Saddle Peak Lodge in Calabasas Introduces a New Bar Menu

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For believers of the supernatural, Los Angeles is a goldmine for ghost hunters, especially for the spirits of Old Hollywood movie stars. The only rumored haunted spot I’ve been to in LA is The Magic Castle and I saw no ghosts. So when I got an invite from Chef Adam Horton to taste the new bar menu at Saddle Peak Lodge (rumored to be haunted by a few spirits according to Haunted Places), I wondered would I finally see a ghost?

Saddle Peak Lodge
419 Cold Canyon Road, Calabasas, CA 91302
http://saddlepeaklodge.com 

In the hills of Malibu, under the Saddle Peak, rests one of LA’s most historic and reclusive eateries. This spot was formed over 100 years ago. Starting as Crater Camp Roadhouse, it has held many identities over the years including a general store, a Pony Express stop, a hunting lodge, a bordello and possibly more. From the early 60’s to today, it’s been called Saddle Peak Lodge and currently, Chef Adam is their Executive Chef.

Adam was previously the Chef at Saddle Peak from 2008-2012 but moved on to cook for Mélisse, Restaurant Gordon Ramsey and other spots. Now, he’s back in the saddle and is very familiar with the landscape there. Regulars of Saddle Peak Lodge, don’t worry, Chef Adam isn’t taking away the beloved menu that is already in place. He’s aware that their longtime customers don’t want a new menu, which I completely agree with, but there will soon be some new allergy/diet friendlier items added.

What makes Saddle Peak Lodge so fun for regulars is that they have maintained a rustic appearance that you would expect from an old-school lodge, but the dining room itself has an elegance to it. Since I was invited to try the bar menu, I was planted at the bar which gave me serious Twin Peaks vibes (remember The Great Northern Hotel?) with their copper bar top, tronco tables and low lighting. Even if you’re someone who doesn’t love sitting at a bar, it’s tough to not appreciate the kitsch feel of Saddle Peak Lodge.

One Night in Chiang Mai

The new bar menu is served nightly for bar patrons from 5 PM – 10 PM. Chef Adam shared with me that he is influenced by flavors of Southeast Asia so, in addition to American classics that will always be on the menu, he’s incorporating a lot of Thai and Vietnamese inspired dishes as well.

I started with the One Night in Chiang Mai cocktail- Tequila, Grapefruit, Kaffir Lime, Lemongrass, Ginger Beer and Chili. This Thailand-inspired cocktail was created by Chef Adam and it packs a punch. The spiciness level is mild-medium and I recommend this cocktail for lime-lovers.

Saddle Peak Sour

The Saddle Peak Sour is more of a classic cocktail, they infuse Jack Daniel’s No. 7 with vanilla and ginger in-house, then shake with lemon juice, simple syrup, Peychaud’s Bitters and egg white. The creaminess of the egg white with the vanilla flavor made this beverage stand out from other sours I’ve had in the past. Well done.

Pork Belly with Vietnam Flavors

Brussels Sprouts

To get a feel for Chef Adam’s style, I decided to start with both classic American and Southeast Asian dishes.

The Pork Belly with Vietnam Flavors is perfect finger food. I recommend pairing this one with the One Night in Chiang Mai cocktail, since they are both light with spicy kicks. I ordered the Brussels Sprouts, which were roasted to crisp with a light balsamic glaze.

   

 

SPL Burger

The Saddle Peak Lodge dining room menu is known for having a wide selection of wild game meats while the bar menu focuses on having a more “hands on” approach to food. The SPL Burger is a double patty burger with blue cheese, umami bacon relish, blue cheese, watercress and comes with your choice of salad or fries. I went with fries, of course (you don’t win friends with salad).

The Crispy Chicken Sandwich was my favorite item from this tasting. The fried chicken patty is pounded to a thin perfection, with a lemon spritz, it reminded me of chicken schnitzel. But what I loved the most were the fresh, dill pickle chips in combination with the grilled frisée. I can’t name another sandwich in LA with grilled frisée in the first place so this was a first for me. The anticucho mayo also adds a savory meatiness and all the flavors work beautifully together.

Skillet Hoe Cake

For dessert, I decided to try a pioneer dish and went with the Skillet Hoe Cake. For those not familiar, the Skillet Hoe Cake was a staple dish of the early Americans (sometimes referred to as a johnnycake by Northerners). It’s traditionally a cornmeal flatbread but Chef Adam sweetens it up a bit to make it feel more like a treat. This was my first time having this dish, it’s like a bite out of American history.

Even though I didn’t see any of the rumored ghosts here, the new bar menu at Saddle Peak Lodge will not only leave you satisfied, but you’ll get a sense of mountain dining with some modern influence. I will be back soon to try the wild game items in the dining room, so keep an eye out for future posts!

Julianne

Actress and Founder of Girls on Food: I was born and raised in the suburbs of Sacramento, California. I grew up a typical “McDonald’s kid”. I was very picky about what I ate and refused to try new foods. No fun, I know. My Mom started taking me on trips to Europe when I was a teenager and that’s when my palate for finer foods began to develop. Some of my most memorable favorite meals include Veal Bolognese in Rome, Gyros in Athens, Paella in Lisbon and Duck L’Orange in Paris. While this helped me grow out of a fast food phase, I still eat out quite a bit. I know I should be at home cooking, but I love dining out. I started working in restaurants in various front of the house positions at age 15. Since my start, I’ve worked in every casual restaurant setting you can think of: a teriyaki stand, brewery, sushi nightclub, trendy Mexican, family-style Italian, American diner, pizza parlor and even a BLT themed food truck. I can't help but notice that many of the LA food bloggers don't have any sort of background working in a restaurant. A lot of my perspective on food and dining out comes from my years of experience in the biz. Since starting this blog, I have shot appearances on a couple of cooking competition shows as a taster (including MasterChef Junior and another upcoming show). We have also started producing a Youtube Channel. IMDb page here: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2023647/ For this site I contribute content from all over Los Angeles (and the world) to showcase my favorite fine-dining spots, steakhouses, exclusive supper clubs, Hollywood nightlife and our very own #GOFx events, which I plan and coordinate.

1 Comment

  1. Reply

    Marji Milam

    March 31, 2017

    I had a great dinner and can’t wait to go back. The food and the cocktails were amazing!!

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