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EAT, DRINK & PLAY   -   THE DISH
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We gringos love a reason to party. How else do you explain the popularity of Cinco de Mayo, a holiday commemorating an obscure battle in Mexico, that is celebrated with great vigor in the U.S.?
Every once in a while a new restaurant comes on the scene that has it all: great food, attentive service, a family-friendly environment in a posh atmosphere and all at an affordable price. Well, get ready folks, because New Moon Restaurant is just that kind of place.
You always hear about people who want to make it on Broadway. The heck with that! Make your way to Off Broadway Bistro where every meal is a box office smash!
After 27 years in the Santa Clarita Valley, Le Chene continues to delight a sophisticated gathering of diners who are more than willing to take the road less traveled in order to enjoy what is arguably the best food in the area.
When you were a child your mother probably told you that "it's nice to share." Mother must have been talking about The Sycamore Bar & Grill at Robinson Ranch. Executive Chef Tom McNulty has created a menu of dishes that are just begging to be shared. Generous portions of starters, salads and entrees are perfectly suited to be enjoyed with a companion. The warm, rustic atmosphere of SB&G, with its two indoor fireplaces, expansive view of the golf course, handsome bar and almost den-like seating area with large screen television, invites a long, leisurely stay.
Looking for a sophisticated restaurant with a fabulous menu and wine list but want to stay in the Santa Clarita Valley? Then look no further than Vines Restaurant & Bar at the Hyatt Valencia. Executive Chef Rolf Rothen has dreamed up a new, seasonal menu that is as spectacular as the newly-redecorated dining room. Fresh, in-season vegetables are skillfully paired with the finest cuts of beef, lamb, chicken and fish for entrees that are beautifully presented, inventive and satisfying.
Who needs to drive to Los Angeles for great Thai food? SCV residents don't. We have a great Thai restaurant in our own backyard (Copperhill and Seco, to be exact). Last year, the family-owned Chan Dara restaurant, which has been a favorite L.A. spot for Thai-fusion cuisine for over 30 years, opened up Chan Daretta in North Valencia. It is here in the modern 100-seat restaurant accented with red and gold walls, dark wooden tables and Buddhist statues that Executive Chef Scott Souksavath creates his unique version of Thai food.
Executive Chef Daniel Otto, who has been at the Tournament Players Club's kitchen helm since August 2006, has transformed the country club's restaurant, the Oaks Grille, into a sophisticated dining venue, accented with a stone fireplace, wood-beamed ceiling and a patio (soon to be enclosed) overlooking the golf course and Santa Clarita Valley.
Word of mouth certainly travels fast - especially when it's good news about Piccola Trattoria, the locally owned wine bar/restaurant in Canyon Country. The name is deceiving because this "piccola" (which means "little" in Italian) eating spot is certainly anything but small when it comes to authentic Italian flavor. Whether meeting up with friends for a glass of wine, joining that special someone for a romantic dinner, or even just taking the family out for pizza and pasta, there's something here for everyone.
The Salt Creek Grille at Valencia Town Center has long been known for its welcoming ambiance, good food and convenient location. Now it is also earning the reputation as an upscale steakhouse. Owner Greg Amsler, along with executive chef Ignacio Munoz and sous chef Giovanni Castellanos, have expanded the standard menu to include top quality prime steaks. With two fully stocked bars - one inside and one set to open late fall on the heated outdoor patio - appetizers and martinis would be a fitting way to begin the meal.
Take a trek off the beaten path and you'll find a local gem: Abbey Lane. Hidden in the corner of a small strip mall in the heart of the residential neighborhood of Stevenson Ranch, the casual Abbey Lane Cafe is now offering a new dinner menu to complement its already popular - and delicious - breakfast and lunch fare. Black and white photography of European spots cover its walls. Painted picnic tables interspersed with small mosaic tables and wrought iron chairs evoke a country-French ambiance. The small, intimate space has an appealing, eclectic charm that lends itself to lingering over the food.
Looking for good Mexican food? There's no need to cross the border. You don't even have to leave the SCV. Just head on over to La Cocina Bar & Grill. Once a well-kept secret nestled in the northern end of the Santa Clarita Valley, the word is out. La Cocina (which means "kitchen" in Spanish) seems to be the place to go for margaritas and traditional south-of-the-border fare. Packed nightly with hungry diners, the original location at Seco Canyon and Copperhill has become so popular that the owners have recently opened a second location at the corner of Plum Canyon and Bouquet Canyon Road.
Looking for a great seafood restaurant? Look no further than your own backyard. Mike Beurer runs the family-owned Roast House on Bouquet Canyon. Recently he rolled out an extensive new seafood menu relying on the culinary expertise of Florida transplant (and brother-in-law) Chef Erik McBeth. While still serving the restaurant's signature Prime Rib, Mcbeth also turns out innovative fresh fish and shellfish dishes every night of the week. These delicacies deserve to be tasted - and savored.
"Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels, Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles." Small horses and bells aren't on my shortlist of favorite things (even if they were, I wouldn't admit it here; it's bad enough I allude to a lyric from "The Sound of Music"). But after visiting The German Place on Lyons Avenue, I can now include schnitzel and apple streudel on this list, along with a variety of other dishes I enjoyed at this German eatery in Newhall.
With a melange of influences from Malaysia, China, Spain and even the United States, Filipino food is built upon an interesting melding of cuisines. Despite this wide spectrum of flavors, the melting pot of Filipino food remains distinct from its culinary roots by drawing upon regional and cultural traditions throughout the hundreds, or even thousands, of islands that comprise the Philippine Archipelago. Hundred Islands Grill, a new Filipino restaurant on Bouquet Canyon, masterfully presents this distinctive fare, offering a wonderfully unique gastronomic experience to those of us in the Santa Clarita Valley.
With an established and long-successful location on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, the owners of George's Bistro have expanded and opened a second restaurant of the same name in our very own expanding community. Instead of catering to trendy hipsters and tourists on the Promenade, George's Bistro is now trying to please the palates of SCV residents at its new location on Newhall Ranch Road. With a menu boasting a variety of dishes, George's Bistro offers guests a casual yet diverse dining experience.
It's always a refreshing experience when one's taste buds are liberated from culinary stigmas. Not all Thai food is spicy. Italian food is more than just pizza and pasta. And after sampling El Trocadero Mesquite Steakhouse in Old Town Newhall, some diners may discover that Mexican cuisine can indeed be light and fresh rather than heavy and greasy.
The atmosphere at La Rumba Cuban Restaurant in Saugus can be much like its namesake dance - lively, syncopated, and rhythmic - as the small wait staff shuffles from table to table on busy nights. When I arrived there with my dining group, the fast-paced percussive music played over the restaurant's sound system was almost enough to get us to dance towards our booth.
The Santa Clarita Valley is rich with history. We have Vasquez Rocks on our border and the Oak of the Golden Dream, San Francisquito Dam, William S. Hart Park and Mentryville all within our city limits. Our rapidly growing community has a unique blend of old and new, past and present, that makes our city vibrant with culture and tradition. Our Great Find this month contributes to the history of our valley by being the oldest restaurant in Santa Clarita.
"Buonasera." Good evening. It's the simple Italian phrase diners are greeted with when entering Cavi Cucina Italiana for dinner. Good evening indeed, as diners are sure to enjoy the delectable offerings of simply made, beautifully presented dishes at this new trattoria in Newhall.
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