Casa Escobedo in Agoura Hills – New Mexican Restaurant Review

Casa Escobedo opened early this summer where The Rabbit Hole used to be.

casa escobedo chips and salsa

 

Simple and delicious. Perfect for a neighborhood Mexican restaurant.

Casa Escobedo opened quietly (well, it opened while I was out of town, so if there was a big fiesta, I missed it) at the northeast corner of Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Lake Lindero Drive in Agoura Hills. Some of my friends had tried it earlier in the summer and they’ve raved about it. I finally got a chance to dine there with my friend Michelle. We met for lunch in their redecorated spacious double-wide storefront restaurant, and I thought the change from The Rabbit Hole to be remarkable.

casa escobedo storefront

The new eatery retains the two-unit nature of its previous occupant, and they’ve added a big rectangular opening in the wall between, opening it up even more. The walls are painted a lighter shade than the dark and cozy atmosphere it used to have, giving Casa Escobedo a bright, airy, welcoming feeling. Authentic-looking Mexican art adorns the walls and the shelves installed in the interior wall’s opening.

casa escobedo kitchen

casa escobedo mexican art

casa escobedo dining room

There are a few tables in the main kitchen area with plenty of seating and tables in the adjacent space. When this place gets packed, I’ll bet it will be a fiesta indeed. For an early lunch on a Friday, though, there was lots of room.

Welcoming Decor, Tasty Food

Kitchen staff and a customer greeted us warmly when we entered, and the woman who took our order and served us was very friendly. She suggested the lunch special, which was 2 soft tacos, rice, and beans for $8.95.  You can choose from carne asada, chicken, or pastor. Our plates looked delicious and simple – adorned only by a a generous sprinkling of cilantro and onions. The salsa served on the side was flavorful but not too spicy. As I recall, we asked for extra.

casa escobedo lunch special

Since it was our first time there, our server said, she wanted us to try the chicken soup. Just one little sample was enough to keep me thinking about that soup for days. The flavor was intense and the soup was obviously homemade. I need to go back and get a big bowl of it, served with corn tortillas.

I tend to like milder flavors, so I was pleased with the simple dish, the Mexican rice, and the beans, but the flavor was on the plain side for my friends. I’m definitely eager to return and try some more dishes, like that soup and the tamales they serve only on Saturdays and Sundays. Casa Escobedo is open every day 9AM to 9PM. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and crepes, flan, or bread pudding for dessert.

Casa Escobedo
30651 Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Agoura Hills, CA 91301

Rumor Confirmed: Dunkin’ Donuts Coming to Westlake Village

 

Neighbors, it is confirmed. Dunkin’ Donuts is coming to Westlake Village!

I might have a tear of joy in my eye as I type this.

dunkin donuts coffee cup

Coming soon!

I received a wonderful voice mail message today from a rep at CBRE, the property management company for North Ranch Gateway, otherwise referred to as the TJ Maxx plaza at Thousand Oaks and Lindero Canyon. We’ve all seen the construction and facelift that plaza is getting. My kids remark on it every day as we drive past, and it’s a source of curiosity for everyone in town.

The rep confirmed that Dunkin’ Donuts will occupy part of the building that once housed Barbecues Galore. (The other part will be a Bank of America.)

Vacancies are filling up at North Ranch Gateway!

The rep also said that a nail salon and a Brazilian grill will be moving into the plaza, and that they’re in talks with some other restaurants as well. Their targeted timeline is to have these businesses open and ready for business by the end of the year or early in 2017. Here is how I feel about this:

I was pretty excited about finally making my pilgrimage to the Santa Monica @DunkinDonuts. #donuts

A photo posted by Kim Prince (@kimtracyprince) on

Stay tuned for more news and information as we get closer to this glorious day. (This post is brought to you only by my lifelong love of their coffee and glazed donuts.)

Get a Taste of Wellness at Four Seasons Westlake Village

The Taste of Wellness package at Four Seasons Westlake Village is a great one-day immersion into the spa and wellness experience at the property’s California Health & Longevity Institute.

yoga four seasons

Yoga class on the lawn at Four Seasons Westlake Village

Did you know that at the Four Seasons Westlake Village there is a whole wellness center? It’s called California Health & Longevity Institute (CHLI) and it’s one more very big reason to visit Westlake and the Four Seasons. CHLI offers medical and dental treatments, nutritionist consultations, healthy cooking classes, dermatology, fitness classes, and so much more that I wasn’t even aware of. People travel from all over to experience their services with top medical professionals in the serene and luxurious surroundings of the Four Seasons property.

Taste of Wellness

Working in partnership, the hotel and CHLI have introduced a new package for guests that introduces you to what the center has to offer. It’s called Taste of Wellness, and it only takes a half a day – or longer if you can spare the time to chill out in the spa or pool when you are done. You can choose from three different themes: Detox + Disconnect, Relax + Recharge, or Shape Up + Slim Down.

Relax + Recharge

The center and hotel invited me to try out Taste of Wellness, and since I was between a long trip and back-to-school coming up, I chose the Relax + Recharge package, which includes:

-Life Strategies Consultation
-Somadome Meditation
-Tranquility Massage

Those words all look great to me, but I didn’t know exactly what it all entailed, so I arrived and checked in near the spa (which is already my happy place) with curious optimism. I had no idea how blown away I was about to become.

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Check into CHLI in the south wing of the hotel, across from The Spa

Life Strategies Consultation

Dr. Ilana Kukoff is a fixer. She’s not a therapist, there to listen to you vent and cry and walk out of her office with puffy eyes, feeling like you got hit by a train, but so much better since you unloaded your problems. No, Dr. Kukoff is there to give you action steps to make your life better. I hadn’t prepared myself for meeting her, since I hadn’t known it was coming. After she introduced herself and described her background (she runs The Center for Child & Family Wellbeing at CHLI, grew up on the east coast like me, and has two grown and successful children, plus a book coming out this fall, etc.) she asked me what I needed help with.

After a moment of thought, I told her about my current crossroads: my older son is going to middle school, my duties as PTA president are over so I have time to work more, but I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up! Dr. Kukoff didn’t miss a beat. She immediately gave me a pad and pen, and said “Write this down. Number 1…” and gave me two pages of action steps that covered not only my career path but also my children’s school challenges, the name of an agent I should meet when I finish my novel, titles of books and magazines I should read, and some quotable bits I’ll have to use in another post!

My head spun pleasantly with all the new ideas in the wake of Dr. Kukoff’s personable energy. At that point I could have used that buzz to work out, because in addition to the services I experienced, the package includes access to daily exercise classes offered by CHLI, like yoga, pilates, cycling, barre, and “Aqua Blast.” Since I had to get back to my children in a few hours, I skipped the exercise. At least, that’s my excuse. Besides, it was time for lunch.

Ahi Poke Bowl

Ahi Poke Bowl

Sustained Living Lunch

The Taste of Wellness naturally includes lunch from the Wellness Kitchen, served in the main dining room at Four Seasons. Menu items were designed by Paulette Lambert, the nutrition director at CHLI and author of the cookbook by the same name (which is really fantastic – I went home with a copy and already made 2 dishes from it, which my whole family loved).

lunch plate four seasons

For lunch during my day at Four Seasons I had the 1, 2, 3 Lunch! entree and chose tomato & burrata salad, the quinoa garden bowl with pistachios and blistered tomato, and, not exactly super healthy but it has fruit, the most incredible peach melba I’ve ever had. The Taste of Wellness package includes non-alcoholic beverages only, but I had to go outside the box and try the Antioxidant Mojito. It’s for the story, right? Conclusion: I heartily recommend.

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Somadome Meditation

After lunch I checked into the spa, which is really just the best place on Earth, and got a locker, a robe, and slippers. The spa clerk showed me to the Somadome, which is a giant futuristic egg stationed in a classically decorated wing of offices around the corner from the spa. The juxtaposition of the plush, cozy room and the new-agey egg was striking.

somadome four seasons

What followed was a 20-minute suspension of reality. Inside the egg, there’s no visual stimulus except for the glowing white interior. I donned headphones and chose the “Success” meditation, during which a calm female voice uttered motivational mantras, echoing herself, over thrumming electronic beats.

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About to meditate in the Somadome

It was super trippy at first, and I had to take photos, too, but after a few minutes I relaxed into it and completely zoned out. Just as the meditation track was ending, the clerk returned and knocked on the egg to transition me back to the ladies’ spa for my massage.

Tranquility Massage

You’re going to get the top of the line at Four Seasons’ Spa no matter what service you choose, but the Tranquility Swedish massage is what comes with this package. It’s a 50 minute relaxing massage with pressure as you like it. I added a foot scrub to it, too, since I’ve been traipsing around in flip flops all summer and my feet needed a little tune-up. My therapist, Roe, was a total pro and I left there feeling relaxed and ready to soak in the spa or lounge by the pool…

…except that whole parenting thing. My time was up and I had to head home. But the food for thought I got from Dr. Kukoff, the meditative state of mind from the Somadome, the relaxed muscles after my massage, and the nourishing food I put in my belly all conspired to give me a peaceful, slightly energized feeling when I got there.

Book Your Taste

I absolutely recommend this experience, especially as you’re gearing up for a change in your life, or you want to kick-start a fitness program or come down from some hard summer partying. If you’re a parent and you can set aside some time once the kids go back to school, a Taste of Wellness day will be perfect!

To book, call 818-575-3000 or visit the hotel’s website here.

The day package is only $299 per person, and it includes everything I mentioned above. That is a slam dunk amazing deal, considering the spa services alone! It would be a really nice gift, too. You can schedule your day as you like with the people who make the reservations – and I would even go so far as to say get your massage before lunch to avoid any unpleasant digestion noises that might embarrass you.

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This package is available to overnight guests, of course, so make it a staycation and keep that pleasant buzz with you all day and night and into the next morning. The Four Seasons Westlake Village feels like a world away from the rest of the area. A stay there is restful and good for the soul.

I experienced Taste of Wellness as a guest of Four Seasons and CHLI. All opinions are my own.