Great Food Search: Best Of 2020

Jan 30, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Terrance V. Mc Arthur, The Great Food Search

by Terrance Mc Arthur

What a year for the Great Food Search! Quarantine! Lockdown! Shelter in Place! forced to review my own cooking! Take-out Time! Looking for places that kept COVID-safe!

Here are my top eateries of 2020—a year that will go down in infamy!

CDT Cocina ,behind the Tower Theatre building.

CDT Cocina—805 E. Olive Ave., Fresno—(559) 451-4656
I’ve been a fan of Casa de Tamales since I first saw their cart at a Valley Animal Center celebration. They recently changed the name to CDT Cocina (CDT for Casa de Tamales, and Cocina is a Spanish word for kitchen/food/cuisine/stove) and moved down Olive Avenue to the west courtyard of the Tower Theatre building. You can have beef, pork, or chicken, but you can also go vegan or dessert. Besides the tamales, there is a fantastic salad that features Romaine hearts, spicy corn kernels, shreds of cheese, and pumpkin seeds. Liz and her staff grind their own masa (corn dough), that’s how much care they put into what they put out!

Gourmet Goodies by Delilah—626 “O” Street, Sanger—(559) 250-3967
It’s a place where—how do I describe it—let me put it this way—during the darkest pandemic days, there was a line of customers stretching almost to the end of the block! Delilah is careful about virus safety, and is now only taking online orders for pick-up…and what wondrous things you can pick up! Candy apples that look more like beach balls…cupcakes packed with fruit, chocolate, and even bacon…chocolate-dipped goodies worth their weight in chocolate! Samson wouldn’t have a chance with this Delilah!


A covey of Cake Pops from Gourmet Goodies by Delilah in Sanger.

All dressed up and ready to go at Off the Grill in Sanger.

Off the Grill—1132 Academy Ave, Suite 102, Sanger—(559) 329-8400
I raved about the burgers, sandwiches, and sides at this new, extended-family-run spot at Academy and Annadale on Sanger, but that was before I tried their Loaded Mojos! It’s my new favorite! Imagine nachos made with potato wedges instead of tortilla chips, almost vanishing under a load of cheddar sauce, tri-tip, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole! I should have taken a photo, but I ate the evidence, first!

It Came From the Kitchen at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater! A combination of the Shepherd’s Pie and the Braised Short Ribs Dinners.

Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater—1226 N. Wishon Ave., Fresno—(559) 266-9494
There are no shows onstage, but the delivery and pick-up dinners make it feel like a Broadway musical! The menu revolves, with new good dishes popping up from time to time. The Short Ribs are delectable, the Winter Squash with Pesto Lasagna is mind-blowing, and they make a mean Caesar Salad. Wine is now available, if that’s in your taste range. It’s the venue for “Food! Glorious Food!”

Sunnyside Delicatessen—5691 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno—(559) 252-3338
It doesn’t hurt that it’s close to where I work, but the food keeps me picking up at lunchtime to take home for dinner (Luckily, there is a refrigerator in the staff room). Besides a marvelous French Dip and a mile-high TBA (Turkey Bacon & Avocado), I am addicted to the Pineapple Cream Soda—yummyyummyyummy!


Sunnyside Deli

Honorable Mentions
That was my Fab Five, but there are some other eateries that I enjoyed in 2020. Interestingly enough, they are all on East Kings Canyon Road.

Huong Lan 10—5669 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Ste. 102, Fresno Take all the fixings, put them together, and your Pho (pronounced “Fuh”) runneth over!

Ono Hawaiian BBQ—5075 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno Where every conversation starts with “Aloha!” Unusual tastes on barbecued food you’re used to, maximum macaroni salad, and they wear cool-looking masks!

Poki Bowl Express—6127 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno Poki or Poke, it’s okey-dokey! Start with a base of rice or greens, add raw or cooked protein, sauce it and top it, and you have some great Hawaiian-inspired food! I pick up here a lot more often than I thought I would.

OK, people. That’s a wrap. Keep Eating!

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 Librarian in Fresno County, California. He is also a storyteller, puppeteer, magician, and maker of pine needle baskets. On top of that he writes stories that range from rhymed children’s tales to splatterpunk horror. He’s an odd bird, but he’s nice to have around.


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