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EAT, DRINK & PLAY   -   THE DISH
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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.
If diners are initially unsure of what to order at the Backwoods Inn in Canyon Country, any uncertainties are usually settled in the parking lot immediately upon arrival. The aromas of mesquite charcoal and charring beef escape the kitchen of this steakhouse and drift outside to greet arriving customers.
When entering Naima Persian Restaurant for the first time, diners will notice an immediate air of sophistication. Burgundy curtains are draped across the restaurant's windows, shielding the strip mall scene outside. Inside, sleekness abounds as tables are shrouded in white tablecloths, in stark contrast to the walls awash in deep hues of red and accented with canvasses of Farsi calligraphy. Jazz is filtered into the small dining space, while the sharply dressed staff promptly tends to your arrival.
Although its name may seem outdated for the New Year, a new Vietnamese restaurant on Lyons Avenue may be just the place to seek warm refuge from the blustery 2006 winter weather outside. At Pho 2005, diners can enjoy traditional Vietnamese noodle soup year-round.
After over 26 years in the same location on Lyons Avenue, one of Santa Clarita's favorite sandwich shops has moved. Fortunately, Final Score Food and Beverage Co. hasn't moved far, just further down Lyons Avenue into a newer and bigger space.
If you can find it, Mom Can Cook Thai Kitchen is a worthwhile adventure in traditional Thai cuisine. Literally out of sight and hidden away at the end of a strip mall on Soledad Canyon Road, Mom Can Cook is a small and secluded restaurant you'll wish you had found sooner.
With the end of summer slowly creeping around the corner, there's no better time than now to satisfy any unfed urges for good barbeque. And aside from maybe your own backyard, there's no better place in Santa Clarita than the Barbeque Club Grill for true down-home barbeque.
Folded neatly into the hustle and bustle of Valencia's Town Center Drive is Origami Bistro and Bar, a new Euro-Asian restaurant that can be added to Santa Clarita's growing list of hip and upscale eateries for the casual diner. With its charm and style, Origami is striving to fit in with (or perhaps stand out from) its downtown neighbors and become a mainstay at the hub of Valencia.
Q: The closest I've been able to get to preparing seafood is sticking fish sticks in the oven. I love eating fish in restaurants, but I'd like to eat it more often for health reasons. I'm scared of everything, from purchasing to preparing. Help!

A: We'll admit it - even these caterers have been intimidated at the fish market. The key to cooking fish is to start simply; pan sauteing with a good accompanying sauce is the perfect place to begin. After all, getting a hot pan sauce and hot fish on the table at the same time isn't so easy because fish cools down quickly.
With the recent success of "Sideways," last years surprise movie hit, everyone is thirsting to know anything and everything about wine. And whether you're a Paul Giametti at heart or not, this month's Great Find is the answer to all your wine loving dreams.
Nestled away among the oak trees along a stretch of Sierra Highway lies what appears to be a small, stone-cobbled castle. As strange as the existence of a castle may be in Santa Clarita, even stranger may be the existence of a fine French restaurant in Santa Clarita. In fact, both anomalies are one and the same at Le Chene French Cuisine: an unexpected French dining destination in Sleepy Valley.
Backwards baseball caps and t-shirts that read "I Love Dead Fish" aren't usually the standard garb for serious sushi chefs. But at Light & Healthy Sushi Bar on Lyons Avenue in Newhall, the seriousness of the restaurant is where it should be: in its fresh, top-quality sushi. In fact, the casual attire behind the sushi bar is all part of the charm at this no-frills restaurant, where substance over style is the key ingredient.
Since the opening of Mojito in late September of 2004, foodies and gourmands from all over Santa Clarita have slowly but surely been flocking to this new Caribbean-Cuban restaurant in Valencia. Serving forth haute cuisine in a chic setting, Mojito provides a gastronomic combination that has not been very prevalent in Santa Clarita, but was a necessary indulgence for the growing tastes of our ever-expanding community.
A panache version of "Cheers" is a good way to describe one of Santa Clarita's smoothest (but accessible) night-spots, The Social. This upscale "neighborhood" restaurant/bar, located in the old Chiaso building in Newhall, is a lot like the community's newest residents - classy, but with a wild side. The Social's owners have capitalized on the SCV's newest craving: fun but sophisticated places to enjoy good food, company, and libations without the kids. Less successful attempts at capturing the mood that draws young (and young at heart) professionals looking for a great time out have been made, but owners Patrick Lage, along with brothers Scott and Billy Bartholomew, have gotten it right. It's time to call a babysitter.
"Bada bing." Maybe not a phrase that rings with authenticity in Santa Clarita, but coming from implant Dick Lee, former New Jersey night club owner, it's a perfect description of co-owner Lee's newest venture: The Roast House Restaurant and Bar. With his two sons, Mike and Beau, the trio of East Coast restaurateurs are already making quite an impact on our little So Cal town.
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