Food & Beverage Local Business


One of Downtown Ventura’s espresso bars is much more than just a coffee shop

If you’re looking for a cozy and trendy coffee shop to stop at while walking in Downtown Ventura, Palermo is a perfect choice. Palermo, which has been open since 2001 is a staple to the community with its inviting atmosphere. I decided to go with a friend early in the morning and was greeted by a friendly employee who was ready to take my order. There are lots of choices of drinks and coffee but as I walked in the sea salt caramel latte caught my eye. You can have the choice of having it iced or hot but on a rainy morning, I thought, a nice hot drink was the way to go.

While waiting for my drink I explored the store and just to my right were great choices of gelato and even a small boutique with what they call “hard-to-find items”. I sure did find a couple interesting-looking plates and cups that I may or may not have taken home with me. Along with those interesting items were some paintings made by local artists that were hung up and were being sold. It was nice to see a local shop give back and support its local artists. Once I got my drink I sat and enjoyed the nice atmosphere being accompanied by some great background music including Led Zeppelin and David Bowie, and I couldn’t have asked for a better playlist to fit the urban vibe of the shop. I recommend stopping by Palermo if you’re in the area and in the mood for some great coffee and a good vibe since it is not just a regular espresso bar, but an espresso bar with lots of different aspects to it that can cater to lots of different people and of course coffee lovers.

Food & Beverage

Andria’s Seafood

Andria’s seafood was brought to the lovely Ventura Harbor Village in 1982 where till this day this family owner restaurant has been the recipient of national and local accolades, as Andria’s Seafood has been voted by locals “best seafood restaurant” multiple times. As a seafood enthusiast I have been eating at Andria’s since I was in elementary school, and later in life I go every other Sunday with my mom for brunch there. The food is amazing, and their fish and chips is a staple to their business. Pair some fish and chips or calamari and chips (which ever you fancy) with a bread bowl of clam chowder and you’re taste buds are going to be on cloud nine. For the most part the line isn’t short but for very good reason, their food is so fresh and delicious it will always be a top tier option for seafood in Ventura.

The best part of being family owned is they care about their employees and their community. On their website they openly mention they budget yearly to helps causes and they are always accepting applications. A few examples of who they have helped recently are the kids in the community. They sponsor the boys and girls club, and the Ventura County Junior Golf Association. There is nothing better than helping our the kids as they are the future of our country.

              Along with the amazing menu, Andria’s Seafood has their very own fish market located conveniently in their restaurant!  As you grab your seat inside or outside, right around the corner from the front counter is rear counter with fresh fish for sale. This is something that just adds to the ambiance of the restaurant and reinforces how fresh their dishes are. Want even more atmosphere? No problem, as Andria’s is located right on the harbor! Take a seat outdoors on the patio and get that fresh beach breeze, stare at some boats rocking back in forth, or throw some fries to get some action from the seagulls. Its also a stones throw from the beach, a nice walk from Andria’s to the sand has local shops, an arcade, and mounted binoculars to see extra sites along the way. Atmosphere and food, what more can you really ask for and this is a clear reason why Andria’s has been the best for the last 40 years. Next beach day stop by for a bite and you will realize why they are the best and might even take a page out of my routine, order two meals one for now and one to go.

Food & Beverage

The Oxnard Cafe You Need to Visit Next!

Xielo Artisan Desserts is a dessert shop located in downtown Oxnard, CA that specializes in authentic Mexican pastries, crepes, and raspados (shaved ice). Xielo is a MUST-TRY for anyone with a sweet tooth. If you’ve been looking for heavenly desserts… look no further!

I took my first trip to Xielo on a weekday afternoon and was greeted with a line of people out the door, a telltale sign of good food, if you ask me! The line moved quickly, and I was soon able to step inside to admire the cozy cafe. The cafe was charming with a brick wall on one end and a large image of the Guadalajara Cathedral on the other end. There were glass cases on the counters that displayed a variety of pastries that looked so delicious I wanted to taste each one!

The staff member taking my order was polite and patiently answered my questions. I decided on the Nutella crepe and took home a variety of pastries for my family including guava empanadas, an apple bar, a slice of pastel de requeson (cottage cheese cake), and of milhojas (puff pastry) cake.

The crepe was made in front of me and my order was ready quickly. I was pleasantly surprised by every bite I took of the crepe which was filled with strawberries, bananas, xielo cream, and Nutella. It was lightly dusted with powdered sugar. The crepe was soft and had the perfect amount of fruit. It wasn’t overly sweet; every bite was truly heavenly. 

Crepe wth strawberries, banana, and nutella

My family also enjoyed their desserts, and I am already planning my next trip to Xielo. There are a ton of other items on their menu that I’m excited to try, such as jericallas (Mexican custard dessert), estrellitas (star cookies), and savory crepes. For you coffee-lovers out there, Xielo also has traditional Mexican cafe de olla. I, for one, am especially excited to visit on a warmer day to try out their raspados.

Don’t hesitate to stop by Xielo Artisan Desserts the next time you’re craving something sweet. Grab one of your favorite Mexican treats or try out something new— you won’t be disappointed!

Food & Beverage

A Quick Stop In Yolanda’s Mexican Cafe

As I arrived with my friend at Yolanda’s Mexican Cafe located at 1601 Victoria Avenue we had one thing in mind; appetizers. When we arrived we were greeted by very nice hostesses and all the other staff members that provided us service had a great positive energy as well. We chose to sit in their covered patio section as it has an amazing view of the Seabridge harbor, is full of color, and the heaters there are really effective.

Onto our food, we ordered the sampler platter for $16 dollars off their appetizer menu. I can tell you this was the perfect dish for two homies to share while we caught up with each other about our past week. The sampler platter included two quesadillas, two chicken taquitos, two jalapeno poppers, guacamole, sour cream, ranch, a mild red sauce, and the absolute highlight of the platter two mini chimichangas. The mini chimichangas are small, fried bean and cheese burritos with shredded cheese on top. They always have a perfect crunch to them and their taste is a 10/10. I feel like I could eat ten in one sitting. I found their guacamole to be really tasty and it went well with almost everything on the table including the free chips they sat us down with. There wasn’t anything included in the sampler platter we did not like but I would not recommend the jalapeno poppers when there are other appetizers like the mini chimichangas, the taquitos, and the quesadillas on the menu.

Food & Beverage

Strawberries & Cream Jello

Strawberries and cream are such a treat, but something better than that is having a delicious Jell-O dessert that tastes just as dreamy. It’s super simple too, the perfect spring dessert to prepare for the next party, picnic, gathering, or cookout. 

Back when I was a child, one of my great aunts would always make this recipe. I couldn’t wait until dessert time at family gatherings because I knew she would always make it. One day my mom asked for the recipe, and she gave it to her. For Latino families, this is kind of a big deal because we are known for not wanting to share our secret recipes. I’m sure she left out some major ingredient though because it doesn’t quite taste the same. However, through the years, I’ve come to find my mom’s recipe is far better than the original now. We aren’t overly secretive, so we are happy to share this family recipe with all of you.

What You’ll Need

  • Fresh strawberries 1lb or 16oz
  • Sour Cream 16 oz
  • 2 Jello-O Strawberry flavor
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk 375g
  • 2 Large jello molds
  • Blender
  • Whisk

Prepare the Jell-O by adding 4 cups of boiling water to the two gelatin mixes. Stir until it dissolves and then add 2 more cups of water and mix. Allow the mix to cool down.

Place the strawberries, condensed milk, and sour cream in a blender, blend until it is smooth.

Once the Jell-O is cooled you will incorporate and mix in the ingredients from the blender into the jello. Using a whisk, mix the ingredients until it is well combined.

Then pour the gelatin into the molds of your choice. It should be enough for two containers.

The end result is a creamy, light and sweet strawberry dessert like no other!

Food & Beverage Mother's Day Cook-off

Big Grandma’s Enchiladas Rojas (Red Enchiladas)

A Mothers Day Tribute

My mom and I making Christmas tamales. I’m sorry, I can’t share that recipe.

Looking back on my childhood, I remember my mom always cooking some of the best dinners. Many of the dishes she would make came from my Great Grandmothers cook book. One of my very favorites was Enchiladas Rojas because they’re so delicious!

When I moved away from home, I had to learn how to make these. I remember calling my mom to ask her for the recipe because I was craving them and wanted to make them for my friends. Since then, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve made them and when I do, I always think of my mom and my childhood. This recipe will definitely keep getting passed down to generations to come.


  • Las Palmas Red Enchilada Sauce
  • 1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp. of McCormick Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 18 corn tortillas
  • 1 7.25 oz. can of sliced olives
  • 1/2 cup of diced yellow onion
  • 2 lbs. of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Vegetable oil
  • Oven-safe glass dish( I used a 9.5 x 12.5) and it held 12. You can use a bigger one to make more or use more than one dish.

Servings: 8-12 Prepping time: 30 min. Cooking time: 15 min.


  1. Set your over to 375 degrees.
  2. Fry your ground beef with taco seasoning and onions. Set aside.
  3. Pour some enchilada sauce in your glass dish to cover the bottom.

4. Lightly fry 1 tortilla on both sides, in a small frying pan with oil

(make sure there’s enough oil in the pan to submerge the tortilla).

5. Once the tortilla is fried, put it in your dish with the sauce. Flip the tortilla over to make sure the sauce is coated all over.

6. Add some meat and cheese to the middle of your tortilla.

7. Fold over both sides of the tortillas and flip it over, so the fold is on the bottom. Place your first enchilada at the top left of your glass dish to create a line. It’s ok if a little meat or cheese out.

Repeat steps4-7, adding more enchilada sauce as needed. When your dish is full, it should like the picture below.

Caution: Don’t submerge your enchiladas in sauce, you only need enough in the pan to coat the tortillas.

8. After your dish is full, add a light layer of enchilada sauce to the top. If you have too much sauce in your pan, you can use a spoon to take some out and pour it on top. Note: You will not use all of the enchilada sauce.

9. Add cheese and olives, if you wish.

10. Place your dish in the oven for 15 minutes.

Your enchiladas are ready to be served! You can add sour cream, if you’d like. Also, below you can find my recipe for my Mexican Rice. Enjoy!

If you were served 3 dishes that looked the same and you knew your mom made one of them, could you guess which dish was hers? I’m sure I could!Watch below👇🏼

Recipe for Spanish Rice


  • 1 1/2 cups of Jasmin or long grain, white rice
  • 3 oz. of tomato sauce
  • 3 cups of water(room temperature)
  • 1 tsp. of cumin
  • 3 tsp. of Knorr chicken flavor buillon
  • 1/2 cup of diced yellow onion or 1 tsp. of onion powder
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic or 1 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 quart pot or deep pan

Servings: 12 Prepping time: 15 min. Cooking time: 20 min.


  1. Heat up oil in your pot on medium heat.
  2. Add rice, onion and garlic. Stir frequently Note: If you’re using powder, wait until your rice is brown before you add it.

3. When your rice is light brown, lower the heat and pour in your water slowly. It will steam a little so avoid getting burned.

4. Turn your heat back up to medium, to get your water boiling. During this time, add tomato sauce chicken bouillon and cumin. Stir

5. When your water is boiling, turn your heat down low and cover your pot. You will not need to stir your rice anymore.

6. Let your rice cook on low for 20 minutes. You will know it’s done when there isn’t any water in your pan and it looks like the picture below.

7. Serve and enjoy!

Food & Beverage Mother's Day Cook-off

Heavenly Angel Food Cake

A Mother’s Day Special

In 1914 Mother’s Day became a national holiday in reverence to motherhood. Honoring the sacrifices mother’s make for their children. They say a mother’s role is to be God’s angels on earth. I thought it would be best to share an angel food cake recipe.


1 Cup Cake Flour

1,¼ cups of sugar

1 1tbsp sugar & 1 tbsp ground cinnamon combined ( put aside for now)

12 large egg whites

1 tsp cream of tartar

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp honey

1 tsp lemon juice

6 oz. dark chocolate 74% or higher

½ cup butter

1½ cups of powdered sugar

¼ Cup whipping cream

6 oz. almond slivers



Preheat Oven 350 degrees

Beat egg whites until they become foamy. 

Next add cream of tartar with salt and  beat until soft peaks form. 

Add ¾ cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beat until stiff peaks form. 

Mix cake flour with ½ cup of sugar 

Add to egg white mix a 1/4 cup at a time.

Add vanilla, honey and lemon juice.

Take ⅓ of batter and pour into an non-greased 10 inch tube pan. 

Take the back of a spoon and run it around the batter in pan causing an indentation. 

Sprinkle 1 tbsp of cinnamon & sugar mixture around indentation.

Add another ⅓ of batter to the tube pan, create indent again and sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon mixture in the indent. 

Finish pouring in the rest of the batter and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 mins. 

Let cool for 45 mins. 

Use a butter knife to run along the inside of the tube pan. Flip the pan over to make the cake come out of the pan. 

Making the glaze

Melt dark chocolate with butter over low heat, stir frequently. Use a small saucepan

Remove small saucepan from heat. 

Mix in powdered sugar and whipping cream. 

Spoon evenly over cake.

Do a little extra! Pour almond slivers over cake and add strawberries on top.

Now there is something I do have to tell you and it is a bit of a confession. I took some considerations when putting this together. Some might consider this a bonus. Eggs, cinnamon, honey, vanilla, dark chocolate, almonds and strawberries are all listed as aphrodisiac foods. Why? Because every mother’s day needs a mother’s night.

Food & Beverage Mother's Day Cook-off

Mama Reina’s Arroz Con Leche

A Mother’s Day Special

Authentic Salvadorian Rice Pudding

For as long as I can remember, my mother has been my source of inspiration for life advice, fashion, and homemaking. Born and raised in the tropics of El Salvador, my mother has mastered the art of embracing new traditions while still paying homage to her home’s heritage. In a true matriarch fashion, she has kept old traditions alive by passing down her inherited knowledge to the generations after her. As age inevitably approaches all of us, the importance of maintaining cultural traditions only becomes more imperative.

My mother Reina photographed at a family event—circa 1990’s.

During my coming of age, it was only natural for me to learn about the traditions that came before me, and those that will continue to exist after me. One of the most precious forms of tradition that has been passed down to me was learning how to make my mother’s arroz con leche (rice pudding). This divine confection is considered a specialty in my household—only making appearances during major holidays such as Christmas, New Years, and most recently—Mother’s Day. Enjoyed warm or cold, this traditional Salvadorian dessert is a treat reminiscent of the culture in Central America.

Arroz con leche (rice pudding) garnished with cinnamon and lemon zests.

Although I was not born in the motherland of my parents, I still find myself craving a deeper connection to the ancestors that came before me. As I become more integrated into the culture of my generation, I become worried that I am losing touch with my ancestral roots. In order to restore my sense of connection, I have found delight in learning traditional family recipes from the best chef I know: my mother. 

Before she can begin her cooking tutorials, my mother finds herself immersed in memories of the past by sharing stories from her childhood in El Salvador. I enjoy listening to these tales in order to gain insight of the lifestyle in El Salvador—although in my humble opinion, this small tropical country deserves to be seen rather than described:

Views of El Salvador captured via drone.

Besides my own family’s cooking, I also enjoy finding new recipes to add to my own personal cookbook. I recently learned how to make sauce from scratch after reading about the Norris Family Marinara Sauce Recipe. (Which has since been added to my cookbook—and it should be on yours, too.)

Passing down family recipes is not just a nostalgic pastime—it allows us to honor our culture in the best way possible: by immortalizing a connection to our ancestors. Families across the world embark in this shared tradition to preserve their ancestral roots, and to create everlasting memories—one home cooked meal at a time.

Recipe card for arroz con leche (rice pudding).


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 cup milk
  • 14 oz evaporated milk
  • 7 oz condensed milk
  • cinnamon sticks
  • pinch of salt
  • lemon zest (optional)
  • ground cinnamon (optional)


  1. Boil 2 cups of water in a pot under high heat.
  2. Add 1 stick of cinnamon to boiling water.
  3. Once water comes to a simmer, add 1 cup of white rice.
  4. Allow ingredients to simmer for 10-15 minutes; stir occasionally.
  5. Check that rice has absorbed water, then add 1 cup of milk. (Use dairy-free milk as a substitution.)
  6. Add 14 oz of evaporated milk and 7 oz of condensed milk. Continue stirring to prevent rice from sticking to pot.
  7. While stirring, add a pinch of salt. (Optional: toss in a zest of lemon for flavor.)
  8. Do a taste test for sweetness; add more condensed milk if necessary for a sweeter flavor.
  9. Allow pot to boil for 10-15 minutes while stirring occasionally until rice becomes soft.
  10. Remove lemon zest. Check rice and lower heat until ready to be served.
  11. (Optional: garnish dish with a dash of ground cinnamon for an extra kick of flavor!)

From my family to yours, enjoy a traditional Salvadorian dessert with your loved ones this Mother’s Day.

Food & Beverage

How to reduce your food bill and cheap meals

On this episode of the VC Social Podcast, Evelyn speaks about ways to save money on your next grocery shopping trip and cheap meals you can do at home !

Culture & Student Life Food & Beverage

Life Enhancements: Golden Milk

In this episode we go over a simple golden milk recipe to get your day started or ending on a positive note. 

We also go over a couple variations revolving on particular dieting and a variation depending on the time of day you choose to consume.

Life Enhancements: Golden Milk VC Social