I thought I should drop back in over here and give a big thanks to everyone who helped us out. Alas, I didn't get to try as many of the suggestions as possible because our hotel was in Pasadena (I wish I had known before I got in the car to head over, there's some great looking stuff around there!), but I appreciate the help.
We went to Wolf Creek in Valencia after spending the day at Magic Mountain, and absolutely loved it. One friend of mine got the tri tip dinner, another friend got the meatloaf special, and I went with the blackened chicken pasta. All were utterly wonderful, and the portions quite generous, something we were glad about after not eating much at Magic Mountain (10 bucks for nachos that would cost 4 outside the park will do that to you!). I thought my dish was the best one; it had a good balance of pasta to veggies and chicken, the veggies were cooked just right, the pasta was al dente, and the level of seasoning was just right. We split a slice of the caramel chocolate chip cheesecake for dessert, and were pleasantly surprised when we found out it was on the house.
The next day, we were going to meet up with some friends for lunch in Hollywood, but we quickly scuttled those plans after finding out they were going to California Pizza Kitchen. It's a good thing cell phones don't come with buttons that let you strangle the person on the other end of the line, it would have had much use if it did. We were in the Hollywood area with nothing but my wits to guide us, and enough money for something cheap 'n cheerful. We almost stopped at the Tommy's on Hollywood Boulevard just off the 101 (may not be the most exciting of things, but at least it's something we don't have here in Phoenix), but then I remembered about Pink's hot dog stand on La Brea and Melrose. Thanks to the wonderfulness that is Google Local on cell phones, we were there lickety-split.
I am very, very glad we ended up at Pink's; they serve up one mean chili dog! I got the Today Show dog, which features two tube steaks, mustard, onion, chili, a slice of cheese, and guacamole, all on one bun. I wish the bun was a little bit more substantial, but then again, a bun that nondescript definitely doesn't compete with the toppings for dominance. Thankfully, the bun was sturdy enough to hold all of the toppings without conceding before you're done with the dog. The dog is easily one of the best I've had. I really appreciated the natural casings, and their chili is ridiculously good. We sampled sides of onion rings and chili cheese fries; neither one is all that great (they come frozen out of a bag), but the fries were a winner since they acted as a vehicle for more of the chili.
Again, thank you very much California hounds for your help on my journey, I really appreciated it. Hopefully next time, my friends will give me some advance notice so I can plan our eating better, but hey at least we didn't end up at CPK like the people we were supposed to meet ;-) Come on over to Phoenix some time, I'll be glad to show you around the best my hometown has to offer!
(1 to 5, 5 is highest)
Wolf Creek Brewery
27746 N McBean Pkwy
Valencia, CA 91354
Prices: 3-4 (moderate to med-expensive)
Kid Friendly?: 3
Open Late?: No
709 N La Brea
Los Angeles CA (Hollywood)
Atmosphere: 3 (it's hard to go wrong with al fresco dining)
Prices: 1 (Cheap Eats)
Kid Friendly? 3
Open Late? Goodness yes.
NB: Cash Only