Being honest, I saw this as query on Facebook about favorite dishes at favorite restaurants. It had dozens of answers that I didn’t read. Why? Because I was already thinking of my own answers, and how soon I could get these faves – that I share with you now – in my mouth!
Presented alphabetically as I have no single favorite, limited to restaurants in the Santa Clarita Valley and those (at press time participating in Cocktails on the Roof 2017 are noted:
Backwoods Inn – Garlic Bread, New England Clam Chowder, Pork Chops, Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon, Ribs, Prime Rib, Twice Baked Potato, a single malt from the bar or a bottle of wine from home as the corkage is low.
Bricks on Lyons – The Cobb Salad (that has enough protein and veggies that you don’t miss the usual cheese ingredient), Salmon BLT, Ahi Tuna Burger and Tater Tots. Plenty of wine and beer on the menu but we usually eat there for lunch and skip the booze.
Burrito Factory – Mexican Pizza (Nachos) with whatever meat I want it topped with – usually go for Chile Colorado, the #8 Burrito (Beans, Cheese, Lettuce and Guac) and, when I’m feeling the need for a guilty pleasure nothing beats the Chile Relleno and Beans Burrito.
Dario’s Newhall or Canyon Country – Standard fare like Fajitas, Nachos, Chile Colorado or Chile Verde, Grande Tostadas, “Dario’s Chicken” with either a Cadillac, Cucumber or Coconut Margarita.
Egg Plantation – The Classic Eggs Benedict, their version of Chilaquiles with lots of avocado, tomato, sour cream – on the side – of eggs scrambled with tortilla strips, a number of deli sandwiches or maybe just one of the 101 + build your own omelets! All with a Bloody Mary piled high with enough veggies to be a meal of itself…or an Espresso drink if I’m being good.
Jimmy Deans – Junior Breakfast Burrito, Patty Melt, Tuna Melt, Tuna Salad Sandwich, Grilled Cheese and Chili Cheese Fries.
Karma – Samosas, Coconut Curry Chicken, Tandoori Chicken, Saffron Rice and Aloo Paratha. If the full bar is back I usually would get the Vesper Martini.
Kinza Sushi and Asian Izakaya – With a rotating menu of special rolls and fresh fish this one is harder to pin down a favorite. We usually start with any type of belly, yellowtail tuna or plain tuna, and always end with Oyster Shooters (no booze). For our booze we only do cold sake now that we have developed a taste for it and order the Kikusui Junmai Ginjo.
Le Chene – For decades we have made the well-worth-it drive for Happy Hour, brunch, special events and important dinners. My favorites include Escargot, Soup of the Day (after tasting a decadent “Cream of Lettuce” we always order the house made soups), Filet Mignon Au Poivre, Filet Mignon Au Roquefort, New York Steak Bordelaise Butter, Seafood Pasta, Shrimp Escoffier, Tenderloin Tip Béarnaise, Veal Forestiere, Chocolate Soufflé (order this dessert when you order dinner as it takes some time) and whatever strikes our palate’s fancy from the wine list. (Note: The Bar Menu has many of the items from the big main menu, but for a little less, and 4:30 – 7pm Sunday through Friday those prices are discounted 25%! You can dine in the bar or outside on that killer patio for the Happy Hour pricing.)
Maria’s Italian Deli – I sometimes just grab the frozen homemade ravioli, both cheese and meat, to take home and whip up with sauce. But if I want to meet a pal for lunch I get a Genoa salami and Provolone cheese sandwich and to-go for my family it’s always the Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Alfredo and a simple pasta with marinara sauce. (With sides of garlic bread and green salads too!) I also order their deli trays for parties, always a winner.
Newhall Refinery – With a seasonal menu that never fails to impress, different fare offered at lunch and dinner, my favorites from both include the Refiner Fries, Oysters, any Flatbread they dream up, the “Boole” Dog, Grilled Cheese, Ruben, the Cheese or Charcuterie Board, Handmade Pretzels, Hummus, Drunk Mac, Hanger Steak and Fish and Chips. The cocktails that incorporate far-from-ordinary ingredients I’ve ordered are the Bourbon Bramble (winner of the best cocktail at Cocktails on the Roof 2016), Moscow Mule, Old Fashioned and Rye Manhattan. Participating in Cocktails on the Roof 2017.
The Oaks Grille (in the Tournament Players Club (TPC) Clubhouse) – Seasonal menus, killer wine and growing cocktail list, the last time we went we loved the Ahi Tuna Crudo, Prosciutto Pizzetta, Kobe Beef Sliders, Spicy Duck Meatballs, Braised Short Rib and Tortellini, Sea Bass…and a Napa Valley red blend from Falcor, Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut Champagne and Napa Valley Girard Cabernet Sauvignon. Participating in Cocktails on the Roof 2017.
The Olive Terrace Bar and Grill – So much to try here, and I’ve liked them all: Ahi Runa Poke, The Bistro Chopped, Filet Mignon, Braised Eggplant Beef Stew “Gheimeh”…and kill me but I can’t remember which pasta! Also the bartender/manager Jonathan Cross makes a mean Negroni, Old Fashioned and Manhattan (the last was also a Cocktails on the Roof 2016 winner). Participating in Cocktails on the Roof 2017.
Piccola Trattoria – Prosciutto di Parma e Pecorino, Insalata di Spinaci, Dolcelatte all Caprese, Risotto ai Funghi, Carpaccio di Bue and the Pumpkin Tortellini, Tortellini di Zucca, just like they make in Italy, Ossobuco, Scaloppine di Vitello Marsala and whatever wines they suggest for the pairings.
Rose and Crown – Bangers and Mash, Chicken Tenders, Fish and Chips, Shepherd’s Pie – all with whatever sounds good on tap for hubbie and Hard Pear or Apple Cider for me. The family that runs the place knows what they are doing.
Route 66 Classic Grill – When we want to avoid a crowd at the movie theater at the mall we head to Canyon Country and always hit Route 66 before or after the film. (They have a special ticket price for the movies when you dine there too.) Veggie Sandwich, Club Sandwich, BLT, All American Dip, Bacon Burger, Chinese Chicken Salad and a vodka Martini if during the evening, iced tea during daylight.
Salt Creek Grille Valencia – I’m here monthly for staff meetings so I do get a good chance to try lots of items. The classic Goat Cheese Marinara is always a winner, as well as the Artichoke, Parmesan and Spinach Dip, Creek Sliders, Coconut Shrimp, Ahi Tuna Stack, Caesar over Mesquite, Seared Ahi Salad, The Grille Chop, Porterhouse Stroganoff, Filet Mignon with Garlic Mashed Potatoes with any cocktail made with Nolet’s Gin, the special cocktail that day or a bottle of wine from the Wine List or Greg’s Wine List. Participating in Cocktails on the Roof 2017.
The Social – Starting with the warm bread and tapenade, we love the Grilled Artichoke, Bacon Wrapped Scallops, Calamari, Crab Cakes, Caribbean Chicken Satay Brochettes, Filet Mignon Satay, Crostini with Brochette, French Onion Soup, (Buffalo) Mozzarella and Tomato Salad, The Social Salad, Baked Penne, (some of these items are smaller portions in the Happy Hour menu) Jambalaya, Cuban Style Skirt Steak, Filet Mignon Béarnaise and Osso Buco. And though they have a 100 martinis to chose from I always go with a Perfect Rob Roy.
solita Tacos and Margaritas – Queso al Forno, Grilled Corn Elote cut and served at the table, the huge Ceviche Tropicale, Coconut Calamari Strips with Dos Salsas, Watermelon Copa, Guacamole Solita, any of the new supertacos or a taco plate. For drinks I like the Horchata Cocktail or a Margarita with a fresh fruit puree of whatever sounds good in the moment like Watermelon or Kiwi. Participating in Cocktails on the Roof 2017.
Southern Smoke BBQ and Brewhouse – Fried Pickles, Hoe Cake, BBQ Tri Tip Salad, Combo Sliders and the Two (or Three) Meat Combination Plate where I can choose from Tri Tip, Brisket, Spare Ribs, Pulled Pork, Pulled Chicken, Half Chicken or Hot Links.