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Dinner in Fresno

I just noticed Diana's the other night when we were going to an nearby restaurant. Fairly small place. Looked pretty cozy inside. But I have no idea as to the quality of food.

Tower district has Veni Vidi Vici, The Landmark, Cucas, Tower Dogs and the Laughing Buddha as good choices. Veni's is the most expensive, The Dog the cheapest. In order they're Italian (fusion), Basque, Mexican, Hot Dogs and Thai. As to lodings, the nicer hotels downtown are fine. Private parking and all that stuff. Just don't go for any long strolls. There is also a Sheraton that isn't in an awful area and there are plenty of decent lodgings around the Shaw area. Just avoid anything on highway 99.

Hope that helps!

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Cuca's
907 F St, Fresno, CA 93706

Veni Vidi Vici
1116 N Fulton St, Fresno, CA 93728

May 27, 2010
EatingoutFresno in California

Yosemite Road Trip

It sorta depends on what foods you're into and which route you want to take. The 5 to the 99 and up through the Valley is going to be a bit different than if you're taking the 1 up the coast and then cutting over on the 41. Me, I'd take the 1, but I don't get out to the water as much as I'd like. Or you could do breakfast at the Grapevine, lunch in Fresno, dinner in Oakhurst and be at the cabin in time for bed.

May 19, 2010
EatingoutFresno in California

Veni Vidi Vici [Fresno]

We had a friend in from out of town and she was looking for a good meal and a chance for us to all catch up. Being the self-imposed food guy, I compiled a list of each of our local fine eateries in each food genre. Ultimately, she cast pretention aside and decided on Veni Vidi Vici, since they come highly recommended by friends and is smack in the middle of the Tower nightlife.

One thing I immediately found a little shocking was how mellow and quiet it is there during dinner service. Normally I'm there around 11pm for drinks on the patio and the place is bumping with chatting, socializing folks. During dinner service, it was quite mellow. Couples and small parties enjoying small talk during their meal, low (flickering) lighting but enough to read a menu by and attentive servers ready and eager to please.

We started off with the wine list. I know next to nothing about wine. A few typing errors on the menu made it a little confusing, but we eventually found a pinot grigio to share. We started off with the goat cheese appetizer, which is a warm bowl of olive oil with confit garlic and calamata olives floating in it, surrounding a short tower of black pepper coated goat cheese ringed by wee slices of bread. Smooth, creamy and just a little spicy.

For the second course, we decided to split their pear salad. Plenty to go around for 3 people. And very unique! I've had a pear salad before, but not one where when you have the pear, aurgula, bleu cheese and candied pecan all in one bite and the combination tastes like a strongly cumined pork loin. Very strange and very yummy.

Entrees, we got the juniper berry pork chop, the andouille and portabella ravioli and their rib eye. The pork chop was perfect. Nice balance of sweet and spicy. The ravioli was excellently earthy and the sauce even has cute little cherry tomatoes braised in the sauce. The steak was amazing, but strangely off menu. It says that it has a mustard maple glaze over bleu cheese. But what I got was crusted in goat cheese with a ribbon of Guilden's brown mustard and a strip of sriracha. It certainly was delicious. Perfectly medium rare and really tasty. The mustard gives it that hint of a good burger and the sriracha amplifies the heat nicely without overpowering anything. Certainly a unique topping for a steak. But I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Dessert was their banana's foster, quite nice, caramel, bananas, a great vanilla ice cream and a filo crisp for crunch. And their white chocolate ice cream. Tasty, but a little bit crunchy and the raspberry(?) coulis at the bottom really couldn't be tasted.

Overall great dinner. I'm kicking myself wondering why I haven't eaten there sooner! There's a full review of dinner over at http://eatingoutfresno.blogspot.com/ Might be unsafe for work browsing due to coarse language.

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Veni Vidi Vici
1116 N Fulton St, Fresno, CA 93728

Apr 18, 2010
EatingoutFresno in California

Fresno: Where can I find a Monte Cristo sandwich?

My condolensces about your father passing away.

But very glad that you're planning on hitting up the blog again! It'll be nice to have a fellow blogger on the booze crew side of the bloggosphere. hehe

Feb 25, 2010
EatingoutFresno in California

Fresno: Where can I find a Monte Cristo sandwich?

Hey CQ! Been wondering whatever happened with Imbibe Fresno?

Feb 25, 2010
EatingoutFresno in California

Korea Market in Fresno (Chow secret?!)

I'm really looking forward to taking my lady there to restock on our basic asian ingredients. Plus, I've never tried kim chee before. I figure this has likely got to be the best place to get it in town.

Feb 05, 2010
EatingoutFresno in California

Roadtripping through Cali.. Vegas to the Redwoods.. food hints?

Sounds like an awesome vacation! :)

Well lets see, Vegas is Vegas. Pretty much all the celeb chefs have a place there and overcharge like mad. Batali's B&B Ristorante was around $320 for 3 people before drinks. However, a non-foodie suggestion would be The Gun Store near the airport. Indoor rental firing range with fully automatic weapons.

In Sequoia-Kings Canyon, you're pretty locked into their cafe in Cedar Grove. Great spot to picnic or have a day hike though. And the cabins there were alot of fun to stay in back in my teen years.

Between Sequoia and Yosemite, you'll likely run down through Sanger and into Fresno. There are some good suggestions on here for both areas. There is a fairly well known hot dog joint in Sanger, but the name escapes me. In Fresno, we've got all of your favorites. Thai: Royal Thai Orchid. Indian: Mehek Punjab De or Brahma Bull. Japanese: Yoshino's (personal fav, we've got a good handful of Japanese restaurants). Diner: George's (downtown). Hot Dogs: Tower Dog (Plus the Tower District is a nice place to spend an afternoon in Fresno. Plenty of culture/arts/food). MEXICAN: LOTS OF GOOD MEXICAN FOOD IN FRESNO! Favs include: Don Pepe's, Robertitios, Cucas (downtown) and Los Manjares are a good selection I can vouch for. Seafood: Central Fish Market (downtown) has a tasty asian lunch counter attached to the store. There are also several farmers markets in Fresno, my favorite being http://www.vineyardfarmersmarket.com/ . And lastly, my favorite dessert in town would have to be the bread pudding served at the Cracked Pepper Bistro. Everything is fresh and made in-house. It's currently my favorite fine dining destination in town.

Near Yosemite you'll go through Coarsegold and Oakhurst. Rose's Frosty in Coarsegold is a great stop for a shake or ice cream sundae. And Oakhurst is another great area for cuisine. Erna's Elderberry House being the highest dollar fine dining mentioned so far. Castillo's for Mexican, Oka for Japanese, Deucey's @ Bass Lake for breakfast, and plenty more. As well as the Ahwanee and the Wawona in Yosemite itself. Both are supposed to be excellent, with one of their chefs currently competing in the Bocuse d'Or this year. But they are, by far, the most expensive of dining options.

And thats pretty much where my experience ends. As you go north, Modesto is supposed to have a very interesting food scene, and once you're past SF and Sacramento, you'll be able to hit wine country and Thomas Keller's temple of doom.

My lady is from Nor Cali, so if she comes up with some extra fun ideas, I'll make sure to post those for ya too. Hope you have a great trip!

Feb 05, 2010
EatingoutFresno in California

Thai Royal Orchid in Fresno

Thanks for finding the thread! I've been thinking about bragging about our most recent meal from the RTO for a while now.

My girlfriend and I had caught the wonderful winter bug going around. Needless to say we felt stuffy and awful. She was coming home from work early when it hit me. Tom Kha Kai soup! Better than penicillin. So we cobble together an order with that, some Phad Pha Nang (red curry beef) and beef basil rice. Along with that wonderful salty chili vinegar. Soon, with happy, full bellies we were able to breath quite well. In fact, we felt so good, we figured that it was obviously in our best interested to order the same thing the next day.

We're both feeling much better now. :)

Feb 01, 2010
EatingoutFresno in California

Chicago style food in Fresno

I hadn't heard of this spot yet. Thanks for the info! Their website looks pretty good. I've never had an authentic Chicago style sandwich. But I am in love with their deep dish style of pies. And their lunch specials look like a fair deal. $3 for a slice, $5 for a slice with salad and soda.

Looks like it's a race to see who'll try it first.

Feb 01, 2010
EatingoutFresno in California

Central Coast Vegetarian

I realize it's not far from your departure point. But, the Falaffel Hut in Santa Cruz by the beach boardwalk has been a favorite of mine for close to 20 years. Their falaffel is outstanding. Afterall, they got a sworn carnivore to love it. hehe Not to mention they've got an awesome green hotsauce too. Top it off with one of their Turkish coffees and you'll be set for the road.

Jan 29, 2010
EatingoutFresno in California

Central Valley?

I've mainly been hitting old favorites lately. Royal Thai Orchid was instrumental in helping myself and my mate alleviate flu symptoms. The Cracked Pepper Bistro provided a warm and intimate atmosphere for her birthday (although my New York had a mean tendon running through it). And the Laughing Buddha in Tower District was decently seasoned Thai, but not really as spicy as I was looking for. And of course, many many trips to Tower Dog for their deliciously painful habanero sausages.

Althouh coming up this March is the annual Rogue arts festival. http://roguefestival.com/ It's a great excuse to wander around the Tower District and see the various shows and art installations along with samping the fare at the many restaurants there.

And since I'm tooting horns, I might as well toot my own a bit an annouce the opening of my own self titled food blog.
http://eatingoutfresno.blogspot.com/

I'll be posting on my various culinary ventures, old and new along with a smattering of off-color stories and other bloggish things.

Jan 28, 2010
EatingoutFresno in California

Velascos Mexican Rest. PratherCa.

Yup, Fresno. On the backend of the Savemart shopping center on Cedar and Ashland.

Well, I'm a fan of combo meals. They give me the chance to try different basic dishes, mix flavors and textures. Or if I really have the hunger a burrito. I really love their chips and salsa. Right about of heat and flavor, nice thin chips. My lady really enjoys their carne asada. And really my favorite is whichever of the combos catch my fancy on that given day.

Oct 23, 2009
EatingoutFresno in California

Velascos Mexican Rest. PratherCa.

Hiya Jeff. Well my girl and I stopped at Velasco's this summer on our way back down from the high country. We got in probably around 6-7pm on a Sunday. It was about half to 3/4's full. I figure we were arriving right at the end of their dinner rush.

We were seated immediately and got our enormous sodas. And they were great about timely refills. The table has the standard chips and salsa which were tasty. The salsa wasn't terribly hot, but still nicely seasoned. Chips taste like they're made on site and had a light seasoning salt on them.

For our meals, my mate ordered a shrimp dish (I can't recall the name, not the diabla). . I ordered one of the combo plates with a taco, chili relleno and cheese enchilada. The meal started with something I've never had before, it was like a guacamole tostada that is served as the salad course. Great traditional guacamole, no onions or tomatoes (yuk!), just well seasoned mashed avocados on a bed of cabbage, on top of a flat fried corn tortilla. My mate enjoyed her shrimp dish, the veg was nicely crunchy, the sauce smooth and mildly earthy and the shrimp were well cooked and moist. My meal was a bit more straight forward. The cheese enchilada was good, very cheesy, sauce was a bit mild tasting for me, the taco was very taco. Seasoned ground beef, lettuce, and a slightly thick fried corn tortilla. It certainly satisfied, I just wouldn't call it the best taco in town. The chili relleno is my white whale. I learned to love them from my Texan aunt's recipe. So no relleno yet has been able to meet that mark. Still, it was fine at Vellasco's. The pepper was somewhat bland and overcooked, the egg coating was a bit thick, but the sauce was quite nice. One of the brighter tasting sauces of the night. Their beans and rice are quite good as well, both tasting very homemade rather than from a can or a box. They'd make a fine meal on their own with some flour tortillas.

And let me tell you brother, we were STUFFED! The portions are more than generous, even for folks with hiker sized appetites. My taco and close to half of her shrimp got to make the trip the rest of the way down the hill with us. Their prices are excellent as well. We had both ordered higher priced items from the menu and got out the door with tax and tip for under $30.

This is a great, local restaurant. Very friendly, family style establishment. At some tables we saw 4 generations of family sitting down to dine. The staff was very pleasant and attentive. Food arrived promptly and hot. Everything appeared, smelled and tasted delicious. I would definately recommend Velasco's to folks making the trip up or down the hill.

Oct 19, 2009
EatingoutFresno in California

Need a weeks worth of food in Fresno

Wow, can't believe folks forgot to mention George's for breakfast. One of the warmest diners I've eaten in. Make sure that you get the pita as your bread choice with breakfast. They're at 2405 Capitol St near the courthouse and the Saroyan. Also the original Cuca's (my favorite) is in the area at 907 F. St. I grew up on chorizo con huevos breakfasts there. And Joe's Steakhouse at 831 Van Ness Ave. a great family run restaurant that even has evening entertainment.

Here's hoping that you eat well while in town!

Oct 02, 2009
EatingoutFresno in California

Restaurant Week - Fresno

I dunno, I can see why alot of them decided not to jump the gun. A spot like Cracked Pepper isn't the type of place that wants to turn and burn with customers. Nothing against the participating restaurants, just saying that they might be more confident/able to deal with the insane rushes that this type of promotion can generate. Being a dyed in the wool Fresnan, I can understand how some business owners want to keep the vibe of their restaurant intact versus generating some extra income from a promotion controlled by an outside entity.

And heck, if everything goes smooth this year, we're more likely to see more restaurants give the event a try.

Sep 18, 2009
EatingoutFresno in California

Restaurant Week - Fresno

Awesome! This will give me the chance to try a good number of restaurants I've been curious about without breaking the bank.

Sep 17, 2009
EatingoutFresno in California

RESTAURANT SUPPLY IN L.A.?

Just head down to Gardena. Theres a good number of used restaurant supply places down there. Really good prices and don't be afraid to haggle.

Aug 29, 2009
EatingoutFresno in Los Angeles Area

Wedding in Yosemite- Food recs?

Your best, inexpensive option would be friends bringing up a few grills and ice chests. I've seen it done VERY well at other parks. A few cases of shrimp, some steaks and veggies and you've got a nice, easy to make meal. Drag up a keg or two, a case or two of wine and a selection of non-alcoholic beverages. It's a pain in the butt for the wedding, but it'll be tons cheaper than trying to use the facilities at the park itself.

Aug 23, 2009
EatingoutFresno in California

Yosemite Restaurants

Erna's Elderberry House is in the area http://www.elderberryhouse.com/

Never eaten there, but it has the reputation of being one of the best restaurants in the area. Theres also the Ahwahnee and The Mountain Room in the actual park. Each are rather to very pricey options. There is a good collection of restaurants in Oakhurst as well where the 41 freeway and 49 intersect in town. It's a good little area to explore. And theres Gus' Steakhouse in Sonora off the 108, where they serve a nice complimentary fondue before dinner.

Hope that helps a bit.

Aug 23, 2009
EatingoutFresno in California

Meals in the Field [Fresno]

This sounds really really interesting. My best friend grew up in Easton. So it'd be a hoot to get to attend a foodie event in his back yard. I'm going to have to call them and see what the booze situation is. Can't be running around doing farm chores without a moist whistle.

Aug 21, 2009
EatingoutFresno in California

Hotel Survival Cooking

Pretty interesting post. But I don't really understand why she would have it on a Fresno food blog. It's not that the video isn't interesting. It's more that I don't really see the average Fresnan being able to identify with a British cook giving costs in pounds or using an item like an electric kettle, which you're unlikely to find in American hotels. It's certainly entertaining, but seems to lack relevance in the context of the website.

Aug 19, 2009
EatingoutFresno in Food Media & News

Belgian Fries in Fresno?

It's unlikely that you'll find them in the Belgian style. It's too theme-oriented for the 'No. But, you could likely search down some regular french fries that are of a similar quality. But no local restaurant really stands out in my mind for the type of fries you want.

Aug 19, 2009
EatingoutFresno in California

Roundup BBQ (Fresno): meh

I remember eating at the Farmer's Market one with my parents many many moons ago. I also remember really really loving their bbq beef sandwich and their enormous steak fries. It makes sense that the flavor wouldn't be super authentic considering the age of the business. Tastes in Fresno weren't terribly refined in the 80's. Folks looked for foods that were similar to fast food or canned food tastes back then. Sysco ruled the food scene. And likely the owners have chosen to stick with the recipes and flavors that made them popular back then. Now I'm going to have to stop in and see if a bbq beef will trigger any latent memories.

Aug 19, 2009
EatingoutFresno in California

Don Pepe's Taqueria (spicy shrimp tacos), Fresno report w/ pics

Don Pepe's is definitely one of the best taquerias in town for the price. I've been happily grubbing there for the past 7 years. Their burritos are enough to feed a sumo wrestler with a tapeworm. And their shrimp tostada with cabbage, avocado and a light sour cream is divine. Sure, they're a little rough around the edges, but their food and their prices more than make up for the authenticity of their restaurant. Heck, it used to be a Kentucky Fried Chicken when I was just a small boy. It's always amazing to me how many good Fresno businesses can pop up in the spaces abandoned by corporate food mills.

Aug 19, 2009
EatingoutFresno in California

What to do with grilled, peeled, deseeded cherry peppers?

Lots of different things to be honest. You could puree them with a little oregano, heat them up and add a little cream and make a very nice spicy pepper soup. You could mash them up and make a mild chili with them. Chop them and add them to a pasta or other salad. Add them to a mexican style casserole. There at tons and tons of options.

Aug 19, 2009
EatingoutFresno in Home Cooking