by Terrance Mc Arthur
You know how it is. You find a place to eat that you like, and a dish that you enjoy, so every time you go there, that’s what you order.
Where’s the adventure? Where’s the excitement? Where’s the danger?
Shouldn’t you mix it up once in a while? Try something different? You might find a new favorite. That’s what this month’s Great Food Search is all about. We went to restaurants we frequently frequent, and we tried something on their menu we haven’t ordered before. You never know what you’ll find.
DiCicco’s Italian Restaurant, 267 Academy Ave., Sanger—Veal Tortellini with Pesto Sauce, Gnocchi with Pink Sauce—I’ve eaten Tortellini, I’ve munched on Tortellini with Pesto Sauce. I’ve had Veal. Veal Tortellini with Pesto Sauce? WOW! That rich, tender taste of veal (Sorry, PETA.) was that “something else” elevating the dish. It was exciting food!
In the past, I had tried gnocchi, and it struck me as bland mashed potatoes. The Pink Sauce is a combination of Marinara and Alfredo sauces, vibrant yet smooth, perking up the taste buds. The potato flavor remained, but in a livelier form. I’m glad I ate it.
Kikku Kitchen, 7785 N. Palm Ave., Ste. 101, Fresno—Tuna and Salmon Poke Bowl—(Technically, I’m cheating here. I have reviewed the original Kikku on Tulare Street in downtown Fresno, and I have patronized the Kikku Kitchen west of River Park, but I haven’t reviewed the Kitchen…..So what?)
Poke Bowls are kind of fun. For me, they’re the halfway house between Chinese Food and Sushi. Big chunks of raw fish or cooked meats with lots of stuff around them. At Kikku Kitchen, however, small bits of meat, veggies, avocados (for which other places charge extra), and seeds of sesame oozed around on a bed of brown rice, with a lot of sauce to lubricate everything. Holy Cannoli! It was good!
Mimi’s Cafe, 7660 N. Blackstone Ave., Fresno—Tuna Salad Sandwich on Ciabatta with French Onion Soup—Very often, I’ll opt for simple fare at restaurants, something at the lower end of the price scale, a remnant trait of my Scottish heritage. A soup-and-half-sandwich…and the Soup of the Day is French Onion? Sign me up!
The soup had that deep crust of stretchy cheese over thick bands of onion in a heavy broth—Hoo Boy! That bread, herbed and delicate, housed a tuna salad loaded with spices and veggies, topped with tomato and cheese. That soup and half-sandwich made a full meal!
The Red Caboose, 5054 N. Academy Ave., Ste. E, Clovis—Blue Cheese Burger on Sourdough with Cream of Mushroom Soup—Where you live will determine if you consider this café to be part of Sanger or Clovis, but I like to think of it as a Sanger eatery that I pass on my way to Clovis.
The typical Cream of Mushroom Soup contains small cubes of substances purporting to be mushrooms. This soup had SLICES in unmistakable umbrella shapes. It brought a smile to my face. A proud patty of beef held up a pile of crumbled blue cheese, piquant and pungent. I’m not usually a fan of sourdough, but this was the right choice to bookend the “fixin’s.” Oh, what a lunch it was!
I would happily have any of these dishes again. Each establishment enforced social distancing, cleaned vigorously, and you wore a mask unless you were eating. My choice for this Great Food Search is DiCicco’s Sanger because they gave me food I knew in a new and different way that impressed me.
Keep eating, folks!