Annex Kitchen Is The #1 Place I Have Not Eaten At In Fresno

So I guess I am not cool but I have not had one scrap of food from The Annex Kitchen in Fresno.

I have recently started keeping a running list of restaurants I need to eat at in Fresno. Places I have heard other people talking about or ones that just look good to me. The Italian inspired cuisine of the Annex Kitchen is at the top of the list.

Believe it or not, Fresno has many places to eat and not all of them involve tacos. I dunno if Annex Kitchen has tacos, they probably do. This is Fresno, we love tacos, tacos are great, don’t think I’m hating on tacos. But, you know, it can’t be tacos every day all day. Can it?

why is Annex Kitchen at the top of the list?

PEOPLE SAY GOOD THINGS: Well, not everybody says good things because there are a lot of dickbags of Yelp. The kind of people that expect everything and give nothing. So I will overlook those reviews and take this one from some out of town person named Linda:

Went to Fresno for my first time on a business Work trip. My co-workers and I wanted to go a nice dinner that night so of course with us not being familiar with Fresno. Yelp is my go to. Found this place and reviews were good so thought we give this place a try.

The ambiance of the place when we walked in was nice. I love everything about it. You can either dress up or dress casual. The service was great and the food was just as good.

I got the squid ink noodles and it was delicious! My co-workers got the steak and they loved it! I tried a piece of the steak and it was cooked perfectly! 

I would definitely recommend this place. Too bad I don't live in the area but next time when I'm back for my business trip this will be the first stop to eat .:)

Sounds like someone needs to move to Fresno. And I can’t imagine I will be trying the ‘squid ink noodles’ but maybe.

A Fresno native chimes in with a five-star review from CUC “Cookie Monster” on Yelp:

When I left Fresno a few years ago, I thought to myself, "I am never coming back here." Boy was I wrong! Thanks to a very good friend getting married, I had to pay this central city a visit. During the weekend, I was able to meet my preceptor again and catch up over delicious food. She's Italian so I trust her taste in food. She knows what she's talking about. I miss her.

YAY! I guess I won't mind coming back again if there's another reason and if/when I do, I expect to find another yummy gem in Fresno.

This place is making people want to come back to Fresno. Must be freaking good.

FOOD PEOPLE GO THERE: Chefs and Food Network people like Tyler Florence and Simon Majumbar have annexed and seem to have really liked it. I heard that it is, or is going to be, on a cooking channel show. So, you know, that’s cool and stuff.

IT’S NOT FAR FROM THE HOUSE: This is a key point for me. I can get whiny if you make me go too far from the house, especially when I’m not getting paid for it.

IT’S ACROSS THE STREET FROM MY BANK/ATM: Paying in cash is best.

WHAT ABOUT THE REST OF THE LIST?

It may look like it but this is not a paid post. I don’t think I know anybody that works at The Annex Kitchen or that owns the place. It is just sitting there on top of the list and I want to go soon.

Speaking of the list, I will share it at another time, in another post. Maybe once I have gone to Annex Kitchen. I will tell you this though, there are places on my list that have tacos, of-fucking-course.

*Picture taken from here.

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!

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.

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

 

How Are We Going To Make Fresno “Cool”, Yo?

We have a problem here. A problem I bounce around in a post from time to time but never take on directly.

What will it take for Fresno to be considered a cool city?

If you’re thinking “Hey, but wait, I already think it’s cool!” I don’t disagree with you, but we both have to acknowledge that we are in the minority, chief.

How do we make Fresno appear cool to an outsider? This is what I’m talking about. To a Fresno State grad, we lost to brain drain? What can we do to win that person back? It’s a question that Fresno creatives have been wrestling with for many years.

First. The Immovable Object.

We are land locked, no getting around that. Except that we are not as landlocked as Denver, or Boise, or Dallas, or Every City Not On The Ocean. We can go to the beach for a morning surf session and be back in town for a late lunch.

So while this is tough, we have workarounds, it could be a lot worse.

The air sucks. It does. But, the past couple years, it feeeeels like it has gotten better?  And if California can (continue?) to lead in clean air…stuff and things? Maybe I’m being naive but I feel like future technology and regulations will make the terrible air a thing of the past. But we definitely need to be a lead-city on clean air initiatives.

Booze May Be An Answer.

Here might be a cool city suggestion we can work on:

Rooftop whiskey bars, eh? I definitely like the idea of rooftop things – like the pic at the top of the post from a Phoenix rooftop bar. And adding a niche element like whiskey is the kind of thing that pushes something from being “Oh that, you can find that in every city.” To “Oh that is rad, I wish we had one of those in our city.”

That unique, “can’t put my finger on it why it’s cool but I just know it’s cool” thing is really what we need to get at here in Fresno.

Touting our agriculture backbone. Being sunny almost every damn day. Embracing our sports, like the soccer community that gets bigger every year:

We’re just spitballing here.

The Cool Roots Are Taking Hold.

We have things already going for us. Not many cities can boast that they are a “basecamp city” to three National Parks. One of which, Yosemite, is considered by many to hold the most beautiful place in the world, Yosemite Valley – and I am in complete agreement with that.

There are other signs of coolness brewing as well. Bitwise pushing Fresno into the tech and startup scene is a big one. The rising craft beer and coffee scene. Branding ourselves as the Capitol of Tacos. These are the kind of things to ride into the cool town sunset.

So let’s tally up some of the cool stuff we got and the stuff we can do more of:

  • Agriculture.
  • Craft Beer – even more breweries.
  • Bitwise and tech.
  • Tacos.
  • Sports – including soccer.
  • Diversity.
  • Leader In Clean Air.
  • Outdoor city – more trails, parks, and owning the Sierra Nevada closeness.

This is but a humble start of a list by a blogger that only went as far as Fresno City College – a great community college, btw. I know only bits and pieces of things. So I choose you to comment and help.

What are some of your suggestions? Leave a comment! On the August episode of Flowing With Famous, myself and Joshua Tehee will parse them out and talk about them on the podcast.

Cool? Cool.

 

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.