22nd Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival was HOT HOT HOT

The SoCal summer heat sizzled in the morning as we began our trip to Oxnard, CA. We seem to be spending a lot of time in Oxnard this year with the Hamburger and Hops Festival, California Strawberry Festival, and using Oxnard as our hotel base for our trip to Santa Barbara. It was much cooler in Downtown Oxnard when we arrived at 10am.

As the salsa judges gathered at The Kitchen, Cathie Moreno and company began our judges’ panel to score and rate 30 amateur salsas submitted for the recipe contest. Our staples were Mission TortillaChips for dipping and sour cream for soothing, especially for the Hot category. After two hours of tasting and deliberation with fellow judges: Oxnard Police Chief Jeri Williams, Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Ramirez, Rabobank Oxnard Vice President Virginia Espinoza, and others, the winners were chosen in these categories:

Great Oxnard Salsa Challenge 2015 – Amateur Division Winners:
  • Best Red – Victor Franco
  • Best Green – Victor Franco
  • Best Specialty/Fruit – Don Colwell
  • Best Hot – Victor Franco’s Red Salsa
  • Best Medium – Daniel Takahara
  • Best Mild – Mark Litwinczyk
  • Judges’ Choice – Victor Franco’s Red Salsa

Great Oxnard Salsa Challenge 2015 - Professional Division Winners (These winners were chosen by separate group of judges.):
  • Best Red – BG’s Café’s House Red Salsa
  • Best Green – Vallarta Supermarkets’ Habanero Salsa
  • Best Specialty/Fruit – The Kitchen’s Strawberry Salsa
  • Best Hot – El Dorado Restaurant’s Dora Roccotto Salsa
  • Best Medium – Margarita Villa’s House Red Salsa
  • Best Mild – BG’s Café’s House Red Salsa
  • Judges’ Choice – Margarita Villa’s House Red Salsa
  • People’s Choice – Tresierras Market’s Aguacate Salsa

Once the judging was over, it was lunch time. But with all of the chips and salsa that we just ate, lunch was the last thing on our mind. We decided to walk the festival instead.

The Salsa Tasting Tent was buzzing with people tasting salsas from BG’s Café, Brothers Gourmet Jams & Jelly, Chehalem Ridge Brands, Del Real Foods, Desert Smoke BBQ, El Dorado Mexican Restaurant, El Oaxaco Restaurant, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, Ghost Screen Hot Sauce, the kitchen, La Dolce Vita Ristorante, La Fonda Del Rey, Mana Vega’s Products, Margarita Villa, Naked Infusions, Rootz, Tomas Café, Tresierras Supermarkets, Vallarta Supermarkets, and Whole Foods Market. The tasting included a bag of Mission Tortilla Chips and 10 tasting tickets.

Maruchan was giving away ramen and their cup/bowl products. The ramen tastes just like I remember it. I like to cook my ramen al dente for some texture. The beef soup is beefy and salty. The Chicken Bowl is delicious! Not as salty as the ramen plus it comes with vegetables like the Instant Lunch cup.

Del Real Foods had their prize wheel spinning. I won a stadium cup and some coupons. Their carnitas is muy bueno!

The food court was filled with so many choices, mostly Mexican cuisine based. Everything from roasted chicken, lemonade, strawberry nachos, fish and chips, smoothies, tacos, burritos, etc. could be found there.

Needing a break from the heat, we headed down to the Channel Islands Harbor. With the fresh, cool sea air and sea lions barking, seafood was in order for a late lunch.

Sea Fresh was the perfect spot. The covered patio got us out of the sun while allowing the sea breeze to cool us off. Our view of the marina included the Hampton Inn Channel Islands Harbor across the water where we had stayed the weekend before. We ordered the fish and chips – one with halibut and the other with salmon – and tall, ice cold sodas. The fish was cooked perfectly with succulent fish on the inside and crispy, tempura-like texture on the outside. The fries were also crispy and golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside. I loved the salmon and chips and will definitely get them again. What a great ending to another lovely day in Oxnard, CA.

For more information to plan ahead for next year:
Plaza Park
Fifth and B Streets
Oxnard, CA, United States