Old Friends and a New Resto – A LOVE STORY by Melissa Reyes @solita_Valencia

Posted on February 1st, 2015 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz, Foodie Reviews, I Love My LIfe

A Love Story

by Melissa Reyes February 1, 2015
http://mizmeliz.com New Love by Melissa Reyes 2-1-14

6 Pack Taco Sampler (Photo Credit: Courtesy of solita Tacos & Margaritas Valencia)

Some Tacos

That should be read, “Some tacos!”

Yes, this story really does begin with tacos. And boy are they some awesome tacos. solita’s has the best Baja style tacos. Remember when I first had them and I told you that they talked to me? They still do. Do you want to know what they are saying now? Now, that we are in love, they say, “Mi Amor, my love, don’t share me with your friends. This can be our secret.”

But, I don’t want to keep it a secret. I want to tell everyone about my love. These tacos are meant to be shared. I want everyone to experience what I have at solita Tacos & Margaritas in Valencia! (disclosure)

It started with the first bite. And I knew. I knew I made the right decision when I suggested to my friends that we try this new restaurant. I had been there once already. Lito and I attended a soft opening. For a preview, it was well orchestrated and everything was absolutely perfect. We met Executive Chef Deborah Schneider  and Owner/Partner Rich Howland and they told us about their dream and vision for solita. The food was amazing that night. Would it be as good now that I brought my friends with me?

We shared a few plates of tacos. I tried the “wood-grilled ancho chile chicken taco” and the “red chile beef ‘borracho’ taco.” I will keep my secret of just how good they tasted. Some things must remain private. Besides, if I told you, you would stop reading this and go straight over there and order some. I want you to read the rest of the story. This isn’t even the juiciest part!

A Few Margaritas

solita's Grande Casa Noble Margarita (Photo Credit: Melissa Reyes 2015)

solita’s Grande Casa Noble Margarita (Photo Credit: Melissa Reyes 2015)

Just a few. A few each. Who could resist the temptation? Top shelf imported Tequilas. A bar with an emphasis on freshness, quality, and affordability. They have the best tasting margaritas. Cue the blurry flashback sequence and strange throwback music…

General Manager Jason Goetz greeted us at the door. It was a very busy Friday night. He seated us at a big table right in the middle of everything – and there was a lot going on. Couples dining in the glow of the romantic fireplace in the front area engaged in low toned conversations, groups of families and friends were laughing and having a grand time in the main dining area, the bar was active and buzzing with young people imbibing before dinner and a movie perhaps, outside there were small groups of friends by the outdoor fireplace and around the outside bar area enjoying the pleasant evening ambiance as if it were somewhere tropical, somewhere beachy, and I felt transported to somewhere different. Is this what it is like in Baja?

Watermelon Margarita (Photo Credit: Melissa Reyes 2015)

Watermelon Margarita (Photo Credit: Melissa Reyes 2015)

Jason brought us our drinks. He was so warm and welcoming that we all instantly hit it off with him. He treated us like a friend. We asked him to surprise us with the cocktails so we could sample the special concoctions that solita is known for. He brought us each something different, gorgeous, icy cold, luscious, fresh, and well, yummy!

All the drinks were good. Seamus had “the bulldog” – a big margarita with a Coronita beer bottle inverted in the glass. Kristy tried the “guava margarita” which was – to – die – for with freshly prepared fruit juice from the kitchen.  Mark had the “el hombre,” a margarita made with a unique tequila infused with chipotle peppers. Tina tried the “watermelon margarita” which was sweet and then ordered a classic solita house “cadillac margarita.” Lito had “solita’s grande casa noble margarita” which comes in the shaker and is served table-side. Much like a fountain ice cream malt when it is served with the blender container, you get more than can fit in the ice cold glass and the shaker is left on the table.

The bar at solita’s specializes in tequila. Much like a vodka bar is known for great martinis, this margarita bar has over 40 different exotic and unique tequilas and serves margaritas especial (that’s Spanish for “special margaritas” folks.) I had a “skinny margarita,” tart and fresh, it was possibly the best skinny I have ever had – and I finished Lito’s shaker of margarita made with Casa Noble. Sharing is caring, right?

solita’s encourages sharing. Many of the dishes we had were served family style. The appetizers are prepared at the table. Many of them come with some verbal instructions. Our server, Rachel, told us how she prefers each dish and suggested varied ways of mixing items to make them even more spectacular.

photo copyright Lito Reyes Feb 2015 http://mizmeliz.com for solita tacos and margaritas valencia

photo by Lito Reyes, Feb. 2015

As we were sharing our “queso al forno,” the “tequila shrimp and avocado sundae,” and “grilled corn elote” – Co-Founder and Director of Operations Matt Baumayr  brought a special gift to the table. The bottle was empty, so don’t get overly excited. What made it special was that it is a collector’s item. Casa Noble is the single barrel private label imported tequila that solita serves exclusively. Each bottle is signed and numbered. Each barrel produces a limited few hundred bottles. Only a few barrels are allowed to be imported to the U.S. at a time. Muy especial!

Old Friends, New Friends.

Our group of friends are very special to Lito and me. We had grown apart for awhile. However, the bonds of friendship are very strong. In recent years we were reunited at the funeral of a dear mutual friend from the high school and college days. Sadly, we were reminded how precious life is. We vowed to get together for the good times and make each moment a celebration. We happily just spent time together at Mark & Tina’s wedding in Oceanside. We reminisced of the days spent in San Diego together when Lito and Mark were in college there and Kristy and I would drive down from the Valley to visit. Those memories were blurred for years as we “grew up” and moved on in life. Now, we can make new memories! That is the reason I thought solita would make the perfect spot for us. It is a neighborhood restaurant with a South of the Border atmosphere (similar to the San Diego area restaurants we frequented in our youth) and a super friendly welcoming staff, our new friends at solita.

This will be our new hangout. This is where I will bring out of town visitors from distances where they do not have anything like this. This is where I will bring my kids on their birthdays. I will meet clients here. I will suggest it the next time Lito asks me, “Where do you want to eat?”

The Main Event

Our Table (Photo Credit: Melissa Reyes 2015)

Our Table (Photo Credit: Melissa Reyes 2015)

We were in the mood for surprises, so we asked our new friend Matt Baumayr to choose our entrees for us. He brought out some of his personal favorites and a newer dish that Head Chef Rogelio Vazquez had suggested. As Matt described, we would be needing some protein after our appetizers and cocktails. He brought out Chef’s smoked & grilled beef ribs, a half oak-roasted chipotle chicken, and classic chile rellenos con queso, beans and rice.

This is the juiciest part of the story that I promised. Have you ever had an orgasmic experience while eating something that exploded with flavor in your mouth? I didn’t want to swallow it because it tasted that good! I am having a hot flash this moment just thinking about it. I am talking about the chicken at solita. It happened to me just when Jason asked me how I liked the food. My mouth was full. Typical restaurant happening, right? The waiter comes by and asks you, “How is everything?” just as you take a bite. I usually nod and say, “Very good, thanks.”

This time, I reached out.  I grabbed Jason’s arm. I held on tightly. Right in front of my husband. Lito watched me as I leaned back in my seat, swallowed the mouthful of delectable smoked, fire-roasted, marinated, mouth-watering, out of this world flavorful moist and crispy chicken that I have ever had – and I said with utmost delight, “I am having a chicken orgasm right now.”

I can’t believe I said that to a man I just met.

But, it was truly amazing. (Honestly, I didn’t drink that much.) I took another bite. I looked around and everyone was loving it. We all kept saying, “Wow, this chicken is amazing!” Everything is great, but, “make sure you try the chicken.”

When Matt came over to the table, he asked what I liked best. I told him, “That chicken is so good. If they can make chicken like that, why would anyone make it any other way?” He agreed. It was magical.

Wait, There is More!

What could top that? Magical food, a truly memorable dining experience, presents. Then Jason and Rachel brought out the desserts. Fried Ice Cream, Creme brulee style Flan, fresh baked Churros with chocolate sauce, and a “Grown Up” Churro Sundae. At this point, I will admit – even though I tried to pace myself – the chicken really was the climax of the evening. But, I couldn’t resist solita’s charm. I was seduced by the beautifully presented and purely decadent desserts with their warm spicy cinnamon aroma, the chocolate sauces, the vanilla and rum taste sensations. We all tasted each of the delights that were placed in front of us. And guess what. They were terrific. You guessed it, huh? It’s hard to fool you.

I want you to experience these desserts for yourself, but to get you to read this all the way to the very end, I will just say that we weren’t satisfied. We loved them so much we wanted to get to know them even better. Kristy and I wanted to see how they were made. We asked Jason to take us…to the kitchen!

The Amazing Chef and Crew! (Photo Credit: Melissa Reyes 2015)

The Amazing Chef and Crew! (Photo Credit: Melissa Reyes 2015)

Bold move, I know. Jason was gracious and happy to escort us to the busy active kitchen. Everyone can see the kitchen in motion, it is an open kitchen with big windows so you see your food being prepared while you wait. We got the grand tour, and a demonstration of the secrets to making the perfect scoop of deep fried ice cream.  It was the perfect way to end the evening. Being romanced and charmed by the friendly people behind the scenes in solita’s kitchen.

 

 

 

Wow! What a night. You can see all the pictures we took of our evening at solita Tacos & Margaritas Valencia in the gallery below.

Thank you to Matt Baumayr, Jason Goetz, Rachel, Chef Vasquez, Lawrence Moore, and everyone at solita’s for your hospitality and welcoming spirit. I received my meal gratis however, I was not asked to write this post/review, all opinions are my own, photos are copyright material of Melissa Reyes and Lito Reyes, unless otherwise indicated. Photos and press release information of solita Tacos & Margaritas Valencia were sent to me by Lawrence Moore & Associates and used with permission. Read my disclosure for details on why I write blog posts like this on MizMeliz.com

Have a Romance of Your Own

solita Grand Opening Celebration

“To celebrate the official Grand Opening of their new Valencia location, solita Tacos & Margaritas is throwing a blowout celebration on Thursday, February 5th, 2015 that will highlight both their authentic cuisine and delicious cocktails, while also supporting the benefiting charity, the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley.

 

GRAND OPENING INVITE 2015 (1)

100% of the beverages sold during the solita Tacos & Margaritas Grand Opening Fundraiser

will go directly to the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley’s “it just takes one” Campaign

 

At the February 5th fiesta, there will be complimentary eats all night long, but drinks will be for sale, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley, an organization offering education, leadership, sports and arts programs to needy youth in the area. “We are a community-driven company, and it was really important to find a cause that is not just important to us, but that is also important to the community,” says Co-Founder and Director of Operations Matt Baumayr. “We have a very lofty goal of raising enough money to fund the programming of twenty of our local youth for one year at the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita, which is $10,000.00. Being that Santa Clarita Valley is so community driven, it is a goal we hope to achieve, if not surpass.”

I encourage you to enjoy the complimentary Fresh Guacamole Station with fresh mango, tomato, onion, chile and cilantro alongside their House-made Tortilla Chips and Duros. The Taco Bar will feature some of Executive Chef Deborah Schneider’s famous Baja-inspired wood-grilled and smoked dishes ranging from their Wood-Grilled Ancho Chile Chicken, Carne Asada, Pork Carnitas and much, much more.

One More Time, Please…

Valentine’s Day

“Don Juans who are looking to show their ladies some hot and spicy romance on Valentine’s Day, should look no further than solita Tacos & Margaritas Valencia. With cocktails and cuisine made for two, and a fiery atmosphere (literally, the space features both indoor and outdoor fireplaces!) this sophisticated Mexican restaurant has everything couples need to celebrate their love. Executive Chef Deborah Schneider and Head Chef Rogelio Vazquez have created a special Valentine’s Prix-Fixe Menu for $39.95 per couple, with three mouthwatering entrées and several sides to choose from.  Lovers can experience both land and sea by ordering the fresh Surf and Turf with marinated carne asada and chipotle shrimp, sautéed corn, mashed potatoes, grilled jalapeño and lemon cilantro dressing, or the Catfish, cooked to a flaky perfection, and served with avocado salad. Can’t decide on just one thing, but want to indulge? You and your love can share a solita 6 Pack Taco Sampler, which is perfect for two and offers something for each of you, such as the Oak-Roasted Chipotle Chicken, Carnitas and Beer Battered Shrimp and so much more. Compliment your dinner with a side of Mexican Rice or solita’s Signature Slaw with a creamy lemon cilantro dressing. One glass and two straws please! Make sure to pair these romantic specials, with a decadent and delicious 32 ounce shareable Frozen Margarita for Two topped with La Pinta, a pomegranate flavored tequila. End the evening with a little sweet with your sweetness, and nibble on the rich and creamy Homemade solita Flan, flavored with vanilla and a dash of Mexican spices, and served in a deep dish on a bed of caramel, and lots of love! solita Tacos & Margaritas Valencia will be open on Valentine’s Day, Saturday, February 14th from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm with the bar remaining open until 12:00 Midnight; 24201 Valencia Boulevard, Suite 3470, Valencia, CA 91355; 661.291.1399; http://www.solitatacos.com/locations/valencia

 A Love Story in pictures to make your mouth water:

If you liked this story, please leave a comment. If you love solita Tacos & Margaritas, let them know @solita_valencia on Twitter.

Cheers!

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7 responses to “Old Friends and a New Resto – A LOVE STORY by Melissa Reyes @solita_Valencia”

  1. […] knows I have a little love affair going with tacos! I really like Baja style tacos like the ones at my favorite restaurant, solita’s Valencia. I […]

  2. Mary says:

    Hoping to get there tomorrow to join you!! xoxo

  3. Mary Preciado says:

    Yum Yum and Yum!!! I wish we could go to the event! especially since you guys are helping out the boys and girls club I think that is awesome.We will definitely be visiting soon. The food sounds amazing can wait to try it out 🙂

  4. Erin says:

    Yum! Those tacos and those drinks….!!!! I cannot wait to try some of this for myself! Must plan a Sunday Funday brunch date soon!!! 😉

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