The One Fresno Restaurant To Take Visitors To

Another title for this post could be “How Cuca’s Become THE Restaurant To Represent Fresno!”

Cuca’s. Yeah, dude. Cuca’s Mexican restaurant in the Tower District.

Surprising? Yes. Wrong? Maybe. Let me tell you how I came to this conclusion and you can see if you agree with me.

So this very cool dude, Mike Rohde, who wrote the Sketchnote Handbook, was in Fresno to do a sketchnote workshop with some Fresno Unified School District teachers. A rad and progressive thing for FUSD to be doing, by the way.

It was the first time Mike had come to Fresno. He lives in Milwaukee.

He happened to have a free evening, knew I was a fan of his, and asked if I wanted to meet for dinner. Normally I would run away from such a request given my crushing shyness. But I saw this as an opportunity to be a Fresno embassador, so I worked past my anxiety and called Mike up to work out a place to meet.

HERE ARE MY PARAMETERS FOR FINDING A DINNER PLACE
  • Having only a few minutes to think about where.
  • Mike is staying downtown at the Radisson and can only Uber.
  • Budget is a concern for myself, not a giant concern but I can’t just go to any place in town regardless of how much the dinner bill would be.
  • Mike has been to Limon and Hop PK already.

Knowing Fresno is known for Mexican food and tri-tip, I wanted to plant the Fresno flag in one of those. Given that Mike is a creative guy and he had not been to the Tower District, I decided on figuring out a place to eat in the Tower.

No place in the Tower District comes to mind when I think tri-tip. So I am going with Mexican. Bobby Salazar’s is too damn bro-heavy on a Friday night. So, what I am left with (in my head) is Casa De Tamales or Cuca’s.

I have been going to Cuca’s for many many years. Never had a bad meal. Never had to wait for a table. Always quiet but not too quiet. Service is solid. Prices are reasonable. Cuca’s it is.

GOOD FRESNO TIMES

We met up. Had a great meal. Both had the carne asada plate. Mike told me he knew nothing about Fresno before he came here. I explained the inferiority complex Fresno has in relation to San Francisco and Los Angeles. He explains Milwaukee has the same thing in relation to Chicago.

Mike says that FUSD will probably bring him back to Fresno in the future. Maybe next time we’ll go for tri-tip.

By the way, here is a sketch Mike did of his meal at Limon:

A post shared by Mikey Seay | The Fresnan (@thefresnan) on *Picture taken from here

An Open Fulton Street Allows Fresno To Move On

I didn’t want this. The Fulton Mall open to traffic.

I wanted the mall to be cleaned up. I wanted the art refurbished. I wanted the fountains to be working. But I didn’t want cars. That wasn’t possible.

It became “street or the same”. The same was a bad option. Same was an ignored Fulton Mall with little to no working fountains, forgotten art and too many people not comfortable with parking in garages and lots where they can’t see their car.

So I then begrudgingly became a supporter of traffic returning to Fulton. Better a shiny new sidewalk with working fountains and freshly polished art, than overgrown trees and neglect with no end in sight.

Saturday is the big thing-a-ma-jig to celebrate Fulton Street opening. For me, it will be more of a wake for Fulton Mall. But, it will be one of those fun wakes. The kind where you have a couple drinks and celebrate the life the person lived. Just, in this case, the person is a concrete open-air mall.

At Least Fresno and Downtown Can Move On To Other Things

We have debated what to do with the Fulton Mall for over a decade on Flowing With Famous. It’s going to be weird no longer needing to talk about it. Sure we still need to watch how the shops and restaurants will do now that there’s traffic. But we all get to move on now.

What is next? What should Fresno tackle now? Chinatown maybe? It will (fingers crossed) get a Hi-Speed Rail Station. That could be the push Chinatown needs to start getting some much-needed attention and renovation. It’s my pick anyway. Leave a comment on what you think the next project Fresno needs to tackle.

In the meantime, we have a wake to attend. I’ll see you out there. I hear they’ll have beer and it’s a safe bet it will be tough to get a parking spot.

Shameless Harrison Ford Tangent Ahead!

BTW, the Draggin’ the Main theme gives me yet another chance to use one of my favorite clips from American Graffiti, a movie about life growing up in the Central Valley in the 50’s (Modesto to be exact), so it’s relevant to Fulton Street, mmka?

A movie with, none other than Mr. Harrison Ford. Please tell me Bob Falfa dragged Fulton once:

*Pic was stolen from here.

I May Have Ruined Fresno’s Chance At A Fieldwork Taproom


I’ve been trolling Fieldwork Brewing’s Twitter account.
Occasionally when they announce a new beer being released at one of their taprooms, I re-tweet and add something like “And soon our Fresno Taproom”.

You see, California allows breweries to open up a certain amount of “remote” or satellite taprooms. Remote being a taproom not on the grounds of the brewery or in their home city. Fieldwork has one in Berkley (main brewery) and four remote taprooms: Napa, San Mateo, Sacramento and soon to be Monterey. State law allows five remote taprooms.

Fieldwork has only one left to give. I want it to be Fresno.

Berkeley’s Fieldwork Brewing is arguably the hottest brewery in the state. They make damn fine beer. It would be a real kickass thing to have them open up their taproom here. We are on the look out for coolass things for Fresno after all.

Hell, maybe a rooftop Fieldwork taproom in Downtown Fresno? Sounds pretty freaking sweet to me and you can add it to the Ale Trail, bro.

But don’t get excited, Fresnan. I may have been trying too hard and messed it all up – the story of my life. 

At first, a recent Twitter troll looked promising.

SUCCESS! They want to take a tour! I’m The Fresnan and on a craft beer podcast, I can show them some cool junk! Let’s do this!

But then they started researching shit.

“Wait until the fall”? That is basically “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” DAMMIT!

But as long as there is still a chance for the one remaining taproom to come to Fresno, I’ll keep trying. I don’t care how many beers I have to drink while waiting. I will not do it for me, I will do it for Fresno!

*pic stolen from thebrewermagazine.com

 

Foo Fighters! Foo Fighters Show In Fresno! Foosnooooo!

It’s the kind of news that turns a bad day into a good one. The Foo Fighter’s lifelong dream of coming to Fresno is finally a real thing!

They will be here December 1st. That’s a Friday night show, brotha! Foo on Friday! #FooFriday. Tickets on sale, June 29th, at the old classic time of 10 AM. Check out their website for pre-sale.

The super important question already being asked. Will Dave use the tired “I think this town should be called FresYES not FresNO!” joke?

But isn’t Dave Grohl too cool for such a joke? I hope so. I think so.

I will accept an “I don’t call this place FresNO, I call it FOOno!” joke. But if Dave does the tired and corny “I don’t say FresNO, I say FresYES!” joke, I will boycott the next song by sitting down in my seat, folding my arms and staring Dave down with a very disappointed smirk.

I’m getting away from the fact that it’s so freaking awesome that the Foo is finally coming to Fresno. This news will make the summer so much easier, having this to look forward too in December.

So, good job Fresno. And we didn’t even have to gather all the town’s musicians to convince them to come.

*Pic stolen from here.

Would Mild Summers Really Make Fresno A Popular West Coast City?


Sunday had some pretty amazing weather, for a June day in Fresno. It was perfect… well until the windstorm later that evening. But BEFORE that, perfect.

This brought a much overdue thought into my head: Would the removal of consistent hot Summers make Fresno a truly desirable city? Is it the one thing that is holding us back?

Fresno heat-haters would say “Duh, dude!” But is it that simple?

Yes, bro, I know that Fresno has more problems than hot Summers. We got the gangs (although I’m pretty sure Oakland, SF, San Jose, Sactown, L.A. and San Diego all have those), a lot of stucco and a shitty looking Highway 99 corridor.

But I really don’t think people are truly looking down at Fresno for that.

Plus, Fresno has all the things you could want in your standard city: A diverse and creative culture, a rising Downtown, plenty of things to do on the weekend, three world class National Parks in the backyard, etc.

So it comes back to one thing: The heat.

You Have Heard Of This New Technology Called “Air Conditioning” and “Shade”, Right?

People afraid of the heat forget about the benefits. The perfect Summer evenings on a patio with a beer in one hand and a taco in another. Or the nights when it’s perfectly comfortable to swim and… have more beer.

Maybe Sactown is the only other West Coast city that can brag about that. Sorry, Portland & Seattle, we got ya on something.

Paying Triple To Not Experience A Hot Summer Is Crazy!

When a nice house in Fresno that costs $250,000 is going to cost $1,000,000 on the coast, I think “I’m good here, thanks.”

I admit, this past weekend of “coastal” weather was nice and I appreciated it. Enjoyed it. But I’ll go ahead and continue enduring hot Summers, for now, and not feel like an idiot when my mortgage bill comes. You can enjoy your 70s.

If You Can Spot What Is Wrong In This Fresno Traffic Pic, You Are Not The Problem

There are some things we need to work on before Fresno can be considered a “smart driver” city.  Some would say a lot of things.

I would say there are two key ones to start with.

  1. Leave space. Yes, create a space for people leaving a driveway or street that deserve a chance to be on your street or to be able to turn into a parking lot. Don’t block shit. Where are you going that is so fucking important that you can’t afford to let one car in?! Admittedly, I will still do this on occasion. Hey, I don’t really mean to, but it happens. Then, of course, when the other driver is staring me down wondering why I had to block his way, I sit and pretend he is not there as I beg for the light to change.
  2. Leave the right lane open. You are at the intersection of a two lane street without a dedicated right turn lane. You move to the right lane to go straight. You are now blocking the person behind you from turning right. If you spotted this as the problem in the above photo, you already know this and are cool. I know it’s not always practical to leave that lane open, but it should be thought of more.
We Know Some Stuff

One thing I do like that we do right? Not honking at the person at the front who is waiting two seconds after the light turns green before he/she goes. This is a big tip to maybe help you not get into an accident. Wait two seconds before heading out into the intersection.

If you have a tip to help Fresnans drive smarter (and I’m pretty damn sure you do), please comment.