This Sign Made Me Cry Like a Little Kid

That headline might be a little misleading, but only a little.

While driving to Target in Valencia last week, this SCVFoodie noticed a sign strung across the building that now sits on the site of the old Pier 1 Imports. This sign made my heart swell and jump for joy:

Zankou Chicken—the popular L.A.-based Armenian-Mediterranean chicken chain—is finally coming to the SCV. The company is aiming to open the location on the corner of McBean and Magic Mountain parkways in December or January.

What’s so special about Zankou? Well to start, the restaurant’s rotisserie chicken or chicken tarna (flame-broiled) wraps—both come with the famous garlic spread—are some of our favs. Oh and so are the falafel, the kebobs, hummus, tabbouleh and…we could go on and on.

While the company opened its first location in the early ’80s (on Sunset in East Hollywood), the fast-casual chain’s growth was tempered by a family dispute that ultimately led to tragedy. Since then, Zankou has opened locations in Glendale, Van Nuys, Anaheim, Pasadena, Toluca Lake, West Hollywood, West LA, Burbank with other restaurants in Tarzana, Granada Hills, Montebello (different sides of the family own various outlets).

Despite its history, we’re just happy that Zankou has chosen the SCV as its next outpost. Things are looking up, culinary-wise of the SCV.

Now is it too much to ask for a Porto’s location next?

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Filipino Food Fest Coming to Eagle Rock

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Filipino plate lunch. | Image: @christineziemba on Instagram

The Mall of Manila in Eagle Rock, Calif.—aka Eagle Rock Plaza—will really live up to its name on Oct. 7 when it hosts a Filipino Food Festival: EAT. PLAY. MOVE.

From 10 am to 5 pm, dozens of food trucks and vendors will descend on the plaza serving up food like your Lola used to make. (I should say “almost” because no one can beat my Owa’s chicken adobo, just saying.)

The vendors confirmed so far are:

Ninong’s Hopia Like It Grill City
Johnny Pacific LA Eat Bolo Kindness and Mischief
Rice and Shine Kitchen 1726 DK’s Donuts
Cakies Love Ensaymada Project Helado’s Pops
Bsweet Paella Paella Baked Desserts
Benadditz Mini Kabob Baon Truck
Spoon & Pork Manini Grindz White Rabbit
Thai Mexican Cocina

And don’t forget that inside the mall, there are other Filipino food options including Chowking, Grill City, Jollibee, Leelin Bakery & Cafe and Rick’s BBQ.

The organizers of EAT. PLAY. MOVE. know that while Filipino cuisine is really tasty, it’s neither the lightest nor the healthiest fare around so they’ve added “play” and “move” components to counteract the “eat” part. PLAY. features musical performances by a variety of Filipino talent including singer-songwriter Jeremy Passion, YouTuber Megan Delacey and beatboxer EVMB. 

MOVE. involves fitness activations for all ages, including Zumba, yoga, fitness tests, competitions. Personal trainers will also be on hand to assist those who need help moving or for those who want to set up training later.

Consider yourself warned: You now have ample time to work out, drop a few pounds and/or find the right stretchy pants to wear to the festival on Oct. 7.

EAT. PLAY. MOVE.: A Filipino Food Festival
Eagle Rock Plaza
2700 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles
Oct. 7 from 10 am to 5 pm

Stonefire Serves Up Our Kind of Happy Meal

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A petite BBQ chopped salad with chicken and a breadstick from Stonefire.

Stonefire Grill has been a salad-BBQ-sandwich-pizza staple in Valencia since 2000. The restaurant proved so popular that it has since grown into a fast-casual mini-SoCal empire with eight Stonefire locations.

While Stonefire has been served at many business lunches or big family gatherings—they know how to do BIG portions—we wanted to call your attention to its lunch specials, which make wallets and appetites happy.

Stop by from 11 am to 2 pm, Mondays through Fridays, for $7 lunch entrees, including petite salads like the Salmon, Golden State KaleBBQ Chopped all with breadsticks; a Pesto Pasta with breadstick; Petite Lemon Garlic Chicken with a breadstick (we love their breadsticks); BBQ Chicken Wrap; a 9″ one topping pizza and more options. You can add a fountain drink, iced tea or San Pellegrino for $1.49, too.

Yes, we know packing lunch or McDonalds is cheaper, but this $7 deal is our idea of a happy meal.

Stonefire Grill
23300 Cinema Drive
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
661.799.8282

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