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The Ranch House Ojai

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

From page 32 of Sunset Eating up the West Coast: The best road trips, restaurants, and recipes from California to Washington.

By Brigit Binns

Published April 28th, 2015

The Ranch House has remained virtually the same for decades. Why then does it not feel dated? In fact, it may be the most perfect place for a date in this entire book. More marriage proposals have taken place at table 101 than anyone can count (the award winning-wine cellar may help with this). Random tall stands of bamboo make many of the tables into idyllic islands of their own, and little ponds teem with koi as big as dachshunds - and almost as feisty. Small, arched bridges over the ponds are perfect for posing upon. ("Honey did you bring the camera?")

Alan Hooker - member of the Theosophical Society in Ojai - tried to open this former boardinghouse as a vegetarian restaurant in 1953, but it didn't fly. He famously asked Krishnamurti (the philosopher who'd led the society), "What shall I do?" Krishnamurti responded, "Do you want to stay in business? Then it's okay to serve fish and meat." So in 1958, he did, and the restaurant has been open ever since. It's a

quintessentially California story. And restaurant.

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