Uploaded for your listening pleasure: Another episode of the all-things-Fresno podcast Flowing with Famous. Once again, I am joined by Fresno podcast icon Mike Seay, and once again we hit on all our favorite topics.
Fresno vs. Clovis
Some local music scene news
Fresno Grizzlies and the state of downtown
Plus, we’ve named another band of the episode. Spoiler alert: It’s Light Thieves.
And once again, the whole thing is slightly NSFW (sorry).
W/audio engineering by Reid May. You can stream or download the episode here or find it on iTunes, Sticker and the like.
In the mood for a panini? Maybe a bierock, or a luscious brownie that’s almost a meal itself? Mabel’s Kitchen recently opened in a funky corner of downtown carrying all those things.
The restaurant, open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, is at 1445 Tuolumne St., which is west of the train tracks (map here). It’s actually inside Tuolumne Hall, a little building inside a chain link fence that’s rented out for quinceaneras and other events on the weekends.
But Tuesday through Thursday, you can get lunch to go or eat at one of its four tables. The paninis are the star of the show here, like the Cuban — roasted pork, Black Forest ham and Swiss cheese with a mayo & mustard spread — along with a turkey panini with roasted tomato and a few other options. Owner Susan Valiant makes her own bread, including a pickled sweet pepper bread that really adds flavor to the sandwich. Bierocks are for sale only on Tuesdays.
You may have had Susan’s cooking before. She’s sold her brownies and bierocks at the Vineyard Farmers Market, the Clovis farmers market and block sales around town in the past. For a while she was supplying those big fat brownies to a Dean & DeLuca gourmet food store in St. Helena.
Just posted: Another episode of Flowing with Famous, the city’s original Fresno-centric podcast. Once again I join local podcast guru Mike Seay to talk “all things Fresno.” In this episode we hit on the Fulton Mall, sprawl, Tioga Sequoia’s birthday bash and more. Plus guest commentary from Hilary Malveaux (from Creative Fresno). Audio engineering by Reid May.
From the turnout at Tioga Sequoia‘s second anniversary party (and the first for the Ozmosis radio show), it looks as if Fresno may be quickly embracing the craft/micro-brew scene. The crowd at the brewery’s downtown headquarters (just south of the Chukchansi Park) was large and diverse and for the most part not stumbling drunk, which was a welcome surprise given that this was a beer event and what I’d heard about similar events in the past.
Fresno Brewing Company has done a good job of establishing itself as a hub for the craft beer set (also as a more-than-decent music venue, but that’s a different post). For those who care about things like IBUs and ABV percentages, this is the place to go and last night was perfect case in point. The Napoletano brothers (Matt and Nick) took over for the evening and showed off some of their favorite brews, including some kind of super-special keg of Tioga-Sequia’s Sugar Pine Cocoa-Vanilla Porter. I had the Obsidian Stout from Deschutes Brewery.
There was also some music, fire-eating and general good times had.
The new Saigon Deli opened last week at 944 Fulton Mall, just north of Tulare Avenue. It’s a Vietnamese restaurant in the longtime Tommy’s Hamburgers spot with the wooden porch out front.
Tommy died last October in a drowning accident and the restaurant was closed. You can read his obit here.
The new folks have a menu full of Asian food like pho, noodle bowls, rice dishes, spring rolls, and banh mi — Vietnamese sandwiches.
Some of Tommy’s old customers requested the restaurant keep their favorite hamburgers and the family agreed. In addition to the regular menu, a “Tommy’s Classics” menu is up the wall, featuring all kinds of burgers. Chili cheese burger, anyone?
The restaurant doesn’t have a website yet, but is open from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday (which means yes, they serve breakfast too). They are still figuring out their weekend hours. Here’s some photos from my recent experience there.
For those following the count-down clock, we’ve hit the zero hour (to the chagrin of at least one user). Those following me over from my previous gig at Fresno Famous will need no introduction, but the rest of y’all probably want to know what I am about.
First off, I like lists. So:
Downtown. When the Vagabond Lofts were built in 2006, I was the first to move in. Literally, the very first resident in the complex (OK, I had a roommate). I was what then-council member Henry T. Perea called an urban pioneer. I fully buy into the idea that a city is only as good as its downtown, and that Fresno can be (heck, it already is) a vibrant, cultural hot-spot. To that end, I’ll be keeping up with the city’s efforts to get people back to the urban core. For now, check out I Believe in Downtown Fresno. You don’t have to take the pledge, but you can at least get informed.
To keep from being all north Fresno vs. south, I also have an affinity for Fig Garden Village and the Tower District and have no problem hanging out at River Park when I need to.
Twee owner Melanie Davis Unguez, center, in her shop near Warnors Theatre, with Kim Burly Schoelen, left, and Annemarie Bell, right. Photo: Twee
UPDATE: I heard from Twee owner Melanie and she told me a little more about why she’s closing.
“We’re not profitable,” she said, noting that the store was doing about the same at the Tuolumne Street location as it did in Tower. She’s also hasn’t recovered financially from a flood at the old location.
But we haven’t heard the last of Twee. She promises more big Twee news soon. Her Fresno-themed products will also soon be for sale at the All Things Fresno store and the Downtown Fresno Partnership offices at 845 Fulton Mall. And special events selling handmade goods are in the works, too.
She’s still loyal to downtown and will be joining the Downtown Fresno Partnership’s marketing committee.
ORIGINAL POST:Twee, Fresno’s favorite artsy, crafty downtown store, is closing at the end of March.
Owner Melanie Davis Unguez broke the news on the business’s Facebook page this morning. She says:
“We are moving on to new adventures. For the time being, Twee will be closing up shop at the end of March at the Tuolumne location. We will be moving to a more mobile business, with an online shop, as well as setting up at Farmers Markets.”
Twee will be selling its jewelry, T-shirts, cards and other goods at The Market on Kern on Wednesdays beginning in April.
Opinions are flying across the internet today about a potential public market downtown. Fresno could have its own version of Seattle’s Pike Place Market — with an emphasis on locally produced food — if these plans get off the ground.
You can read today’s front page story about the idea here. In the meantime, check out some of the tweets and comments on the story by some riled-up folks. (Parking is once again a hot topic issue.)
Public Market in Downtown Fresno…this would be a great amenity of downtown and our City. fb.me/1NUAS3txv
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.
The opening of the Fulton Mall ice rink has been postponed until Friday. It was supposed to open today, but something about ice not freezing at 80 degrees tripped things up.
The rink, a project of the Downtown Fresno Partnership, opens at 10 a.m. and runs through Jan. 13. To thank people for their patience, the first 100 in line at the opening get in free. Details here. The opening coincides with Mattie’s Mobile Wood Fired Pizza and Catering testing out a permanent location nearby at Mariposa Mall.
The downtown partnership folks have a sense of humor about the delay and posted this on their Facebook page:
Below are a few pics of the ice rink, which is at the Fulton Mall’s Mariposa Street intersection, in front of the old Security Bank building. Here’s a map.
Sudz in the City is this Saturday and, if you’ve been paying attention you know this annual Fresno brew fest comes with plenty of changes this year. It changed seasons (from May to October), locations (from Chukchansi Park to Fulton Mall) and focuses (from the beer big boys to smaller microbrews).
The woman at the center of the Sudz switch is Kate Borders, the CEO of the Downtown Fresno Partnership. It’s her first Sudz since coming to Fresno to take her post last year. Re-tooling the popular annual event is another of the bold ideas she’s brought with her — ya know, like the downtown ice rink that’s opening soon or Over the Edge, which sent people rappelling down Fresno’s biggest building.
I wanted to ask Borders about the changes for Sudz, to get in her head a little bit. She was happy to oblige.
Two cool things happening this Saturday night that you should start planning for now: this year’s third annual Zombie Pub Crawl in the Tower District and the new-look Sudz in the City, which has to the Fulton Mall and is now more focused on craft beer.
A total of 14,450 tacos were sold — that’s way up from 7,977 last year.
We had 13 trucks, from a variety of locales (Fresno, Sanger, Selma, Centerville, Fowler) and offered popular tacos like carne asada and al pastor, and the more avant garde, like Dusty Bun’s duck taco or Tako’s Spam taco.
The attendance at the Grizzlies game was 11,463, making it the fourth highest-attended game of the season and the fifth highest Thursday night game EVER for the Grizzlies. It’s also the 43rd highest attended Grizzlies game at Chukchansi Park.
That 11,463 figure was the highest attendance of the night in Minor League Baseball and even outdrew a pro game — the White Sox vs. Orioles in Baltimore.
A few other fun facts: 600 Taco Truck Throwdown T-shirts were sold, 125 #TacoTruckThrowdown pics were posted to Instagram and there were way too many Tweets to count.
Here’s some info on the winners, individual tacos sold and where you can find these vendors besides at Taco Truck Throwdown. Click the graphic below to enlarge.
1. SEE TWIN SHADOW You know how The Cellar Door in Visalia gets all those cool concerts? Well, organizers are saying tonight’s is the biggest one of the year. It’s with ’80s-inspired dance-pop act (and critical darling) Twin Shadow and the very groovy Poolside. In fact, I’ve heard people from L.A. and S.F. have been buying most of the advance tickets. Don’t miss out, local hipsters! Read this interview I did with Twin Shadow to get you ready. [Tickets]
Today Fresno welcomes another step forward in its growing mobile food culture. CArthop, a weekly gathering of mobile food vendors, debuts at 10 a.m. on the Fulton Mall. The event is a joint effort from Dusty Buns Bistro Bus and Fresno Brewing Co.
Today, Club One Casino sent over details about its second Summer Splash Beach Party, happening Aug. 31-Sept. 3 (aka Labor Day weekend). Scope out the flier below and read through all the details after the jump. I’m told an list of DJs and bands is coming soon.
The event served as the release party for Fierce Creatures’ new album, with nine other bands joining for a free, all-ages show in the heart of downtown Fresno. The crowd was big. People were raving all evening about it. It was, to put it simply, a big win for downtown and for the local music scene.
I’ll have some in-depth thoughts about the event to share later, but for now let’s celebrate the night in 140-character form.
Love cereal? No really love cereal? Have you mixed up different types of cereal at home looking for the perfect combination?
Then new local eatery Cereal Trip is for you. It’s a cereal bar that opens Tuesday in downtown Fresno and the concept is a lot like one of those create-your-own-crazy-combo frozen yogurt shops. You pick one (or more, if you like) base cereal, mix-in a topping or two (M & Ms, raisins, almonds, etc) and even choose your favorite kind of milk.
There are also seven favorite combinations from the Cereal Trip staff that customers can choose from. You can expect the menu (see below) to change — with additions of new cereals and/or toppings.
“I love cereal,” says co-owner Uriel Perez, 24. “It’s my favorite thing to eat. And I think a lot of other people agree with me”
He and co-owner Vanessa Silva, 25, have been putting the finishing touches on the eatery — which is at 907 Van Ness Ave, near Kern St., and right around the corner from the Fulton Mall. They’ll be open 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and they’ll stay open later on ArtHop days.
“I grew up around this area, not too far from here,” Perez says of the downtown location. “I know it’s potential. I want to be part of re-introducing people to downtown.”
Downtown revitalization from the Spiderman playbook? Sweet.
“Where else are you going to see people rappelling down a 15-story building besides downtown Fresno?” says Kate Borders, who was imported late last year from Milwaukee to take over president/CEO of what is now the Downtown Fresno Partnership.
Money raised will be used to fund future projects from the Fresno Downtown Partnership, specifically an outdoor ice rink that’s being eyed for the 2012 holiday season. (That sounds cool too, doesn’t it?)
Because you’re probably wondering: Yes, an outside company that specifically handles building-scaling is behind this, making sure everything is safe and proper. If you want to sign up to potentially to go Over the Edge, go here. If you want to sponsor someone, then go here.