Culinary Caravan

Posted online: January 2016

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By Jennifer Blaise Kramer Photographs by Paige Keyser and Wil Fernandez, Central Coast Wine & Food

On a warm night in Ojai, guests sip spiked South American iced tea under strung lights. The patio of Tipple & Ramble looks more like a neighbor’s bohemian backyard than a home store, especially with chef Diego Felix—who is garnering buzz all over the globe for his friendly, food-focused events—at the helm. Along with his wife, Sanra, his team, COLECTIVO FELIX, zigzags between Buenos Aires, New York, and California, hosting private dinners and creative pop-ups full of Latin American flavors and local ingredients. “In Buenos Aires, I focused entirely on vegetables and seafood, which made me unique in Argentina. However, in my first weeks in Ojai, I stumbled upon a local family-owned butcher, Watkins, who raises and butchers their own cows. Their meat was so good I had to use it,” Diego says. “I also wanted to branch out and start using meat because I have been focusing on only seafood for almost 10 years.”

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The rustic outdoor space at TIPPLE & RAMBLE.

Centering this dinner around traditional Argentine grilled skirt steak, Diego added a twist with “kimchimichurri,” which melds Argentine chimichurri with a kimchi fermentation technique he “relearned” in Los Angeles. “I wanted to have a digestive element to go with the heavy meat. I am really interested in the nutritional value and effect that the food we eat has on our bodies,” he says.

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Using a surplus of local, organic red peppers from Mano Farms, Felix stuffed them with fish and corn and then roasted them before plating them atop a chamomile-infused sauce. “I love using herbs like chamomile, which have medicinal purposes,” he says.

The Argentina-meets-Ojai mash-up vibe went on with pixie tangerine oil, a local Riverbench wine pairing, and a finale of dulce de leche gelato—an homage to traditional Argentine gelato. Says Felix: “Our job is to get people together to celebrate life through good wine and creative food that represents where we are.”

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Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 4.51.06 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-10 at 4.51.28 PM[Winter 2016]

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