Why Did You Not Tell Me About This, Fresno?

green crush 2

Did you know that the Orange Julius in Fashion Fair is gone? Yep. The Baskin Robins too. They were replaced by whatever the thing is pictured above.

You see, I don’t go inside the mall much. Only when an iPhone stops working right, or when I’ve run out of shopping options on Christmas Eve. Mayyyybe a visit to the Disney Stone BUT THAT’S IT.

So walking by and seeing that the Orange Julius and Baskin Robbins stores are no longer there? It was a bit jarring. Nobody tells me things.

Okay, well, the Robbins just moved out to a kiosk in front of the old location. But still.

New Baskin Robbins

I had family that owned the mall’s Baskin & Robbins in the late 70s. I pretended to work there. My arms weren’t really strong enough to scoop ice-cream (they may not be still) but I remember wiping some display case windows for the occasional milkshake.

Because I am a nerd, the coolest part wasn’t the ice-cream. It was having access to the private hallway that runs behind some of the stores in that section of the mall. It was like being backstage at Disneyland. A really really REALLY lame Disneyland… but still.

The Orange Julius didn’t move though. Those icy citrus drinks are apparently permanently done in Fashion Fair. Google corroborates this story:

fresno fashion fair orange julius Google Search

#Lame.

Something not lame I found out though: Baskin Robbin’s ‘flavor of the month’ Milk n’ Cereal, is damn tasty.

I’ll miss you, old BK location and Orange Julius. Another piece of Fashion Fair regulated to the history books… remember when there was a Carl’s Jr inside the mall? No? I guess I’m the only old dude here.

Follow Up: A Visit To The New Popolo’s Pizza

New Popolo's Inside

Of course we waited for a table. It’s new and this is Fresno, dammit! Even if it’s an old-new place, we are packing it. The re-birthed place that we (and a lot of Fresnans) waited for is Popolo’s Pizza.

Hey, I know I know, I just reviewed another old-new pizza and beer place in Fresno, but we cried when the old Pops closed so I had to follow up and bring everything full pizza circle.

The Walk In

They still have the box car. There are booths! They seem to have transferred some of the wood paneling from the old place. The paneling looks a bit out-of-place if you had never been in the old one, but it felt good seeing as a veteran of the Blackstone one.

Also like that they kept the arcade going and the food hasn’t changed nor the prices. Welllll, the salad bar is different but more on that in a second.

This Is The New Stuff

Popolo's Pizza Bar

A bar! There’s a bar! You can see the taps now (they were hidden at the old place). Plus more beer! There is also much more seating! And an outside patio! I have not been on the patio yet but it looks cool and I hear it is dog friendly.

Salad Bar Disappointment

Popolo's new salad bar

It just does not measure up to the old one, does it? Nope. Sad little trays instead of pretty bowls amongst ice. BUT WAIT! A quote from Popolo’s themselves (on The Fresnan’s Instagram page) about the salad bar:

“The salad bar is ‘under construction’ still at the moment. Keep an eye out for the improvement one it. It won’t disappoint.”

YES! Somebody listens to bloggers in this town.

Let The Mourning Begin

I was surprised to feel something after going to the new Pops. I felt a sense of loss. The closing of the old place finally hit me.  It’s never coming back. I will never set foot in there again.

No matter how nice and cool they make the new one. No matter how many nods to the original and no matter how smart a move it was (and I can’t blame them a bit for it), I miss the old place and always will.

Thank you Popolo’s for keeping the place alive, even in another form. And thank you old Popolo’s for giving me all the tube TV, icy salads, beer, big booths and pizza feels for all those years.

How To Deal With Self Service Beer At Me-N-Ed’s Pizza

self service taps

In case you haven’t noticed, the Bullard and West Me-N-Ed’s Pizza has been remodeled and added something Fresno has never seen: Self Service Beer Taps.

Run for the bluffs, post T-Ball pizza meetup, this may be too crazy for the kids!

SELF SERVING BREAKDOWN

Here is how it works. You order your food like always, but you tell them you are drinking like an adult. They ID you and start a tab. Then give you a magic wristband to wear.

You pick out a glass, search for the right beer (with pizza, I recommend an IPA, pale or Tioga’s Ed’s Red, but that’s just me), place your wristband against a certain spot on the tap, the tap gets ‘green lit’ and you can start pouring.

Wow. “Exciting” footage [sarc].

In addition to the beer taps, the place got cleaned up and is sporting a lot of wood.

remodled me n eds

Gone are the video games that the location had. So you might encounter a pissed off child at first. But give them a taste of your beer and it might shut them up.

(Disclaimer: thefresnan.com does not endorse childhood drinking in any way but just needed a mildly humorous line to place in the blog post).

HOW DRUNK CAN I GET?

You can get up to 32 ounces (two pints) but you can ask for more if they can see that you can take on additional juice. It electroniclly tracks how many ounces you’ve poured yourself – Big Brother is monitoring how much you drink, man!

There are 29 taps plus a cider or two and a couple of handles with something called “wine”. I don’t know what that is but I hear it contains alcohol so I guess it’s cool.

A REVIEW

This kind of system feels like a trendy thing, but I’m sure more will be popping up. And this one isn’t going away anytime soon.

It’s still pretty busy, as all new Fresno things are at first. But it’s managable. And if you don’t feel like pizza, you can just show up for the beer. They even have a seperate counter now to handle just the beer.

Not having to wait to get a bartender’s attention is a nice change. Although I can see it getting annoying having to get up everytime you want more beer. 

I wouldn’t want every bar having this system. But it’s fun, glad it is in Fresno, I’ll be back – even if Big Brother is watching how many Luponic Distortions I can put down.

Something To Tear Fresno Apart: Raisins Or Craisins?

There is an issue bubbling underneath the surface of Fresno that is not talked about. Something that needs to be discussed. Something that, if not dealt with properly, could tear apart the very fabric of this great city.

Are craisins better than raisins?

Raisins OR Craisins
Raisins OR Craisins (pic : andnowuknow.com)
To be more specific: Which is better on salad, craisins or raisins?

“Why bring it up now?” you might ask. “There is so much our city has to deal with, why drag this out into the streets at a time like this?”

I’m sorry, but with the pending opening of the new and improved Popolo’s Pizza (with the best salad bar in Fresno), this raisins or craisins debate needs to get settled today! We tried to sort it out in a recent episode of The Perfect Pour, but we got nowhere and only produced more tension.

popolo's is coming

You might think “Well of course it’s raisins! Fresno County is the Raisin Capitol Of The World, for damn sake!” Agreed! Eat local, I say. Why give money to faceless pricks back East? Pricks, who by the way, are probably using way too much water to produce one stupid craisin!

THERE’S A DROUGHT, PEOPLE! READ A CALTRANS ELECTRONIC BILLBOARD SOMETIME!

Debate over, right? Rejoice as Popolo’s new salad bar, the trendsetter for all Fresno salad bars, will finally feature raisins over craisins!

It’s not that easy. 

There are a lot of people that prefer craisins. Especially on their salad. Shocking but true. Take a look next time you’re at a salad bar. There’s a good chance the topping option will be craisins. I blame the millennials.

In these rough times, we must remember what got us here. What is the one fruit that is the soul of our city? For Fresno, the choice is clear: Raisins.

Fresno. The Peaches Are Coming. Send Help.

peaches
Peach Tree Fresno

If you have access to dirt in Fresno and don’t have some sort of fruit tree planted, then you’re a piece of shit.

You live in the most grow-ready soil in the world and you have no fruit? Shame. Shame. Shame.

I have a peach tree. I also have a grapefruit tree but nevermind that now.

I need help with this peach tree. And I’m relying on the knowledge of Fresno, THE GREATEST AG CITY IN THE WHOLE FUCKING WORLD, to help me.

I may have too many peaches. The Internet says I need to thin it out. And that’s what I’m doing. It feels like this is going to work. But every year I try things that I “feel are going to work” and I screw it up.

YEAR ONE
I did nothing but buy the house at the right time and inherit the tree during peach season. It was perfect. Lots of gorgeous tasty peaches and all the right size.

YEAR TWO
I pruned back the branches in February and ended up getting big peaches but not even enough to even fill a Save Mart grocery bag.

YEAR THREE
I pruned back half the branches. I got a ton of peaches but they were small and kind of lame. Only good for tossing at school children passing by.

YEAR FOUR
That’s this year. I left the old tree alone and there are a grip (I’m trying to bring back “grip” as a unit of measurement) of peaches. Too many. I suspect I will get another batch of throwing size peaches. So I’m thinning in hopes this will help. And I’ll be watering more. IN A VERY RESPONSIBLE WAY, CITY OF FRESNO, if you’re reading this.

I think I need a “peach tree guy”. I just wish I knew a Masumoto:

Isn’t David the fucking cutest? The Masumotos are the local Peach Whispers. Help me Masumoto. You’re my only hope.

Now about that grapefruit tree…

grapefruit tree

Is a grapefruit still good if it’s been hanging on the tree for a couple of years? Dammit. Now I gotta get a “grapefruit guy”.

5 Worthless Salad Toppings At Fresno’s Whole Foods

WHOLE FOOD SALAD BAR FRESNO

This is going to offend you. One of your favorite salad fixings is going to get dumped on. I’m sorry, but I must keep it real. Blogger code and all.

So hold on to your croutons, here are my 5 Most Worthless Whole Foods Fresno Salad Bar Choices:

5.WHATEVER THIS WAS:

whatever

You gotta figure it was something good since it is empty. But I bet it sucked.

4.TIE: BROCCOLI & PEAS. No. Just, no. I’m a grown adult and I no longer have to eat my broccoli or peas (like I ever did), let alone willfully pay to put it on my salad.

3.THIS JUNK:

junk

Alright so this stuff may not technically be part of the salad toppings. Controversial pick for sure. But I’ve seen people put this crap on their salads so it totally counts.

2.RED ONIONS CABBAGE:

RED ONION

It’s just used for color and you don’t need a build-a-salad to look pretty. It’s a salad that YOU made, it just needs to be functional. The salad is riding in a barely functional cardboard box. It’ll look like crap once it finishes your journey home anyway.
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