By Lauren Aardema, Party Earth writer.
Many things may come to mind when you hear the term "valley," whether it be hot, sticky weather or "valley girls." You might even think about porn, since some folks argue that the San Fernando Valley -- or San Pornando Valley -- is the porn capital of the world. Or maybe you remember the quintessential valley girl Cher from the movie Clueless, with her blonde hair and expensive taste in clothing. Think again. The SFV actually harbors many of LA's hidden gems and shouldn't be overlooked when visiting the city. Full of eclectic, vivacious, and cultured people, the San Fernando Valley is truly the melting pot of Los Angeles. From restaurants to night clubs, lounges, and bars, the SFV provides many options for things to do in Los Angeles that are not particularly mainstream.
Debatably neck and neck with San Diego, Los Angeles is widely recognized for its Mexican food. Beyond the bright lights and swanky, Americanized Mexican restaurants lie the city of Chatsworth and the restaurant Los Toros, which serves some of the best Mexican food and margaritas in Los Angeles. Owned by the same family for over forty years, Los Toros is a best-kept secret despite two bars and restaurant seating for three hundred diners. Friendly and inspiringly unpretentious, the eatery's vibe matches that of its owner, who is always present and excited to meet new customers, and of its outgoing and bilingual waiters ready to chat up customers in Spanish and English. Fill up on the delicious appetizers, nibble on the complimentary bean dip, salsa, and freshly baked tortilla chips, and savor the best, strongest, and cheapest margaritas around.
If you're looking to burn off some calories acquired at all the great restaurants and bars, you'll be glad to know that the Valley provides ample hiking trails, parks, and other outdoor experiences. Located in the hills of Topanga Canyon in Calabasas, the relaxing Saddle Peak hiking trail up Stunt Road offers a kid-friendly adventure. In fact, the drive up Stunt Road is an adventure in itself with the windy road and sharp turns, but if you can make it up the mountain without getting car sick, the fresh air at the top is an exhilarating reward. The roughly two-mile round trip hike ends with a majestic view of the entire San Fernando Valley from 2,340 feet above the Pacific Ocean - a real treat both day and night. Bring your blanket and cuddle up on the old helicopter pad or the crusty couch that some kind soul left there a while back. If you're looking for a hike with character and a mesmerizing view, this is the one for you.
Calabasas, an affluent community located in the hills west of the SFV, is home to the legendary Sagebrush Cantina, a large restaurant and bar with an American country meets Mexican flair. On certain Fridays, you can grab your cowboy boots, throw on your daisy dukes, and be teleported to Nashville as you indulge in free line dancing lessons. On Sundays, the Cantina is the local hotspot for bikers from Los Angeles to San Diego, and the place is packed from bar to bar, indoors and outdoors, with rowdy, beer-drinking bikers and their ladies. Live music is a staple all weekend from Friday to Sunday, so a mimosa brunch on Sunday will have you out on the dance floor with the bikers in no time. If you're more into sports than biker culture, Sagebrush Cantina is also great for game night when the pitchers of beer are plentiful and cheap.
For more articles and reviews, go to Party Earth.
Follow Party Earth on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PartyEarth