In the late spring, we saw a new sign—The Daily Harvest—pop up among the yellow Victorian buildings along Lyons Avenue. And got really excited. According to what we could find online, the new “cafe & juicery” would offer: Organic Cold Pressed Juice, Seasonal Fresh Food, Breakfast, Salads and Sandwiches.
So we waited. And waited.
The construction seemed to stop and start in fits and spurts. But now they’re back at it in earnest and one of the guys walking into the construction site said they’ll be open “soon” (within the next month). Fingers crossed.
The Daily Harvest Cafe & Juicery
22722 Lyons Ave. #6 Newhall, CA 91321
**If the cafe’s a success, then parking will be an issue. The [tiny] spaces at the lot for the Egg Plantation, Honu Coffee and various shops, dance and yoga studios will be at a bigger premium than they are now. But we’ll take parking headaches if that means more food options in the SCV.
The Santa Clarita Valley gets a new seafood restaurant option on Monday when the Bonefish Grill officially opens to the public. We had the opportunity last week to take a sneak peek at the restaurant’s interiors and sample the fare, and we think the restaurant should do just fine in Awesometown.
A restaurant line owned by Bloomin’ Brands, who also owns and operates Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Bonefish Grills is definitely more upscale than Red Lobster or California Fish Grill at the other side of the mall. It has a nicely appointed interior that lets in a lot of natural light and doesn’t come off as stuffy.
The bar area is spacious and there’s outdoor seating on the patio available, too. During the media preview on Thursday, the passed appetizers included the restaurant’s signature Bang Bang Shrimp, which was a crispy shrimp dish tossed in a creamy, spicy and sweet sauce. The fried dish and the glaze reminded us a little of General Tso’s chicken, which is tasty, but we can only eat on occasion. Ahi tuna sashimi (sesame-seared rare with wasabi + pickled ginger) were passed out, too, but could have used a touch more seasoning. We didn’t get a chance to try the Lobster Flatbread, but it looked amazing.
Moving onto the appetizers at the dinner, we had a chance to sample the Blackened Baja Fish Tacos with fresh romaine, mango salsa, lime crema + fresh herb pesto. The menu item comes in an order of three full-sized tacos, which are perfect for sharing as a hearty appetizer or as a meal itself. The Cilantro Lime Shrimp Salad was next; the greens were fresh, the grape tomatoes were sweet, and the feta worked well with the shrimp, which was grilled perfectly. The entree size is a huge enough portion for anyone.
Next up for the diners (as if we needed another entree) was the Surf + Turf Mixed Grill: Ahi Tuna Pan- Asian Style, Chilean Sea Bass with Mango Salsa and Filet Mignon. The Ahi Tuna was too much like the appetizer, and we prefer the filet at other steak restaurants better (Ruth’s Chris, The Palm). The steak came out a little lukewarm, and not sizzling, but our party was quiet large, but at least it’s good to know that there are options for non-seafood eaters. The star of the Surf + Turf was the Sea Bass: The fish was tender and mild, and the sweetness of the mango salsa was a perfect complement.
The final course was a fresh Berry Shortcake (a number of the restaurant’s desserts are made in-house, and switch seasonally). The shortcake biscuit tasted homemade, and the creme anglaise complemented the berries. The dessert was a great choice for a heavy meal—just light enough to stuff our faces a little more. The dessert was paired with an Espresso Martini that includes Vanilla vodka, Kahlúa, Crème de Cacao and fresh brewed espresso. It tasted like a sweet, cold brew coffee.
But since Bonefish Grill really wanted to make a good first impression, they surprised the diners with a surprise, second dessert. Three warm doughnuts, tossed in cinnamon sugar magically appeared. There were interesting plastic bottles filled with chocolate and sea salt caramel sauces with tips that could be inserted and injected into the doughnuts to fill them with sauce. It was a little more trouble than it was worth, so instead we topped the doughnut with the sauce and added a little on the side for dipping. Much better. Despite the overly complicated dish, the doughnuts were pretty amazing and highly recommended.
Yes, ultimately, Bonefish Grill is another chain restaurant in the SCV, but if the preview is any indication, its seafood fare will be a welcome option.
Bonefish Grill 24201 Valencia Blvd., Ste 3210 Valencia, CA 91355 (at the Valencia Town Center Patios) 661.219.0021
The concept is perfect for those people who might think that the Refinery’s menu is a little too…different.
So Dixie Brown, if you’re reading this, we’d like to throw in a few beer suggestions, too: Racer 5 and then anything Chimay, Clown Shoes or Dogfish Head.
Dixie Brown’s BBQ & Brewhouse
24255 Main Street, Newhall, Calif.
661 481-1188 firstname.lastname@example.org
Update 8/1/15: Dunkin’ Donuts is scheduled to open at 4:40 am on Wednesday, Aug. 5 in the SCV. “The first person in both the walk-in and drive-through lines will be rewarded with free coffee for one year. The first location is also handing out tote bags to the first 100 customers.” (h/t The Signal)
No more driving to Santa Monica or Encino for the Chocolate Glazed or the Powdered Sugar (our two personal favs). All you have to do in a few short weeks is drive over to Canyon Country (the Sierra Crest Center, 27125 Sierra Highway, #326-A, Santa Clarita, CA 91351).
Now that bit of news definitely puts the “awesome” in Awesometown.
Newhall Refinery is one of our favorite restaurants in the Santa Clarita Valley. The gastropub located in the heart of downtown Newhall is owned and operated by the same folks (Simon and Shannon Mee) behind the Egg Plantation.
The menu offers seasonal and generally locally sourced items, and their beer selection is diverse, varied and rotated. Who else in Santa Clarita would bring in Clown Shoes from Ipswich, Mass.? But sometimes we’re just not in the mood for a pint, and until recently, the Refinery only served beer and wine.
A few months ago Newhall Refinery introduced a complete menu of handcrafted cocktails. While they’re pricey for the area—but not L.A.—at $12 a pop, the ingredients are fresh and use high-quality and sometimes organic spirits and mixers when possible.
Our table tried:
» The trendy Moscow Mule with Hanson Organic Vodka, muddled mint and lime and Fever Tree Ginger Beer. The bar also gives customers the option to try a different spin with Teeling Irish Whiskey or muddled fresh lavender.
» The light and refreshing Blackberry Fence Hopper with Hanson Organic Vodka, muddled blackberries, fresh lemon juice and Turbinado Sugar.
» The classic Old Fashioned: Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon, muddled orange wheel, Abbott’s Bitters, cane syrup, maraschino cherries.
The restaurant’s happy hour is short, from 4-5 pm Tuesdays through Fridays, and the cocktails aren’t discounted. The beers and wines are though, as are some of the food items.
While you really can’t go wrong with any food pairing off the restaurant’s menu with your cocktail choice, we’re partial to the hummus appetizer as it also has baba ganoush, seasonal vegetables, and crispy naan to share ($11).
If you’re feeling a little more decadent then go for the Refiner’s Fries. Always the Refiner’s fries. The dish features mornay (cheese) sauce, beer braised beef brisket and green onion topping the fries. The happy hour mini-order is $5, but the full order is an even better deal at $8. Like its distant Canadian cousin poutine, it’s more than enough for a meal. Trust us. We’re experts on those fries.
Newhall Refinery 24258 Main St, Newhall, CA 91321 Hours: 11 am-10 pm Tuesdays through Thursday; 11 am to 11 pm on Friday and Saturday; and 11 am to 9 pm on Sundays.
On Tuesday night, SCVFoodie was fortunate enough to score a seat to Rascal’s first whisky pairing dinner. (Full disclosure, we had an “in”—Rob Gard, the whisky expert and spirits writer guiding diners through the courses is a personal friend.) But he and Rascal’s chef Andy Lee put together a great four-course meal with uncommon whiskies and surprising taste combinations.
We’ll list the pairings by course:
First course: A Linkwood 15 with sheep milk cheese, house-made duck prosciutto, basque chorizo toast, roasted peeled almonds—and a date. We added just a few drops of water to the Linkwood, and it completely mellowed the finish. The difference was amazing.
Second course: A Benromach 10 with shrimp and grits (spiced shrimp with corn polenta grits, chimichurri). A hint of curry on the shrimp was a great touch by Lee and worked well with the peatier Benromach.
Third course: Glenturret 11 with whisky braised pork belly, sautéed picked farmer’s market vegetables and a whisky glaze. To be honest, SCVFoodie isn’t the biggest fan of pork belly dishes (usually way too fatty for our liking), but Lee’s was amazing. It reminded us of lechón—full of flavor and tender. Lee used the Glenturret in the glaze, adding a sharp sweetness to the dish.
Fourth course: A Brenne (French whisky) with a whisky custard bread pudding and creme anglaise. We love love love bread pudding, and pastry chef Danielle Keene’s was top-notch. It was more firm than mushy, which is the way we like it. The Brenne popped with vanilla and caramel flavors, complementing the dessert perfectly.
This week’s special whisky dinner is just the first for Rascal, so follow them on Facebook or Twitter for news about the next one. And just follow Rob Gard because, he knows his whisky. And he’s awesome. (No, he didn’t pay us to say that).
Rascal 801 S. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles
The Burrito Factory has been around for nearly four decades, opening its first location in Chatsworth, and now boasting three additional locations in Santa Clarita, Sunland and Granada Hills.
SCVFoodie is a big fan of bargains, and we can honestly attest that the all-day breakfast burrito (at least at the Valencia location on Soledad Canyon Road) is a great deal. It’s a decent-sized breakfast burrito—two eggs, refried beans and potatoes wrapped in a tortilla with a side of chips—for $3.25.
There’s nothing fancy or gourmet about it. What you see is exactly what you get, and in this case, we’re OK with that—especially with a side of salsa and a few shakes of Tapatio.
On the downside, we can’t recommend the Burrito Factory’s guacamole. It’s way too runny. The last batch we had was closer to a chilled avocado soup than guac. Stick to the burrito and you’ll be fine.
Burrito Factory 21032 Soledad Canyon Road Santa Clarita, Calif. 661-288-0222
Hours: 7:30 am to 9 pm, Sunday to Thursday. 7:30 am to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday
The SCVFoodie team has been going to Dink’s in Granary Square for years. We don’t go to the one at the Valencia Town Center because it’s basically the same menu, just more expensive to pay for the Town Center real estate prices. So at Granary Square, we do love the chicken noodle soup, especially when we’re sick and the breakfast burritos (pictured above) are simple, yet delicious. The burritos could be our favs in the entire SCV, but we haven’t done enough taste-testing to compare—yet.
Dink’s in Granary Square is a no-nonsense restaurant where you order and pay at the counter and then they deliver to your table. Simple, right? Unfortunately for Dink’s it’s not. We can’t tell you how many times they’ve lost our order slips between the cash register and the kitchen window. During our last visit, a few weeks ago, we watched as two parties complained because their orders were lost in that Bermuda Triangle. Our order wasn’t lost, but when I ordered a fountain drink, and then took a sip at the table, the soda was warm.
I asked for ice, but the staff told me that they had run out. Don’t you think that this is something you should tell customers before handing them piss-temperature Diet Coke? Or maybe how about buying some ice at the Ralphs at the other end of the shopping plaza? This is why we have such a love-hate relationship with the place. Love the food, but the service leaves so much to be desired.
And don’t even get us started how the food establishment has no restrooms for customers.
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.
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
Shout out to CVT Soft Serve Truck who serves up this taste of heaven: Vanilla & chocolate twist. Simple, but delicious.
Awesometown got a little more awesome with Food Truck Saturdays. Started earlier this year, the weekly event features a gathering of L.A. county’s best known food trucks making the trek up the 5 freeway to the SCV.
SCVFoodie finally had a chance to drop by catch the action in-person on Sept. 6 in the parking lot of Dick’s Sporting Goods (off of Carl Boyer Drive near Mountasia). The trucks in the lot were:
The Fat Pita
La Panini Grill
No Tacos, Please
Homeboy Food Truck
Burnt to a Crisp BBQ
CVT Soft Serve Ice Cream
While it was a little early for us for a dinner—the trucks are onsite from about 5 to 9 pm—we had a sweet treat from CVT Soft Serve. The truck serves up dishes or cones of vanilla, chocolate or a combo twist of soft-serve ice cream. That’s it. The ice cream is simple and delicious, and we didn’t even need to add the chocolate sprinkles because the ice cream was that tasty on its own.
We’ll definitely be back to the lot and next time will bring bigger appetites. To see what trucks are scheduled, follow Food Truck Saturdays on Twitter (@FoodTruckSat) or on Facebook.
Food Truck Saturdays Saturday Nights from 5-9 pm 26573 Carl Boyer Drive (Dick’s Sporting Goods lot) Santa Clarita, California