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Entries in Food Truck (26)


Fresno Food Truck Challenge: $4 Toast

Knowing a little something about Fresno, I doubt that $4 or $6 toast has a long-term home here in the Central Valley. And let's be clear, a $4 or $6 piece of toast in San Francisco is serious business, freshly ground flour, freshly made bread, artisanal cheese, etc. I've been fascinated with the number of articles written about the hipster, techy, $4 toast craze.

However, Fresno Food Trucks need a gimmic, a competition, a headline now and again and $4 Toast might be an interesting one.

The $4 Fresno Food Truck Toast Challenge should be held at Bella Frutta on a Saturday and the food trucks MUST pick an ingredient, at least one, from all the products Bella Frutta sells at the store to feature on their toast. I don't care if the toast is technically bruschetta and they use Enzo Olive Oil, bruschetta is just a fancy Italian word for toast with toppings anyway.

Or, the food trucks could make a version of their own Nutella, chocolate and hazelnut spread with Bella Frutta chocolate covered nuts. I'd personally like an almond based chocolate spread from the chocolate covered nuts regularly sold at Bella Frutta.

I'll add one more wrinkle, all the food trucks MUST use Max's Bread. This puts all the trucks on an equal footing. No "ringers" coming in to bake bread or sourcing from some sneaky source. At least this time.

But, if the truck wants to source cheese or produce from another local source other than Bella Frutta, be my guest. Each piece of toast must have a single ingredient from Bella Frutta, that's all.

So now we've got everything in place and everyone wins: 

  1. Local Food Trucks (the regular crowd at Bella Frutta)
  2. Local Bread (Max's)
  3. Local Fruit and Nut and Olive Oil Supplier (Bella Frutta)

Local, Local, Local, Organic, Organic, Organic. It's going to be nearly impossible to screw up this menu.


Maybe charge $2 for one piece of toast and $4 for two pieces of toast, instead of San Francisco prices.

Just your friendly, neighborhood Cured Ham throwing it out there representing the bored-to-death food bloggers in Fresno who escaped to Instagram in 2013. Really...we're tired of eating tri-tip and bread pudding...again and again.

What's the downside? Burnt toast?



Tacos Guitarron in Turlock, Lander Ave Exit Highway 99

Tacos Guitarron is a taco truck/trailer on Lander Avenue, just off Highway 99 in Turlock. There are trucks on all four corners of the intersection.

They sold out of pastor by 1pm, my usual, so my brother and I chose cabeza and asada instead. We were not disappointed. Flavors were good, real good. Nice application of salsa, cilantro, onions. The additional garnishes were all fresh and delicious. 

The cabeza was picked clean of sinuous fat, leaving nothing but perfectly cooked cheeks. The asada, not a regular pick for me, was seasoned well and moist. Really a beautiful plate of tacos from the cleanest looking truck on the four corners.


Modesto Taco Truck Scene

I've been hitting Modesto fairly often the last couple of months making my way around town. Generally, my exit takes me through Downtown and over the train tracks. There is a semi-permanent set-up of taco trucks and pop-up tents at the intersection of H Street and 8th Street.

I tried 3 trucks one night, Los Portolitos, El Super Taco 2, and F.K. Jessica's. Of the three, Los Portolitos was the best that evening. Jessica's had the longest line, probably a good 10 people waiting on orders. I ate one al pastor taco at all three locations. (Los Portolito's al pastor taco pic)

Jessica's, the truck with the longest line, had al pastor that seemed more like ground and seasoned pork rather than meaty chunks and frankly, pretty wet. El Super, was fine, just nothing special. Los Portolitos was far and away the best in my 15 minute eating extravaganza. The individual pieces of meat were well seasoned and had a good mix of fat and meat.

However, earlier in the day, I made a quick stop at the Chevron Station at the Kansas Ave. Exit on Highway 99 for a taco at El Maguey (the taco you see with the radishes). Now that was a good al pastor taco. The balance was right, the meat was tasty, the condiments were fresh. 

All the tacos I ate that day were $1.00. Long live tacos!


Five Fresno Eateries to Try (ok, how about 10?)

When Mike Oz posted What are the five eateries someone new to Fresno should try immediately?  I took a moment, read the comments section and of course, over-thought the question. It's in my nature.

I’m a big believer in history. Restaurateurs like Shirinian, Fansler, Harland, and Ferdinandi have shaped the dining scene in Fresno for over 30 to 40 years. You want to know Fresno, you want to have a newbie get a sense of place, eat at one of their institutions. Their restaurants ARE Fresno and these are iconic brands in town.

The Five eateries someone new to Fresno should try immediately (CONSIDERING their historical perspective):

Elbow Room because after all these years it’s still a scene and reigns supreme. No place compares. But they have to try it on a weekend night.

Me N’Ed’s because it’s Fresno’s successful home-grown franchise, both take-out and dine-in required.

Cosmo’s because it has survived Downtown and is located across from a porno shop, two things not easily overcome in Fresno and they deserve a lot of credit.

Yosemite Ranch (the offspring of Tahoe Joe's another success) because Fansler knows what Fresno wants, period.

Yoshino’s because it’s fun to have your birthday there as an adult and the formula hasn’t changed since I first went there on my 8th birthday.

I think Mike's culinary challenge is a good one and I think his choices show the spirit of what's going into Fresno foodie mouths on a daily basis. If a recent Fresno transplant wants to check on what’s happening in Fresno from a more recent culinary culture perspective, meaning, restaurants on the foodie scene here in Fresno, I would consider five other choices when compared to my historical perspective:

B&K Asian Kitchen because it’s authentic. You’re not here because of the scene, you’re here for food. There is no "scene", no ambiance, nothing. Just well prepared food.

The Selma Flea Market, because it has the greatest selection of taco trucks in one place. One taco truck isn’t enough, but one taco per truck, that’s a different story. Fresno needs to get its act together and let more trucks congregate. Modesto and Turlock do. When Manchester or It’s On Wishon get 10 trucks someday, that will replace my Flea Market choice. 

Dusty Buns Bistro Bus, because they were on Fresno’s leading edge with their truck; they took a risk in a tough market and they took another risk by opening a brick and mortar location. Kudos for taking a risk.

AJ’s Armenian, because it feels home cooked and Armenian food still isn’t in the spotlight despite the rich culinary history in the Valley. It’s too bad really, people are missing out on tasty Armenian cuisine. I might have said Yalla Yalla if it was still around, because of Vatche's overall influence with Cracked Pepper, but until he can get Fresnans to bite on well-crafted Med/Lebanese/Greek, I've gotta go with AJ's.

Wassabi, because I think they’ve influenced Fresnans more by attitude, brand, and volume than any other place in town in the last 5 years. The folks at Wassabi are smart operators working in one of the most expensive places in town, Fig Garden and have the original location to deal with.

I agree with Mike, honorable mention for Dog House Grill. In terms of volume, brand, consistency, family dining, and value, it's tough to beat Dog House.

I’d hope that both a sense of Fresno culinary history and what’s changing the Fresno culinary scene slowly but surely would give any Fresno transplant the ability to find their own culinary path.


Chef Martin's Bistro Burger (at Pinot Wine Bar)

I know Chef Martin is working on rolling out his food truck. I haven't spoken to him about timelines or if he's going to work at Pinot and his truck. 

However, I did stop in to have a burger and a beer a couple weeks back at Pinot Wine Bar in the Tower. I must say, an outstanding burger Chef! I don't know what Martin's menu is going to be on the truck or if he can bang out burgers; but if he can knock them out of his truck as good as the one I had, Chef Martin will have no trouble being THE force to reckon with in the food truck scene. 

I know, I know, lots of competition for a burger in Fresno. Lots of other sandwiches to choose from. Lots to prove once Martin gets rolling. I know. He'll be judged again in the truck.

Let's just hope that Chef Martin and others thinking about joining the foodie scene is a preview of how good the competition is getting and why I keep writing Open Letters to the first wave of gourmet food trucks and blogger cafes; there's always a fresh face looking to take down last year's number one.