Summer 2020 looks nothing like what I imagined or planned and I’m definitely not the first person to feel this. My work went into a full work from home and Zoom meeting from 9 to 5 model and my life on red eye flights was put on pause. For those who don’t know, I work in communications and marketing in the entertainment industry. (To learn more about my job check out my first YouTube video here.) Believe me, I quickly got over the news of work trips being paused and award shows doing digital. One thing that I have always valued is knowing that there’s a real world outside of my work. And the world around me is the beautiful and comforting area that is the San Fernando Valley.
While I was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, this summer marks my 1-year anniversary of moving back and living in the Los Angeles, CA area. In my grand scheme of reaching my Hollywood dream, I imagined living in L.A. but for those in the know, that didn’t go as planned. (Yes, I landed an amazing job in the industry. However, I spent the last 4 years in college in Upstate NY.) Again, while I grew up around San Fernando, I am pretty unfamiliar with the scene here.
I’ve never actually had this much time to just be in both San Fernando and the Valley to explore and get to know the people and places that make it up. With my life no longer on endless red eyes, I wanted to take this moment and really explore the community around me. As the first in series of local travel blogs, I wanted to highlight some local and small business that have helped me call the San Fernando Valley home. I’ve not only enjoyed reinvesting into my community, but I’ve also enjoyed discovering the people that make these businesses a quality place to both eat and visit.
I’ll be listing these local restaurants and business in no particular order. By no means is this list comprehensive – these are the spots that I just happened to visit in the week of researching and writing this blog post. Let it be known that I’m writing this post because I’ve loved these places and want more people to know about them. I’m not an expert food reviewer, but I do love spotlighting places and people worthy of it! Here’s to my first shopping locally blog post where I traveled to small business around San Fernando, CA that I think are worth checking out.
Traveling/Shopping Locally in San Fernando Valley: 5 Restaurants to Know About
UCRAVE Grill - 110 Maclay Ave, San Fernando CA, 91340
When it comes to restaurants, I always check a menu to see if they serve iced coffee and/or avocado toast. And UCRAVE café in San Fernando had that and plenty more. My friend and I went for dinner and it soon become a whole mukbang! The menu at UCRAVE has something for everyone from breakfast, to lunch, and dessert options and more. From my first visit with one of my best friends, to running there for my morning iced coffee, and even taking my dad for brunch, UCRAVE Grill is one of many great small business in San Fernando, CA worth checking out. To check out their website and menu click here. Follow UCRAVE Cafe & Grill on Instagram @ucrave.cafeandgrill
My go-to order: Chinese chicken salad and a watermelon refresher.
POPS Artisanal Creamery - 450 N Maclay Ave, San Fernando, CA 91340
There is literally nothing better than a nice cup of ice cream on a hot summer-San-Fernando-Valley day, and that is how I discovered POPS Artisanal Creamery. Located up on Maclay Ave, this boutique ice cream shop warmed my heart (luckily the sherbet I got helped me cool down) with its charm and its history. POPS Artisanal Creamery is a family-owned Artisanal ice cream shop with specialties including: Coconut sundaes, Hawaiian floats, Pineapple sundaes, and so much more. I snapped a picture while I was there displaying my sorbet. You can check out the menu and website for POPS Artisanal Creamery by clicking here. Follow POPS Artisanal Creamery on Instagram @popscreamery
My go-to order: Small cup with coconut and pomegranate sorbet.
Sweetness Cakes And Cafe - 128 N mACLAY sT, sAN fERNANDO, ca 91340
When it comes to satisfying my sweet tooth, candy just does not do it for me. I am a true and blue pastry lover and Sweetness Cakes and Café in San Fernando, CA is where I get my sweet treats. A cute local bakery, Sweetness is another of the many treasures I’ve discovered in re-discovering the San Fernando community. I was honestly hooked when I saw that they offered a vegan cupcake in their shop. Let’s pause here-let me repeat that-yes, a vegan cupcake! Again, with my limited knowledge of local and small business in San Fernando I was so excited to find a bakery with both a good matcha latte and vegan pastries. Not only am I saving gas by not having to cross the Valley, but I am also reinvesting it into a local bakery with great options for breakfast and lunch. You can follow Sweetness Cakes and Cafe on Instagram @sweetnesscc
My go-to order: A vegan cupcake and iced matcha latte with almond milk.
Teriyaki Madness San Fernando Station - 1240 Truman St #165, San Fernando, CA 91340
One thing that I cannot live without is some good teriyaki chicken, and the Teriyaki Madness in San Fernando always serves it up right! In researching local restaurants for this blog, I remembered that Teriyaki Madness serves some of my favorite bowls around. Whether I’m grabbing an order or having it delivered, Teriyaki Madness always caters to my love of something that’s savory and sweet. As mentioned, I've enjoyed looking at the community around me and finding ways of shopping locally, and Teriyaki Madness offers that small business quality while having a successful franchise. Teriyaki Madness in San Fernando is a local option with a commitment to quality and serving fresh Asian-inspired food.
You can check out the San Fernando location’s site page and menu by clicking here. Follow Teriyaki Madness San Fernando on Instagram @teriyakimadness_sanfernando
My-go to order: Chicken breast teriyaki bowl with a vegetable base, and of course, the thick sauce.
Truman House Tavern - 911 San Fernando Rd, San Fernando, CA 91340
The first time I stepped inside the Truman House Tavern in San Fernando, CA was during a New Year’s celebration night. My friend who lives down in San Diego came up to see her family and I convinced to have a night out. Our Uber map history was disorienting as we jumped all over Los Angeles. The best thing that came out of this night was that I discovered the Truman House Tavern. One thing I loved about researching for this post was getting to visit these places again and be reminded of why supporting local business matters. The Truman House Tavern opened in 2018 and has grown to be a great spot for people of all ages to grab a drink. I’ve gone to catch up with friends, for the Sunday Brunch menu, and to introduce friends to their amazing Mimosa flight. From the brunch menu, to their current online to go menu, it's a great local restaurant for a quick bite or something more filling - and oh boy, are those paninis filling and delicious!
You can check out the Truman House Tavern's online to go menu here. Follow the Truman House Tavern on Instagram @trumanhousetavern
My go-to order: Chipotle chicken panini, minus the cheese, or the Quinoa avocado salad with chicken
I hope you enjoyed this shopping locally inspired travel blog! Let me know what local restaurants in the San Fernando Valley I should visit next! Comment below or tag me on Instagram @Willsshowem
Thanks for reading these Words by Will! See you in the next post!
Author William Samayoa
Marketer by profession and storyteller by passion. L.A. raised, proud Latino, and pop culture enthusiast.