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Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in the communities along the Kings River. Click on article titles to read the full article.

by Terrance Mc Arthur


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.

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by Terrance Mc Arthur


Buffets—no, I’m not talking about Jimmy and his parrothead pals in Margaritaville—are faster than fast food, homelier than home cooking, and come in many varieties. The Great Food Search presents a sampler—a smorgasbord, if you will—of all-you-can-eat places in the Central Valley. This isn’t everybody (Sorry, Ole Frijole—I wasn’t in your neighborhood), but here are some nice places to feed a bunch of people.

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by Terrance Mc Arthur


It’s baseball season (For Dodger fans like me, my brain is already telling me, “Give them time. It will all fall apart.”) What do you eat during baseball season? Hot Dogs!

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by Terrance Mc Arthur


I received an email from our editor: “Sending a reminder that your column is due next weekend–any chance of something springy feeling?”
Springy?
Considering that I’d just spent more than a week tromping through the Tower District, seeing 31 Rogue shows and writing reviews, I couldn’t think of…

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by Terrance Mc Arthur


In the past, the Great Food Search has done theme articles, comparing pizzas, donuts, hot chocolate, Mexican restaurants, or soups. More recently, the articles have featured one restaurant at a time. Now, it seems, I have stumbled into writing a series of single-restaurant reviews on one theme: it started with a lighted sign in the night: Dickie’s. I have wandered into Barbecue Land.

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by Terrance Mc Arthur


A new year has burst upon us, a time for new beginnings, a time for new places to eat. While shopping at the new center on Herndon near 99, I saw a light in the sky, and it said “Dickey’s Barbecue Pit.” I always try to follow the advice of my mother: go towards the light. I did, and it was goo-ood!

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by Terrance Mc Arthur


2014 has been a delicious year for The Great Food Search. I have discovered the joys of Vietnamese pho, soups, salads, and chicken chains, visited new favorites where old favorites used to be, and found good eating where I least expected it (Chinese food in Orange Cove?). My top five restaurants of 2014 are places I went to review…and returned to enjoy…and enjoy…and….

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by Terrance Mc Arthur


It was November, and the Great Food Search was getting desperate. What to review? What to review? Was there some new style of food to discover, an exciting restaurant opening, or any idea that hadn’t been beaten to death? I needed to feed my wife and not travel too far. I drove to the spot where leaving Sanger becomes going to Clovis–Shaw and Academy, and there, in a micro-mini-strip mall, is The Red Caboose Café.

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by Terrance Mc Arthur



It’s October, time for trick-or-treat, and I tricked myself into a treat. I had planned a review for several months, and had checked to see if I needed reservations. Told I didn’t, I lay down for a short rest…and woke up more than an hour later. It was getting dark, and I didn’t want to drive to a new town in the dark, so I took my family somewhere I knew I could find, The Spike N’ Rail Steak House in Selma. This monument to Scandinavian traditional architecture had taken the place of the Pea Soup Anderson Restaurant by Freeway 99, windmill and all.

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by Terrance Mc Arthur



I’ve lived in the Sanger area for a long time, and DiCicco’s Sanger has always been there: close, convenient, and basic Italian cookery. Recently, nobody in the family wanted to cook and I didn’t want to go all the way into Fresno. We chose DiCicco’s, and things had changed. The place still had the familiar semi-dark atmosphere, the carpet with grape designs in it, tables, booths, black outfits on the servers, and faux-Italian-village painted walls. What was different was the menu.

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by Terrance Mc Arthur


Grapes in a Pouch. Root Beer Milk. Pepperoni Pizza Tamales – where can you find things like this?
The Fresno Food Expo!
It started as a way to expose local products to a wider number of buyers. It was held in March, which meant there wasn’t a lot of fresh produce available to promote. This year, the fourth Expo was moved to July 24, a time when the bounty of the Valley has begun to ripen, and what an amazing array of foods, products, and services there was!

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by Terrance Mc Arthur


Pho.
What is pho?
Before I tell you what it is, I have to tell you how to say it. It isn’t pronounced “foe.” You have to say “fuh,” which leads some people into off-color puns, but I try to show respect to people’s languages, so my puns will stay clean.

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by Terrance Mc Arthur


As part of my work for the library, I visit several of the communities on the east side of the Valley, so I look for places to eat, because eating is one of my hobbies (I do it frequently). One restaurant kept coming up on lists of places to try: OC’s China Garden. A Chinese restaurant in Orange Cove? It seemed ridiculous. Then…I tried it.

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by Terrance Mc Arthur


As the Valley moves from what it calls winter to the weather the rest of the nation considers flash frying, lighter food is recommended. Salads are a good alternative, but, being Americans, we have to “go big.” For this Great Food Search, I bring you…Salads on Parade!

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by Terrance Mc Arthur



It stands next to Academy Avenue in Sanger’s Southgate Center. It was once a Perko’s. For a long time, it was Austin’s and for a short time, it was The Ranch House. Now it has a new name and a new lease on life: Restaurant La Haciendita Mexican Food. I’ll tell you the truth; I didn’t expect much from this place. In the past, it was a basic, unsurprising eatery with basic, unsurprising food. I was really, really wrong.

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by Terrance Mc Arthur



Wintertime is soup time, time for a steaming bowl of goodness for the soul. Since January is National Soup Month, (Go ahead, look it up!) so in its honor the Great Food Search has conducted a FoodQuest in search of taste-tempting soups.

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by Terrance Mc Arthur



December time, wintertime, Christmas time, fog-and-snow-and-bitter-cold time and my heart turns to thoughts of…Hot Chocolate, Cocoa or whatever you want to call a deep brown mug of warmth with whipped cream on top.

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