Food & Beverage

๐Ÿ…ˆ๐Ÿ…„๐Ÿ„ผ, ๐Ÿ…ˆ๐Ÿ…„๐Ÿ„ผ, ๐Ÿ„ต๐Ÿ„ป๐Ÿ„ฐ๐Ÿ„ฝ!

Growing up weโ€™d get invited to birthday parties and when it was time to cut the cake, every time there would be something different paired up with the cake. There would either be some Mexican Jello or flan on the side with the cake. I remember the day I tasted flan for the first time I knew I no longer wanted Jello with my cake. However, I came to learn every flan is made differently, tastes differently, yet still so good. 

One day at my cousin’s birthday party I got some flan and it was amazing. I loved it, so I decided to ask my aunt where she bought it from or who made it. Turns out she had made it, you never know what other skills family members have until youโ€™re taken by surprise. You know when you love the taste of a food so much you want to eat it often, daily if possible? Well I loved the flan so much I asked her to give me the recipe so I could try to make it. She taught my mom and I how to make it. So here we are now, I am sharing this recipe that I learned not that long ago. 

This flan can be paired up with cake on the side or by itself. You can make it for birthday parties, work lunches, even for the holidays for dessert. The best part is it is easy, not too costly, and you can find the ingredients in most stores, in fact you might even have some now in your kitchen. Letโ€™s get started.

๐Ÿง ๐ผ๐“ƒ๐‘”๐“‡๐‘’๐’น๐’พ๐‘’๐“ƒ๐“‰๐“ˆ: ๐Ÿง

  For the top/caramel part: 

  • 1 Cup Sugar 

  For the flan:

  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Spoon of Coffee 
  • 5 Eggs
  • 1 Condensed Milk (Nestle Lechera 14oz)
  • 1 Evaporated Milk (Nestle Carnation 12oz)

  To prepare:

  • 1 Plate
  • Spatula 
  • Blender
  • 1 8-Inch Round Cake Cooking Pan
  • Medium Saucepan 
  • Shallow Baking Dish
  • Aluminum Foil 
  • Water

๐Ÿง ๐““๐“ฒ๐“ป๐“ฎ๐“ฌ๐“ฝ๐“ฒ๐“ธ๐“ท๐“ผ:๐Ÿง

Make caramel (top part golden color of flan)

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar with a spatula, you can increase heat until liquified and golden/caramel color.
  2. Once melted carefully pour the caramel(sugar) into the 8 inch round cake cooking pan and coat the pan with the sugar on the bottom of the pan, and on the sides (most of it should be at the bottom). Let this cool for 5 minutes. 

In the meantime letโ€™s make the flan:

  1. Add the 5 eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk, 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract, and 1 half spoon of coffee to a blender. Blend for 20 seconds until smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture of the eggs, condensed milk, evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and coffee in the pan with the melted sugar(the 8 inch round cake cooking pan). 
  3. Place this pan in a bigger shallow baking dish (can use any big pan as long as you can add a water bath and wonโ€™t overflow). Fill the dish with water halfway on the outside of the pan. 
  4. Place it on the stove. Cover flan with aluminum foil. Leave it on medium low heat for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until you see the center jiggle. 
  5. Remove the pan(flan) from the dish(water bath), remove the foil, and let it cool for about an hour.
  6. After the hour, refrigerate overnight (at least 4 hours) before serving. 
  7. Next day or when ready to serve, check that it hasnโ€™t stuck to the pan, place a plate on top of the flan and flip it so that the caramel/golden side is on top.

And there you have it, cut out a slice, and taste. If you like it as much as I do, make it a second time, a third time, as many times as youโ€™d like. Enjoy some Flan!

Food & Beverage Holiday Cook-off

Cafe de Olla

To me, being Mexican-American means eating complex meals on the holidays, surrounded by family, and talking about life and our favorite Mexico memories while we sip on a delicious mug full of Cafe de Olla.

This deliciously strong, sweet and cinnamon-y drink has been the center of countless conversations with my loved ones. I have sipped on it while my grandparents daydream with me about their childhood memories, their parents and how proud they would have been to have seen us build a life here in the States while still managing to hold onto the most special things Mexico has given us: family, love, memories, food and drinks. 

Making this drink is easier than many people think and the ingredient list is short so, if you would like to talk about life, love and memories with your loved ones this holiday season, this might be the perfect drink to warm up your palms and keep the conversation going.


  • Coffee
  • Water
  • Mexican whole stick cinnamon
  • Piloncillo (sugar will do but this is a block of cane sugar that is sure to give your Cafe de Olla a unique flavor profile)


  • Place however many cups of water you want in a pot and place a stick of Mexican cinnamon in it. Heat on medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes, depending on the amount of water you are choosing to boil.

  • Let the coffee, cinnamon and water come to its boiling point then add piloncillo or sugar to taste.

  • Once the piloncillo or sugar is in, leave on medium-high for 3-5 minutes. Once the time is up, lower the heat to medium/medium-low and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Once the 15-20 minutes are up, take your coffee off the heat and set aside to cool for a couple minutes.
  • Strain into a mug (or a taza de barro like me), and enjoy your delicious cup of coffee! 
    • If you need to add some creamer, add a bit of a hazelnut or original flavor creamer and drink up!

I hope this coffee warms you up like its warmed the hearts of my loved ones for generations and generations!

Please leave us a comment to let us know if you tried this classic Mexican Cafe de Olla.

Culture & Student Life Food & Beverage

Discover the Channel Islands Harbor Farmer’s Market Fall Season Favorites!

Every season has different products, and different products means different booth options for the owners of the booths.

Why it Matters?

Besides the importance of pumpkins in the American tradition of Fall season, why does it matter what products are popular at the moment? It matters a lot to the set up of the market because whatever is popular in the season not only determines what products will be displayed in each booth, but also if the booth owner will earn enough for the season and if the season will be worth it or not.

So What are this Year’s Fall Favorites?

Stay tuned for November 21st when Amy Garcia and I will do a live coverage of the Channel Islands Harbor Farmer’s Market. Amy and I will host this Live Coverage straight from the Market and find out some of the in’s and out’s. During this Live Coverage, we will find out what were this year’s Fall Favorites and reveal to you guys a sneak peek of the Winter Season.

End of the Season

As I mentioned earlier, we are now approaching the end of the Fall season. And though the Fall Season is in full effect, Winter is right around the corner. We will find out how the booth owners as well as the Channel Islands Harbor Farmer’s Market are preparing for the end of the season and what’s to come for the “Holiday” season as the Winter Season is sometimes called.

Food & Beverage

5 Local Coffee Shops to Try for Your Next Study Sesh

As college students, we pride ourselves in our abundant coffee intake and our fascination with studying at coffee shops. While itโ€™s convenient to head to Starbucks and Coffee Bean, the Ventura area is blessed with amazing locally owned coffee shops worth supporting! The pandemic hurt small businesses the most and since weโ€™re going to spend $5 for coffee anyways, it’s better to go to someone local instead of The Man. These insta-worthy cafes have creative menus, delectable pastries and are perfect for studying!

  1. Singing Sun: Across from Ventura High School is a quaint coffee shop following the modern coffee shop trend. While their options are limited, the quality of their coffee is high because they serve Sightglass Coffee, a well-known San Francisco-based coffee roaster. There are different seating options including cafe tables, bar seating and their namesake sunlit window seat. Bonus: Singing Sun is right next door to Timbre books, a cute local bookshop also worth supporting!

Best Drinks: Good Fortune Latte, Oatmilk Mocha, Vanilla Bean Latte, Kombucha on tap

Study Vibes: Limited seating, quiet, some outlets, rarely packed, WiFi

  1. Ragamuffin: With two locations in Oxnard and Newbury Park, Ragamuffin is a local favorite across the county. The Oxnard cafe is located in the Annex at the Collection shopping area. You canโ€™t miss it with the beautiful Ragamuffin mural and neon signage. They actually roast their coffee right there in the corner and it always smells amazing. The baristas are well-trained, their drinks are top notch, and their menu has lots of options. Donโ€™t think of it just as a quick stop coffee shop; grab a bite at one of the take-out places in the Annex and stay for a while. 

Best Drinks: Mexican Mocha, Dirty Chai , Brown Sugar Latte (as recommended by their baristas)

Study Vibes: Indoor seating in the Annex, outdoor seating with sun or shade, no outlets, can be busy, free WiFi

  1. Simoneโ€™s: A longtime Ventura favorite, Simone’s has two locations worth trying in Ventura. Their original location in the Kimball shopping center is smaller but has an extensive menu of drinks, pastries and entrees. Their decor has vintage coffee shop vibes and they have mugs, jewelry and other gift items for sale. (Be sure to check out their ornaments and gift options around Christmas time!) Their new location opened across from CMH and has beautiful, modern decor. This location is a great place to study or meet a friend with their long seating design. Their staff is always friendly and they have a very loyal customer base. 

Best Drinks: Any Seasonal Beverage, Bianco, Frozen lemonades, Smoothies

Study Vibes: Kimball location is small and sometimes loud but offers adequate seating, CMH location perfect for studying, no outlets, WiFi

  1. Cafe Ficelle: If you want to be transported to a parisian bakery, head over to Cafe Ficelle (in Camarillo or across from Pacific View Mall). Known for their artisan pastries, breads and desserts, youโ€™ll feel classy AF enjoying a croissant and espresso drink here. Cafe Ficelle serves Verve coffee, a recognized Santa Cruz coffee brand, and adding a rich flavor to all their drinks! Both locations are ornately decorated with plentiful seating indoors and out. The Ventura cafe has a large community table perfect for group projects and meeting friends. This is one coffee shop that wonโ€™t disappoint!

Best Drink: Butterfly Matcha, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Mocha (all paired with a flaky pastry or macaron, of course!)

Study Vibes: Lots of seating, outlets, WiFi, occasionally loud

  1. Frontside: The newest coffee shop in Ventura is Frontside over on Front St. by Transmission Brewing and Toppers Pizza. This hidden gem is arguably the most instagrammable cafe in the area. The owners are Australian and include Aussie โ€œbrekkieโ€ staples like meat pies and fairy bread on their menu along with your favorite cafe staples. The minimalist beach style of the cafe captures the natural light and at Frontside there are no bad angles. Open Wednesday through Sunday, it can be hard to get a seat, but one always opens up quickly. Check it out for a bright place to study or meet for a lunch date! 

Best Drink: Oatmilk Latte, Hot Chocolate, Drip Coffee

Study Vibes: Plenty of indoor/patio seating, often busy, WiFi

Itโ€™s a win-win! The quality at all of these coffee shops is infinitely better and youโ€™re supporting the local business economy instead of the large corporate chains. So next time youโ€™re going out for coffee, hit a local spot!

Food & Beverage

Fluid State Has the Best Pizza in Ventura

The best pizza in Ventura is not at a pizza joint. Itโ€™s not at an Italian restaurant and it is most certainly not at Costco (in Oxnard).

Believe it or not, the best pizza in town is at a local beer garden on Main Street called Fluid State. 

Fluid State is a modern gastropub that I hear has great drinks, but Iโ€™ve only ever been there for the grub. Their pizza crust is actually sourdough and is โ€œmade with spontaneous and indigenous yeasts, organic flour, EVOO and sea salt.โ€ Anyone obsessed with bread will love the tangy flavor of this dough.

Pizza at Fluid State is generally sold by the slice, and my favorite is the Dr. Pepperoni, which comes with a variety of different cheeses, including fresh mozzarella, aged gouda, and topped with freshly shaved parmesan. Slices and whole pies are served with sides of spicy oil and a super-potent garlic dipping sauce, which I can still taste in the back of my mouth days after my visit.

I hadnโ€™t been to Fluid State since before the pandemic, which means itโ€™s been over a year and a half, and I was afraid that this business might have shut down like so many others, but I was happy to see that they are still there and still make the best darn pizza in Ventura.

Check them out at the info below:

Fluid State
692 E. Main Street, Ventura, CA 93001