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Santa Clarita: A Gastronomic Mecca?

Santa Clarita, CA
Santa Clarita, CA
Chevy111/Wikimedia Commons

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For the next installment in Off-Ramp's ongoing EAT LA collaboration, writer Jean T. Barrett tells John about an unexpected (and upcoming) foodie destination: Santa Clarita. Click through for info on all of the restaurants and where to find them!

Egg Plantation
24415 Walnut St.
Santa Clarita
(661) 255-8222

Serves 101 different omelettes and serves breakfast all day until 2 PM. Eye-openingly good coffee from local roaster Newhall Coffee Roasters.

Thelma’s Morning Café
22876 Copper Hill Dr.
Santa Clarita
(661) 263-8283

Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The “pop” of this mom-and-pop operation, Luis Diaz, was a chef at Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois on Main in Santa Monica for more than 20 years. Best bets: eggs Benedict and French toast for breakfast, burgers for lunch or dinner, and an array of Asian-style appetizers such as pot stickers and spare rib tips in hoisin sauce (in other words, Chinois-style apps without the Chinois-style price tag).

Rattler’s Bar B Que
26495 Golden Valley Rd.
Santa Clarita
(661) 251-4195

Rattler’s is a Santa Clarita institution; it opened in 1988 and recently moved to a new shopping center in Canyon Country. The baby back ribs are tender and meaty; the “famous shredded onions” are freshly cooked, crisp and flavorful. The free garlic rolls are legendary, but don’t fill up on them.

Maru Sushi
24250 Town Center Dr.
Santa Clarita
(661) 290-2595

Located in the open-air section of the Westfield Valencia Town Center shopping mall, Maru is a little gem, serving connoisseur-level sushi, Japanese cuisine and a full menu of market-fresh California cuisine based on ingredients from the Santa Monica Farmers Market, where chef-owner Jason Park shops weekly. For a treat, sit at the sushi bar and let the chefs serve you omakase-style.

Santa Clarita has gone mad for wine bars; the city currently boasts five and counting (a sixth, Roman Holiday, is scheduled to open later this year). In general, the by-the-glass selections tend not to be as adventuresome as you might find in Los Angeles, but there are some interesting bottles to share. Check out:

All Corked Up
26340 Diamond Place
Santa Clarita
(661) 799-7979

Tucked away in an unprepossessing industrial park near the center of Santa Clarita (thank heavens for GPS), All Corked Up is a wine bar, wine storage facility and wine shop under one roof. Frequent special events make this a mecca for local wine lovers.

Valencia Wine Co.
24300 Town Center Dr.
Santa Clarita
(661) 254-9300

One of several wine bars located in and around the Westfield Valencia Town Center, Valencia Wine Co. offers a wide selection by the bottle, so it’s a good spot to meet friends after a hard afternoon slogging through the mall.

Wine 661
24268 Valencia Blvd.
Santa Clarita
(661) 288-2980

An intimate wine bar in the Whole Foods shopping plaza, 661 offers many hard-to-find California labels (Flowers pinot noir, Turley zinfandel) as well as a limited selection of cheeses and appetizers. Behind the bar is a nitrogen wine storage/serving unit to keep opened bottles fresh.

Lastly, Santa Clarita (Newhall specifically) is home to one of the last of an endangered species: the cookbook store.

Cookbooks Plus
24267 Main St.
Santa Clarita
(661) 296-4455

Los Angeles has lost several cookbook stores in recent years, but Cookbooks Plus lives on in Old Town Newhall. An inventory of 17,000 new and mostly used cookbooks, plus sections on crafts, gardening and home design, makes this a magnet for cooks and cookbook addicts. Time your visit for 3 to 7 pm on a Thursday afternoon and browse the produce at the weekly Old Town Newhall Farmers Market which takes place on the store’s doorstep.

[Photo by Chevy111 via Wikimedia Commons]