Eat, Drink & Play
It's On The List
September, 2015 - Issue #131

What you didn't see coming: Fries that think they're nachos.

Where you're going to get them: Order up Chronic Fries, customized just for you with your choice of meat, beans, cheese, salsas and fresh toppings at Chronic Taco's newest location in Valencia. They're located at 28301 Newhall Ranch Road in front of LA Fitness. Not feelin' the fries? For a "fit" option, choose one of Chronic Taco's Protein Bowls. Choose your protein and stay on track with your health goals!

What you should bring with you: There's a handy 15-percent-off coupon on page 51 that's good for your entire order at the new location. Be sure to use it after the spot's Grand Opening later this month.

The indisputable fact that will change everything you ever thought you knew about gin: It pairs beautifully with grapefruit.

How you can determine for yourself if this might be the greatest cocktail fusion of all time: Order the refreshing, sweet-tart Minted Gin, Honey & Grapefruit Martini at Marston's Restaurant, then chase it with other surprising options like the Strawberry Cucumber Gin Lemonade, Raspberry Mule or SangriaTini just for fun.

While you're tripping out on this unexpected treat, order this equally-surprising taste sensation: On Fridays and Saturdays, Marston's offers a special appetizer option: Clams & Chorizo!

Why Vines' Happy Hour makes us really, really happy: Unlike some other local Happy Hours, Vines is held during times we actually want to go to Happy Hour. You, too, can "get happy" at Vines on the daily from 4pm to 7pm at the Lounge or on the Patio.

Why the menu will make you happy, too: Vines' Happy Hour menu is one of the best in the SCV with $5 cocktails and Canvas Wines by Michael Mondavi, $5 import/craft beers, $4 domestic beers and $6 appetizers like Calamari, Angus Beef Sliders and much more.

Why your commute just got a whole lot happier: The 2016 Acura ILX is your new carpool BFF.

Why it's going to rock your world: The impressive 201-hp, 2.4 liter, i-VTEC engine in the ILX gives it one of the best power-to-weight ratios in its class, making you more nimble and quick on the road. New to the ILX is a world's first eight-speed Dual-Clutch Transmission with torque converter. The eight-speed DCT is always a step ahead, delivering rapid-yet-smooth transitions. Lightening-quick responses pair perfectly with amplitude reactive dampers that give you the best of whatever the situation demands. They operate in two unique performance zones, offering both a composed, comfortable ride and precise handling.

Where you can take one for a test drive: Valencia Acura, of course. 255-3000

What it is: Santa Clarita Autosound

Why you think you'd have to get on a freeway to get this kind of awesomeness: Santa Clarita Autosound's selection is expansive, affordable and partnered with some seriously-good customer service. When we were in high school, the only place that could remotely rival this place required a trip on the 405 and a mom-mandated bullet-proof vest.

What you'll want to buy the next time you're there: The Viper SmartStart with GPS. Now you can remote start, lock and unlock your car just by pushing a button on your smartphone. Viper SmartStart's simple graphic interface gives you control over your lock/alarm, trunk, panic, aux channels, car starter and more. Plus, you can also control multiple vehicles and assign more than one user to control a vehicle, which makes it great for families. When you add the GPS feature, you can locate your car from almost anywhere. Set your phone to alert you if your vehicle visits certain areas, find your car in a parking lot or set a speed limit alert.

The exception to the "Santa Clarita dining is anything but adventurous" rule: The Oaks Grille's award-winning cuisine. The open-to-the-public restaurant balances traditional club faves with truly-surprising offerings.

What delicious meal you should order to impress your foodie friends: The Wild Boar Rack is flame grilled and served with potato puree, balsamic cipollinis, roasted apples, blackberry jam and a wine reduction.

What delicious meal you should order to impress your Instagram followers: The Summer Risotto is made fresh with beets, summer squash, wild organic mushrooms, Cipollini onions, roasted corn and is finished with saved parmigiana reggiano.

What you've always wanted to do that you should just do already: Be classy enough to own - and use - a tea set.

What one you should buy that will immediately increase your classy quotient: This adorable serveware incudes jam jar, tea cup and platter. More importantly, though, is what it doesn't include (Hint: the free mug you got from your mortgage company when your escrow closed.). Get yours at Ma Maison in Old Town Newhall and, while you're there, select from their incredible selection of gourmet teas.

What's so authentically Mexican you'll be speaking fluent Spanish by the last bite: Sabor Cocina Mexicana's Pollo en Mole made with free-range Jidori chicken, mole negro de Oaxaca, rice and a torta de elote.

What you should order to drink as your brain slowly but surely evolves into thinking that every written statement of excitement should be accompanied by an upside down exclamation point at the beginning of the sentence: Sabor's Mango Mint Mezcalito with 100-percent agave Mexcal, fresh mango, mint and fresh citrus.

Your new favorite wine list is: Salt Creek Grille has a new wine list, focusing more on local wines from Paso Robles and Santa Ynez. This list is filled to the brim with options you just won't find anywhere else in Santa Clarita. What we love most, though, is how some of our favorite people have made choosing a glass even easier by sharing their top picks.

Owner Greg Amsler's fave new white: Frank Family Vineyards' 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay has a pale yellow straw color, generous notes of sweet vanilla, pear and Meyer lemon. Stone fruits and ripe citrus zest lead to the rich creamy mid palate, and fresh green apple on the finish. The wine has wonderful length and well-balanced acids.

SCG's Jennifer Chadwick's new favorite red: Grgich Hills Cabernet from Napa. The wine's complex aromas of black fruits, rich leather and nuances of violets burst out of the glass. Its full-bodied, rich mouthfeel carries these flavors for a long, lingering finish that loves a great grilled steak.

Salt Creek's bartender's new favorite red: Trapiche Vineyards Broquel, Malbec from Argentina. Deep red in color, this wine exhibits aromas of ripe black plums and blackberries revealing sweet spicy, smoke and mocha notes. It's concentrated, lengthy and juicy.
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