But our hands-down favorite treat is their bag of chouquettes (shoo-kets). Airier than a croissaint, the bite-sized chouqettes are traditionally made with a choux pastry and can be made into profiteroles (cream puffs).
Delvigne’s simple version, sprinkled with course sugar, pairs perfectly with a Sunday morning coffee. (There are five in a bag for $5.)
Santa Clarita Certified Farmers Market College of the Canyons / Parking Lot Valencia Boulevard & Rockwell Canyon Road, Valencia Open 8 a.m. to noon on Sundays
Missing from SCV’s food landscape is a tried-and-true French bakery. Baguettes. Batards. Flaky croissants.
If you find yourself headed out toward Ventura, Café Ficelle, located off the Main Street exit on the 101 fills the French pastry void in Santa Clarita.
The boulangerie and patisserie serves up breads and sweets and offers heartier items including crepes, the croque-monsieur/madame, and breakfast and lunch sandwiches. Though we’ve only been picking up items, we can imagine the cavernous eatery busy and bustling when we used to do things like…brunch.
We’ve made the drive to Café Ficelle a couple times for takeout pandemic treats. (There is another location in Camarillo, but we’ve only been to the Ventura outpost.) The croissants are American-sized (aka HUGE) —buttery and flaky; there’s a crunch on first bite and are chewy on the inside. The chocolate croissant has an extra drizzle on top for those who prefer a more-than-less approach to the sweet treat. The almond offers a generous layer of sliced almonds on top with a dusting of powdered sugar (which isn’t necessary, but doesn’t take away from pastry.
Other offerings include a Breton cake, the Kouign-amann, which is difficult to make with intricate layers of butter, dough, sugar and then more butter. The sugar becomes sticky and carmelized, adding the sweet to a a denser version of the croissant. Café Ficelle’s version is more cyclical and airier than the other Kouign-amann we’ve tried (there’s a hole in the middle where wavy layers meet to create an almost flower-like design). But whatever, the cafe’s is a buttery, decadent delight.
For savory items, SCVFoodie can attest to the hearty ham and Gruyere croissant and their homemade version of the English muffin, which has the crunch of corn nuts (yep) sprinkled on top.
Once this pandemic is over, we can’t wait to sit in the cafe, slowly sip our cappuccinos and taste its croque madame, but until then, we’ll order takeout and pretend we’re in Paris.
“I love you,” he said softly. I looked up at my husband from the other side of the kitchen island on New Year’s Day.
But he wasn’t looking at me. Instead, he was whispering sweet nothings to the panang curry with chicken ($14.99) that we’d ordered from Thai Chefs at the corner of Seco Canyon and Copper Hill.
The adultation didn’t offend me, because I love the restaurant’s panang curry, too. For those who’ve never tried, the curry is a thick sweet and spicy sauce with coconut milk, carrots, bell peppers with peanuts (not found in Thai red or green curried dishes). While panang is supposed to less spicy, it’s usually got a little kick. Thai Chefs’ mild offering is borderline too spicy to my other half.
Because it was New Year’s Day, we added a long noodle dish pad see ew ($12.99) — a stir fry with broccoli, chicken, thin broad noodles and a sweeter soy sauce — for good luck.
While the prices for the a la carte dishes may seem a little high, the portions were healthy enough for at least two separate meals for two people. Open since 2011, Thai Chefs has become our go-to Thai destination in the SCV, and we’ll be back for takeout as much as we can during the pandemic to help ensure it stays around much longer.
Peanut butter cookies are really hard to get right. Many times, there’s just not enough peanut butter. Or there are too many bits of nuts in lieu of peanut butter. (We didn’t ask for peanut cookies, thank you very much.)
But we recently found a nearly perfect peanut butter cookie at the Newhall Farmers Market. Bake Up pastries sells an assortment of sweets, including cookies, coffee cakes, homemade poptarts, loaves and bars.
The peanut butter cookies, however, are heavenly. The flavor balance is ideal: There’s enough peanut butter to savor without overwhelming the palate. If we had one nitpick, it’s that the decorative sanding sugar on top, while pretty, isn’t necessary. The cookies are $10 for a six-pack.
A few folks in the Santa Clarita Valley might already know of — or tasted —Bake Up, as Kimberly Gonzalez’s Acton-based home kitchen makes goods for several local coffee shops, including Bodhi Leaf (the blueberry cornmeal and cinnamon coffee cakes are hers, as are the assorted poptarts).
The Newhall Market is open from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Bake Up posts its weekly menu on Facebook on Tuesdays. Message them by Thursday evening to reserve baked goods.
Bake Up Newhall Farmers Market (Saturdays) Old Town Newhall Library parking lot 24500 Main St., Newhall
Jazmin’s Bakery, a longtime staple of downtown Newhall, offers a quick breakfast option with a kick. Amid the racks of cakes, pastries and desserts are their croissants.
While their chocolate croissant is good, look for one marked with a jalapeño slice on top. That’s the one you want. It’s baked with a sausage patty, cheese and jalapeño slices inside.
It’s filling (carbs + protein + fats) with just enough heat that wakes up the tongue. Eat it just the way it is; or, if you have time at home, cut the croissant in half, scramble or fry up a couple eggs and stuff them inside. It’s large enough to share, too. (Unless you have a gargantuan appetite.)
The jalapeño sausage croissant won’t break the budget at $3.50, either.
For this week’s quaran-treat, we stopped at the House of the Peruvian Cookie at the Saturday Newhall Farmers Market to pick up a dozen alfajores de maizena. These melt-in-your-mouth biscuit cookies, with dulce de leche filling, are made by hand in SCV resident Angie Schenone’s home kitchen.
For those not familiar with the cookie, the biscuits look a little like macarons, but the alfajores are delicate, light, airy and crumbly made from cornstarch rather than almond flour and sugar. Biting into one of these delicacies is probably comprable to biting a fluffy cloud.
The House of the Peruvian Cookie offers a traditional flower-shaped cookie, dusted with powdered suger (which are the ones we bought); a heart-shaped version; a coconut cookie in which the dulce de leche is coated in coconut; and multicolored alfajores.
Because these Peruvian treats aren’t mass produced, and it’s a local operation, the alfajor is $1.25 for a single, and $12 for a dozen of the traditional. Prices vary on the other cookie options.
The cookies are available at the Newhall Farmers Market on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. They can also be ordered online for deliveries in the Santa Clarita area on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
After Saturday morning chores and errands, SCVFoodie hit the road to Santa Paula. What the heck is in Santa Paula, you ask? Beignets at Rablais Bistro. Hot. Fresh. Doughy. And covered with a ton of powdered sugar.
About a 40-minute drive on the 126 from Valencia, we usually pass the Santa Paula exits en route to the beaches in Ventura and Santa Barbara. But quite a few people were raving about the Cajun-New Orleans-style restaurant on the Santa Clarita Foodies Facebook group.
Since dining indoors these days is a no-go, we picked up our piping hot beignets for takeout and ate them in the car. They might be bigger than the world-famous Cafe du Monde’s in New Orleans (from what we can remember), but they’re topped with the same amount of powdered sugar (a mound on each). Rablais’ beignets should be eaten right away—because any beignet worth its salt doesn’t have a great shelf life.
For those who’ve never had one, the beignet is the French version of a fritter or doughnut. Traditionally made with a few ingredients including flour, water, butter/lard and eggs, the beignet is hollow in the middle with a touch of crispness on the outside.
Rablais’ version is certainly worth the drive on a Saturday morning—especially when there’s nothing else to do. But when it’s safe to dine-in again, we’ll definitely be back. There are a few things we want to try that look better eaten at the restaurant (Croque Madame, Pulled-Pork Benedict, jambalaya, shrimp and grits and their po’ boys).
Of course, we’d have to start or finish that meal with those beignets and a chickory au lait.
Rablais Bistro’s beignets are three for $7, six for $12 or a dozen for $20.
Martino’s Bakery has been a Burbank staple since 1926, when Victor and Eva Martino started a pie business in their garage. More than 90 years later, the baked goods are still enticing crowds—especially their signature teacakes (available in both regular as well as cranberry and blueberry flavors).
The original version of the little square cake is soft and moist on the inside with a hint of vanilla or caramel, and topped with a sugar glaze that hardens. The fruit-enhanced versions are closer to muffins than the original tea cake, but just as tasty.
If you still aren’t convinced that a drive out to Burbank is worth it for these tea cakes, then the prices—$1.69 (original) to $1.79 for the cranberry/blueberry flavors—just might.
Just remember to order ahead of time online so your order will be ready for an even safer, physically distanced pick up.
If you live in the L.A. area, you’ve probably driven by Temple City without even knowing it. Located just south of Pasadena and between the 210 and 10 Freeways, the community is predominently residential. But the four-square mile city boasts a number of great restaurants, tucked in the strip malls.
SCVFoodie has written about several restaurants for Temple City’s Connect Magazine. Last year, we wrote about the Michelin and Bib Gourmand restaurants in the area, including Grand Harbour and Dai Ho.
Our latest adventure took us to Blazin Chicks, a fried HOT chicken place that opened just before the pandemic took hold of the country. It specializes in chicken sandwiches, wings, mac and cheese, butter rice, collard greens and other Southern-style comfort foods.
If you’ve been craving carbs during the stay-at-home pandemic, then SCV Foodie suggests an addition to all the sourdough and banana bread baking we’ve seen on Instagram lately.
The family owned and operated Italia Panetteria & Deli on Newhall Ranch Road bakes its rolls and breads daily each morning. Among the selections is its Pizza Bread, a deep, thick-crusted bread topped with a savory tomato sauce and dusted off with parmesan cheese.
The dense bread can be eaten by itself or add a bit of mozzerella cheese and toppings for a DIY pizza.
At $5.49, the Pizza Bread is a bargain because it’s heavy and filling and only the heariest of appetites can tackle in on sitting. There are limited quantities available on a daily basis so once they sell out, they’re gone.
Italia Panetteria & Deli 27674 Newhall Ranch Road #55, Valencia (661) 294-9069 Hour: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday