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.

Setting Fresno Goals: 2018 Edition

There is still time to set your goals for the year. There is always time. As corny as it sounds, I am definitely the kind of person that needs to write goals down or they will not happen, and dammit, I have goals I need to write down.

In this case, goals to post on the Internet. Fresno and creative goals.

GOAL: GO TO ARTHOP AGAIN!

Very sad to say but I did not go to one damn ArtHop last year. Thought about it all the time. Every month I’d say “I gotta go to ArtHop this month!” and never did. I even have a 9-year-old that is a budding young artist that needs to see all the talent we have in Fresno (and hang out at the Culture Arts District Park, pictured above [stolen from here]) and I still didn’t go.
PROBABILITY OF HAPPENING: 80%.

GOAL: SEE MORE LOCAL MUSIC!

I think I went to two, maybe three, local music shows last year and that was mainly because of Tioga Beer Garden and Goldstiens. I know I saw, Farooq, Light Thieves, Cockamamie Jamie and some other people. I used to go to shows all the damn time. Weak effort on my part. Hopefully, the old Club Fred/Audie’s Olympic location will manage to open this year and motivate me to see more shows.
PROBABILITY OF HAPPENING: 72%

GOAL: SEE A FRESNO STATE BASKETBALL GAME!

Certainly, I have gone to these games in the past but I have not been for the past couple seasons. Save Mart Center is such an annoying place to sit and watch things. But the team is good this year and worth our attention, this needs to happen.
PROBABiLITY OF HAPPENING: 65%

GOAL: EAT LESS AT CHAINS!

You know, it feels like I go to more local places than the average Fresnan. But necessity calls for the occasional chain.

Hey, you try to keep a finicky 9-year-old happy by not using Red Robin and Chilli’s and then talk to me about chains, brah! I think if I just cut back on Taco Bell, I will be fine.
PROBABILITY OF HAPPENING: 90%.

GOAL: POST MORE & SEND A NEWSLETTER!

There are a lot of creative projects I have going on.  But the most important of all is trying my best to be a good Husband, Dad, Son, Brother, Friend and employee at my day job. So finding the time to create posts here (something I fucking love doing) and sending out my newsletter, don’t get the attention I would like.

Plus, currently running in the background, I am trying to train myself/figure out how to become a professional freelance blogger, in case one day my day job decides it no longer needs my services. So there is that.

If I get better at time managing, this will become doable.
PROBABILITY OF HAPPENING: 88%

Well, now that I have sent these goals to the Internet, they are more likely to happen, RIGHT!? Keep me accountable this year!

If you have Fresno or creative goals for 2018, I would love to read them in the comment section!

Cheers!



 

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 Time & Place To Watch The Last Jedi In Fresno

NERD ALERT! If you have not been paying attention to this blog, I am a giant nerd! A nerd about Fresno, a nerd about beer, a big nerd about Star Wars.

It would be hard for you to have missed that the Last Jedi comes out this week, Thursday evening to be exact. So it’s time for me to figure out where and when I’m going to see it.

A long time ago in a Fresno far far away, the place to see a Star Wars movie was: Festival Cinemas.

I may or may not be old enough to remember waiting in a line around the building. Now that building is a car dealership or something.

Let’s look through the options for Last Jedi viewings Thursday. Note that I am ignoring 3D showings because 3D is horseshit. Also, note that Clovis is worse than Jar Jar Binks.

Edwards Theater:

They have the most times, including three at 7:00, which is the earliest time you can see it in Fresno. I really like that 7:15 slot. It won’t be as packed as the initial times but you can still get into the theater before you run into people coming out of the theater yapping spoilers.

Maya Cinemas:

There is an 8:00 and 9:00 showing with a “cry room” available. I feel like I may cry at some point so this may be needed.

Manchester Center:

Wow. Not a lot of options. But I have not seen a Star Wars movie there and I know they have good sound.

Broadway Faire:

This used to be my go-to spot for seeing Star Wars prequel films. I think I saw all of them there, in fact.

My pick?: I choose the 7:15 at Maya. I have been going there exclusively lately, why stop now. I likely will also see it at Manchester once AND once at Broadway Faire, for old times sake. After that, only Yoda knows.

Spoiler Free Predictions!

I have managed not to hear any spoilers, outside of what the trailer tells me. I even momentarily stopped listening to all my favorite Star Wars podcasts. The exception being Star Wars Minute as they are covering Revenge Of The Sith right now – love that show.

Will we see a Force Ghost? Yes. I think we’ll see Ewan’s Obi-Wan. If we see Hayden’s Anikan, that would be insane!

Who is Rey’s parents? Han & Leia. I’m hoping for Kenobi though because I’m sure that dude got around, he didn’t have much else to do while watching Luke on Tatooine.

Lead Up To Jedi!

I warned your ass I’m a nerd. Here is the order I have been watching the Star Wars films this week. It’s not exactly the Machete Order (my favorite order to watch Star Wars), but it’s nerdy:

I have not read any reviews but I have seen Tweets from trusted people and they say Last Jedi does not disappoint. Maybe it will be so good it will take me back to Fresno Summers waiting in lines at Festival.

At any parsec, see you at Maya Cinemas, I guess. And May The Fresno Be With You. Always.

The Foo Fighters Pay Fresno Back For 22 Years Of Nothing [Includes Fresno Setlist]

“We never fuckin’ played here before? Shut the fuck up. Shut, the fuck up. Are you fuckin’ serious? … Whoops… Sorry.” That was the moment during the Foo Fighters show at Save Mart Center Friday when Dave Grohl realized it took Foo 22 years to play Fresno.

It seemed they may have actually felt guilty because they played an extra long time and more songs than they have been playing on their current Concrete and Gold tour.

It was an amazing rock show. A clinic. This group has been playing a long time and they knew what the crowd wanted and delivered it.

The setlist came dangerously close to my dream setlist, I was shocked they played “White Limo” and really could not have been much happier. Let’s take a look at the Fresno show setlist:

  1. Run
  2. All My Life
  3. Learn To Fly
  4. The Pretender
  5. The Sky Is A Neighborhood
  6. Rope
  7. Drum solo (with Dave & Taylor jam intro)
  8. Sunday Rain
  9. My Hero
  10. One Of These Days
  11. Walk
  12. Let It Die
  13. This Is The Call
  14. White Limo
  15. Arlandria
  16. Times Like These
  17. Breakout
  18. Make It Right
  19. Under My Wheels (Alice Cooper cover sang by Chris Shiflett)
  20. Better Shape Up (Grease)/Jump (Van Halen)/Blitzkrieg Bop (The Ramones)
  21. Under Pressure (Queen cover, with Dave Grohl drumming and Tayor Hawkins/Luke Spiller [the Struts] singing)
  22. Monkey Wrench
  23. Best Of You (First closing song)
  24. Dirty Water [encore]
  25. Breakdown (Tom Petty cover/tribute) [encore]
  26. This Is The Call
  27. Everlong

Pretty sure I got that right, 26ish songs. Crazy. The show lasted 3 hours and 13 minutes. It did not feel that long at all. When the show let out I thought it was maybe 10:45, but it was Midnight.

I’m not a good enough writer to conjure up all the proper descriptions of what happened during this show. All I can say is it was fucking metal and moving, all at once. Thank you, Foo Fighters, for playing Fresno finally. And thank you, Dave, for not doing the “I don’t call it FresNO, I call it FresYES” joke hack singers use when they play here.

Speaking of Fresno, my favorite part of big shows is when the city is acknowledged by the band and a bit can be made out of it. Here is Dave talking out how the Foo Fighters have never played Fresno, complete with “sad mutherfuckers” and “Times Like These“:

I was super impressed by the stage lighting and video screen, so whoever designed that, kudos. It kept evolving throughout the night and my favorite is when it came down over the stage, creating a ‘roof’ on the stage and giving the show an intimate club feel for a few songs. Very cool.

Anyway, thanks for reading, please leave any Foo Fighter show thoughts in the comments!

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!!