Eat, Drink & Play
August, 2014 - Issue #118
Picture this: You, with an icy homemade Hacienda Don Cucos red sangria in your hand and a song in your heart, encapsulated in an authentic Mexican-vacation patio ambience made complete with a dramatic brick and adobe fireplace, tiled floors, open-ceiling cover, well-spaced tables ideal for lingering and deliciously-warm, filtered sunshine. Noshing on fresh-made chips and salsa while playing catch up with a friend, you pause to admire the Enchilada Sonora set in front of you. As you take a bite of the three flat layers of cilantro-jalapeno tortillas filled with chicken, black beans, freshly-grated cheese, onions and jalapenos, all topped with a just-made salsa molcajete, you wonder aloud if the day can possibly get any better. "Of course!," your friend says. "Hacienda has dessert, too!" 252-8074

EAT: Sabor Cocina Mexicana
Have you tried the Crepas Mexicanas at Sabor Cocina Mexicana yet? The poblano crepes, topped with shredded chicken, zucchini, onions, black beans, avocado and roasted-yellow-pepper sauce, is like summery comfort food, thanks to the creamy mouth feel of the sauce, one of the 28 prepared daily at Sabor. Filling, rich and wonderful, they're made even better with the addition of Sabor's fresh-fruit and top-shelf blended margarita combinations. Heaven! 259-9002

EAT: Pizza Del Sardo
Those of you who've already experienced the awesomeness that is Pizza del Sardo might think that every meal there is "special," and you'd be right. But there's a secret, "special special" dinner that is offered every two or three Wednesdays that is only announced via e-mail and social media. "Like" Pizza del Sardo on Facebook to find out when their next "especially special" dinner will be served - and make your reservation early! The surprise menu (Last week it was Risotto with Wild Mushroom and Truffle Oil.) is always in limited supply. You don't have to wait or reserve a spot to enjoy Pizza del Sardo's authentic Italian creations, however. We're still swooning over their exceptional new dough, made Romana style - crispier, crunchier and super-delish! 259-9090

SCV's Best "Grab a Drink" Patios
DRINK: Salt Creek Grille
Salt Creek Grille's patio is the perfect place to drink in the relaxing ambiance on warm summer evenings and it's the top spot for lazy Sunday afternoons. That's when you can enjoy live music on Salt Creek Grille's covered patio. Every Sunday afternoon from 4pm to 7pm, chill with specialty cocktails and appetizer specials. Give us a Sundown Breeze (Casadores tequila, pink grapefruit, lemon-grass-infused simple syrup), a couple Blackened Shrimp Street Tacos, live music and we're in full swoon mode. Specialty mojitos (Faves include raspberry, pineapple jalapeno and coconut.) start at only $8 with bites like Mahi Mahi Tacos and Steak Tacos beginning at $2.50. Share a plate of Blackened Chicken Nachos with your favorite people and stem off the Monday Blues for as long as humanly possible. 222-9999

DRINK: Wolf Creek Brewing Co.
Wolf Creek's people-watching patio is our fave quick-lunch spot, especially when Wolf Creek's Golden Eagle Ale is in one hand and a Taos Eggroll in the other. The uber-refreshing, flavorful blonde has a clean malt flavor with just a touch of mild hop bitterness. Not a "beer person?" Choose from either the housemade red or white sangrias for an icy, refreshing drink that's fruity, flavorful and fun! 263-9653

DRINK: Marstons
You'll be hard pressed to find a prettier patio than the one at Marston's in the Bridgeport Marketplace. Umbrellas, well-spaced tables, a fire pit and greenery make this a relaxing spot to wine and dine - or, more appropriate to the season, "brew." Marston's selection of small-batch beers is exceptional, with customer favorites like Wolf Creek's Desperado IPA, Marston's Pedigree, Monkshine Belgian White and Lost Coast Brewery Great White served ice cold all day long. 253-9910

Courtesy of Shutterstock
Courtesy of Shutterstock
PLAY: Persia hookah Lounge A luxe exotic vacation might not be in your budget, but if you've been craving a getaway, the break you need is right here in your hometown. Persia Lounge, the new "it" spot in Newhall, is everything you want in an escape from the ordinary. Here's what's got our heart thumping, but you can get the whole picture by logging onto

Live Performances
From Salsa to bellydancing and live bands, Persia Lounge will entice you to join in on the fun with professional performers. Dinner and show options abound beginning on Thursday evenings and keep you entertained throughout the weekend.

Hooked on Hookah
What is Hookah, anyway? Hookahs, also known as waterpipes, vaporize flavored tobacco (called shisha) through a glass-based water basin. This practice originated from the time of the Safavid dynasty in the Persian empire. Sharing the hookah experience with friends is a long-held tradition dating back at least 400 years. At Persia Lounge Patio, you'll find first-time Hookah-ers laughing and connecting with their companions as they share in the new experience.

Exquisite Cuisine
Co-owner Mandana is also Persia Lounge's executive chef. She's known for her mastery of traditional spices and for her ingenuity in crafting new delicacies using classic flavors. Every plate is a culinary journey beyond our borders. Our current favorites include...

Rack of Lamb: Open-flame grilled lamb chubs with a family-secret seasoning, served with grilled vegetables and lima bean rice.

Salmon Kabob: North Atlantic wild salmon grilled to perfection and served with Basmati rice and saffron.

Cornish Chicken Kabob: Portions of marinated whole cornish hen skewered and charbroiled over open fire, then served with barbecued tomato and saffron steamed Basmati rice.

Loobia Polo: Fried chunks of beef tenderloin and green beans in tomato sauce prepared with saffron steamed basmati rice.

Incredible Drinks
Persia Lounge also features a subterranean cocktail lounge that caters to sophisticated tastes and sensibilities. Enjoy Middle Eastern-inspired drinks along with Lebanese, Armenian and Indian beers.

PLAY: REP East Playhouse
The REP Blasts Off with Musical Comedy "Return to the Forbidden Planet"
The Repertory East Playhouse is proud to continue Season TEN with the juke box musical comedy "Return to the Forbidden Planet."

Blast off on a routine flight and crash into the planet D'Illyria, where a sci-fi version of Shakespeare's "The Tempest" unfolds with rock-and-roll golden oldies like "Great Balls of Fire," "Good Vibrations," "Teenager in Love" and many more.

Take one plot (Shakespeare's "The Tempest."), one B movie ("Forbidden Planet") and, for added flavor, plunder the entire Shakespearean cannon for dialogue. The result: Your favorite blasts from the past ring out of the story with such unadulterated audacity that the cue lines themselves beg for mercy.

Visit the planet that's inhabited by a sinister scientist, Dr. Prospero; his delightful daughter Miranda; Ariel, a faithful robot on roller skates; and an uncontrollable monster. "Return to the Forbidden Planet" runs through August 16.

Show times are Friday and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm at the theater in Old Town Newhall. Advanced reservations are highly recommended. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for students and seniors. Tickets are also available now for "The Great Gatsby," "Sherlock Holmes" and "The Adventures of the Suicide Club." Call or buy online at 288-0000

Courtesy of Shutterstock
Courtesy of Shutterstock
PLAY: Santa Clarita Ballet
Santa Clarita Ballet Presents "Beauty and the Beast" and "As the Piano Rolls"
The Santa Clarita Ballet Company will present "Beauty and the Beast" and "As the Piano Rolls" at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons on Saturday, September 13 at 7:30pm and Sunday, September 14 at 2pm.

In 2013, the Santa Clarita Ballet expanded their annual production schedule to include performances in the fall. It had long been the vision of Corinne Glover, executive director, and Carol Guidry, artistic director, to produce a highly-sophisticated program in which they invite professional dancers to perform with their upper-level dancers.

Their June productions and "Nutcracker" in December feature upper-level dancers and professional guest artists but also includes younger Academy students in the performance. What makes the fall shows so unique is that they are cast entirely with professional and Company dancers, taking the artistry to an exquisite, elite level. The Company includes very seasoned and accomplished dancers, many whom are well on their way towards college or professional careers in dance. Professional artists for the fall production are currently being selected and will be announced to the public soon.

"Beauty and the Beast" is an exquisite full-length classic ballet choreographed for the Santa Clarita Ballet Company by Carol Guidry. Opulent new costumes, visually-rich scenery and impressionistic themes of early 20th century composers Claude Debussy and Jaques Faure complement this beautiful ballet.

Guidry is credited for the original work, "As the Piano Rolls." The infectious music of one of America's great jazz composers, George Gershwin, sets the stage for charming jazz-age vignettes that take place in a dance hall in the 1920s. Here, four lonely hearts: "The Two Sisters," "The Show-off" and "The Wallflower" come to listen to the player piano, have a dance, or maybe even meet that special someone. The tunes are so toe tappin', even the piano can't stand still.

"Beauty and the Beast" and "As the Piano Rolls" are being presented in the second production of The Santa Clarita Ballet Company's three-part 20th-anniversary series. Tickets are available now by calling the Santa Clarita Ballet. Advanced purchase is recommended as shows will sell out quickly. 251-0366

Publisher's Pick
2015 Acura MDX: What You'll Love

Premium Interior
Hot design, ultra-quality materials and a look that says, "I've got it. And I'm going to flaunt it." It's durable, it's stylish and there's a nook and cranny for the "a place for everything and everything in its place" types.

Superior Handling
More engaging than previous models, the 2015 MDX is comfortable for everyone behind the wheel while providing max torque vectoring for those who crave it. This model grabs corners with a quick-reacting system that keeps you feeling stable even when conditions are dicey.

Cargo Capacity
You won't find a crossover with more convenient-to-use cargo space. Go ahead and try, of course. But you'll come up empty handed. You can stuff this baby to the brim.

Fuel Economy
You'll wrangle up to 28 miles to the gallon in this go-getter.

Navigation Display
Customize one of the multiple screens with treasured photographs for a personal touch. You'll see your favorite smiling faces every time you glance at the time and date display when your navi's not in use.

Front SeatsYes, where you sit made it onto a "love" list, and with good reason. Those who worry that driving the MDX will feel like being behind the wheel of a boxy SUV need not worry. It's a lot more car-like, in a good way. Your tush sits lower to the floor and the design is much less "long-haul trucker" and a lot more "luxury sports car enthusiast."

Take a test drive at Valencia Acura and make your own "love" list. 255-3000
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