Thelma’s. Where should I start? I found out that this place had opened way in December 2007, through someone on Yelp. I went and fell in love. This was Chinois quality food right in the SCV! You know me by now, right? When I like something, I tell everyone to go ASAP! I told coworkers, strangers, I was like their number 1 cheerleader.
Some background. Yes, Chef Luis Diaz used to be head chef at Chinois on Main (owned by Wolfgang Puck himself) before he left to open up his own restaurant here in Saugus. I knew how special this place was and really wanted it to succeed. I mean, seriously? Some of the stuff that they were dishing out was pretty much on par with Chinois (yes, I had eaten at Chinois, in Las Vegas). For someone like me, that eats out at restaurants a lot, and constantly complains about the quality of food being offered in the SCV, having a place like Thelma’s around the corner was a dream come true. Plus, Chef Diaz is such a humble man, even though he has gained a lot of recognition in the food world, and is credited with the creation of many famous dishes at Chinois. He has always been incredibly kind and polite to me and everyone I have gone there with.
Unfortunately, it was not always unicorns and rainbows. First of all, there was a waitress that used to work there that was kind of insane. She was ditzy and just…weird. Luckily she does not work there anymore. However, the way she presented herself came across as…arrogant, which is not what the restaurant vibe was at all! How dare she ruin it for me! First of all, every time I went there she would give me a speech about the chef’s background and how it was an honor that we were even eating there. Um. I get it. I know this. I’ve been here like 10x already! Can I just order? This is going to sound horrible, but I stopped going for some time because I didn’t want to face this waitress. Eventually after she was no longer working there, I gradually started going back to Thelma’s.
One night after a work function my (now) ex boo and I went there for dinner and had a fantastic meal of calamari and fried rice. It was served with a sauce that we just could not get enough of. I mean, up until recently we still talked about that sauce. Other memorable meals were the catfish that was part of the dinner menu for a short amount of time. The catfish was FANTASTIC! It was cooked perfectly and the portion was amazing for the price. Excellent. Thelma’s used to only be open for dinner on certain nights. I’m not too sure what their schedule is now.
As far as the daytime menu, I have tried a variety of items, from the paninis to the breakfast. I wasn’t too keen on the breakfast and the panini was okay. I had a hamburger once which was nice. None of these items were really impressive compared to previous dinner experiences. And then there is that one incident that involved dessert…
By the time I realized that the big ticket items were the way to go, I got busy with work, and since Thelma’s closed at 2, it was hard for me to get to the restaurant. Plus I work across town now, so it was just impossible to make it to Saugus in time for a good meal.
I had been home sick all day and was really hungry so Chonchis (not her real name, but that’s what I call her) and I decided to go to Thelma’s for dinner. We had not been there in a long time and decided to have a nice meal. Most of the photos that you see within this post were not taken by me, they were taken by her. She gave me permission to use her photos…I think. Anyway they are not edited because her camera is awesome and she is a great photographer. Her lens isn’t too shabby either. Yes. I’m jealous of her skillz.
Anyway as we walked in there were two musicians setting up in the corner. Nice. As we sat down, Thelma herself handed us the menus and Chonchis and I were amazed to see a completely revamped dinner menu. It was full of awesome sounding options. And the prices? Totally reasonable! Score! Something under the appetizer section caught my eye. Rib tips in hoisin sauce. YES PLEASE! Check out this perfection. As amazing at it looks in the picture. It came with homemade fries and a cucumber garnish. Awesome.
When it came time to order the main dish, I was torn! What to order! Everything looked soooo good! Chonchis ended up ordering the salmon. Check this out!
I ended up having the top sirloin steak, which according to the menu came with a baked potato and onion rings. It sounded perfect! Guess what? IT WAS PERFECT! This was only $15.95 which I feel, for this type of dish? Totally a great deal.
Check out the presentation too. So much detail was put into every part of this dish. Those onion rings? I am declaring them the best in the SCV. That au jus? It has to be made in house because it had a really unique flavor. I am a fan of sauces and condiments in general, so this totally made the meal for me. And the steak? Well, let’s just say I enjoyed it very much and ate it all. I cleaned my plate.
I felt that we couldn’t leave without trying dessert. The menu said to ask for the daily dessert, which to me says that they make it fresh daily. When Thelma herself informed us that one of the desserts for the night was mango cake? Like music to my ears. Mango is my most favorite fruit ever.
THIS. I could smell the mango even though my nose was still a bit stuffy from this cold I’m currently battling. I really liked this dessert a lot. And check out all the little details that went into the preparation.
On our way out, I noticed that one of the musicians looked a bit familiar to me. He looked exactly like a musician that had tweeted me last week to tell me that his jazz band performed at Abbot Kinney and also Wine 661. I informed him that I don’t drink so I don’t frequent Wine 611, but maybe I would seem play one day. Well, randomly it just so happened he (Paul Weitz – pictured above) was playing at Thelma’s tonight with Andy Allen (pictured below). It is a small SCV world…
So, after tonight, I once again believe in Thelma’s Morning Cafe and will now proceed to tell everyone (including my foodie friends that never quite “got” this place) to give it another try. Just remember that the big ticket items are always your best bet at this place.
Thelma’s Morning Cafe22876 Copperhill Dr
Santa Clarita, CA 91354