10.4: Our Menu is Your Menu

When the STONEFIRE Grill menu was written, now 10 years ago, we had our personal favorites.  The BBQ Chopped Salad was so good and we knew it would be one of our most popular items.  The Favorite Pizza was our at-home, Sunday night specialty, and we had high hopes it would also find a following in the restaurant. Little did we know that it would quickly win our guests over like it did!

What makes us smile today, though, are the ‘favorite menu items’ developed by the STONEFIRE team and our loyal guests over the years.  Here’s a list of our Top 10 – the best, the most unusual and even some that have made it to the permanent STONEFIRE menu:

1. The BBQ Chopped…Every Way. Depending on the diet trend or the health regime you follow, the BBQ Chopped is recreated more ways than we can count! 
- Low Fat – Omit the cheese and tortilla strips and substitute BBQ sauce for Ranch dressing.
- Low Carb – Well, this is harder, but omit the tortilla strips, corn and black beans and add extra chicken or tri tip
- Vegetarian – Sub avocado for the chicken or tri tip, or leave it ‘as is’ without meat.

2. Lemon Garlic Chicken Breast – Another popular item to modify, and here are a few ways:
- No skin, heavy garlic (my choice!)
- ‘As is’ and add artichokes (we call it ‘Oscar’s Chicken’ for our long time team member’s favorite)

3. Our two vegetarian pastas, with marinara and pesto are my kid’s favorites.  They liked them so much growing up that they ate them together, and from this strange combination, we created ‘Tomesto’, both sauces served side by side.  Ask us to bake it with mozzarella and you will have it ‘Justin’s Way’.

4. In West Hills, our team raved about making our salmon ‘lemon garlic’.  We hesitated, but they persisted and offered it to our guests as an option.  Soon it became so popular that we added it to the menu, but didn’t know that it would stand the test of time.  It is now one of our best sellers, and I must admit, it is GOOD!

5. Asian Chicken Salad – sub the Sesame Glazed Salmon for the chicken.  Delicious.  In fact, our salmon has become a very popular substitution for chicken or tri tip on any of our salads!

6. The Breadsticks – our team dips them in ranch, BBQ sauce, in a combination of the two, marinara, in Chile Lime Vinaigrette and most unusual, our Caesar dressing.  This one is a little strange for me, but those that love it are passionate.  Try it and YOU be the judge!

7. Vegetarians find their way through our menu with ease.  Our Poblano Chicken Wrap (no chicken) is a favorite, as are almost all of our salads and wraps without the meat. Adding extra avocado or some cheese are two easy ways to better accommodate the non-carnivore in you!

8. Not that this one is particularly appealing to me, but just so you can see how our guests have fun with the STONEFIRE menu, here’s one that comes from a long time Valencia customer-turned-employee, Marsha. She would take any number of our salads and ask the kitchen to substitute Cowboy Beans for the chicken or tri tip. Any takers?

9. Talk about ‘value’! I’ve seen this one time and again, and if you’re looking for a light lunch on a budget, here’s a tip. Just as many of our lovely senior women do, get together at STONEFIRE, split a small salad four ways, order some water and leave well fed for about $2 per person. Works for us!

10. I could go on, but there’s one item left to discuss. It’s being pushed heavily by the STONEFIRE team as their absolute favorite.  Whether it makes it to the menu or not remains to be seen.  We call them ‘Cinnamon Sticks’, our freshly-baked breadsticks rolled in melted butter and cinnamon sugar. Hey, the competition may serve up something similar, but trust me, there’s no comparison. Served with a side of our cream cheese frosting (yes, the same deliciousness that covers our Carrot Cake), these things are ‘Cinnful’ but ridiculously good!

Enough from me, let’s hear what your favorites are.

Happy Eating,

Mary Harrigan