Huarache Xpress at the Simi Valley Town Center

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Huarache Xpress opened at east end of the Simi Valley Town Center in March. A huarache (pronounced WAR-A-CHAY) is large, thick, handmade corn tortilla with beans inside, topped with things like onions, lettuce, meat (carne asada, chicken, carnitas, al pastor, chorizo, etc.), cheese, avocado, sour cream and more. Other specialties include quesadilla, burritos, tacos, enchiladas and more.

Visit or call 805.422.8858.

Surf Boba Opened Last Weekend at the Simi Valley Town Center


Surf Boba opened this past weekend at the Simi Valley Town Center in the former home of Jamba Juice (n the east end of the mall, across from Coconut Crab and California Pizza Kitchen), offering smoothies, frappes, milk teas, blends, wraps, sandwiches, salads and more. Learn more at

SpireWorks Modern Döner in Westlake Village Has Closed Its Doors


Nessa M gave us the heads up viia the Conejo Valley Guide Facebook page that SpireWorks Modern Döner at the Westlake Plaza in Westlake Village has closed its doors. SpireWorks opened in July 2018.

Prior occupants of this space next to La Pain Quotidien have included Big Fish Poke and Ice Cream Lab since March 2015.

What’s next? We shall see.

25th Anniversary Ventura Music Festival Lineup Announced for July 2019



25th Annual Festival to Feature World-Class Artists, including The Summit: Manhattan Transfer meets Take 6, Ranky Tanky, Calidore String Quartet and more this summer

Each year, the Ventura Music Festival fills venues across the city with top-tier music for two weekends of multi-genre music, dance performances and world-class culture. This summer, the festival is returning with a lineup that promises to be bigger and better than ever. Headlined by the one and only The Summit: Manhattan Transfer meets Take 6 with support by world class acts such as classical guitar virtuoso Christopher Parkening with extraordinary baritone Jubilant Sykes, the thrilling Rastrelli Cello Quartet and many others, the festival has something for every musical taste.

In the hands of renowned conductor and Ventura Music Festival Artistic Director Nuvi Mehta, the 2019 musical lineup consists of:

7/12: Festival headliners and acclaimed vocal groups are The Summit: The Manhattan Transfer meets Take 6 as the renowned groups join forces to wow audiences at the Oxnard PACC

7/13: Celebrated guitarist Christopher Parkening joins renowned baritone Jubilant Sykes in a recital ranging from classical and jazz to American spirituals at the Ventura College Performing Arts Center

7/14: Calidore String Quartet brings “synergistic brilliance and ferocious commitment” to the Ventura College Performing Arts Center

7/19: Youth jazz pianist star-on-the-rise and “brightest light” Joey Alexander at the Ventura College Performing Arts center

7/20: Ranky Tanky brings Gullah culture and “soulful honey for the ears” through a prism of African, gospel and R&B music at the Ventura College Performing Arts Center

7/21: Rastrelli Cello Quartet’s “simply infectious” musical sizzle at the Ventura College Performing Arts Center

Additionally, the festival will host a “Tea & Trumpets” at the Ventura Pierpont Inn, where guests will enjoy a four-course English tea with the Festival Brass Quintet’s hallmark wit, humor and fanfare on 7/11, as well as a free public concert with high octane Latin guitar ensemble Incendio at Mission Park in Ventura on 7/18. For times, updates and more details in the coming months, follow the festival on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

The 25th annual Ventura Music Festival will take place on July 11-14 and July 18-21, 2019 at the Ventura College Performing Arts Center, located at 4700 Loma Vista Road, Ventura unless otherwise noted above. Tickets will range in price from $25-$50 (special student rates excepted) and will be available for purchase in April.

For more information please visit or call (805) 648-3146.

For those who can’t wait until July, VMF’s silver anniversary celebration is starting sooner than ever: lauded piano duo Anderson & Roe played at the Ventura College Performing Arts Center on February 9th. On May 10th, Lithuanian “rock stars of chamber music” NICO (New Ideas Chamber Orchestra) will be lighting up the VCPAC’s stage. Tickets for both events are on-sale now.

Since 1994, the mission of the Ventura Music Festival has been to bring world-class music to the community, foster audience-artist relationships, and enhance the joy of music through diverse programs for all ages. VMF seeks to create an inclusive, welcoming environment in which people both see and hear themselves reflected in the music.

SoCal Museums Announces New Creature Crawl Summer Activity For Families


SoCal Museums announces its summer Creature Crawl, an activity for kids and families that lets them explore the many museums that currently have animal-themed exhibitions on view. Participants can collect puzzle pieces at each of the five participating museums and use them to create a mythical beast that kids can design and color. Families can upload their creations to and win prizes for their work at the end of the summer.

Creatures featured include fabled unicorns in medieval manuscripts at the Getty Center, a beautiful garden of butterflies at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, dinosaurs from Antarctica at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and much more.

With support from UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, kids at the hospital who are unable to travel to the museums will receive their own package of activities so that they can also participate in the fun.

UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital is the Presenting Sponsor for Creature Crawl. PBS SoCal is the Media Sponsor for Creature Crawl. Check museum websites for individual hours and admission.

On view at Creature Crawl museums this summer:

Getty Center

Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World

Through August 18, 2019 | @GettyMuseum

Explore the throngs of animals that tumble, soar, and race through the pages of the bestiary, a popular medieval book that describes the beasts of the world. Through vibrant and fascinating images, the pages of these bestiaries will bring creatures to life before your eyes – with some escaping from the pages to inhabit the Getty's galleries! Pick up your creature's head at the Museum Information Desk. The Getty is always free.

Los Angeles Zoo

Ongoing - Summer Creature Features | @LAZoo

Explore the L.A. Zoo and discover thousands of creatures with remarkable features, Iike purple-tongued giraffes, pink-and-preening flamingos, super-floofy golden lion tamarins, and fabulous neon-colored frogs. Along the way, you'll do more than just see these animals, many of which are endangered. You'll get a glimpse of the world through their eyes and, thanks to daily keeper-led presentations, you'll understand more about them. Best of all, your visit will help save them, by supporting vital conservation work. Pick up your creature's back frog legs in the International Marketplace gift shop.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Antarctic Dinosaurs

Through January 5, 2020 | @NHMLA

Gear up for the expedition of a lifetime! Follow the footsteps of past and modern-day paleontologists who excavate fossils beneath Antarctic ice and stone. Discover hands-on activities, specimens, and media touch screens that reveal what these science adventures are really like. Be transported back millions of years to the warmer habitat where exotic dinosaurs lived, including the 25-foot-long, cold-crested Cryolophosaurus! Pick up your creature's body at the Museum Store.


La Brea Tar Pits

Ongoing - Mammoths and Mastodons | IG: @TheLaBreaTarPits

The museum at the Tar Pits is experiencing a takeover of mammoth proportions. Discover these magnificent beasts from the Ice Age in a whole new way. Get up close to La Brea's real fossils as well as new life-sized replicas. Take part in interactive experiences that will give you a hands-on understanding of the science behind excavating and analyzing these fascinating creatures.

Please note, the creature puzzle piece is only available at the Natural History Museum, not at the La Brea Tar Pits.

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

Butterflies Alive!

Through September 2, 2019 | @SBNature

Walk through a beautiful garden while nearly 1,000 live butterflies flutter freely around you. The exhibit features a dazzling variety of butterflies, from local favorites to exotic tropical varieties. Learn about the Iife cycle and behavior of these spectacular invertebrates while observing them up close. Built in 2018, the Sprague Butterfly Pavilion features plants butterflies love and comfortable spots to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. Pick up your creature's butterfly wings at the Museum Admissions Office.


Prehistoric Forest

Through September 2, 2019

Take a stroll back in time and come face-to-face with dinosaurs on the banks of Mission Creek! Meet a Tyrannosaurus rex, the formidably armored Stegosaurus, high-crested Parasaurolophus, and Triceratops and Ankylosaurus mamas with their young. These hand-crafted moving animatronics spark the imaginations of dinosaur lovers of all ages. Pick up your creature's butterfly wings at the Museum Admissions Office.

Skirball Cultural Center

Ongoing - Noah's Ark at the Skirball™ | @Skirball_LA

From your first sight of the floor-to-ceiling Ark to a close-up encounter with a whimsically designed creature, Noah's Ark is sure to spark wonder no matter how old you are. You'll play, climb, build, and explore aboard the Ark, and you'll leave with a greater appreciation for the value of building community and caring for the world. Make memories that will last a lifetime — this summer at the Skirball. Pick up your creature's front zebra legs in the Rainbow Gallery at the conclusion of your visit to Noah's Ark.

SoCal Museums (SCM) is a group of marketing and communications professionals from museums all over Southern California. The mission of the organization is to foster dialogue between marketing and communications museum professionals in Southern California in order to learn from each other, network, conceptualize and execute ways to increase visitation to and awareness of museums in Southern California, and develop collaborative opportunities between museums.

UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital cares for the physical and emotional well-being of children, from newborns to young adults, providing critically ill children with sophisticated, compassionate care in an environment that is both welcoming and healing to children and their families.

The mission of the UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital is to provide state-of-the art treatment for children in a family focused atmosphere, as well as conduct research that improves the understanding and treatment of pediatric diseases and to train the next generation of leaders in pediatrics.

PBS SoCal is the primary PBS station for more than 18 million people across six diverse Southern California counties, and a content channel of the Public Media Group of Southern California, formed by the 2018 merger of PBS SoCal and KCETLink Media Group. Our Mission is to foster a love of LEARNING, CULTURE and COMMUNITY using the power of public media.

2019 Dallas Cowboys Training Camp in Oxnard in July and August

The Dallas Cowboys are heading back to River Ridge Playing Fields in Oxnard at 2101 West Vineyard Avenue (next to the Marriott Residence Inn Oxnard River Ridge) again this year for 2019 pre-season training camp!


Admission is FREE, no tickets needed. "Cowboys on Tour" trucks, team merchandise and Hall of Fame trailers will be at the site throughout camp. Parking opens at 11am and the "Midway" opens at noon.

Training schedule will be posted at  

2019 Schedule

  • Sat 7/27 - Opening Ceremonies

  • Sun 7/28 - Practice

  • Mon 7/29 - Practice (Military Appreciation Day)

  • Tue 7/30 - Practice

  • Wed 7/31 - No Practice

  • Thu 8/1 - Practice

  • Fri 8/2 - Practice

  • Sat 8/3 - Practice

  • Sun 8/4 - Blue/White Scrimmage

  • Mon 8/5 - No Practice

  • Tue 8/6 - Practice (First Responders Appreciation Day)

  • Wed 8/7 - Practice

  • Thu 8/8 - Practice (Military Appreciation Day)

  • Fri 8/9 to Sun 8/11 - No Practice

  • Mon 8/12 - Practice

  • Tue 8/13 - Practice

  • Wed 8/14 - Practice

  • Thu 8/15 - No Practice

Parking lot opens at 11:30 am for 4 pm practices and 7:30 am for 10:30 am practices. 

Parking at River Ridge Playing Fields is $10 weekdays for small vehicles (oversized vehicles are usually $5 more) and $15 on weekends for all vehicles. FREE parking passes will be provided to registered guests staying in an Oxnard hotel.  Let the front desk know that you are attending Camp when you check in. One parking pass will be provided for each day of your stay.

No bicycles, backpacks (small diaper bag ok), coolers, ice chests, outside food and pets. No strollers in the bleacher area. No tailgating or alcohol allowed.

The World's Largest Rodents - Two Female Capybaras - Back at the Santa Barbara Zoo


Two young capybaras are back at the Santa Barbara Zoo after a four-year absence of the world’s largest rodents from the Zoo. The sisters, who are less than one year old, share an exhibit near the Zoo Train Station with the Zoo’s three female giant anteaters.

The two female capybaras were born August 5, 2018 at the Greater Vancouver Zoo, where they were hand-raised after their mother passed away. A total of five siblings were hand-raised.

“They don’t have names yet, but do have personalities,” said Melanie Story, the mammal keeper who has cared for them during their 30-day quarantine. “The one that is currently lighter in color is more comfortable around people and braver in new situations, even though they were both hand-reared. But they are still not mature and it will be exciting to see how they change as they grow.”

A temporary fence currently separates the capybara from the giant anteaters, and keepers are making careful introductions in hopes that the two species will co-inhabit the exhibit in the future.

The Zoo’s adult female giant anteater Anara is currently on exhibit with her female twins, Fancy Nancy Drew and Maria Luisa, who were born at the Zoo in November 2017. The Zoo’s male giant anteater Ridley has his own quarters but will soon return to the adjacent exhibit, which was most recently occupied by two koalas who were on a one-year loan. Adult male giant anteaters do not interact with females unless they are breeding.

The sister capybaras, like many of the animals at the Zoo, can be sponsored and even named by making a donation to the Santa Barbara Zoo’s Foster Feeder fund which covers the cost of the animal food bill at the Zoo each year. For more information, contact the Zoo’s Institutional Advancement Department for details at 805-962-5339 or visit

About Capybaras

They have been called “swamp hogs” and “water pigs,” but capybaras are more closely related to guinea pigs than actual pigs – they are rodents. Adult capybaras can weigh as much as 150 pounds and stand as tall as 2.5 feet. They come from Central and South America where they live near standing water like riversides, ponds, and marshes.

Capybaras are most active on land, but are also skilled and graceful swimmers. Their feet are partially-webbed (like otters’ or beavers’) which allows them to dive deep and swim underwater for long distances. Water is also where capybaras prefer to defecate; they rarely “go” on land.

Just like fellow rodents such as porcupines and squirrels, capybaras’ long front teeth continue to grow throughout their lifetime. The teeth tend to wear down from chewing food, but some older capybaras end up with very long teeth. Like camels, they chew from side-to-side, and like cows, they regurgitate their food to re-chew it.

Animal experts generally agree that in recent years it has become increasingly difficult to find this shy and sometimes nocturnal animal in the wild. Deforestation and habitat destruction are factors, and until recently, hunting and poaching as a food source contributed to their decline. New captive farming programs have helped relieve poaching.

The Santa Barbara Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; general admission $18 for adults, $13 for seniors 64+, $11 for children 2-12, and free for children under 2. Parking is $11. The Santa Barbara Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). AZA zoos are dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great visitor experience, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and is the public’s link to helping animals in their native habitats. Visit

Watch Endangered California Condor Chick in the Hills Above Fillmore Live on "Condor Cam"

People across the world can get up-close-and-personal with an endangered California condor chick in real-time through live streaming video of a cliff-side nest in a canyon on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Ventura County.

California condor chick #980 hatched on April 10. Its parents are nine-year-old female condor #563 and 19-year-old male condor #262. This is the pair’s first nesting attempt together and their first year on the livestreaming Condor Cam as a pair. This is female condor #563’s second attempt at raising a chick, and the chick’s father, condor #262, fledged one other chick in the past with a previous mate.

Followers of the California Condor Cam watched a chick hatch live in the wild for the first time in history from another cliff-side nest on Hopper Mountain NWR in 2015. Since then, livestreaming video of California condor chicks have gained worldwide attention – attracting hundreds of thousands of viewers from all over the world.

Female California condor 563 stands over her newly hatched chick on April 10 in a nest cavity now fitted with a live-streaming video camera in the Pole Canyon area of the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. Bluish colored egg fragments are visible. Credit: Pacific Southwest Region USFWS.

Female California condor 563 stands over her newly hatched chick on April 10 in a nest cavity now fitted with a live-streaming video camera in the Pole Canyon area of the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. Bluish colored egg fragments are visible. Credit: Pacific Southwest Region USFWS.

“Today’s technology allows researchers like us to observe nests in remote locations without having to trek into the backcountry and wait for days, sometimes weeks, at observation blinds for a glimpse of the condors,” says Dr. Estelle Sandhaus, the Santa Barbara Zoo’s director of conservation and science. “With this live stream, the public can share in the thrill of seeing these rare and highly endangered birds care for their chick, and follow its development before it takes its first flight. What was once only seen by a few scientists is now available to anyone with an internet connection.”

In California, wild condors nest, roost or fly in the mountains of Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Kern, Tulare and Fresno counties, and the western Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The 2018 nesting season was a record-breaking one, with 12 nests in the mountains of Ventura, Santa Barbara and Kern counties. Six of those nests were successful, the most ever in the Southern California flock.

“The success of last year’s nesting season was really monumental for the condor recovery program and a testament to the hard work of all the partners involved in this effort,” said Nicole Weprin, wildlife biologist with the Service’s California Condor Recovery Program. “We’re hopeful for another successful nesting season this year, and thrilled that the public can share in our excitement by watching the Condor Cam.”

The number of California condors dropped dramatically in the mid-20th century, leading the Service to designate the species as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. By 1982 there were only 22 of the iconic birds left in the wild. Today, due to intensive, ongoing captive breeding and recovery efforts led by the Service in conjunction with multiple public and private partners, the California condor population has grown to just under 490 birds worldwide, with more than half of the population flying free.

Today the number one killer of California condors is lead poisoning, caused by condors feeding on carcasses containing lead bullet fragments. Peer-reviewed research shows that lead poisoning is a serious health problem for both wildlife and humans, and the Service is working with partner organizations and the hunting community as it transitions to the use of non-lead ammunition alternatives. Hunters are continuing their proud tradition of wildlife conservation by using these non-lead alternatives.

Another threat specific to condor chicks is “micro trash.” Micro trash are small coin-sized trash items such as, nuts, bolts, washers, copper wire, plastic, bottle caps, glass, and spent ammunition cartridges. Condor parents collect these items and feed them to their chick, which can cause serious problems with the chick’s development. While it is not completely understood why this occurs, many biologists believe that the condor parents mistake these items for pieces of bone and shell which provides a source of calcium if fed to the chick.

Conservation efforts toward the recovery of the California condor are achieved only through partnerships amongst federal and state agencies, together with private landowners and organizations. The Pole Canyon Condor Cam is made possible through access provided by private landowners, and through the financial and technical support of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Santa Barbara Zoo, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, and Friends of California Condors Wild and Free.

"The condor cams are unlike any other offering on the internet. Each year we've streamed from a different site and pair, and the differences among all these nests and individuals have given viewers a unique opportunity to understand more of the richness and variability of the condor's life history,” said Charles Eldermire, Cornell Lab Bird Cams project leader. “That's not just good for viewers—it's good for the condors, too.”

To watch the Condor Cam, visit:

For answers to frequently asked questions about the nest cam, the parents and the chick, visit:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit or connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at

The Santa Barbara Zoo is located on 30 acres of botanic gardens and is home to more than 500 individual animals in open, naturalistic habitats. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), representing the highest level of animal care, and participates in AZA cooperative programs for endangered species including Asian elephant, California condor, Channel Island fox, and Western lowland gorilla, among others. Visit

The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology (WFVZ) is both a natural history collection specializing in eggs and nests of birds from all over the world, and a research and education institution dedicated to studying and teaching about the conservation of the world’s bird species. The WFVZ has contributed information to thousands of research projects since its inception in 1956. Visit us at, and on Facebook and Instagram.