Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Two new hot dog restaurants open

Fresno’s next big food trend? The hot dog, at least if two new hot dog restaurants are any indication.

  • California Hot Dogs — or Cal Dogs for short — opened last month in the Dewitt Building at 543 Pollasky Ave. in the former Salsa’s location. (Salsa’s moved down the street to 410 Clovis Ave.)

Cal Dogs combines hot dogs with California history, and even has a mascot — Gus the Gold Miner.

All 20-plus hot dogs are named after California history. There’s the Hidalgo dog, for example, a hot dog served with enchilada sauce and jack cheese, wrapped in a tortilla and topped with chilies. It’s named after the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War in 1848. The menu is at left. Click on it to make it bigger.

Cal Dogs is run by the Taliaferro family, who also run Serenity Funeral Services — no connection between the businesses other than family, they stress. The family is confident this restaurant concept will work because they’ve done it before. About 27 years ago the family ran a similar restaurant in the Bay Area. It was successful, but with babies at home they put aside the restaurant to focus on family — until now. Now those babies — Ross and Chris Taliaferro — are running the restaurant.

Damn that Anthony Bourdain

Loyal readers know of my fondness for “No Reservations,” Bourdain’s television show. Remember how I bit my knuckles watching him eat grilled caviar at Etxebarri in Spain? Or how I gripped the couch as he forked the chorizo at that restaurant?

Well, with his recent episode about Vietnam, he tempted me again:

Since watching that show a few weeks ago, I’ve had a serious craving for bánh mì. It’s been a long time since I’ve had this sandwich and its lovely Vietnamese-French flavors.

Given the Valley’s large Southeast Asian population, might it be possible to find one nearly as good as this? I probably won’t get the fried egg (sigh), but please, give me a good baguette stuffed with pork, cilantro, jalapeños, picked carrots and daikon, cucumber, pâté and mayonnaise.

Luckily, Dave Williams, also known as PolarBear at Chowhound, has indulged in this particular obsession. Based on his recommendations and some follow-up e-mails, here’s where I’m headed:

May Cafe To Go
2327 N. Fresno St. # 102
(559) 225-7990

Paradise Restaurant (also known as Pho Paradise)
1848 N. 1st St.
(559) 264-9025

Anyone else have a tried-and-true source in the Valley?