Eat this Now: Temakitto Burritos

Sometimes a hand roll or a couple of cut rolls just aren’t enough to sate the appetite when you’re really really hungry and craving sushi. We found a great solution to that #firstworldproblem on Newhall Ranch Road: Temakitto.

Billed as the first Japanese Burrito restaurant in Southern California, Temakitto merges Japanese and Mexican flavors for tasty and varied “burrito” offerings. Instead of corn or flour tortillas, customers’ burritos are wrapped in seaweed or in soy paper (for a little extra).

Crunchy Tiger ($10.95) is one of the fast-casual restaurant’s more popular options: spicy tuna, crab mayo, shrimp tempura, red cabbage, guacamole, pickled cucumber, pickled radish and carrot, and rice crunch with a sweet/spicy aioli.

For those who don’t like raw fish, we can also recommend the Excelente Salmon  ($10.95) which features baked fresh salmon, tempura asparagus, lettuce, pickled cucumber, mango pico de gallo, rice crunch and pepitas. We especially like the latter burrito wrapped in soy paper (add $1).

Landlubbers don’t worry—Temakitto’s menu also includes beef, chicken and veggie options, too. Save room for desert because there’s also macaroon ice cream sandwiches.

Temakitto
28126 Newhall Ranch Road
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
661-678-0820

New Coffee Shop Alert: The Main Brew

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New coffee shop to open in Old Town Newhall.

There’s a new coffee shop (among other establishments) coming to downtown Newhall. According to the sign on the storefront, it’ll be called The Main Brew Coffee & Tea. Located next to the KHTS AM radio station on Main Street, we’re anxious to try it when—or if—it opens. (We’re still holding our breath for Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders, whose sign went up in August!)

We’ll let you know when we learn more information about either coffee shop.

The Cheesecake Factory Joins Santa Clarita’s Restaurant Ranks

Are you ready, Santa Clarita?
Are you ready, Santa Clarita?

It’s been a long time coming, but The Cheesecake Factory finally opens in Santa Clarita, serving diners beginning today (Tuesday, Nov. 8).

Yes, it’s a chain restaurant, but we don’t mind this one so much because…well, have you tried the cheesecake?

Located along the mall’s Town Center Drive, the restaurant is across the street from Pottery Barn closer to the rotary. We’re sure the restaurant will be mobbed at opening, so we’ll give the staff a few weeks to settle into a routine.

But if you reallllllly can’t wait, here’s the menu.

KHTS produced a video feature about the Valley’s newest eating establishment for a sneak peek inside:

The Cheesecake Factory
Valencia Town Center
24250 Town Center Drive #110
Valencia, CA 91355
661.286.1232

New Coffee Shop Alert: Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders

May 1 update: Bodhi Leaf is now open for caffeine consumption. It took a while, but the shop finally opened on April 18. It has a great island vibe with plenty of seats and ample wifi.


We noticed a new sign going up the other day after a Saturday morning run with team Runners Lane: Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders is opening a new location in Santa Clarita.

The Orange County based-coffee company specializes in commercial roasting as well as beans and equipment for serious home coffee connoisseurs. It currently has two coffee bars in Orange and Anaheim Hills that offer tastings as well as cupping classes. While the classes sound cool, we just hope the coffee is good. (If you’ve had it, let us know…)

The Bodhi Leaf’s SCV location is located the shopping center anchored by Schooners and Edible Arrangements on Soledad Canyon in Saugus. We’ll update this post once it opens.

Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders
22913-1/2 Soledad Canyon Road, Saugus

Dinner at Cathy’s Breakfast Cafe

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Egg in a Nest at Cathy’s Deli.

Since Eric Tovar-Plummer took ownership of Cathy’s Breakfast Cafe and Deli (aka Cathy’s Deli on Lyons Avenue) last year, the longtime Newhall eatery has blossomed into arguably the best breakfast/lunch spot in Santa Clarita. Just try the pancakes, breakfast burritos or homemade jams (strawberry Earl Grey is our fav)—anything, really—and taste the care that goes into every item on the menu.

But now Tovar-Plummer diving into the unknown with Cathy’s: Starting today (Aug. 3), the cafe expands its hours past 3 pm to serve early dinner items until 7 pm, from Wednesdays through Sundays.

We caught a glimpse of the new menu items on a recent visit, and the offerings look as tempting as the breakfasts. A few that looked exceptionally tasty include:

>> Egg in a Nest: Steamed rice, pulled pork, a marinated six-minute egg topped with house-made teriyaki, green onions and sesame seeds. (See photo above. A friend tried this on a recent visit and said it was delicious. She ate it all before we could ask to verify that opinion.)

>> Brick Chicken: Boneless 1/2 chicken pan seared with a side of cauliflower mash and soup or salad.

>> T-bone, Skirt Steak or Pork chop and Fries: Your choice of protein with fries and soup and salad.

>> Pork Chop Milanese: House-breaded pork chop topped with bacon honey gravy, a side of cauliflower mash and soup or salad.

We have a feeling that if dinner catches on at Cathy’s, Tovar-Plummer will have to extend those new ours to accommodate the demand.

Cathy’s Breakfast Cafe and Deli
23120 Lyons Ave., Suite 24
Newhall
661.288.2217
Hours: 7 am to 3 pm on Mondays and Tuesdays,
7 am to 7 pm on Wednesdays through Sundays 

Crazy Otto’s Diner: Where Quantity is King

The pancakes barely fit on the plate at Crazy Otto's.
The pancakes barely fit on the plate at Crazy Otto’s.

Upon a recommendation of a friend, SCVFoodie headed over to Canyon Country to visit Crazy Otto’s Diner, the chain’s newest location, which opened last year. (In Southern California, they have two restaurants in the Lancaster area, one in Acton and one in Rosamund, north of Lancaster.) We heard that Crazy Otto’s had crazy-sized portions, but we didn’t know exactly how absurd the dishes were until we ordered the following:

  • Machaca and Eggs: Eggs and shredded beef with tomatoes, onion, bell peppers, topped with Jack cheese. We opted for the hash browns and toast as our sides.
  • Stack of three pancakes: It comes with two eggs and a choice of meat. We chose the ham slice.
  • Crazy Otto’s Burgermeat Omelette: Seasoned ground beef with onions, Ortega chiles and cheddar cheese. We ordered it with avocado (extra) and hashbrowns, biscuits and gravy.
The Burgermeat omelette with hashbrowns, biscuits and gravy.
The Burgermeat omelette with hashbrowns, biscuits and gravy.

So when the dishes came out, we were floored. Any one of them could have fed our party of three. The waitress said that the omelettes were made with six to seven eggs, but by the size of the Burgermeat, which must have weighed at least three to five pounds, we’d bet that there were more eggs in that omelette. It was hearty enough that the 16-year-old boy in our party couldn’t finish it (when do you see that!), and we had to take at least a third of it home.

While are jaws dropped at the size of the portions, our palates, unfortunately, didn’t dance with flavor. The Machaca wasn’t zesty, and the ample hot sauce we poured over it only helped a little. It could be improved if the meat were more tender and a few jalapeños—or spice, any spice—were added. The Burgermeat fared a little better flavor-wise, though both dishes were too greasy. Also soggy with grease were the hashbrowns, which were soft and undercooked. (We like them crispy).

The ham was nearly an inch thick, but was a little tough and flavorless. The pancakes were the best of all the dishes: They were moist and so large that the last one had to be folded over in order to fit in the to-go-box.

Hot chocolate with whipped cream, Crazy Otto's style.
Hot chocolate with whipped cream, Crazy Otto’s style.

We learned from the Crazy Otto’s website that before Otto opened his restaurants, he spent time cooking for lumberjacks in the Pacific Northwest. So with that in mind, the tradition of the portion sizes make sense; however, this is Southern California, and we live a much more sedentary world than Paul Bunyan so that part doesn’t (hello obesity epidemic!). Crazy Otto’s does offer half-sizes, but it’s misleading—they only discount the half-sizes by $1, so most of the customers will pay for that full order.

Speaking of price, those super-sized portions don’t come cheap. Our bill for three dishes and a coffee, a soda and a hot chocolate came out to more than $50 before tip.

Crazy Otto’s is a great place for lumberjacks, football players and those with super metabolisms. For the rest of us, it’s a typical greasy spoon diner that serves up enough food for breakfast, lunch and dinner with one dish.

Crazy Otto’s Diner
19132 Soledad Canyon Road, Canyon Country
661-299-6886 (OTTO)

Pocock Brewing Co. Joins the SCV Beer Scene

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The beer board at Pocock Brewing Co.

Move over, Wolf Creek. Santa Clarita’s beer scene just got a little more crowded. Tucked away in Valencia’s industrial center is Santa Clarita’s newest brewer: Pocock Brewing Co.

The family-owned craft brewery had its soft-opening in mid-October and grand opening in December, and it’s gained a steady following through word-of-mouth and social media. (We found it through good old-fashioned Facebook.)

Last weekend, SCVFoodie stopped by the small tap room to sample an IPA and be on our way, but we ended up meeting  brewmasters/owners Geoff Pocock and Todd Tisdell, who gave us a quick tour, and grabbing a bite from Pane & Passione—the food truck parked outside. At first, we were put off by the nearly desolate surroundings, located in the middle of the warehouses quiet for the weekend, but once we saw the giant tanks inside, the location made absolute sense.

We tasted samples of Pocock’s Letter of Marque, a double IPA, and the Rooster Pith IPA. We liked Letter of Marque’s stronger finish so we chose that as our pint. We’ll be back to sample other parts of the menu, particularly the Noble Piper Scotch Ale, the Barleywine and The Old Road Brown Ale (just because we love the name).

Pocock doesn’t have a restaurant, but food trucks park in front of the brewhouse almost every night they’re open. On Thursdays, Las Delicias brings their taco bar to feed the masses.

If you’re up for something a little off the beaten path for an interesting date night or an after-work watering hole, then definitely give Pocock a shot.

The Tap Room is open on Thursdays from 3-9 pm; Fridays from 3-10 pm; Saturday from 3-10 pm and Sundays from 12-6 pm. They can also do private events at the facility when the tap room’s not open.

Pocock Brewing Co
24907 Avenue Tibbitts, Suite B, Santa Clarita
661.775.4899

Eat This Now: Chao Phraya Pad Thai

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Jasmine Thai’s Chao Phraya Pad Thai Topped with Egg. (Photo: Christine N. Ziemba)

Get yourself to Jasmine Thai on Valencia Boulevard and order the #46b asap: Chao Phraya Pad Thai Topped with Egg (as opposed to #46, their regular Pad Thai). Trust us on this one: The “b” version is one of our favorite dishes in the SCV.

Chao Phraya Pad Thai Topped with Egg: Thin rice noodle stir fried with chicken and shrimp, egg, tofu, red onion, crush peanut, chili powder, and sweet shrimp radish.

At $10.95, it’s a generously portioned noodle dish that stands apart from the standard (i.e., bland, boring or super sweet) Pad Thai found about town. What makes the Chao Phraya different is that heat—an extra kick of chili powder that contrasts the inherent sweetness of the dish.

Here’s what it looks like right out of Jasmine Thai’s kitchen, topped with that scrambled egg(s). Who’s hungry now?

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Jasmine Thai
23360 Valencia Blvd.,
Valencia, Calif. 91355

661.254.2012

10 Favorite Bites of 2015

Since the New Year is a time of reflection, SCVFoodie thought back to the many great meals and sumptuous bites of 2015 (and tried to forget the craptastic ones). So in no particular order, here are some of the more memorable and tasty moments from the past year, in pictures.

1. Lobster Sausage

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The Modern (New York): Lobster Sausage, spaghetti squash and lobster bisque in The Modern’s Bar Room.
 

2. Filet Burger

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The Morrison (Los Feliz): The Morrison’s Filet Burger is a beef patty topped with seared filet mignon, creamy port-salut cheese, marrow butter on an English muffin.
 

3. Uni (Sea Urchin)

Ceviche Project

Ceviche Project (Los Angeles): The Ceviche Project is a great pop-up dinner series, which most recently had a residency at The Mondrian in West Hollywood. The uni dish they served at the August dinner was simply sublime.
 

4. Smoked Salmon Tartine

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Republique (Los Angeles): The Smoked Salmon Tartine with avocado, capers, pickled Persian cucumbers, red onions on multigrain toast was a great choice for brunch on a hot summer day.
 

5. Candied Bacon

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Charcoal BBQ (Silver Lake): The Candied Bacon (crisp, thick and applewood smoked) is crack. So so addictive.
 

6. Donuts

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Donut Friend (Highland Park, CA): You can’t go wrong at the gourmet donut shop, Donut Friend, with its signature and limited-edition creations.
 

7. Turkey Sandwich

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The Original Sandwich Shoppe (New York): Almost every time we’re in the city, we try to make it to Greenwich Village for Rudy’s Fresh Roasted Turkey Sandwich. It’s one of our favorite sandwiches in the world.
 

8. Shrimp and Grits

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Rascal: We attended a whisky pairing dinner (led by our bud Whisky Guy Rob) at this neighborhood joint on La Brea and had a great Shrimp and Grits pairing.
 

9. Lobster Sandwich

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Doug’s Seafood (Bonita Springs, Florida): While Doug’s serves up both Maine- (with mayo) and Connecticut- (drawn butter) style lobster rolls, we preferred the sandwich that featured the lobster meat, with light mayo on sourdough bread toasted until golden brown.
 

10. Wild Boar

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Redbird (Los Angeles): We attended a Single Pot Still (Midleton Distillery) whisky pairing dinner at Neil Fraser’s Redbird in Downtown L.A. The Grilled Wild Boar Tenderloin with celery root puree, wild mushroom and pepper cress was the night’s standout dish.

The Worst Philly Cheesesteak Ever

Just no.
Just no.

At SCVFoodie, we try our best to find the silver lining in all dining experiences, even the disappointing meals. We know that, for the most part, restauranteurs and foodservice workers are hard-working, dedicated people who care about the food they create, and we try hard to be constructive as possible in our criticism. But we also have to be honest.

So all that being said, we had the worst. cheesesteak. ever. at Hot Wings Cafe on Town Center Drive. Not only was it devoid of flavor, but it had this greasy film that coated our tongues and didn’t leave for hours. We tried beer, soda even ice cream to remove the residue, but our efforts were in vain. We think the server probably knew that the cheesesteaks weren’t stellar; she saw that we didn’t even come close to finishing them, and didn’t bother to ask how our meal was or if we wanted the rest of our sandwiches boxed up.

We’d never been in a Hot Wings (it’s a local SoCal chain) before this recent visit, and it seems that it’s an establishment with an identity crisis. Like the now-defunct Titled Kilt and Varsity on the other end of Town Center Drive, Hot Wings isn’t sure if it wants to be a restaurant for the SCV families or a nightclub/sports bar, so it tries to be both. While we spied families with kids in the restaurant while we were there (a Friday night around 7 pm), there was a robust bar scene and large TV screens on the other side of the restaurant. The lights dimmed during our dinner that must have signaled club time.

The restaurant’s decor is no-frills and sterile, and the dinnerware is much too formal, almost mismatched for the cuisine. We don’t need our cheesesteak served on an unadorned heavy white plate—actually we don’t need the cheesesteak. Period.

One good thing about our visit? The fried zucchini was great.

Hot Wings Cafe
24501 Town Center Drive
Valencia, CA 91355