by Terrance Mc Arthur
The 2021 Fresno Rogue Festival has come and gone, it’s virtual shows departed, but I still have my memories…of food. Usually, I write about all the Tower District restaurants I go to during the festival. Instead, I picked up meals on the way home from work or threw something together at home. This episode of The Great Food Search will follow the journey of what I ate during Virtual Rogue 2021.DiCicco’s Italian Restaurant—267 Academy Ave., Sanger—diciccos-sanger.com—One of our go-to places, especially if I ask my wife to choose, is about a half-mile from my home. There are a lot of dishes, from simple to elaborate, but my wife’s favorite is Lasagna Alforno, which is your basic lasagna (or lasagne) with a baked-on cheese topping. The portions are generous, and one dinner provides two meals—four, if it is divided. The soups are great. Friday is Clam Chowder night, but the daily soup is minestrone although theirs should be Maxistrone. The bread is crusty outside, fluffy inside. DiCicco’s is back to on-site dining with appropriate distancing, but take-out and delivery are good options. Javier’s Mexican Restaurant—5680 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno—Javier’s Mexican Restaraunt | Facebook—I’ve been a fan of Javier’s for many years. I even did a library program where the audience watched salsa being made by Javier himself! (Samples were had by all.) The restaurant has been closed for sit-in dining because of pandemic restrictions, but you can order and pick-up. I ordered two small dinner combos—Chile Relleno and a Shredded Beef Enchilada and two Ground Beef Enchiladas. Each meal included rice and refried beans. Pick up your food on the side of the building, passed out through a kitchen window. It’s interesting to look in and see how your dinner is made. The relleno was fluffy, the enchiladas were packed with meat, and my wife thinks the food got even better during the quarantine! Off the Grill—1132 Academy Ave., Sanger—offthegrill.net—The motto is “Keepin it real,” and they’re keeping it real…good! I enjoy the place, but I decided to order some things I’d not tried before. The Loaded Fries are rich, beer-battered fries, but the load includes tri-tip, pico de gallo salsa, sour cream, and a whole lot of cheese sauce. I’d love to have Guy Fieri feature it on his Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives show. The Pastrami Burger combines the best of both sandwiches, along with melting-down Swiss cheese, pepperoncini, mustard, a house sauce, and lettuce. ATTENTION—the Chicken Strips are MAMMOTH, more of a chicken platter than a strip. My daughter proclaimed the Clam Chowder the best she’d ever tasted, but it may not be currently available. I hope it comes back. Papa Murphy’s Pizza—5171 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno—One night of the Rogue, I dug through my refrigerator for something to eat, and I found a plastic bag with a piece of left-over pizza: take-and-bake from Papa Murphy’s. White sauce, spinach, chicken, and artichoke hearts on a thin crust. Nuke it in the bag so it wouldn’t dry out…and it kept me going. A winner.
My Home Cooking—(undisclosed location)—You can’t eat out every night, so I made do with my own cooking a few times. A Ham/Turkey/Provolone/ Pesto/Mayo sandwich on wheat started my weekend. A bowl of formerly-frozen Dark Red Cherries was a treat. Fettuccini with four-cheese Alfredo sauce, a can of chicken, and a frozen bag of spinach was better the second time around, once I added bacon bits.
MY FAVORITE—the loaded fries from Off the Grill. Yummy!
Keep eating, people! (Make sure you keep the comma in that sentence.)