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Fresno and around

Thanks so much for those older threads, Melanie. I thought I'd done a thorough search of this board for everything in and around Fresno, but missed these. Now I know that next time in Fresno I'll have to check out Cal State ice cream too.

Mar 31, 2014
Kayde in California

Fresno and around

I had never heard of apple jacks before, but these didn't look like that. Next time I'll take a picture. More folded twist, I think both sides toward the center. Very rich flakey dough, very brown, and on return I'd ask just which fat it was. Loaded with cinnamon and some finely chopped apples, though it was the cinnamon and crispiness that brought me back for more.
A guy who lives in the neighborhood told us to go there for beerocks, and now I'm wondering whether the apple jacks might be another carryover from the previous German Bakery...

Mar 11, 2014
Kayde in California

Los Banos taqueria

On our trips to and from Fresno we like to stop at La Michoacana - a market/carniceria/taqueria right on 152 and not far from Interstate 5. In back next to the pretty darned good-looking meat counter, they offer takeout, including excellent burritos and tacos. The fast-moving line always has a wide variety of people, so looks like they've built a local reputation. Along with our tacos, on the latest return trip we also got some deliciously crispy, meaty chicharrones.
As a bonus, by the register was a box of ripe guayabas.

La Michoacana Carniceria y Taqueria
209 827 3155
820 W. Pacheco Blvd, Los Banos 93635

Mar 10, 2014
Kayde in California

Fresno and around

Thanks again for all the discussion. We wound up mainly grabbing sandwiches between shows. Also between shows we had some good tamales and pozole - a fundraiser for a Mexican dance school down on Fulton.
I want to note Panaderia Natalie at 935 E. Olive. Locals tell me it was a German bakery, now Mexican, but they kept the beerocks. I'm no expert on this topic, but the classic meat-and-cabbage ones were very good. A cheese/jalpeno version was also tasty. And they make a wonderful crispy browned apple cinnamon pastry they call Apple Jacks.
A few blocks down on E. Olive toward Neighborhood Thrift was a very good Mediterranean spot. Some of the best tabouli I've ever had.

Mar 10, 2014
Kayde in California

Fresno and around

Thanks. We've been to Cafe Corazon several times, as it's in the middle of many Rogue venues. This place is a gem - they roast their own beans, always have a variety of styles they brew for individual cups. Mainly a coffee-and-pastry spot that invites lingering, but they offer breakfast on weekends. Their Mardi Gras breakfast was very good: quinoa with beans, sausage and an egg. Aside from being so darned good, it's definitely one of the places to be.

Mar 08, 2014
Kayde in California

Fresno and around

In fact we bundled up against the drizzle and walked to the Water Tower. Dusty Buns was the only truck and he told us that lately that has been the case on Fridays, sometimes along with a vegie-local truck. I had the Dusty Bun - sauteed chicken in sauce with excellent coarse slaw; spouse had the special grass-fed beef burger with avocado and cheese, and we shared an order of split fingerling fries, well browned, served with creamy garlic sauce and home-made kethup. Very, very good. They said to thank you for sending us, and thanks from us as well.

Feb 28, 2014
Kayde in California

Fresno and around

On the latter, I think you mean George's. We wandered by there for the second time, always after having eaten well somewhere else. It caters to downtown workers, looks very good and we plan to come by next week.

Feb 28, 2014
Kayde in California

Fresno and around

We are in town both Fridays. And near the Tower. Is this around lunch?

Feb 28, 2014
Kayde in California

Fresno and around

Thanks. I'd forgotten about Trelio.

Feb 26, 2014
Kayde in California

Fresno and around

Beloved Spouse and I are going to Fresno for 2 long weekends of the Rogue Fringe Festival with three days in Yosemite between. About 9 days total in the general area. We'll probably mainly stay around the Tower area on busy performance days, but we would appreciate tips for all around Fresno for the slow days, the route to and from Yosemite.
We enjoy just about all good food - hole in the wall barbecue, family Asian with tripe, handmade tortillas with lengua, various spins on local.
On a previous trip about 8 months ago we failed to find boreekas (?). We did find Diana's, a good Persian-Armenian spot, and a Cambodian place with very good soup. We meant to but didn't go to Schoolhouse in Sanger, though would consider that again this time around.
But a lot can change in 8 months, especially the food biz. As I said: any and all tips from hounds who know the area.
Many, many thanks.

Feb 25, 2014
Kayde in California

Gas Ranges: Frigidaire, Kitchen Aid, GE Profile

Time replace our 30" gas range (oven quit due to lack of replacement circuit board!) so I've been checking around. Our appliance repair folks, who also repair Wolf, Viking etc. say that GE is best for replacement parts. I want a couple good hot gas burners, good simmer all round, good baking and roasting. Don't know that I need 2 ovens. Looked at the "commercial style" options and considered Verona, but thought options have improved with the home-style brands. According to specs, the GE Profile does pretty well on high BTU and simmer.

Sep 22, 2013
Kayde in Cookware

Desco - Regional Italian in Old Oakland

We enjoyed everything about Donato Enoteca when we had business in Redwood City last year and are glad to see him open a spot nearby.

Sep 19, 2013
Kayde in San Francisco Bay Area

Mi Pueblo markets files for Chapter 11

Every time I walk into that place I fill my cart. The variety of products not so easily found elsewhere, as well as the atmosphere, have made me a big fan of the one on High Street. So many kinds of queso fresca, salsas, those hefty tortilla chips, at least 3 different kinds of tripe, beef tongues and other things my local butcher doesn't carry, at excellent prices. In the last year I've seen that many people other than immigrants have discovered that store, including neighbors and the local fire station.
Just hope they don't emerge from bankruptcy on the backs of the people who work there. I'll protest e-verify anywhere, but presume that Safeway and other chains use it. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Jul 24, 2013
Kayde in San Francisco Bay Area

Fresno Asian

Great, I'd like to hear what you think. We had a good time just poking around places and look forward to a return trip.

Jun 26, 2013
Kayde in California

Persian/Armenian in Fresno

Thanks for these. Next time we'll be better prepared.

Jun 26, 2013
Kayde in California

Fresno Asian

On a recent visit to Fresno, a Hmong colleague suggested Angkor Restaurant and recommended a pork liver dish and Cambodian Pho. From a scan of the multi-page laminated menu, we guessed that might be #14 Rice Soup (strips of pork liver with blood cubes) and #16 Angkor Special Noodle Soup. Both were good, but my Rice Soup was a bit bland until the server brought me a bowl of salty chili-based condiment that really sparked it up. As we were finishing, she gave us recommendations for a return visit. #59 Stir Fried Internal Pork with Pickled Papaya was probably the liver dish our colleague had in mind, as well as #48 Spicy Beef Soup. I’d also like to try $61 Lab, #1 Beef Salad and #56 Sweet Sour Cat Fish Soup.
Don’t come for ambiance – Angkor Restaurant is a utilitarian space in an uninviting strip mall off E. Olive Ave., but we really liked the food and it's open late. Open Mon.-Thurs. 9am to 12am, Fri.-Sun. 9am to 1am.

Angkor Restaurant Pho 2009
4853 E. Olive Ave.
Fresno 93727
559 454 0887

Jun 26, 2013
Kayde in California

Persian/Armenian in Fresno

At the last minute, Beloved Spouse and I decided to make a mini-vacation of a work trip to Fresno, and, thanks to this board and local tips, had a good time. It seems we came during a cold snap: a mere 94 degrees F in the afternoon, though deep in Forestiere Gardens thermometers read in the low 80s.

We were interested in the fruits of Armenian immigration to the area, and were hungry when we arrived at Diana's, a family-run Persian/Armenian spot tucked back in a shopping mall off W. Shaw Ave. The husband and wife team were both warm hosts. Since I asked, she let us know exactly which dishes on the menu were Persian, which Armenian, which straddled both, and who made what. More Persian than we anticipated, but very good in its own right. Lentil soup, hummus and lightly spiced ground meat dolmas were delicious, as well as the Shirazi chopped salad, so when the Shish kebab, Barg kebab (filet mignon) and Koobideh (ground beef) arrived, pure deliciousness drove us to taste them all, but most kebabs wound up in a box. I did made room to taste their Persian ice cream - a delicate rosewater flavor and fragrance.
I'd come back and try the daily stews (“100% Persian!”) for $12.95.

Diana's
3050 W. Shaw Ave. Suite 106
tel: 559 277 9500

We never did manage to find beerocks/bureks on this visit, but would appreciate some tips.

Jun 26, 2013
Kayde in California

Sir and Star at The Olema

Glad you made it, and that you enjoyed it as much as we did. Quirkiness just goes with the territory, take it or leave it. The food is an extraordinary value and they are committed to lower costs. I agree that it's worth an outing, but Sir and Star feels more casual than Manka's ever did. On both weekend visits there were several parties that came straight from the trails.
Correction in my own post about the ice cream: the toppings are house-made, not the Strauss. May have misunderstood the server. But each combo I tried was very good, and I have become a fan of the olive oil and salt.

Jun 25, 2013
Kayde in San Francisco Bay Area

Waukesha County Indian

While visiting family in the Milwaukee area, a friend in Brookfield took me to Taste of India for the lunch buffet. Tucked in a mall off West Bluemound Road, we were the first to arrive, but it filled up fast. I was impressed that they go way beyond the standards. The buffet offered many vegetarian options among the array of freshly made tandoori meats, curries, pulses, soup, chutneys, as well as sweets. Lunch buffet is 11:30 - 3pm 7 days a week, and they do dinner and catering. Other people know about this place? Refreshing alternative to the chains that dominate that strip of Mall Land.

Taste of India
17800 West Bluemound Road
(262) 796 8200

Jun 22, 2013
Kayde in Great Lakes

Ark Chinese Restaurant in Alameda

Yup, and the variation is amazing.

Jun 20, 2013
Kayde in San Francisco Bay Area

Ark Chinese Restaurant in Alameda

We've had very good dinners at The Ark, and those chewy noodles are worth going a tad out of the way. Once went with a huge family group and they readily made vegetarian versions of several dishes to accommodate many of that gathering. The kids loved to watch the noodles being made, as well as the fruit carvings.

Jun 19, 2013
Kayde in San Francisco Bay Area

Michael Bauer's incomprehensible rating logic

Interesting discussion. While I sense that my enthusiasms differ from Bauer's, there's no animosity here - he's just part of the scene. No rating system is ever going to capture the full experience, and that's where the whole review and extended discussion are useful.

Having been to Sir and Star, I think his review gave a fine sense of the food and of the place, and it was clear enough that he gave a boost for excellent value. Fine with me - I really like this place, especially that it's relatively accessible. When more people on this board go to Sir and Star, I'd like to hear what they have to say.
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/899888

On the other hand, in comments on Bauer's sfgate blog, it struck me that several people chose to carp about the chef-owners' grooming and attire in the photos. Oh, well...
http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/...

Jun 11, 2013
Kayde in San Francisco Bay Area

Stockton area

Thanks for all the cherry tips. In a few weeks I'll be back from Wisconsin (where there are lots of sour cherries later in the summer) and would like to return to Stockton/Lodi before it gets too too hot. Maybe early June.

May 07, 2013
Kayde in California

Stockton area

Just this week I started seeing cherries offered from trucks in the East Bay. Given year-to-year variation, around when is the cherry season in Stockton/Linden? Are they mainly Bing, pie or Rainier? I'd go out of my way for good cherries, and the season is short. Does the orchard on West Lane have a stand or u-pick? Any other recommendations?
Thanks much.

May 05, 2013
Kayde in California

Sir and Star at The Olema

Thanks much, Melanie, for finding and adding all the contact info.
Food is key, but, it's worth saying - I loved the style. Dark woodwork, cream and distressed wood give the old Victorian hotel a spare feel, while baskets of branches, dried kelp and the odd stuffed bird add a touch of whimsy.

May 04, 2013
Kayde in San Francisco Bay Area

Stockton area

It was great produce and I'm sorry to hear it may soon be gone. It would be worthwhile to plan a return around those cherries.

May 02, 2013
Kayde in California

Olema Inn reopening

We were able to go a few times in April, and by the last time it had become Sir and Star. The opening observations are here:

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/899888

May 02, 2013
Kayde in San Francisco Bay Area

Stockton area

Thanks. I didn't see this until afterward, but next time. Seems there are some interesting places and very good wineries without the crowds.

Apr 27, 2013
Kayde in California

Stockton area

Thanks for all the ideas and here's my rambling report:

As it turned out, I drove spouse and colleagues to their noon meeting, so completely missed out on the farmers market. With only 4 hours to explore, I decided to check out a few wineries and to see what I could find out about how the very old Pakistani community in Lodi (predates independence) is expressed in local food. And get ripe strawberries.

I decided to head straight to 99 and Lodi, but was starving and pulled over for a wood-burning grill in front of a Mexican grocery on Alpine Ave. Grilled ribs weren't ready so I bought what appeared their local special - a jalapeno stuffed with queso fresco, wrapped in bacon and grilled (very tasty) and a grilled chicken hindquarter (a little dry but also tasty) for about $4.

Once I hit 99 I saw my mistake, as it's just a walled highway, got off at Kettelman and headed past strip malls toward downtown and the Visitor Center (aka Wine and Roses).
On Pine St. I stopped at Jeremy Wine, an attractive storefront. As they poured their wines, the young husband and wife team gave me a better map and helped me figure out a route to cover all fronts. I liked their wines and left with Albarino, Barbera and Tempranillo.
http://jeremywineco.com/
Next visit I would go to Wine and Roses, but with limited time, I decided to head straight to the wineries. M2 is another small artisan winery located in an industrial mall off Turner Rd.and the tasting room was lively. They make different blends and varietals, including a Viognier. I liked their style and left with an old vine Zinfandel.
http://www.m2wines.com/
btw - I often hear that Zinfandel is king in the Lodi area, and maybe it is, but that day I saw and tasted other fine hot weather varieties. Barbera, Tempranillo and more.
St. Amant was in another industrial park nearby, but, even after I got through the chain link gate, it wasn't easy to find. Once I got there, I had the cofounder (mother of the current winemaker) to myself and was glad I made the effort. St. Amant's has a variety of grapes from Lodi and Amador, and they are one of the few who make Verdelho - a bright Portuguese white. She is proud of their ports, and I especially liked Tawny Port. On my way out negotiated for gate space with a party in 2 cars who worried whether they were in the right place for St. Amant.
Klinker Brick has a big and busy tasting room/gift shop surrounded by vineyards and lots of people were having picnics. Their old vine Zins are excellent.
But I was ready to check out the kabob place in a strip mall off Cherokee. Not part of the long-standing Pakistani community, as it turned out, but it was good and run by an Afghan immigrant family. Spicy lamb plate with hummus, salad and flat bread for about $6.
Then I stopped by Rice & Spice - a small strip mall grocery, 1030 S Hutchins St. If I lived there I'd be a regular. Big bags of rice, halal meats, and shelf after shelf of pulses, beans, spicy snacks and a refrigerator full of pastries (made in the East Bay) and varieties of cheese. Very pleasant guy confirmed what others had been telling me - that the Pakistani community pretty much cooks at home. But he plans a deli section, and that would be worth a stop next visit.
After that it was straight down Hutchins to the Asian farm stand at West Lane and Harney for fava beans and a bargain flat of truly delicious ripe strawberries. West Lane back to Stockton and then home.
Thanks again for your contributions to a good day.

Apr 27, 2013
Kayde in California

Sir and Star at The Olema

This month we went to Sir and Star at The Olema - dropped in Easter weekend and a few weeks later midweek. Margaret Grade and Daniel DeLong opened their new restaurant on the ground floor of the old Olema Hotel – the corner where Sir Francis Drake meets Star Route 1. For those who remember Manka’s, the style at Sir and Star is casual (brown paper over the tables) and modestly priced. Check menu and photos.
http://www.theolema.com/

Quality is high as ever and food still comes from within a short radius. One night the crab fishermen were having dinner at the next table. Small plates were grouped by price - $10 and $20 plates with a few $5 sides - and we tried to sample one after another.

$10 plates: Trio of Tomales Bay Oysters served in shot glasses with oyster jelly and a bright bit of acid. Pair of salads varies daily – we had lightly dressed little gems and arugula. My favorite by far was the Duck Egg broken over bubble-and-squeak: chopped cabbage, leeks, potatoes and chunks of meaty bacon. I could make a habit of just that combination of rich, meaty, earth, salt, sweet and crunch.

$20 plates: Crab with lemon aoili-style dip was fresh and sweet. Quail with kale came nestled against a mound of miner’s lettuce – great finger food. Pork Parts were braised belly with meatballs: rich, tender, delicious. Green Bouillabaisse is a happy combination of vegetables and deserves to be enjoyed by more than vegetarians.

For dessert ($10) they serve house-made ice cream with a variety of toppings. I liked virgin olive oil with salt.

They’re still figuring out some kinks with the new theme, including staffing, and it's good that they are now on OpenTable. They were about to begin Saturday night chef’s dinners, and we plan to return for those, but the small plates menu is excellent and relatively accessible. They appear to be drawing locals as well as people who popped by after a day on the trails. I hope it’s a good combination for them.

Apr 26, 2013
Kayde in San Francisco Bay Area