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Great Food Search: Sofia’s in Sanger

IN THE June 27 ISSUE

FROM THE 2015 Articles,
andTerrance V. Mc Arthur,
andThe Great Food Search
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by Terrance Mc Arthur

Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities. Check out more Great Food Search here!

The glazed tiles in front of the cash register desk say “Sofia’s–since 2015.” The message reflects the pride, the hope, and the quest for quality of Sofia’s California Cuisine, 11th & N Streets in Sanger, one block east of Academy.food

James Sosa and his mother, Bridget Malding, formerly of The Famous Shish Kebab Restaurant in Selma, have reopened what was the Elvis-themed The King’s Diner and the former J&L restaurant. They kept the black-and-white checkerboard floor, but redid most everything else about the place, giving it some warm-cool tones and a Mediterranean-Mexican-California Cuisine menu.

Mediterranean-Mexican-California Cuisine? Yeah! You could start with Ultimate Nachos ($8.99), have a Grilled Salmon ($16.99) that smiles at you from under a quilt of garlic sauce, and finish up with a warm, rolled Baklava ($2.50) splashing around in drizzles of chocolate. How about a Baba Ghanouj appetizer (roasted eggplant with tahini and garlic and pita wedges, $7.99. My wife has now discovered that eggplant can be more than breaded rounds), followed by Chile Verde ($10.25–I’m not sure what they cook it with, but it tastes like love), and top it all with a Tres Leches Cake ($4.00) in your choice of chocolate or walnut? You would be a happy, happy person.

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See the happy salmon, protected by a blanket of Garlic Sauce. Happy Salmon at Sofia’s.

You want a New York Steak ($17.99) topped with sautéed mushrooms that are big enough to stretch across the meat? Go for it. Pick a kebab, any kebab ($10.95-$18.95) and you can’t go wrong. The pilaf-style rice is puffy and flaky, and its Spanish cousin is flavorful. The grilled vegetables are oil-brushed, and reminded us of the old QN4U side dishes. You could compare downtown Fresno’s Mediterranean Grill to Sofia’s and be impressed by the Sanger product.

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Steak and Mushrooms and Grilled Veggies and Rice, Oh My! At Sofia’s in Sanger.

The service is magical. Unneeded plates vanish when you turn your head, and glasses are refilled before you’re aware they are empty! They use black cloth napkins…in Sanger! The beloved rock soundtrack of The Kings Diner is gone, replaced by the sound of a haunting guitar that skips from style to style with smooth grace, making you feel like you paid twice as much as the menu says. Of course, you probably didn’t even pay the regular price, because there are always coupons on their Facebook page and a board full of specials when you walk in the door.

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Desserts! Desserts! Desserts! at Sofia’s in Sanger.

Good Grief! I forgot the Spicy Chicken, one of the most talked-about dishes at Sofia’s! You get cubed chicken, onions, bell peppers, a spicy marinade with a respectable amount of heat, and a garlic sauce that clings to each morsel. This is food with a capital Yum!

I do not know how hummus, burgers, chimichangas, and Sofia’s Rice Bowl found their way into one restaurant, but I’m happy to say that that restaurant is Sofia’s California Cuisine, and I’m glad that it’s in Sanger.

Check out more food articles and more of Terrance’s Great Food Search column in our Food Fun section. And check out a KRL staff profile this week on Terrance!

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Community Librarian for the WoW! (WithOut Walls) Division of the Fresno County Public Library, roaming the Valley to meet the public’s information needs.

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