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.

New Coffee Shop Alert: Honu Coffee in Newhall

Honu Coffee opened in Newhall.
Honu Coffee opened in Newhall.

The food business is tough, and running an independent coffee shop is one of the hardest. You have to sell a lot of lattes and iced coffees to make rent and payroll, let alone a profit.  And while we do frequent Sbucks, Coffee Bean and Peet’s, there’s something special about supporting the mom-and-pop coffee shops, helping our communities feel a little less cookie cutter.

We were saddened by the closing of our favorites The Coffee House and Bakers in recent years/months—places where the staff asked about you and not just the name for the cup. For a while, there was nowhere to nibble on fresh baked treats or a place to bring the laptop to work away from the office.

Until now.

Honu Coffee is now open in Newhall’s yellow Victorian buildings block, taking over the space from Kokolita’s Cupcakes second location. The same space was also previously home to The Poached Pair and before that, the popular, long-lasting Java’n’Jazz coffee shop.

We stumbled upon Honu by accident, looking to buy cupcakes from Kokolita’s. While Honu’s owners sell Kokolita’s cupcakes and empanadas, the focus is definitely on the coffee. The owners have a special Honu House Blend that’s exclusive to their shop, and the beans are roasted by Martin Diedrich’s Kean Artisan Roasters in Costa Mesa. Honu’s also working to sell larger batches of their cold brew coffee.

We had a cappuccino on our first visit, and we’ll be back for another. But next time, we’ll bring our laptop, and sip away in Honu’s loft, doing our best to support the SCV’s latest coffee shop.

Honu Coffee
22722 Lyons Ave.
Santa Clarita (Newhall), Calif.
661.607.3863

Monday-Thursday, 6 am to 5 pm
Friday: 6 am to 11 pm
Saturday: 7 am to 11 pm

 

 

Take a Bao’s Modern Twist

Bao and a side salad from Take a Bao in Studio City. | Photo: Christine N. Ziemba

SCVFoodie made a run to Take a Bao in Studio City recently, thanks to an almost-expired BlackBoardEats coupon.

The restaurant is an odd combination, caught somewhere between a swanky bar and a quick service/takeout joint—where customers order Asian-influenced dishes at the counter while imbibing in classic cocktails like Old-Fashioneds, Ginger Lychee Martinis, craft beers or sake. The mixologists on duty really knew their stuff (we had a Manhattan), but we were there for the bao (steamed filled buns), so sample we did.

The bread is available in either whole wheat or white, and we sampled both. The most surprising thing about the bao is that it’s served open-faced, much like a pita sandwich.

Here’s a list of the bao we tried, in order of tastiness:

1. Burger bao (beef and garlic chive patty, caramelized red onion, tomato, wild arugula, chipotle ketchup, garlic aioli, toasted bun) – This is a nontraditional take on the Chinese treat, but it proves to be a really tasty burger. $5

2. Crispy panko crusted fish (Alaskan cod, yuzu tartar sauce, bibb lettuce, scallions) – The fish was crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside as it should be. The tartar sauce wasn’t too overpowering, thanks to the citrus influence of the yuzu. $5

3. Original pulled pork (hoisin braised bbq pork, pickled red onion, cucumbers) – It was just ok—we’ve tasted better pork bao from the freezer section of 99 Ranch stores. The bbq sauce was way too sweet. $4.5

4. Thai peanut chicken (grilled chicken, thai peanut sauce, cucumber, cilantro, crushed peanuts) – Now this was a total disappointment; we couldn’t taste the Thai spice or peanut sauce, which is a problem WITH A THAI PEANUT DISH. $4.5

Will we be back? Maybe…but for a happy hour drink with a few bao to snack on the side.

Best deal? Order two bao and get a “Napa salad” for just $2.5o more. And really, the salad is a generous portion that’s really well done and lightly dressed.

Take a Bao
11838 ventura blvd
studio city ca 91604

Phone 818 691 7223

SCVFoodie Road Trip: Eating Our Way Across Spain

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The grilled razor clams were tasty at Can Majo in the Barcelonetta neighborhood of Barcelona. | Christine N. Ziemba

Earlier this month, SCVFoodie took a little road trip—to Spain. We made our way to Barcelona (the northeast part of the country, close to France), followed by the capital of Madrid (smack dab in the middle of the country), with a little day trip to Cordoba in Southern Spain.

Thanks to SCVFoodie’s mom, we ate very well. Highlights of the trip in Barcelona include the cafe con leche at Bracafe, the seafood paella by the sea at Can Majo; the warm donut at Pintxo’s in la Boqueria. In Cordoba, we found a great Moroccan chicken tagine.

In Madrid, the meal at Estado Puro was phenomenal, including the stew of garbanzos and mussels and the dessert, which was like a love child between a creme Catalana and tiramisu; the ensaymadas in little panaderías everywhere; and our last meal of grilled seafood outside the Museo Reina Sofía.

And have we mentioned the coffee? Cafes con leche, cappuccinos and cortados…

Here’s a record of the trip, in pictures.

Continue reading “SCVFoodie Road Trip: Eating Our Way Across Spain”

SCVFoodie: An Introduction

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Blueberry lemon scones from the Coffee House.

Welcome to SCVFoodie, a local website that documents the food scene in the Santa Clarita Valley, located just north of Los Angeles. We’ll post restaurant reviews, food news, our favorite deals around town and the opening and closing of establishments. We have an affinity for mom-and-pop restaurants, but we’re not afraid to tell you about the latest and greatest Blizzard from DQ, when IHOP’s pumpkin pancakes are back in season, or the changes in a happy hour from one of the chain restaurants in Awesometown.

And once in a while, we’ll venture out into LA and find out and then tell you if a restaurant is Worth the Drive.

So sit back and enjoy the grand opening of SCVFoodie.