Boba 101 at Ding Tea

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Some of the flavorful and colorful options at Ding Tea: Strawberry Yakult (Yogurt), Kumquat Lemon Iced Tea and Taro Milk Tea. | Image: Christine N. Ziemba

SCV Foodie had a chance to visit Ding Tea, the new-ish tea room in the Valencia Marketplace that offers teas (iced, flavored and hot), milk teas and juices—all with boba options.

We made this little behind-the-scenes video about boba to show what goes into making some of your favorite beverages.

Our thanks to Ding Tea’s Phuong Quan and staff for showing us the Boba 101 basics.

Ding Tea
25914 The Old Road
Stevenson Ranch, CA 91381
Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily



Dunkin’ Donuts to Celebrate National French Fry Day on Fry-day the 13th

Did you know that tomorrow, Friday, July 13, is National French Fry Day? Neither did we. But we love fries, almost as much as ice cream (National Ice Cream Day is on Sunday)—so we should celebrate!

While the usual suspects (McDonalds, Carl’s Jr. etc.) are serving up the regular potato-based French Fry deals, Dunkin’ Donuts is taking eaters to the sweet side. The chain is bringing back its donut fries, the easily eaten treat that sort of resembles thick-cut fries on steroids. But they’re sweet and sprinkled with sugar. The donut fries will be available for a limited time only.

To celebrate “Fry-day” even further, the first 100 guests to the Santa Clarita Dunkin’ Donuts on Bouquet Canyon Road, will get these sweet treats for free, starting at 10 a.m.

The Bouquet Canyon location is only one of five locations picked in all of Southern California for this giveaway, so the free donut fries are not available at the Sierra Highway outpost.

National Fry Day Giveaway at Dunkin’ Donuts 
26441 Bouquet Canyon Road, Suite A4
Santa Clarita
10 a.m. 

Getting Out of Dodge on a 114° Day

East Beach in Santa Barbara | Photo: Christine N. Ziemba

As you might have noticed, it’s hot in Santa Clarita. Awesometown isn’t so awesome right now with temperatures hovering between 100 and 114 degrees during daylight hours.

We all know there are a number of options to beat the heat: (1) Stay inside, close the drapes, shut the lights and crank up the fans and air; (2) Hit the (indoor) mall like the Valencia Town Center, Northridge or the Beverly Center; (3) See a movie. It doesn’t matter what, really, because watching in an air-conditioned theater surely beats the triple-digits outside.

We thought about all those options, but opted for a fourth: With the day off, SCVFoodie took off for the coast, where it managed to stay under 100 degrees. Of course, we had to take advantage of the food scene during our day trip, so here’s what we ate in between our stop at Santa Barbara’s East Beach.

A Parisian breakfast in Montecito | Image: Christine N. Ziemba

Breakfast at Breeosh
1150 Coast Village Road, Montecito, Calif.

SCVFoodie needed a coffee…stat…so we stopped in Montecito at Bree’osh Cafe. The bakery specializes in sourdough breads, viennoiseries (such as a croissant) and brioche as well as egg sandwiches, panini and salads. We opted for a chocolate croissant and a cappuccino. (The cafe gets its coffee beans from the Santa Barbara-based HandleBar Coffee Roasters.) The cappuccino was wet, but not too latte-like, and the espresso was smooth; and the croissant was flaky on the outside. The inside could have used a little more chocolate, and we tasted a hint of sourdough, which was a detractor. (But we’re not the biggest fans of sourdough to begin with, but if that’s your jam, then book it to Bree’osh.)

Lunch at Foxtail Kitchen & Bar
14 East Cota St., Santa Barbara, Calif.

Foxtail’s kitchen specializes in Mediterranean cuisine, and we spotted a few specials on the lunch and happy hour board that were tempting (hummus and pitas, wraps, dolmas). Some of the combos come with fries and pints of beer—an adult happy meal. SCVFoodie opted for a chicken shawarma rice bowl with a zesty garlic sauce and ate every morsel. Foxtail also has a great cocktail menu and a varied beer menu. We tasted the Penicillin, which was perfect on a hot summer afternoon (Scotch, lemon, ginger), and a Breaking Bud IPA from Knee Deep Brewing Company in Auburn, California. The restaurant was a little quiet, so we hope people find this gem just off State Street.

After making more headway in a book and a walk down State Street—which was depressing with all its empty storefronts—we headed back on the 101 southbound. But it was late on a Friday afternoon, and the freeway was at a crawl, so we hopped off in Carpinteria in search of a coffee shop, which led us to:

The awesome, homey outdoor patio of Lucky Llama in Carpinteria | Photo: Christine N. Ziemba

Lucky Llama
5100 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria, Calif. 

We ordered a cold brew coffee, and while Lucky Llama’s version didn’t blow us away (it was a little bland), the quaint coffee shop’s outdoor patio was awesome. The cafe gets great ratings, especially for its açaí bowls, so we’ll give it another go the next time we drive up the coast.

And since it’s going to be 110+ again in the SCV tomorrow, that “next time” might be sooner than later.

Eat This Now: Kouign Amann at 85°C

Meet the kouign amann from 85°C. 

Late last year, 85°C opened its Valencia location, introducing many Santa Clarita residents to the “Starbucks of Taiwan” and its Taiwanese-style pastries, desserts and savory baked goods. While there are a number of yummy offerings at 85°C, SCVFoodie has become a little obsessed with one particular item: 85°C’s version of the kouign amann (pronunciation: kween ah-mahn).

With its origins in Brittany, France, the traditional Breton butter pastry has only a few ingredients: sugar, salt, flour, yeast and LOTS of butter. Also called the “caramel danish” at 85°C, the kouign amann is a flaky, croissant-like pastry with a caramel coat and a powdered sugar dusting. The layers are folded to take on a muffin-like shape.

At 280 calories, the indulgence isn’t too bad for an occasional treat. And for $2, it’s a steal. Frustratingly, the pasty is not always available when we stop by 85°C, which is probably a good thing for SCVFoodie’s waistline.

24455 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia
(661) 255-8585

Ticket Giveaway to …A Tutta Pizza (L.A.’s Pizza Fest) This Sunday

Mangia! We’re giving away a pair of tickets to …A Tutta Pizza this Sunday. | Image: via Facebook

Brunch…smunch. If you’re looking for something a little different to do with mom this Mother’s Day, then consider the carb fest …A Tutta Pizza—L.A.’s pizza festival—taking place on Sunday at the Hollywood Palladium. The event is part of the L.A. Times’ Food Bowl, a monthlong celebration of L.A.’s food scene.

Check out the festival’s details on SCVFoodie’s sister site, Pop Radar LA and read below on two ways to enter the raffle to win a pair of general admission tickets.

There are two ways to enter the Pop Radar LA/SCVFoodie raffle to win a pair of GA tickets to …A Tutta PIzza! on Sunday. Simply email editor with the subject line: I love pizza! Or if you follow @christineziemba​ on Twitter, just Tweet “I love pizza!” at her. That’s it! And we’ll draw one name on Friday morning at 10 a.m.

Worth a Revisit: The Way Station in Newhall

The Way Station serves up endless cups of coffee and generous heapings of breakfast and lunch dishes. | Photo: Christine N. Ziemba

If you haven’t been (back) to the Way Station in Newhall, SCVFoodie suggests heading back to the Santa Clarita institution the next time you get the craving for decent diner food and nostalgia—in the form of license plates, old signs and history clips—dotting every inch of wall space.

Check out the Way Station’s walls filled with history. | Photo: Christine N. Ziemba

The Way Station, which has been around since 1971, makes no bones about itself: It’s a greasy spoon that does breakfasts and lunches well. They know that people don’t usually go there for the oatmeal and fruit plate (though you can). Customers head to the Way Station for the hearty dishes like a country fried steak, corned beef hash, eggs Benedict, et al.

Or better yet, you can’t go wrong ordering the Kris Special: Two eggs over an English muffin, topped with (sausage or chicken) gravy, with a generous heaping of hashbrowns and bacon or sausage; or the Thursday Special that’s available every day: Two eggs with a pancake or French toast with a half-order of bacon or sausage.

Our fav breakfast item, though, is a bit on the “lighter” side: the Morning Muffin, which is an English muffin with a fried egg, Canadian bacon, cheese and a plateful of hashbrowns. You can’t beat the price at $4.85, either. Add an unlimited cup of coffee for $1.75, and you’ll see why the Way Station has such staying power.

The breakfast sandwich at the Way Station is a bargain. | Photo: Christine N. Ziemba

Pro-tip for those visiting for the first time. The Way Station has two entrances, but the line for tables and spots at the counter forms at the back entrance. Be prepared to wait during rush hours, but the line moves fairly quickly for a small space.

Way Station
24377 Main St., Newhall
(661) 255-0222

Zankou’s Not Quite Ready for Primetime


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Zankou Chicken finally opened its Valencia location (on the corner of McBean and Magic Mountain Parkway) on Monday, March 26.

We’ve been anxiously awaiting the fast-casual restaurant’s opening for its rotisserie chicken dishes, falafel and most importantly, the garlic sauce that’s so good that we don’t mind that it lingers on the tongue for hours on end.

SCVFoodie, however, broke one of its cardinal rules when we hit up Zankou during its first week of business. We partook in a late Friday lunch around 1:30-2 p.m., and as expected, it was a zoo.

Our orders were taken quickly despite the line, but unfortunately, Zankou still needs to work out a lot of kinks in expediting orders. We waited approximately 10 minutes for the buzzer to notify us that our orders were ready. When we got to the pickup station, we noticed a crowd of people waiting, too. All had been notified that their orders were ready for pick up.

But they weren’t.

One employee told one woman that they probably just paged the wrong number, but we were among about 10 people waiting, so all of us couldn’t have been paged incorrectly. Another person said that he had been waiting for 25 minutes for his food, and the expediter said that they were really behind. Two other customers complained that they were handed the wrong order. There were no numbers written on the orders, making it difficult for the workers to match to receipts.

After standing at the counter for another 15 minutes, this writer’s order arrived: A chicken wrap. The chicken was tasty, but they got the order wrong, too. In the bag were a couple falafel that we didn’t order. We don’t know if we were handed someone else’s lunch, or if they were Zankou’s way of making up for the wait. The counter was too crowded to ask.

Zankou Chicken
24463 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia

Eat This Now: The V10 at Pho Sure

Order the V10 at Pho Sure on Copper Hill. Trust us on this one. | Image: Christine N. Ziemba

Pho Sure, located on Copper Hill Drive in Valencia, is known for its pun-inducing namesake, Vietnamese pho (soup), and banh mi (sandwiches), but SCV Foodie is a big fan of its bun—vermicelli noodles—particularly the V10.

It’s easier to order by menu item (V10) instead of its formal name: Bun Cha Gio Thit Nuong Tom Nuong. Yes, it’s a mouthful, but it’s a hearty, taste-pleasing dish. Rice vermicelli noodles are placed over lettuce, greens, herbs and pickled vegetables and topped with egg rolls, grilled shrimp and beef or pork. The fish dipping sauce on the side adds an sweet acidity to the savory dish.

Pho Sure
23876 Copper Hill Drive
Valencia, CA 91354
Open daily at 11 am, seven days a week

Big Appetites Rejoice: Black Bear Diner Coming to Santa Clarita

Black Bear Diner is taking over the old Applebee’s location on Valencia Boulevard. | Image: Black Bear Diner

***Update: Both The Signal and KHTS are reporting that the diner will open Memorial Day (May 28).***

For nearly a decade the Applebee’s space along Valencia Boulevard and Creekside Road has sat empty. It’s not that we missed the Applebee’s cuisine all that much, but large empty retail spaces are just downright depressing (yeah, we’re looking at you old Albertsons space in Westridge).

We’ve heard rumors for a couple years now that Black Bear Diner, an old-fashioned diner that started in Mt. Shasta more than 20 years ago, was coming to Santa Clarita. Now, it seems those rumors are true: You may have seen the sign out in front of the Applebee’s space that heralds the coming of the carved wooden bears and murals and forest kitsch decor.

And we can’t wait.

We’re always in the mood for breakfast, and Black Bear Diner serves it up all day long (though they serve up lunch and dinner, too). The portions are bear-sized, so be prepared to take home leftovers for your next meal. The Valencia location is slated to open in the early part of 2018, according to the Black Bear Diner website.

This is one of the few menu items that we can almost finish at the Black Bear Diner. Bear’s Choice: A Pancake, eggs and sausage. | Image: Christine N. Ziemba

In the meantime, we’ll just prepare mentally for our first bite of their buttermilk and sweet cream batter pancakes…or the Bigfoot Chicken Fried Steak & Eggs (with the biscuits and gravy)…the Housemade Meatloaf…the Machaca Breakfast Tacos…the ginormous Bear Claw…

You get the picture—Black Bear is poised to up the breakfast game in the SCV.

Free Donuts and Coffee in Stevenson Ranch on Nov. 27

Now that we have your attention, SCVFoodie wants to tell you a feel-good community story.

Late on on Aug. 27, our favorite local mom-and-pop donut shop, Stevenson Donuts & Bakery, was robbed with the perpetrator(s) making off with $400 in weekend sales and an iPhone.

Stevenson Donuts & Bakery has been a constant staple in Stevenson Ranch.

Thuong “Tom” Sauv and his wife Jamie moved to Stevenson Ranch 10 years ago, and their donuts—and muffins, scones, egg sandwiches—are some of the best in the SCV. With their kids, who are spotted in the store on occasion, the Sauv family business has become staples of the community. [SCVFoodie has been known to “research and taste test” there on a semi-regular basis.]

A day after the robbery, the Stevenson Ranch community rallied around the shop and the Sauvs; someone started a GoFundMe campaign to repair the damage to the shop. (The thief/-vies tunneled in from the empty storefront next door.) The goal was to raise $2,500, but the campaign raised more than double that amount.

The Sauvs were able to do repairs, a small remodel and have enough left over to donate $1,000 to the American Red Cross – Hurricane Harvey Relief on behalf of the Stevenson Ranch Community.

SCVFoodie does research: A powdered donut from Stevenson Donuts. 

And now, here’s where the free donuts come into play. Tomorrow (Nov. 27) at 7 am, stop by Stevenson Donuts & Bakery as the Sauvs are holding a grand re-opening/thank you party for the community. Grab a free donut and coffee to start off the post-Thanksgiving work week. As of noon today (11/26), Tom Sauv was already busy prepping and making the donuts. [We stopped by to more “research” for SCVFoodie.]

Stevenson Donuts & Bakery
25814 Hemingway Ave, Stevenson Ranch
(661) 799-7537