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EAT, DRINK & PLAY   -   WHAT TO ORDER NOW
Eat, Drink & Play
January, 2012 - Issue #87
EAT
Regular readers know that we have a thing for Salt Creek Grille (and, by "thing," we mean obsession). This casual but refined restaurant has been an SCV mainstay; it's the place you go when you simply must be guaranteed exceptional food, great service and a good time. But even though they've been around before the Cross Valley Connector was even a twinkle in our eye, SCG knows how to keep things fresh. Three 60-inch HD flatscreen TVs have been added for your viewing pleasure (one in the bar and two on the patio), a new menu was recently released that features super-delish, healthier options, and they've just announced a fun holiday lineup of events.

On Christmas Eve: In addition to the regular dinner menu, SCG offers a special Surf & Turf option (Peppercorn New York Steak & Jumbo Shrimp).

On New Year's Eve: Dave Ford & the Last Set play live while diners celebrate with a special menu including our favorite appetizer - Baked Brie & Raspberry En Croute Served with Lavash Chips. They will be passing out party favors and complimentary champagne toast at midnight; 222-9999

When we were in high school, The Odyssey was the place our dates took us when the stakes were high - and our gents really wanted to impress. When we grew older, we revisited the classic restaurant and lovely grounds for friends' weddings and banquet celebrations. And now we just want to go there to party - at least on New Year's Eve! Odyssey gives you two fab choices on the last night of the year. Celebrate in the Athena Ballroom for $78 per person, including a fabulous spread of shrimp cocktail, Italian, French and Mediterranean cuisines, carving stations, an elaborate dessert display, DJ, balloon drop and champagne toast - or step it up into the Apollo Ballroom. There you'll nosh on delicacies like Petit Beef Wellington, Blue Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, Lobster Tail, Filet Mignon, Roast Prime Rib and more - plus a complimentary glass of wine, champagne toast and live band - all for $99 per person. But before then, bring the whole family to enjoy a Christmas Eve Buffet from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. ($36.95/$15.95 adults/kids) or the Christmas Day Champagne Brunch Buffet from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. ($34.95/$15.95). Each meal will consist of a fresh selection of Odyssey salads, carving stations, made-to-order entrees and a to-die-for dessert spread (literally - our fave sweet is called Chocolate Suicide. And our kids can't wait for the Christmas Day chocolate fountain!); 818-366-6444

There's a reason that even English-only speakers can sing the words to "Feliz Navidad" - because Christmas is more spicy in Spanish! As Christmas grows closer, Margaritas Mexican Grill has the answer: Fiesta Packs. Each cleverly-coined pack is sold by the dozen - and you only need to give the chefs at Margaritas 30 minutes notice before you drop by to pick them up! A friendly server will tell you the current - and always yummy - fiesta-pack options over the phone. And if outsourcing the New Year's Day meal is on your list, why not dine in? Margaritas Champagne Brunch runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is famously delish; 255-1136

Yummy Gifts that Keep on Giving
Give -and Get -this Holiday Season

In only a year, Wokcano has already established itself as a premier dining location (and the convenience can't be beat - it's located at the southwest entrance of the Westfield Valencia Town Center). Take a reprieve from "mall madness" and relax within the restaurant's chic dark-grey exterior. Then gift yourself with a $20 certificate of your very own when you purchase $100 or more in gift cards; 288-1913

Sometimes it's just as nice to receive as it is to give! For a limited time, each $25 worth of Coldstone gift card purchases earns you a free Love-it Signature ice cream creation at the Coldstone Creamery location on McBean Parkway; 253-4123

DRINK
At first we didn't know much about Gameday Grille & Sports Bar. As a member of the "mommy crew," meals out are either for "date night" or are punctuated by paper napkins and disposable tableware. How would this new restaurant fit into our repertoire? The answer came quickly - and from our favorite gossip source: another mom at the park. She had taken her kids there for dinner after their soccer game. Raves about the food, prices, service and ambience followed (The 25-foot-wide big screen video wall caught her boys' attention immediately; it's rounded out by 33 other HD TVs through the 8,550-square-foot space.). Yes, the place serves alcohol (The good stuff! There are two dozen beers on tap, including imported and domestic craft brews), but it's clear that the environment is geared toward family fun. The ambiance is totally sporty, but the real excitement comes with Gameday's "in-game" promotions and special events that coordinate with the Sunday football schedule. And this place is about more than pigskins; baseball, racing and more are always available in gorgeous HD (seasons permitting, of course). The American-tavern feel inspires a sense of community and the kid-friendly vibe means that every member of the family will think Gameday is a winner; 799-2777

You know that Marston's hosts Happy Hour Specials Tuesday through Sunday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. What you don't know is that, during this three hour stretch, the most incredible macaroni and cheese dish known to man can be had for $4. Last month we treated ourselves to the bacon- and jalapeno-spiked bowl of creaminess (As well as a glass of wine - a Riesling, to be exact. It sounds like an imperfect match but - real talk - it was heaven.); 253-9910

The good people at Wolf Creek want to soothe your shopping stress during Happy Hour, where you can take 25 percent off appetizers, $1 off all house beers and wine and savor special $5 pizzas. Plus, they are open until Christmas Eve until 9 p.m. (Last-minute gift certificates, anyone?) and will be seating until 11 p.m. on New Year's Eve. If you're hosting at home, Meghan's ah-mazing cakes and pies are available at discounted prices, too. Just give her a few days notice; 263-9653

PLAY
Mountasia Fun Center & Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour make stocking stuffing easy (And -seriously - what would we do without them during the "it's too cold to play outside" winter break? Mountasia, we owe you a drink.). Right now, great deals abound. Pay only $10 for one Unlimited Outdoor or Indoor Play Pass (three hours of golf, bumper boats and go carts or three hours of lazer tag, rock wall and regular video games) - a $19.99 value! (Play card cost is extra.) Or go for the $15 pack, which includes a limited edition Coca-Cola glass filled with Farrell's candy, Farrell's kazoo and Farrell's ice cream scoop - plus a free two-scoop sundae card. These specials are available for purchase through Christmas Eve. The Unlimited Play Pass and Free Sundae must be redeemed between December 26, 2011 and March 31, 2012; 253-4FUN (386)

There's something new going on at Scratch Golf Accelerated: club fitting by Henry Griffitts. Scratch will take data from their simulator to accurately generate precise information to you about your golf clubs. The process is simple; just bring your clubs to Scratch and use the simulator (fun!) to take swings with several of your golf clubs (It's all indoors - no wind problems!). Based on those swings, they can evaluate the club heads, shafts, loft of club and lie angle. With that information and the expertise of their PGA and LPGA staff members, they will inform you about the "fit" of your clubs. (For those of you who aren't golfers but love one, this is a big deal. Imagine trying to run a marathon while wearing shoes in the wrong size!). This is a fantastic holiday gift - right now the service is 50 percent off the regular price of $100. But you can score from Scratch for only $50 through January 2, 2012. Of course, gift certificates are available; 775-0578

Newhall Ice Co. can deliver a winter wonderland to your home or business with just 48 hours notice. Perfect for the holidays or just a cool promotion idea, this SCV mainstay can deliver tons of snow anywhere in town. Make your neighborhood party a night to remember or bring your children the simple joy of fresh snow. It's easy - and they only need 48 hours notice. The minimum order is 5 tons, which will cover a 20-by-20-feet area with snow 6 to 8 inches thick. From there, you can order in increments of 1 ton, which covers 80 square feet. Fun fact: It only takes Old Town Newhall Ice 20 minutes to apply 5 tons of snow!

If you're looking to make more than a snowy impression, Newhall Ice Co. can deliver ice in any shape or form. Thanks to their talented chainsaw ice sculptor (Yes, that is a job. And yes, we are jealous.), they can make you a gorgeous, classic sculpture based on any design - even one of your own. Worried that your life-size icicle won't fit in the car? No worries. They can deliver it - often with only 72 hours notice; 259-0893
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