Great Food Search: The Pick-It-Up Pandemic continues!

Jul 25, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Terrance V. Mc Arthur, The Great Food Search

by Terrance Mc Arthur

If you can’t take it with you, don’t get it.­ This set of take-outs are centered around my home and work.

El Pollo Loco – Check Out the churros!

El Pollo Loco—4865 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno— Of course, I’m chicken! I always have been. I do get cravings for red meat, but I’m more of a chicken aficionado. I have clutched buckets of KFC and crunched my way through Popeye’s, but that flame-kissed yumminess from El Pollo Loco gets me every time. A fourteen-leg-and-thigh combo with corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, and churros—that kept us going for three days! Online ordering about an hour before I got off work, and there it was, so hot I couldn’t pull a piece out of the bag until I traveled the twelve miles home! My family appreciated that.

Great, wherever you eat it – Fatburger. Love those sweet potato fries!

Fatburger & Buffalo’s Express—570 S. Clovis Ave., Ste. 101A, Fresno—Just up Clovis Avenue from my work-center library, between a Starbucks and a Jamba Juice, it’s a Fatburger & Buffalo Express! I haven’t tried the wings, but I gave the Original Fatburger a try. The tables are stacked on the booths, which are taped off as out of bounds, and floor marks request social distancing. The Works on the burger include mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, relish, and mustard on an impressive patty in a grand old bun. And OH! The sweet potato fries are wide planks, ripple-cut, and oh-so-tasty!

The IKEA of Pho, Huong Lan of Fresno

Huong Lan 10—5669 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Ste. 102, Fresno—Tucked into that warren of shops and stores and food places on the northeast corner of East Kings Canyon Road and Clovis Avenue, this used to be a Round Table Pizza. I called ahead to order, picked up and paid, and scrambled off to work with my surprise package of pho (pronounced “fuh”). I opened the tall cup, the box, and the bags, and all this stuff lay before me—a Vietnamese version of IKEA! Rice noodles, green onions, white onions, bean sprouts, greens, peppers, greens, shrimp, crablike substances, unidentified protein, and lime, and a broth that could stand on its own. Then there was soy sauce, hot sauce, and oiled peppers. Throw it all together and it would overflow, so you add things in stages. I like pho, but this was PHO-ntastic!

Panda Express, fast and easy

Panda Express—­445 S. Clovis Ave., Fresno—Online ordering earlier in the day, and it was hot and ready when I walked in the door! Brown rice and Chicken Mushroom, and lovely zucchini crescents in the bowl. Good food in a hurry—sometimes, that’s all you need in life.

My first poki bowl, Poki Bowl Express…and this was playing it safe!

Poki Bowl Express—6127 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno—Poki bowl, poke bowl, whatever you want to call it—I’d heard of it, but never tried it. Oh, what I’ve been missing! I took it easy for my first time, and WOW! Hawaiian-inspired, it would inspire anyone! I started with brown rice, added cooked crab and raw salmon, green onions, pineapple (Hey—Go Hawaiian!), and the Express house sauce. It didn’t have heat…but there was a definite warmth. Service was fast, and they were very patient with a confused newbie.

Toap Garden in Sanger, Family Style


Toap Garden—2644 Jensen, Ave., Sanger—I’ve been going here for three or four decades! It’s always meant comfort food for me, sitting in those cushy booths and ordering the family meals. Now, a line of tables blocks off those booths, and we called ahead and ordered a la carte for a change. Of course, we ordered the Egg Flower Soup (one of the richest I’ve ever had) and potstickers (nicely done, with just a hint of brown). The Chicken Chow Mein and the Almond Chicken were down-home-Asian good. Of course, they know my tastes after all these years, and they made sure to include cups of hot mustard. “You want to go where everybody knows your name.”

And So I Say Unto You—This take-out journey was more fun than I expected, with half of these places being eateries I’d never tried before. Poki was new to me, and I’ll return to Poki Bowl Express, but my winner is…Huong Lan 10! Oh, boy! That was GOOOOOOOOD!

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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