new to the waitressing business because when I asked about their happy hour specials she "Yes, we have happy hour!" and pointed to a print-out on the counter. And when Boyfriend ordered the asparagus and boiled egg salad she made bug eggs like that was the craziest thing she'd ever heard. And after we'd ordered, she smiled and said "Coming right up!" like were at Mel's Diner. But none of this was done in an ironic or silly way. It was done more in a way like this was her first waitressing job. And I know everyone has to start somewhere, I'm totally not bashing on her- she was VERY sweet. It was just kind of funny. It was also funny when we were served all of our food before receiving any kind of napkin or silverware (we'd already eaten the hot cross buns like cavemen).

DECOR REVIEW: The more time that went by, the more we realized this place is in desperate need of a complete overhaul. It just doesn't seem fitting for a cafe that serves light and fresh Mediterranean fare to have red pleather diner-style booths, mismatched chairs, red and black art deco design, dark green walls, and 60's style hanging lamps.

The counter/ bar area. PS: I hate red and black, but that's neither here nor there.

Really cool vintage hanging lamps.

The baked goods section. According to their website, they've won some awards through the VC Reporter Readers Poll, including one for their cupcakes.

The stage area where they have live music in the evenings.

WORTH NOTING:If you're going to use a credit card, you have to add your tip BEFORE they run it. When the manager/owner/ someone of importance saw that we were paying with a card, she apologized and explained that if we wanted to add gratuity- "Which you don't have to"- she would need to know right then. That was a little awkward because I imagine she has to explain that to almost every table. My advice for F&F would be to either print it out in huge bold letters on the bill that tip needs to be included before they run the card, or else get a new credit card machine that allows them to add tip afterward.

The Strawberry Rosemary Lemonade is good. But it's served up sans ice. Make sure to ask for a cup of ice cubes on the side.

There's plenty of free parking on A street.

F&F doesn't have a liquor license, so it's wine and beer only. They DO serve Bloody Marys, Screwdrivers, and Margaritas, but they all substitute wine instead.

I REALLLLLY want to like this place because the food is good, the staff was nice and it's an independently owned local shop. But the restaurant itself is so weird that at times, it felt like we were on Candid Camera. I hope someone takes this place under their wing and gives the decor some continuity because right now it's all over the place.

Hope you're enjoying your Easter/ almost end of Passover/ Candy Day/ weekend.


Simone Says... said...

looks like a cool joint. i wouldn't be able to eat anything... i could drink hot tea and think about the good old days of yore.

Veronica Marcetti Dimick said...

Sorry those a-holes ditched you on this most blessed of days. Jerks.

StephanieC said...

I'm hungry now and I have no idea what lemon curd is.

Very sad about the family who lost their child.

Kim said...

Hm, I see what you mean, it seems very choppy in decor and theme. Like someone had all these ideas and wanted to execute them all in one place, there is a bit of lack of cohesiveness. And that's crazy about the tip.

Side note: when I got a pedicure a few weeks ago, they waited ALLLLLL the way til the end to tell us we can only pay in cash or check. I had neither. So we had to leave and THEN come back and pay and tip. That was awkward. I feel like stuff like that needs to written in big ol' letters somewhere.

Marie a la Mode said...

What if you WERE on Candid Camera?? That would be so cool! ; ) The food looks really good. Tip time sounded really awkward though...

Erin said...

Hanging with family for holidays is overrated. I was with mine yesterday and my dad told me he thinks I'm going to hell. Which was fun. But, the food was good!

You're Lucky I Don't Have a Gun... said...

SIMONE - why wouldn't you be able to eat anything...?

VERONICA - i know. obviously, they didn't know i'm a shitload of fun.

STEPH - lemon curd is kinda like seedless strawberry jam. only with lemon. not strawberries.

KIM - yes!! by the time we left, it was like we were playing one of those "What's Wrong With This Picture?" game- and it was EVERYTHING that was wrong.

MARIE - no, it wasn't akward enough to be candid camera. it was just awkward to our eyeballs. like we were the only ones in there with any sense of style/ theme/ cohesiveness.

ERIN - yeah, it's mostly the food part i was concerned with, not the actual family. really, i would have taken an invite from anyone with a home cooked meal.

Amanda said...

Hmmm...I was sort of held up at lemon curd too. Anything with curd behind it sounds suspect to me, but I'd be willing to put my grown up pants on and try it.

As for your family, you need to find a place you really don't like, set it up like you are all going to meet for a meal and then cancel at the last minute. Text them while they are stuck at the bad restaurant and say, "that's for ruining the most blessed of days a-holes!"

Wombat Central said...

I like the 80's geometric lightning bolt thingys under the 50's counter. Wha??

I think we tried hot cross buns one time from the store. A sweet bun with icing stripes. What could go wrong? I'll TELL you what could go wrong--hunks of dried fruity shit inside. It was like someone tried to slip their fruitcake from Christmas past in there. Not cool.

Sara said...

I love this post! I love your reviews and your honest opinion on the food...plus all the random stuff you throw in there (hot cross buns!) - love it. We didn't really have Easter plans either. We ended up ditching both our families and went and completely stuffed ourselves on an Indian buffet and then took a 4 hour nap. It was the best Easter ever. :)

Roxanne and Lorraine said...

That face was really, really excited for food. :)

Now I want brunch so hard.


Trude said...

I'm glad you guys decided to go anyway! The place looks super cute, too bad it's so dang far from me. And Hot Cross Buns may be the awesomest nickname I've ever heard. :D

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