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Posts Tagged ‘restaurant’

I used to be at the top of my game, bringing you the latest and greatest in SCV before anyone else…however the reason I haven’t kept you guys up to date is because nothing had opened recently that had inspired me to dust off the old bloggy blog (I had forgotten my password, quite frankly). That was until last week when my bro Hsiawen sent me a text while I was at work. It was simply a photo of a chalk menu board and instantly I was intrigued. I demanded an address, and hoped it was in SCV. As a brother would do, Hsiawen had me in agony as he texted me photos of his food, but still no address. Notice, this is my attempt to give Hsiawen full credit for being FIRST to discover this new place, okay?

By the time my school day ended, Hsiawen had texted me the address, and as soon as the final bell rang I drove to the spot, walked in, and knew I was in for something good. But before I continue, let’s take a walk down memory lane to this post from 2009. Remember Fish Tail? Remember how excited I was about them opening up in town? The only place slanging poke bowls in Awesometown! Best! Anyway, back to the present.

So as I walked in, instantly I saw the familiar faces from Fish Tail (admittedly it has been a while since I’ve been to Fish Tail, but its back on my radar now). Well, the same way they brought a new concept to SCV three years ago, they have done it again with Rustic Eatery. The menu is quite simple, but I quickly learned they were doing things right. For example, they make their own bread every day, rustic and french, and spent weeks perfecting their hand cut fries. This space used to be a Red Brick Pizza, but the only thing that remains is the oven, and they certainly put it to good use for their bread, croutons, and other menu items.

Making bread isn’t an easy task, but Min (one of the owners – along with his brother Alex) was committed to perfecting his bread, and talks about the trial and error of learning how to make the bread actually rise.

This is truly a “mom and pop” – well in this case “brother and brother” type of business, which is my favorite kind to support, especially when you can see true drive and passion behind opening a restaurant in SCV. Bringing something good to the people of Awesometown besides the same ol’ chains and pretentious eateries. There is a feeling of family at this place, and the owners are so humble. It is so refreshing.

So anyway, as is the case when I like a place in SCV…I wont stop talking about it, and (humble brag) its a cool feeling when you can just text your friends and ask if they want to meet up at a new place, and they agree without even asking what kind of food or what its called. I guess being named one of SCV’s 40 Under 40 gives me klout!

Just like I did for Fish Tail in January 2010 I organized a get together at Rustic Eatery really from one day to the next. Last Saturday about 20+ of my closest friends gathered to check this place out. This place is casual and kid friendly too! And the best part is, everyone loved it! Colbert Bump!

I’ve been there a few times now, often with friends, and I’ve tried most of the dishes. I like the rice bowl and the plates, but I think my current favorite is the ribeye prime cut sandwich, salt and pepper, provolone, on rustic bread. It is served with a side salad which is top quality lettuce and it even has grapes. Fancy.

Here is Mrs. SCV herself! Eve Bushman of Wine 101 fame!

I went there for lunch with Jason and he had the tofu, so they do have vegetarian options available.

I’m also a big fan of their fresh cut fries with the aioli they make themselves.

If you like sweet potato fries they have those as well.

Essentially, you pick your protein and then you get to pick how you want it. Even on top of a salad! Notice their croutons they make in house!

Also of note? They have pork belly. Its amazing to me how hard it is to find a place slanging pork belly in Awesometown. Seriously, something that can be found so easily in LA, yet in Valencia, its like trying to find Waldo!

It is hard to describe what kind of food this is. It does have some Asian influence in the sauces that they make in house, and in the rice bowls. Asian influence can also be seen in the shabu cut ribeye and other dishes. I would suggest just going in there and checking it out. You can’t go wrong, really.

So, I’m totally fangirling over this place, and remember my posts on this blog can never be bought and I can’t be bribed – but if I like your place? I really know how to show it. Trust. I think its just because I’m so happy to have something NEW and REFRESHING in Valencia and I’m all for supporting local small businesses, which is why despite my seemingly cold black heart, when I realized this place didn’t have a website yet, I asked if I could try to make one for them for fun (ie no charge – I have a day job), selfishly just to see if I could. So, turns out creating a site isn’t that hard (thanks Wix!), I used photos I was going to use for this blog post anyway (that’s why they may look familiar), and I think this was my good deed for the holiday season. Maybe Santa will be good to me this year.

You can check out their website (and my amateur skills) by visiting their site here: Rustic Eatery. And then, since it was so EASY I decided to make a landing page for my own site using Wix as well. One of these days I’ll revamp this blog. That’s next on my to-do list. For now, check out (shameless plug) Lady Ducayne!

Anyway, back to Rustic Eatery! I have to reiterate what Lisa said at our meetup Saturday. THANK YOU Min and Alex for opening up in SCV and giving us some new options! So, SCV? What are you waiting for?

Hustle on over to this place and check them out. Keep in mind that they are fairly new and still finding their way. At lunch it tends to get busy, but its worth the wait! Its been a while since I’ve been so happy about a new place in town, and its good! Promise! You can thank me later.

Did I mention they have Orangina and Mexican Coke? JACKPOT!

(Parting gifts courtesy of Scott Groller)

Rustic Eatery

25343 Magic Mountain Parkway

Valencia, CA 91355

http://www.rusticeatery.com

Sidenote: If you happen to be visiting Santa Clarita from out of town because of Six Flags Magic Mountain and need a place to eat before heading into the park, or perhaps on your way home? This is a great alternative to the usual fast food places. Its essentially the same exit as the one you take for Six Flags, and super close! Pro Tip!

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So, there’s a new restaurant coming to Santa Clarita…specifically Valencia! It is called Marston’s Restaurant and we spotted it on the way home today. It will be opening within the Bridgeport Marketplace and it seems to be taking up three retail spaces!

Located next to Cardio Girl, there used to be a Threads clothing store and a very very very short lived nail/eyebrow salon next to that. There seems to be some action already going on inside, but it still has a long way to go. The signage says coming July 2010!

To say I’m giddy is an understatement. This seems to be an established restaurant in Pasadena, so I’m assuming this is going to be their second location. A quick glance at the menu reveals “classic American cuisine” and I see breakfast, lunch, and dinner options! I have high hopes for this one! Could this finally be the one restaurant that puts the SCV on the map? Only time will tell…fingers crossed!

Marston’s Restaurant

Coming July 2010

24011 Newhall Ranch Road

Valencia, CA 91354

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Ok, we all have talked a lot of smack about Bella Cucina and their shills. We’ve said it smells bad because of the sewer and road work nearby, and I myself had a horrible experience there back when they first opened. This is a place that I wouldn’t have gone back to, however their $8.99 lunch buffet sign has been taunting me every since it first went up. I say taunting because I would only ever see it as I passed by after work, which is too late for lunch! Anyway, working full time without a decent lunch break makes me miss my college days when I could hit up all the awesome lunch specials.

Today I was home sick but I was hungry so I headed out and remembered about Bella Cucina and their lunch buffet. Surely they would have some sort of soup option which is what I desperately wanted/needed. I tried my best to go in there with an open mind, but I’ll be honest…I was ready to hate my meal just because in my eyes, before today, Bella Cucina was made of fail.

Since Bella Cucina is so big, they have different dining rooms. When I first walked in, I could not see the buffet and there was no one in the main dining rooms. Huh? Then, I turned right and saw that the buffet was inside the Beatrice room. Once inside and seated, I was amazed to see that the place was packed! Just about every booth in the room was full of people. Furthermore, the buffet was full of many options!

They had two different types of salad, multiple dressing choices, two types of soup, gnocchi, ravoli, three different pastas, pizza, rolls, fruit, and even some bread for dessert. 

Here is the vegetable soup which was the first thing I ate from the buffet. Surprisingly not bad!

This was my plate after my first visit to the buffet. Not pictured is the spaghetti (I don’t like spaghetti, something about the noodles – weird, I know) and fettucini, which just didn’t fit on the plate.

Yeah, I pretty much ate it all. It was all totally edible! Was it wonderful and full of excellent flavor? Well, no. However, it was better than most local chains.

The last time I ate here, the rolls came out rock hard and when I asked if perhaps I could get a new basket of rolls, I was told that they were supposed to be like that! Um. WTF? Well, I’m happy to report that the rolls today were not rock hard. They were actually really good and freshly made!

A quick note about the pizza! While I was there, a fresh pizza was brought out about 4 times. This was not a large pizza at all, but that was the best part. This way people would serve themselves, and the pizza wouldn’t just sit there the whole time. So the pizza was just made and very fresh. Furthermore? I don’t usually eat the pizza crust, but this crust was pretty awesome!

Let me talk about the service! There was one waiter and one busboy/helper/food and drink replenisher working in the Beatrice room and they were on top of everything! My drink never went below half before it was refilled and dirty plates were removed promptly. Everyone had a very nice attitude too!

I was seated near the “dessert” area which consisted of pound cake slices, whipped cream, and strawberries and it was calling my name the whole time! Finally, after two rounds at the buffet, I was ready for some sweetness!

Even though I don’t think the pound cake slices were made in house, accented with some whipped cream from a can? It tasted pretty fantastic! I ate it all, but then again I love bread.

So, for $8.99 I had a pretty decent meal here at Bella Cucina. Would I come back? Oh yes, for sure! They have enough variety to make it totally worth it and the service made everything taste so much better! Also, they seemed to prepare everything in small batches so it was all very fresh! Everyone eating seemed to be very happy and enjoying their meal. Totally worth checking out for a quick and inexpensive lunch in Valencia.

As I left, I took some time to explore the restaurant which is really big. Do you guys remember when this was a Hamburger Hamlet? Followed by a very short lived bright blue Brazillian BBQ place? Well, this mural on the wall makes it obvious that is is now an Italian place.

This is the Dante room which is probably what is used for private parties. They also have a lot of live dancing/party events here at Bella Cucina and they even have a stage. Right now they are advertising a New Years Eve event, for those of you looking for something to do locally. Bella Cucina has another location in Canyon Country and I have eaten there twice. The first time was good and the second time was not. Needless to say I never went back. Plus, they have major shill issues on Yelp…

Bella Cucina

(This post is ONLY about the lunch buffet)

27430 The Old Road,

Valencia, CA 91355

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I’m not even going to bring up the past because even though it still bothers me, the food here is so great, I’m willing to look past it. I have previously raved about their burgers, and I even said that they were possibly the best burgers in Santa Clarita. Today after work I noticed a tweet from Cammaranos talking about their filet mignon burgers. What? When! I needed to get on that ASAP! 

So, off to Cammarano’s I went, and for the first time, the owner was my waiter. He was incredibly nice and polite and obviously takes a lot of pride in his restaurant and the food they are serving. He showed me these and as a non-drinker, I honestly had no idea what they were. Apparently, they are for beer and they even light up! So stupidly, I thought people used these to chug beer or something? But, apparently, it can take the place of a pitcher and you just keep refilling your drink yourself. You learn something new everyday!

The menu has changed. Now there are many options and honestly? Everything sounded really great. They even have regular fries now! Not just sweet potato! Score! Even though I had my heart set on the filet mignon burger, I was hungry and that skirt steak was totally calling my name!

This skirt steak was priced at $15 and came on top of mashed potatoes that were most definitely made in house. The steak had great flavor and was cooked to a perfect medium. I ended up eating all of it. I literally cleaned my plate.

And then! Dessert happened! On the door they have a sign advertising all of these homemade desserts! Turns out his mom makes the desserts! Can you say homemade? What a treat! This was the cappuccino cheesecake and you could totally tell it was homemade! I could eat this dessert for days! It was amazing! Just…amazing! And the portion? HUGE!

Everything today was fantastic! I really think that if you haven’t given them a try already, you should get over to Cammaranos ASAP and try some of their entrees! They are about so much more than just burgers! Love it! I’m seriously considering going back tomorrow for lunch!

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Although I was reluctant to eat at First Food and Bar, I’m so glad that I did. When in Vegas, I tend to gravitate towards places I’ve been already and love, or new places that I’ve been hearing about non stop. First Food and Bar does not fall under any of those categories. I really did not know much about this restaurant going in other than it had an awesome open kitchen and the food was American.

At first glance, I had no idea what to order. The menu is full of various options, and it didn’t help that everything coming out of the kitchen looked fabulous. As soon as I thought my mind was made up, something else would pass me by and I would go back to looking for it on the menu.

Besides an open kitchen, do you know what else made this place a winner? How about those black cloth napkins, huh? I detest white cloth napkins that leave lint all over your black pants! And what a creative napkin ring too! It’s the little things that make me happy.

Luckily I was dining with my parents so we ordered a great variety of items, starting with these buffalo wings that were fantastic! I’ve never been a fan of the buffalo flavor until I tried these! Wow! And they were prepared so that you could hold them easily too!

By the way, did I mention that some booths at this restaurant offer a fantastic view of the strip?

My mom started off her meal with this soup, which is something I wouldn’t usually eat (vegetables), but she let me try some of it and oh my goodness! Apparently it was a seasonal item on the menu, but wow. Loved it.

My dad had some sort of pasta dish which he enjoyed, but was not the standout item of this meal.

My mother had a plate that had a name related to Thanksgiving. I wish I could remember it! Anyway, it was basically a turkey sandwich with stuffing that was served with cranberry sauce and a mini casserole of sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top. 

I am not a fan of sweet potatoes, so I did not try it, but my parents could not stop raving about how wonderful it was. I was tempted to try it, but really, sweet potatoes? Do not like.

I ended up ordering the steak frites and let me tell you. It was something pretty awesome.

I didn’t expect it to come with all the sides, including the salad and the fries.

I used to think that Father’s Office was pretty cutting edge for serving their fries in a mini shopping cart, but First Food and Bar totally PWNED Father’s Office! They serve their fries in a deep fryer basket. Holla!

So not only did the food on the plate look great, but OMGZ it all tasted perfect! These hand cut fries are some of the best I have ever had, and I ate most of the salad too! The light dressing was perfect! And the steak! What can I say about this steak other than the fact that it was cooked at a perfect medium and was obviously a quality cut.

As you know by now, I’m a huge fan of condiments and sauces. My most favorite sauce (thanks to Wolfgang Puck) is béarnaise and according to the menu I could add it to my meal for $2 more. Let me tell you, the best $2 I’ve spent at a restaurant!

That béarnaise with this steak was a match made in heaven! And then, something incredible happened. I was defeated by this steak, which at first glance did not look that big. I could not finish it! It was just so hearty and thick! I got full way too fast and it was a shame that I had to leave some of it behind.

Even though I was too full for dessert, from the outside you can look into the open kitchen, and when we had first walked by prior, I saw a donut making machine of some sort. Later I come to find out they make their own donuts! Only I was too full to really enjoy dessert! Nooooo! By the way? They totally have a photo booth for customers! Check this out!

Anyway, Johnny was our waiter and not only was he a Dodger fan, but he was on top of everything! Would I come back to First Food and Bar? Um. Yeah. I need to come back for that steak! And the donuts! And the tots (yeah they serve tots). So many options, such a great place. I’m glad my parents picked this place, because I wouldn’t have picked it myself.

 

First Food and Bar – The Palazzo

3377 Las Vegas Blvd. S

Las Vegas, NV 89109

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 The Eiffel Tower Restaurant, located at Paris, Las Vegas is one of those places that is truly one of a kind. Not only does it offer a wonderful view of the Bellagio fountains and of the strip, but it is also one of those restaurants that is a true experience from beginning to end.

Starting with a ride up the restaurant’s exclusive elevator, the doors open up to reveal the open kitchen. I may have gasped! Such a wonderful surprise!

Having an open kitchen like this, merely a few feet away has to be one of my top foodie experiences. I had to take some photos to share with all of you. Just look at these strawberries!

Caviar…

Petite Fours…

My party and I were seated at the bar, and soon after, we had the pleasure of meeting Lyle Tolhurst, who really makes sure that this restaurant runs as smoothly as it does. I must thank Lyle for having us as guests and making sure we had a wonderful experience. While we waited, he let us browse through the Eiffel Tower Restaurant Cookbook.

The photographs within the cookbook were great and we were amused to see that we were seated in the exact spot featured on these pages! Right away, the bartender came over and took our drink order. You may recall from my Drago Centro post, that I don’t drink, so I am always weary of sitting at bars, thinking I will be delegated to drink water or soda. Well, I am pleased to say that the Eiffel Tower Restaurant bar really came through for us tonight! As soon as we told the bartender we wanted something non alcoholic he didn’t even bat an eyelash and came back with not 1, but 3 different non alcoholic drinks.

The drinks were fantastic. Fruity, yet each had a distinct taste. Very refreshing.

We were here to try the souffles and as we waited we could not stop admiring the view. It really does not matter where you sit because every table offers a different view. While we were there we were able to see the Bellagio Fountains from a totally new perspective. Everyone was in awe.

While we were there, we were witness to a wedding proposal! Honestly? This place is perfect for a proposal! So romantic and with a full view of the city. According to Lyle, he has seen up to 5-6 wedding proposals in a single night! Guys! Take note!

We ended up trying three different souffles including pistacho and Grand Marnier. They had a special pumpkin souffle on the menu because of the Thanksgiving holiday, and we were able to try it as well.

The souffles each had their own fantastic flavor and were perfect. So fluffy! I was able to eat from all three and although they were all great, the pistachio had to be my favorite.

After finishing the souffles and our drinks we said our goodbyes to Lyle and made our way over to the elevator. I could not resist taking just one more photo of the open kitchen.

As we made our way to the casino floor, I remembered how often we used to stay at Paris, Las Vegas. Before the Wynn came around, this was my favorite hotel to stay at and we used to stay here every Christmas before we started going to Canada instead.

So, to conclude this post, I would like to once again thank Lyle  for treating us to such a great experience at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant. From the drinks, to the service, and the desserts (and the view of course) this was great from start to finish. If you are looking for a true experience that you can only have in Las Vegas, definitely consider the Eiffel Tower Restaurant.

Eiffel Tower Restaurant

3655 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109-4345
(702) 948-6937

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Back in late 2000 or so, I went to Saladang Song for the first time. I was only 16 or 17, and this restaurant always caught my attention because of the design. I’m not an architecture buff, but it is hard not to notice the space and I always admire nice buildings.

The main purpose of our trip to the area back then was the paper store that was behind the sister restaurant Saladang, right next door (pictured below). Although I found Saladang to be good, I always wanted to try Saladang Song but thought it was rather intimidating. Remember, I was only a teenager…

One day, my parents took me there and I believe it may have been for a special occasion. We had fish and pad thai and satay. I still remember the dessert, which was pineapple ice cream served within a frozen pineapple. We went to Saladang Song many times during my late teens and I always thought in my young mind that it was the best restaurant ever! It was no longer intimidating, it was now just Saldang Song.

Eventually, the paper store closed and although we still went to Old Town Pasadena, we didn’t pass by this street as often. I had not been to Saladang Song in about 5 or 6 years! Possibly more! Yet, I still remembered how much I loved it and was very eager to go back.

Last Sunday on the way to Loma Linda to visit a family member, we passed by Pasadena and I suggested we go back to Saladang Song, and everyone agreed! I was nervous! Would it be as wonderful as I remembered?

Well, the restaurant still looks exactly the same, right down to the table cloths! We also happened to get there at a great time because they had some awesome lunch specials going on! I couldn’t believe these specials were priced at $9-$10! I figured the portion would be small, but we were in a hurry, so it would just serve as a light lunch.

One of my favorite foods is chicken satay, and I blame Saladang Song for this. I first had chicken satay with peanut sauce here at this restaurant so long ago, so that is what I ordered. Imagine my surprise when I got my plate and saw all of this food!

My goodness! Besides three satay skewers…

it also came with fried calamari

Salad with peanut dressing

and fried rice.

And look at how generous the portions were! All of this for only $8.95! Say what?!?!

It was all good. It was all very good. Definitely my most favorite Thai restaurant ever. It’s funny because in my youth, I thought Saladang Song was the best restaurant in the world. Hehe! I realize that was my age talking. Now my favorite restaurant is located in Canada, how things change, right?

After eating my lunch I remembered that they used to give you a scoop of ice cream with your meal. This still stands! Chocolate Chip FTW!

I also remembered that they individually wrapped their dinner mints. Ahh, not much has changed here at Saladang Song! I can’t wait to go back.

Saladang Song

363 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105

Chicken Satay on Foodista

Saladang Song in Los Angeles

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