The bacon vs. tofu throwdown at a Grizzlies game June 27 is getting closer to reality. We’re practicing our “gimme a T’” and “gimme a B” cheers over here at the Beehive. Josh introduced us to this event last month, but in case you need a catch up, here’s his description from his blog:
“Fans show up at the game and choose sides. You’re either for #teambacon or #teamtofu. Fans can vote and the results will be tallied and announced at the end of the night. There will be themed-games between innings and bacon and tofu-oriented businesses will be on hand to showcase their products. Here’s the great part (and where The Beehive readers come in): The Grizzlies are looking for team captains, a couple of local chefs or foodie types who can whip up some culinary creations and help sway the vote.”
So, we’ve narrowed down the list of who might be there selling their yummy bacon or tofu to a handful of finalists on each side. Let us know who of the following you’d like to see going bravely into battle at this event. (This all depends on who is willing to do it, of course, but lots of votes will surely persuade a business to participate.)
In the bacon corner, we have:
Dusty Buns food truck, with the applewood smoked bacon on its Le Grilled Cheese described as “money” by Beehivers.
Charlotte’s BakerEatery is known for its fresh breads, baked daily. What they put inside of the bread (in the case wonderfully thick-cut bacon for its BLT sandwiches) ain’t bad either.
Keith’s The man behind the Boxcar Cafe knows his swine. As far as we known he single-handedly created Pulled Pork Lasagna. Plus, the guy smokes his own bacon, people!
In the tofu corner, we have:
Food truck Tako BBQ is getting a reputation for its spiced-up chunks of tofu used in burritos and bowls.
Chipotle is still testing its tofu-with-a-kick called sofritas — tofu seared and ground like sausage, and roasted with chipotle chiles, poblanos and spices — but it’s already getting lots of positive reviews.
Whole Foods sells prepared tofu in its deli case, with luscious flavors such as chili lime basil, sesame, and tofu marinated with mushrooms, red wine vinegar, garlic and oregano.
Customers wait in line for corn outside of the Fresno State farm store on Saturday, May 25, 2013.
As many of you know from past posts, I enjoy cycling around Fresno. The view from the bike gives me a new perspective on our cities, and it keeps me in shape. Sometimes I ride the Clovis Bike Trails, head to Woodward Park or go out into the country. I try to mix it up. And I’m always looking for somewhere new to ride.
On Saturday, I decided to join the Park to Park ride put on by the Fresno Bike Party and I Bike Fresno folks as part of Bike Month. We rode from Oso de Oro park to Roeding Park. With a few extra miles thrown in to make a loop to my house, the ride was a fun and social, and one that took me through diverse neighborhoods and past a lot of notable food spots, including:
Fresno State farm store: Known for its corn (see that line!), the store features produce grown by ag students, and student-made products like ice cream, sausage and wine. At the new market you can sample wine and grab a scoop.
Cinco de Mayo is this weekend and that means lots of yummy food and beer. The list of places doing something special for the day includes:
Downtown’s huge Cinco de Mayo festival on Fulton Mall starts Friday and runs through Sunday. Food booths, crafts, folklorico dancers and live music will stretch from Kern Street to Fresno Street. It runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.
It’s “Cinco de Elbow” (huh?) at the Elbow Room, which is already partway through its five-day celebration. They’ll be Mexican dancers at 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. A Santana tribute band starts playing a noon Sunday. There’s food and beer specials too, including camarones a la diabla and posole.
The folks at Ramos Torres Winery in Kingsburg are celebrating their Hispanic heritage Saturday. From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., they’ll be serving tacos with wine. The event is free for club members, $15 for everybody else.
I’m sure there’s more places having Cinco de Mayo events, so feel free to let us know.
Easter Sunday is about church, family and food. And since you guys know I’m all about the food, that’s what I’ll focus on in this blog. If you’re not planning to cook yourself, there’s several restaurants that are serving Easter meals. Be sure to make a reservation as they can get busy.
Chef Roy Harland and the Elbow Room are serving an Easter brunch and an Easter Dinner later in the day. The brunch, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., features eggs Benedict, a made-to-order omelet station, prime rib, and fresh blue oysters on the half shell. $24.99 for adults, $14.99 for children 12 and under.
At the dinner from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., diners can choose from roasted prime rib au jus, Australian lobster tail, and crab-stuffed jumbo prawns and other dishes.
You can have your Easter meal in the garden at Erna’s Elderberry House in Oakhurst Sunday. The $60 per person meal includes a choice of seared medallions of beef, sautéed Long Island striped bass with bay shrimp risotto, and chicken and ham with Gruyere cheese and polenta. You can see the full menu here.
Easter brunch will also be served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Blue Heron restaurant at the clubhouse in Yosemite Lakes Park in Coarsegold. It will feature an omelet station, eggs Benedict, prime rib with vegetables and breakfast staples like bacon and pastries. $21.95 and kids 6-12 $12.95.
An exhibitor from Phillips Farms demonstrates mixing finger limes into champagne.
After coming home from the Fresno Food Expo with a full belly Thursday, I’m convinced I have the most fun job on the planet.
Over the past few weeks I’ve written about the event, the yearly showcase of Valley-made foods ranging from grapes to white chocolate milk made specifically for mochas. And while there’s plenty of stories about the importance of exporting local products to the Pacific Rim, the most fun part is tasting all the food. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites from the 2013 show. If you went to the public portion of the show, feel free to share your favorites in the comments section.
Finger limes. The weird little finger-shaped limes from Visalia-area Phillips Farms are just cool. Snap ‘em open and there’s little balls of “citrus caviar” inside. They can be added to ice cream, used atop sushi or swirled into Champagne and cocktails.
For now, they can only be bought online (though they are exported to Europe). Details: Phillipsfarms.net.
I’m busy writing my column about which restaurants are open on Christmas Day and the descriptions of food are driving me crazy: Deep-fried cheesecake at Chukchansi’s Noodle Bar, a slow-baked sugar-cured ham at the Mountain Room in Yosemite and dim sum at Imperial Garden.
You can read more about which restaurants are open in this coming Wednesday’s column, but in the meantime, let’s talk about what people eat for Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa) — whether homemade or from a restaurant.
Do you have a favorite traditional holiday food?
For me, it’s my Aunt Janet’s challah bread. (I’m not sure how that became a family tradition as it’s a bread traditionally eaten on Jewish holidays and we’re not Jewish.) It’s a light, fluffy bread delicious eaten with a meal and is great for leftover ham and turkey sandwiches. (That’s not my bread at right, but a file photo of challah bread by Bee photographer Craig Kohlruss.)
So what about you? Do you have a special dish you make every year or something you go out for every year?
There’s always a bit of mental cringing that happens when you publish something personal in a newspaper that thousands of people read. That’s how I felt this morning with my column about my grandmother’s recent passing, her yummy molasses cookies and her incredible life.
You can read the column, and the recipe here. (Those are the cookies at left. Not the prettiest cookies, are they? Trust me, they’re delicious.)
Gram’s molasses cookies
But you readers made it all worthwhile. I’ve gotten some of the sweetest comments and condolences in my email box this morning. And several people said the column made them think about their own grandmothers.
Says reader Tiffiny: “ It brought back memories of my own tough bird of a granny who ended every serious exclamation with, ‘Well… sh*t the bed!’”
Sounds like there’s a lot of spunky grandmas out there. Cheers to them.
Everybody likes free food, right? And cheap food is the next best thing, so I’m sharing some edible deals you can take advantage of in the next few weeks.
Wednesday is free biscuit day at Carl’s Jr. The chain is debuting its scratch-made biscuits, the same ones it has sold for years at its sister company Hardee’s in the midwest and southeast. You can get a free sausage biscuit if you go into the restaurant Wednesday morning.
If you’re brave enough to wear your Halloween costume to Chipotle on Oct. 31, you can get cheap food. As part of its “Boorito” promotion, you can get a $2 burrito from 4 p.m. to close if you’re in costume. The money you do spend goes to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which supports sustainable agriculture and family farming.
And Marie Callender’s whole pie sale continues until the end of the month. The pies cost $7.99, plus the cost of the pie tin.
Update: My colleague Donald Munro points out that kids in costume can get free burgers and fries at Eureka! Burger. Only the first 100 under age 12 get the free food. The restaurant apparently understands that burgers, fries and a whole bunch of candy on the same day might be a bit much, so if you don’t want to eat the meal right then you can get a gift card for a kid’s burger and fries for later.
Taco Truck Throwdown 2 was huge last night. The Fresno Grizzlies report attendance at 11,463, with more than 7,000 presales. No word yet on how many tacos were sold. But based on what I saw, it’s going to be a huge number. Look at all those people in line!
Thirteen taco trucks competed in the throwdown and two awards were given: People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice. Anybody who bought a taco was eligible to vote for the People’s Choice crown. Six judges sampled all 13 trucks and rated them 1-10. Our panel included: Liz Gonzales from KMPH, Danny Salas from Q97, Jason Oliveira from ABC 30, Richard Franco from New Rock 104.1, Bobby Salazar and me. Here are the results.
1. El Premio Mayor
2. La Elegante
3. Dusty Buns
1. El Premio Mayor
2. Dusty Buns and La Elegante (tie)
3. El Super Antojito
4. Tako BBQ
5. El Mexicano
ZOOFARI: Another popular annual event is Chaffee Zoo’s Ice Cream Zoofari. It’s a cool relief considering the expected temperatures. It’s happening Saturday night after the zoo closes and includes all you-can-eat ice cream, sherbet and frozen yogurt. More info here. This one sells out, so hurry if you want tickets.
I’m working today, so I thought I would round up some July 4 links to help you celebrate Independence Day.
FIREWORKS: There are shows planned in Fresno, Clovis, Sanger, Bass Lake and lots of other Valley towns. Check this list of events. If you’re in to buying safe-and-sane fireworks, check out these reviews before you buy.
FOOD: Picnics and July 4th go together like the stars and stripes. Check out these recipes from three Valley chefs.
MOVIE: The big holiday movie is “The Amazing Spider-Man,” a reboot of the popular franchise. I saw the movie, and I highly recommend it for its action and romance. Here’s The Bee’s movie review.
TV: If you can’t make it out to one of the local fireworks shows tonight, there are several celebrations to watch on TV, including the Macy’s and Boston Pops spectacular. Check out this list for details.
PETS: Remember to take care of your pets. The Fourth of July is one of the worst days for pets getting lost. Here are some tips to help keep your dogs more calm.
HEALTH: If you have breathing problems, reminder that the 4th is one of the worst days for air quality.
MEANING: An essay on the meaning of the Independence Day. And another view from a Fresno State philosophy professor.
This is an interesting story from today’s business section of The Bee. Simonian Farms is adding on to its fruit stand with an antique-filled old town that takes you on a historical journey from the 1850s to 1960s.
The owner describes the new digs as “a fusion of Casa de Fruta on the Pacheco Pass Highway, local cheese operation Bravo Farms in Traver and a day at Disneyland”
The story describes the town this way:
Lining the streets of the “old town” is a church, a barber shop, a Route 66 shooting range, a school house, a fruit stand, a saloon and a 1950s-era gas station.
The seasonal farmers markets are opening, which give local food lovers many more opportunities to pick up fresh, fabulous food. I thought I would share a few links to help you explore the local food scene.
Where to go?
Check out this map/list of local markets, including brief descriptions.
What to eat? Cherries are just hitting the stand. The season is expected to be shorter for cherries because of some bad weather damaging the crop, but farmers say the fruit is sweet this year. It’s also prime strawberry season, so here’s a really great map/list of all the local strawberry stands so you can find one close to home. Other berries, including blackberries and blueberries, should be arriving in the next couple weeks. And there are lots of great veggies, herbs and specialty foods, including snow peas, onions, basil, fresh-squeezed juice, etc. available.
I’ve actually only come across one I think has the wow factor — you know the kind of sandwich you dream about. It’s the Dusty Buns Bistro‘s “Le Grilled Cheese” — made with aged white cheddar and smoked bacon — topping my list. I’m not the only one in LOVE with this gooey sandwich, there are raves and more raves out there.
Will 2011 be the year that you discovered your favorite. thing. ever? Perhaps.
As you know, we started our 2011 Rewind series with talk of local events then our favorite release of the year. Now we’re onto our favorite local discovery. What new (or new to you) Fresno thing rocked your world in 2011? It could be a restaurant you love an event you don’t miss or a favorite place to visit. Or, heck, anything else.
Check out our picks and leave your own in the comments.
KATHY: I discovered Eureka!Burger and fell in food love. I especially love the Turkey Cobb Burger with its gooey mix of blue cheese, avocado, bacon and spicy mustard. Delicious. I’m looking forward to trying some other creations on the menu in 2012.
Between now and Sunday, Fresno is turning into a food festival hotbed. There’s is no reason you should go to Applebee’s or any other mundane place.
Instead eat here:
TACO TRUCK THROWDOWN: It’s tonight at Chukchansi Park. Eight taco trucks from around the Valley — from Madera to Visalia — all selling tacos inside the stadium while the Grizzlies have their final Thirsty Thursday of the year. You can buy ticket packages with game tickets and t-shirts ($18 or $23) or individual tacos for $1.50 each. Then you can vote for your favorite to help crowd a winner. Gates open at 6 p.m. Game is at 7 — but you might wanna get there early to beat the rush.
FRESNO BBQ AND FUN FEST: Remember that rib cook-off that attracted 10,000 last summer? Well, this is that — just with a new name, the Fresno BBQ and Fun Fest. Three of last year’s ribbers are back and five new ones are bringing their barbecue specialties to town. It’s underway now and runs until 9 p.m. at Eaton Plaza. Then 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, plus 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. There’s no admission charge, but you can buy $75 VIP tickets that get you into an all-you-can-eat buffet with food from each vendor. More info here.
FRESNO GREEK FESTIVAL: The veteran of this bunch is the Fresno Greek Festival, an institution of Greek food and culture (and Kopi-watching!) It starts its 51st year on Friday and runs through Sunday at St. George Greek Orthodox Church. There’s all sorts of food to try, made right here in Fresno, with lots of love. The festival even offers a “Greek Food To-Go” option for Friday’s lunch. It runs ’til midnight Friday and Saturday and ’til 6 p.m. on Sunday. Everything you need to know is right here.
One of the things I love about summer is grilling on my backyard BBQ. It’s so relaxing and easy to grab a glass of wine, roll-up some corn-on-the-cob and toss on some chicken, pork chops, tri-tip or whatever sounds good.
Last night, I went the super-easy burger route. But I spiced it up a bit with some homemade guacamole, thick sliced locally grown tomatoes and leafy lettuce. With Fresno State corn on the side, it was one tasty meal.
Are there any other BBQ fans out there? What have you been grillin’ up this summer? I’d love to hear about your backyard BBQ food adventures.
UPDATE MARCH 1: Congratulations to Lisette. She placed in the top three of the cupcake contest, winning a package of POM products and AMEX gift card.
ORIGINAL POST FEB. 22: Madera High School teacher Lisette Lancaster needs your help to raise awareness about heart disease and to win a prize from POM-Wonderful in an online cupcake contest.
All you have to do is go to the this website and vote for Lisette’s cupcake, which is listed as: POM Meyer Lemon, Mango and Rosewater Cupcakes, Recipe Courtesy of Lisette, Fresno. You can get the recipe here.
The contest, which supports the American Heart Association, requires bakers to create a cupcake using pomegranate ingredients. For each entry, POM donated $1 to the American Heart Association. The top winner gets $100 donated in their name to the American Heart Association, a POM ingredient pack and $300 gift card.
The BullsEye Bar @ Black Angus Steakhouse is a casual sports bar concept within Black Angus Steakhouse. The first BullsEye Bar opened in September 2009 in Black Angus’s Burbank, California location. Since then the concept has grown to 16 BullsEye Bars with plans to open 13 more in 2011.
You can check out photos of food and drinks here. Or read the menu.
Bar open at 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Local farmer and author Mas Masumoto‘s book “Epitaph for a Peach” gets some much deserved love on a “10 Favorite Cookbooks” blog post by Christopher Kimball of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated magazine.
Kimball calls Masumoto’s book his “favorite pieces of food writing.”
Of course, this experience got me thinking about restaurants around here. What is the best meal I have ever had in the Valley and what restaurants would I tell an out-of-towner are musts? My most memorable, and enjoyable, local fine-dining experience was at Parma Restaurant on Marks Avenue. The food is great and the owners are really sweet. I also had brunch at Oakhurst’s Erna’s Elderberry House. It was a lovely birthday gift from my parents that I won’t forget.
I haven’t been to either restaurant in a long time and I really want to go back. But I’m also interested in finding a few others gems to try out. So what about you? Where have you had the best overall dining experience? Do share.
ORIGINAL POST, 11/19/09: As we all know by now, I’m something of a taco fiend. When I say that, I mean I’m into hole-in-the-wall taco spots and not-so-well-lit taco trucks. But that didn’t mean I had anything against Taco Bell. Until now.
Have you heard about Taco Bell’s new “cantina tacos?” I’ve started to see and hear the commercials the last couple days.
Basically, it’s Taco Bell’s effort to make a “real” taco. They’re selling carnitas now — as well as steak (at least they didn’t call it “carne asada”) and chicken.
While I’m a taco snob, I’ll admit that I eat at Taco Bell sometimes. And when I heard about these new tacos, I figured it was something me and my taco taste buds needed to investigate.
My Happy Meal is one year old today and it looks pretty good. It NEVER smelled bad. The food did NOT decompose. It did NOT get moldy, at all.
You have to look at the before and after photos. It really is a WTF moment. The french fries in particular look exactly the same. For those who don’t think that’s gross, she writes:
Food is SUPPOSED to decompose, go bad and smell foul…eventually. When I was a kid, I remember our garbage pail for the left over food scraps was kept by our back door. After a couple of days, flies deposited their larvae (maggots) in the meat. When I would lift the lid, I would see the recently hatched maggots wiggling on the putrid mess. A fly never bothered to land on the tiny hamburger patty on my office shelf.
In fact, she says, no ants, mice or bugs touched the food. I mean, really, if rodents and bugs don’t eat it, shouldn’t we be a bit concerned?