Sunday, October 21, 2007

Donuts and Mariscos in Moorpark

We headed to Moorpark this weekend for our annual visit to Underwood Family Farms to pick out a pumpkin. Sure we could have bought a pumpkin at any number of LA spots, but the farm is similar to the LA County Fair in that it is a place for urban kids who think of feral cats and pigeons as wildlife to see livestock, hay and people in cowboy hats.

I was skeptical of the chance for reportable eats, but there are actually a few good finds in the MP.

On the Underwood grounds, hungry pumpkin pickers can snack on Tia's Fresh Mini Donuts. The popular stand fries bite-sized donuts to order, topped with either powdered sugar or sugar/cinnamon. There's just nothing like fresh donuts and these have a nice little kick of nutmeg. They also cook up fresh potato chips that look good, but the donuts met my fry quotient for the day (see Mom, I have a fry quotient), so I abstained.

After observing livestock (emus, who knew?), eating mini doughnuts and picking out some good pumpkins, we set out for food and stumbled upon Mariscos San Felipe at the corner of Moorpark and Los Angeles Avenues in "downtown" Moorpark. The homey restaurant shares a building with a psychic, which I assume means they knew we were coming.

Mariscos San Felipe was a pleasant surprise in what we had feared was a culinary wasteland. It's a great little Mexican seafood joint with a similar rural/country feel to Mexican seafood joints I'd been to in east Texas. The place has only been open for about a year, and the staff had a down-home friendly feel that also reminded me of Texas.

I ordered octopus, scallops and shrimp al ajillo, which were sauteed with dried red ajillo peppers. The tangy, smoky ajillo skins combined well with the seafood, especially the octopus, which soaked up all of the ajillo flavor. The richness of the seafood and tang of the dried pepper was a perfect counterpoint. The seafood medley was served over rice, which further soaked up the rich ajillo. All courses were started with a vegetable soup in a succulent chicken broth.

In December Underwood Farms switches from pumpkins to Christmas trees. I've never been for that, but I may head up, just to get another meal at Mariscos San Felipe.

Mariscos San Felipe
50 Moorpark Ave. (at Los Angeles Ave.)
Moorpark, CA


Anonymous said...

This brings back memories of autumn trips to the cider mill when I was a kid. In addition to watching the cider presses, we could also watch the doughnuts being made, then sample them fresh. Soooo delicious.

sku said...

Raven, that sounds great...where was that?

Anonymous said...

Near my grandmother's house in Ridgewood, New Jersey. I can't for the life of me remember what the cider mill was called, though.

Later we found another, similar cider mill closer to home in Maryland, but sadly it's now closed.