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Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Bikini baristas facing Clovis backlash

BOTTOMSSaturday’s story about Bottom’s Up Espresso — a drive-thru coffee joint with scantily clad “bikini baristas” — is the top story on The Fresno Bee’s website. A Clovis woman who lives near the Peach and Shaw avenues kiosk wants the workers to cover up and is circulating a petition to get the Clovis City Council involved. A video taken at the business is below (maybe a smidge NSFW, but it’s not over the top).

People have plenty to say about Bottom’s Up. They seem to fall into two camps. The first are outraged, including a commenter who said this: “… if you can’t buy coffee without making it about sex then there’s something wrong with your perverted minds … .”

In the other corner are the eye rollers who point out that the women are wearing just as much (or as little) as you’d see at the beach or at Hooters. As another commenter said: “Pretty simple, If you are offended don’t go to the business.”

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Brilliant Ad

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Checking through my Twitter to see the latest tweets when I came across this brilliant ad: pic.twitter.com/GJunW4Bay3

Then I nodded in grinning approval.  Nuance.

Cartoonists — and more specifically editorial cartoonists — strive to create a provocative nuance in their artwork to help communicate their ideas in much the same way that this ad does for the Van Gogh Museum.  It’s clever and so I thought I would share it you.

Dunkin’ Donuts getting closer to Fresno

donutsDunkin’ Donuts is coming to Fresno … eventually. The popular donut store announced last month it was looking for franchisees in the Fresno area to open restaurants. And now one has opened in Barstow.

The chain is pretty popular on the East Coast, though most people seem to know it more for its coffee than its donuts. I remember my family getting one of those fold-up boxes full of Munchkins — donut holes — on long drives as a kid and sharing them around the car.

Dunkin’ Donuts may be a relatively new concept to many Fresnans. So, those of you who have been to one, what do you remember about it? What did you get?

Just to jog your memory (and because it’s lunchtime and I’m hungry and I feel like punishing myself), here’s some of the yummy-sounding donuts, including seasonal ones, listed on their website:

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The most important thing EVAR: It’s baaa-aack

In case you were unaware, distracted or otherwise avoiding the universe, it’s official: fall has arrived. Shut up, calendar purists. The chronological passage of time means nothing in the face of REAL LIFE. And the governance of real life has long since moved away from the movement of the stars and cataloging the Earth’s relationship/position relative to the sun.

Real life and the signaling of the passage of time is the responsibility of corporations and we don’t know what time of year it is unless they tell us.

Do not be fooled.

Spirit Stores springing up about town does not mark the official beginning of fall; it alerts you to Halloween season, which is similar but totally and completely different (and now I’m ashamed to look at you in your ignorance).

The arrival of pumpkin-flavored IPAs in the beer aisle also does not signal anything except maybe that the weather might sometime in the distant future get cooler so the drinking of such beer won’t be as gross.

pslAnd the arrival of football only means that FOOTBALL season has arrived and nothing else. You’d be a fool to confuse it with anything other than the possibility that queso dip/chicken wing season is on the horizon. Plus it’s still baseball season, so pipe down.

No. Some 10-years ago, it was ordained that one of the biggest corporations to come out of Seattle — and NOT THE COSMOS — would evermore signal the change from smog and hot season to luscious, perfect fall — and said change would commence with the arrival of a flavored coffee.

Here, of course, I am speaking of the much lauded, highly regarded, ever revered Pumpkin Spice Latte.

It has arrived. Yesterday. And now we can all get on with the rest of our insignificant lives, but with a delicious, creamy coffee in hand.

Happy autumn.

Iron Bird Cafe closes … again

The last coconut mocha has been served at the Iron Bird Cafe. The downtown business on Fulton Street in the Iron Bird Lofts is officially closed.

Owner Ann Liao said Wednesday that the business wasn’t making enough money to cover the cost of being open 16 hours a day, seven days a week. The cost of coffee beans and other expenses kept rising as Iron Bird struggled to serve early birds and a growing late night crowd. Rather than skimp on quality to cut costs, she decided to close.

It’s the second time a business named Iron Bird Cafe has closed in the location. The original coffee shop, which opened about the same time as the lofts, didn’t make it. Liao, who owns three Teazer World Market locations in Fresno, reopened Iron Bird Cafe about 10 months ago with a partner who specializes in coffee. They revamped the menu and brought in several new global types of coffee.

The regret in Liao’s voice was palpable when we spoke via phone.
“It’s tearing me apart,” she said. “We gave it our best try and I think customers loved it. People who do support it, support it 100%. We never really heard anything bad about about the service or the coffee.”

Iron Bird closed Dec. 31 for the New Year’s holiday and will not reopen.

Perhaps anticipating the round of doubts about downtown this might inspire, she said this in a goodbye message on the Iron Bird’s Facebook page:

The huge amount of construction going on in downtown and the many people moving towards this area hold great promise. We believe that soon someone with a fresh set of eyes will be able to make that location their own and make it happen in a way that works for the area.

Local coffee shops open, close

There’s so many changes in the coffee shop scene in Fresno and Clovis that I was tempted to headline this “As the Coffee Bean Turns.” We’ve got attractive new players in the market, and a surprise kill-off of one longtime coffee shop. Here’s a rundown on the recent coffee shop action.

  • On The Edge coffee house has opened in the heart of Old Town Clovis on Pollasky Avenue. The little coffee shop has an amazing patio out back with a mural on its huge brick wall. On The Edge is owned by the same family who used to run the New

    The patio at On The Edge coffee shop on Pollasky Avenue in Clovis.

    Found Gold shop a few doors down. Jaynae Glenn, 19, is the driving force behind the business. She’s also planning her wedding. Her Superwoman cape is invisible.

  • Another coffee shop, Kuppa Joy Coffee House, is getting ready to open in early November about a block away on Clovis Avenue near 5th Street. Clovis High grad and former Detroit Lions football player Zack Follett is behind this one. I’ll have more details when it’s closer to opening.

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Iron Bird Cafe is open again

UPDATE: Here’s more — pics, menu, etc. — from Bethany Clough on the news blog.

ORIGINAL POST: If you see a little extra pep in the step of downtowners today, it might be because Iron Bird Cafe is open again. The tumultuous story of Iron Bird — from beloved Mural District centerpiece to yet another downtown failure — starts a new chapter under the direction of Ann Liao, who owns the Teazer World Tea Market shops.

You can read more about the philosophy behind the new Iron Bird Cafe here and here. Good news: At least the IBC folks won’t be teasing coffee lovers anymore by posting pics like this on Facebook.

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7Qs #4 at Fresno Brewing Co.

For the next in my 7Qs series, I cornered Ephiram Bosse to ask him questions about his recently opened Fulton Mall business, Fresno Brewing Co. It’s a coffee place with plans for beer in the coming months — hitting both ends of the brewing spectrum, ya know?

Fresno Brewing Co. takes over the place that used to house Milano, Come & Get It Chicken & Waffles, Mom & Pop’s and various others.

One update to something Bosse talks about in the video: Twee Boutique, the cool Tower District boutique, has opened a second location next to Fresno Brewing Co., in what sounds like it’s going to be a commune of cool stuff.

PREVIOUSLY IN 7Qs: Fulton 55 | Dead in 60 Years | Travis Sheridan

A National Coffee Day shout-out to a Fresno jewel, Café Corazón

It’s National Coffee Day, and while 7-11 was handing out free coffee and people went about their regular Starbucks routine, we thought it was a worthwhile time to call attention to a local business that’s doing great things with coffee.

That’s Café Corazón, the Wishon Row shop that’s not only a great place to grab a cup of coffee, but also a wonderful place to pick up specially roasted beans for at-home brewing from our own local coffee expert Leo Rios.

Here’s an episode from TasteFresno’s web series (produced by The No Network) that takes us inside Café Corazón. Once you’re good and fiendin’ for your coffee fix, check out the cafe’s website and go give it a try — today or any other day.

Since Leo is such a nice guy, he also offered up five coffee-making tips for any and all coffee lovers out there:

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Fresno, this long goodbye is making me cry.

It’s been about two days since I broke the news in the paper about my upcoming departure, and your well wishes are making me emotional.

Although joining my family’s Hawaiian coffee business is the best way I can honor my late father, it’s hard to leave the Valley. Wednesday’s story includes some fond memories of Koda Farms’ rice, UC Lindcove’s citrus fruit, all the stone fruit, The Double T and fresh figs.

Expect me to celebrate a few more local gems in my remaining stories.

Since you’ve shared so much with me, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of some of my adventures to come.

Going home means I get hugs from my mom:

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Here’s my new “office”:

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Café Corazón’s new digs in the Tower District

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It didn’t take long for Café Corazón’s fans to get excited over its new space. The coffee roasting company re-opened about two weeks ago in a house directly across from the Peach Pit. Here’s the address: 548 E. Olive Ave.

Don’t expect the scale of Café Corazón’s old digs on the Fulton Mall. The old retail space featured breakfast, lunch and lots of baked goods made from scratch. The new retail space is a pickup station for coffee roasted to order. Owner Leo Rios also will conduct monthly tastings that allow folks to geek out on coffee.

For example, Saturday’s sold-out tasting will teach guests about brewing methods, grind and water temperature.

Rios says he likes lighter roasts that “preserve as much bean character as possible.” He also favors unusual coffees, such as the two that will be featured at Saturday’s tasting: Ethiopia Organic Sidamo Guji Maduro (which evokes varied flavors of cherry, plum and peach as it cools) and El Salvador Los Luchadores Pacamara. (Scroll down this page to see the full description).

For information about future tastings or to place an order, call (559) 492-7047. Pickup hours are noon-6 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays.

Photo above of Leo Rios holding unroasted coffee beans. Photo credit: Joan Obra.

This One’s for the Coffee Lovers

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Are you a java drinker who can’t afford a daily fix at the coffee shops? If so, don’t let the recession screw you out of a good cup of joe.

This week’s food section gives tips to improve your coffee skills. You’ll find out how to buy, store, grind and brew it.

And if you want to buy freshly roasted coffee (the only kind you should ever drink), try the following local roasters. If I missed a local company, please add it to the comments.

Fresno/Clovis
Café Corazón
Details: elcafecorazon@gmail.com, (559) 903-5277, or @CafeCorazon on Twitter.

Café Corazón doesn’t have a bricks-and-mortar location. Home delivery is available in the Tower District. Or pick up orders at Yoshi NOW!, 648 Broadway St., (559) 485-8142.

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