Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Stonefire Grill: Great Food, Great Value

My husband and I are from large Catholic families whose immediate and extended members came together every Sunday for a family meal consisting of several courses served family style, all prepared from scratch by our grandparents and older aunts.  This was our grandparents' way of handing down family recipes and tradition.  Nowadays, despite our busy schedules, we make it a point to sit down for a family dinner at least 5 nights a week.  But, because of our busy schedules, I am not always able to cook for my family.  I don't want to feed them fast-food.  I want to be able to give them something that tastes like it came out of my kitchen.


Stonefire Grill is a fast-casual restaurant concept created in 2000 by Mary and Maureen Harrigan, two sisters from a large Catholic family who wanted to pay homage to the family dinners they enjoyed growing up.  Unlike full-service restaurants, diners at Stonefire Grill place their order at the counter, find a table and wait for their meal to be brought to their table.  Silverware, napkins, bbq sauce and fountain drinks are located on one side of the restaurant so that diners can get what they need without waiting for a server.  By eliminating the need for servers, food reaches the table faster and the cost savings is passed to the customer.  This then translates to better quality food. Or you can do what I do and call in your order, enter the restaurant through the special entrance dedicated to take-out orders and you're all set.

To date, there are seven Stonefire Grill locations throughout Southern California that serve generous portions of classic American fare that are meant to be shared "family style." The menu is extensive and includes favorites like mesquite bbq or cracked pepper garlic tri-tip ($13.99 for half order - about 1 pound), mesquite bbq or lemon garlic chicken ($6.99 for half, $12.99 for whole chicken), baby back ribs ($12.99 for half slab, $19.99 for full), sesame glazed or lemon garlic salmon ($9.99 for half pound filet, $17.99 for a one pound filet).  Stonefire Grill also offers a nice assortment of tasty salads, pizzas, pastas and desserts.  Oh the desserts! I recommend the melt-in-your-mouth fudge brownies, the cheesecake with fresh blueberry sauce, and the oh-so-moist carrot cake.  My family's go-to meal is the Stimulus Package for take-out orders only.  It comes with one pound of tri-tip or whole chicken, a 12 inch two-topping pizza, salad, and eight breadsticks.  There is enough food for up to 4 people for under $25.00!  

Stonefire Grill has recently added the super food Quinoa to their new healthy menu.  Quinoa is well known to foodies and vegetarians as a "super food".  Quinoa seed is harvested in the high altitudes of the Andes Mountains.  The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron.  It is a relatively good source of Vitamin E and several of the B vitamins.  It contains a perfect balance of all 9 essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans.   The protein in quinoa is also considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of the essential amino acids. Quinoa is gluten-free and contains no wheat.  When heated, quinoa is fluffy, creamy, and takes on the flavor of the other ingredients in the dish.  

Stonefire Grill offers 3 variations:

Healthy Hybrid:  Quinoa with garbanzo beans, red onion, green bell peppers, Kalamata olives, cucumbers, tomato and artichoke hearts tossed in Dijon mustard vinaigrette and topped with feta cheese for $7.99.

Keen Green:  A blend of spinach, pesto and quinoa with artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes,  avocado and Parmesan cheese for $8.99.

Quinoa (side):  Prepared in vegetable broth with a dash of fresh lemon, mint and green onions, single $1.59, small $2.99, medium $4.99 and large $8.99

My family has tried all three and we are a house divided.  My kids prefer the Keen Green, I like Healthy Hybrid, and my husband loves the side of quinoa.   You really can't go wrong with any of these three.  They are delicious and healthy!

To try out these quinoa dishes or any of the delicious items on their menu, visit any one of the Stonefire  Grill locations in Valencia, West Hills, Fountain Valley, Irvine, Chatsworth, Pasadena, and Thousand Oaks.  Catering is also available.

For more information, visit www.stonefiregrill.com, become a fan on Facebook.com/stonefiregrill or follow Stonefire on twitter.com/stonefiregrill.

*I was not compensated for this post.  I was invited to attend a media event to taste the new menu by the brand/PR rep.  The opinions expressed are entirely my own.  I was under no obligation to provide a positive review.  The company logo and images were provided by the brand/PR rep  to post on this blog.

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