Places I Ate and Drank At In Fresno A Lot This Year

Year-end lists are the most unoriginal thing in blogging. But dammit, they are popular and fun.

So here I am, listing some places I regularly went to eat and/or drink at in Fresno this year so maybe you can go there too and keep them open for me so I can continue to enjoy. Cool? Cool.

EATING

I have a goal to learn how to cook more things in 2018. Until this happens, there’s take out. Lots of take out.

TOP FIVE TAKEOUT:

  • Berrock Shop. The obvious thing to have here are the berrocks and chicken pot pies, but don’t forget the burgers and tri-tip sandwiches.
  • Jack’s Urban Eats. Yep, it was exciting when they installed taps. Yep, they have good tri-tip sandwiches too – regular AND BBcue style.
  • Formally Maria’s Taco Shop. No fuss. Just straight, fast, solid Mexican food. Plus I still have memories of it being a Taco Bell.
  • China Bistro. The SW corner of Bullard & West, tucked back behind a fountain. Good soup. Good everything. Sweet people.
  • Mama Mia’s – Palm & Bullard. All the things are good. Especially fond of the gnocchi. A little greasy but I think it’s supposed to be, yeah?

Almost making the list are Habit Burger and sadly: Chipotle. By the way, these are all places you can sit and eat, I just primarily use them for takeout. Speaking of…

TOP FIVE SITDOWN:

  • Casa Corona – Bullard & West. One of the better bar atmospheres in NW Fresno, and they finally got a decent IPA on tap (Luponic Distortion), food is not bad either.
  • Eureka Burger. This is my go-to place. Usually a good beer selection and always good food, I usually have the Fresno Burger or chicken nachos when it’s “hoppy” hour.
  • Popolo’s Pizza. I will forever miss the old location and salad bar. But the new place still gives me enough to keep coming back. I’m partial to the baked sandwiches.
  • Edo-Ya. At times, the best sushi in town and the teppanyaki is great too. We all know about EdoYa, come on, just go. L.A. Roll is amaze.
  • Pismo’s. I’m not fond of fish dishes and I still like this place. On point with atmosphere, food and service. Can’t really afford to go very much but always enjoy when I do.

Honorable Mention to Yardhouse, Benadiction (best breakfast) and to South Gate Brewing for being the best out-of-town but not THAT out-of-town place.

DRINKING!

I love craft beer so you won’t find a place here that doesn’t have it.

  • Tioga Sequoia Beer Garden. It is THE Fresno brewery hangout/event space/beer release place. Great beer and Downtown views.
  • Goldstein’s. Always a great selection of beer, nice atmosphere. Only wish I could go more when it’s not so packed and hard to order beers. (Bar pictured at top)
  • Spokeasy’s. Maybe the most genuine beer bar in town. Favorite thing is to wait for a keg to “blow” so you can see what new beer comes on while you sit there – they have a small tap system so it enables them to run through kegs rather quickly, keeping the draft list always fresh.
  • HOP PK. It’s brand new and I have only been once but this one has been so long in coming and so needed that I am including it. Looking forward to more visits in 2018.
  • Pine & Palm Brewing. It is so tiny but still fun if you are a beer geek. Good news is they are expanding very soon, excited to see what’s next.

Honorable mention to Full Circle Brewing. I wish they could magically move their building over by Tioga and Zack’s, I’d be there all the time.

So that was 2017. The number one Fresno food & drink thing I am looking forward to in 2018 is Zack’s Brewing opening their taproom on Fulton. There is a rumor it could possibly maybe open by May, fingers crossed.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my posts on The Fresnan this year!

Primer For The Foo Fighters Show In Fresno On Friday – Complete With Setlist Hopes!

Fresno is finally getting the Foo Fighters show we have waited the whole band’s career for! That is a long time. Long. Time.

So, since we here in Fresno may be new to seeing the Foo, we might have some questions and even some demands centered around Friday’s show.

Let’s get this out of the way first: Will they play a Nirvana song? No. Dave has always said Foo would not and they have stayed true to that, with the exception of playing a cover that Nirvana played live.

What special Fresno inspired guest could they bring onstage? This is a move Foo likes to pull off from time to time, get some big local guy or just a special big guest to come out and play one or two songs, even if the performer isn’t rock related. As funny as it sounds, I think they could bring out Timmy T and do a rock version of “One My Try”, might sound kinda nasty (in a metal kinda way).

Why do they have three guitarists? Ok, so, you have founder Dave Grohl throughout, duh. Originally there was also Pat Smear (yes, came over from Nirvana) as rhythm and lead guitar. Pat left the band and was replaced by Frank Stahl. Then Frank left and was replaced by Chris Shiflett, who is the still the current lead guitarist. So you got Dave and Chris. Cool? Cool. BUT WAIT! At some point Pat Smear is like “Wow, guys, remember when I was in the band? Yeah that was actually pretty rad, huh? Good times, good times… Hey, I was thinking maybes, you know, it sure would be cool if I was in the band again. Yeah?” And Dave was like “Cool, whatevs bro, come on back.” And so there were three.

What kind of setlist should we expect Friday? Well, I don’t like to peak at what songs a band has been playing on tour before I see them, so I have not looked. A big show like this is kinda like going to see a Star Wars movie or something; I want to know as little as possible.

I do know that they are playing 22 songs on average this tour. So, I have compiled a sorta dream setlist for Friday’s show that I’m about to reveal, I did it on my notebook because that is how you do nerdy rock band doodles. You know, like when you were in high school and stuff.

You’ll notice I mostly left off songs from the new album, making this setlist-wish unrealistic as they are touring to support “Concrete and Gold.” But hear me out on this, DAVE, (I’m talking directly to you, Mr. Grohl): YOU BASTARDS HAVE NEVER PLAYED FRESNO! We deserve a unique set that reflects that.

So here it is:

I chose “All My Life” as the opener because it would be cool to have that initial single riff playing to a completely dark arena, can’t see the band yet just hear the riff going for an extended time, until you hear Dave (the place is still dark) recite the initial lines and then BOOM! song kicks in all lights on!

Fuck yes, the Foo Fighters are in Fresno!!

For some reason, there are still tickets available. Please leave your must-hear-live Foo Fighter songs in the comments!!

Fresno’s Place To Be Thanksgiving Weekend!

Welcome back to Fresno, person that moved away and only returns on big days. If you are looking for Livingstone’s to be open so you can run into some girl from High School you haven’t seen in 15-years, sorry it’s still closed – making bathrooms compliant for the 21st Century is not easy. But Stones will be back for you next year *knock on wood*.

So if Livingstone’s is not an option for you, where should you go to find your Fresno people to run into and to brag about how great your life is going in L.A. or Portland?  (Even though we both totally know that L.A. sucks and it was a mistake and you should have just stayed.)

I recommend going to Goldsteins.

Gold’s is the new Audie’s Olympic/Livingstone’s hang out until we can get those two back up and running. I am especially recommending it because they are having a very special Modern Times tap-takeover! This takeover includes kegs of MT beer that you can normally only get in the taproom in San Diego. #stoked

Being a beer geek, I’m pretty pumped and it is actually enough to get me out of my NW Fresno cave.

If you have been away from Fresno for a while, there are a couple other beer places I’d check out: Spokeasy’s, Pine & Palm, Full Circle and for sure, Tioga Sequoia Beer Garden!

While you’re at Tioga you can drive down newly asphalted Fulton Street and roam around trying all the coffee and things. So yes, my recommendation for Thanksgiving weekend is drinking things. Just make sure to get a Lyft and have fun.

Being as it is a thankful time, I’d like to thank you for reading my blog and say sorry for the inconsistency over the past few months. I love Fresno and blogging and I’m glad you are here, so thank you!

The Best Coffee Places In Fresno I Don’t Go To

I get most of my coffee from the machine you see above. I’m no longer cool enough to live or work Downtown or in the Tower where a greater concentration of Fresno coffee places are.

You might be cool enough though. These are some of the spots I hear people talking about as being good to decent local coffee places.

LANNA COFFEE CO.

I can actually say I have had their coffee because you can buy bags of it for your coffee maker at Save Mart. I remember it being tasty. There is also a high probability of me actually going to their location as it’s down the street from Tioga’s Beer Garden.

VALPARAISO COFFEE.

Automatically cool because they’re inside the Bitwise building on Van Ness. They are also close to beer place. Watch video.

BREW FIX.

These guys can boast that they are on Fulton Street and in the Mural District. They also have a very rad chalkboard map of the United States:

HI TOP REVIEW.

Super new, in the Tower District, they make Vans references, old Cafe Corazon spot and are across the street from beer (Goldstein’s). So, worth checking out then.

DALE BROS.

This is historic Fresno coffee. Yet it’s also new. And on Warehouse Row. These are reasons I find them interesting.

(Picture by Emily Redondo)

KUPPA JOY.

Across from Fresno High? Cool. Doors down from Ampersand and Tower District Records. Also cool. Coffee? I hear it’s good.

I GROW TIRED OF WRITING. NEED CAFFEINE.

If you’re thinking “Hey idiot! You forgot Dutch Bros and The Revue and Blah Blah Blah’s!” Please leave a comment on your favorite Fresno coffee.

If you want to hear some of these being discussed, check the 30:40 mark of this month’s Flowing With Famous podcast.

Who Drove Fulton Street Best: Swear Bear or Lee Brand?

Yep, amazing. The turnout for the Fulton Street opening was amazing. It was like a Christmas Tree Lane walk night on steroids.

It was a fun and crazy night with so many people it could speak volumes to what the future of Downtown Fresno and bla bla bla blaaaa… let’s talk about the important issue.

Which Mayor of Fresno did the best on their inaugural ride down Fulton Street?

Was it current Mayor, Lee Brand? Or former Mayor, Ashley Swearengin? Watch a brief video of them riding down Fulton (complete with asshat blogger commentary) and lets decide together:

Winner: Swear Bear! It was the pointing to the crowd moment that puts it over the top.

To Finish Up On Fulton Street Day

Keep in mind I am a very odd, introverted person, but I would like to share my favorite little moment of Fulton Street Day, as it shall now be named.

It was not the tacos or the popups (although they were all rad in their own way). It was not the fancy cars or the Ale Trail Festival (although all of our future and current Downtown breweries are making excellent beer). It was Grizzlies Stadium. The Chuk.

Because of this:

They had the gate open to let people in to watch the Astros game on the Jumbotron and to use the facilities. Only four people (outside of the workers) were taking advantage. It was a little slice of relaxing heaven given the crazy amount of people on Fulton. A nice place to recharge the batteries. So thanks for that, whoever decided to do that.

Looking forward to seeing what happens to the spaces on Fulton. If you have a favorite takeaway from Fulton Street Day, please feel free to leave it in the comments.

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.