by Terrance Mc Arthur
Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities. Check out more Great Food Search here!
After stuffing myself with ice cream in June, I turned the Great Food Search toward a more healthy highway of food—salads. Some people look down on salads as that green stuff they have to chomp through before they can really eat something, but the dishes I am about to introduce to you are more than a mouthful—this is FOOD!Panera Bread—1260 Shaw Ave Suite 111, Clovis—Many people go to Panera for the sandwiches. I usually go for the soup. This time, I went salad-happy. The salads have lists of ingredients that rival the length of the credits on a Star Wars movie! The Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken contained chicken raised without antibiotics, arugula, romaine, kale and radicchio blend, vine-ripened tomatoes, and pickled red onions tossed with freshly made Green Goddess dressing and topped with avocado, bacon, and cage-free hard-boiled egg. My wife’s Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken featured chicken raised without antibiotics, arugula, romaine, kale and radicchio blend, vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions, toasted pecan pieces, Gorgonzola, and apple chips tossed with sweet white balsamic vinaigrette. We went for the half-size salads and soups, and they were more than we needed. The chicken slices were healthy, yet delicate; the apple chips weren’t crumbly, and the dressings fit our personal tastes. The Red Caboose Café—5054 N Academy Ave, Clovis (or Sanger)—People from Sanger say it’s in Sanger, and Clovis residents claim it’s in Clovis. It doesn’t make a difference; just eat here and watch the model trains figure-8-ing overhead. My Spicy Cobb Salad was loaded with Buffalo Chicken, Jalapeño bacon, Tomatoes, Boiled Egg, Dry Blue Cheese. Buffalo—Jalapeño—Blue Cheese—talk about a wake-up call to your taste buds! This was a “Spicy” that lived up to its advertising, but it was wonderful!
Uncle George Kabab—628 O St, Sanger—I know that I keep featuring this restaurant (which used to be named Sanger’s Shawarma Express) in the Great Food Search, but it’s for two reasons: (1.) It’s only a half mile from my home, (2.) It’s sooooooooo gooood! George and Stella make this Chicken Salad that must be seen to be believed. You look at the plate and say, “I see the chicken, but where’s the salad?” There is so much chicken on this, you might miss the greens, and the tomatoes, and the cucumber, and the…you get the idea, right? Then, if you’re smart, you asked for the house dressing. Then, if you’re really smart, you’ll take some home with you (They’ll sell it to you, and they put it in a big Styrofoam cup. At home, pour it into a container you can’t spill. You don’t want to miss a drop!). That chicken has a Mediterranean flavor that is hard to beat.Wendy’s—765 S Clovis Ave, Fresno—I know. Wendy’s is a basic fast-food place, but I always like their attention to detail. For instance: the Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad, made with their own lettuce blend, pepper jack cheese, diced tomatoes, avocado, Applewood smoked bacon, grilled chicken breast, and Southwest Ranch dressing. I went with the half salad, and it definitely hit the spot. Yosemite Falls Grill—4248 W. Ashlan Ave. Fresno—Confession time: I didn’t have the salads at Yosemite Falls. I had laser dental surgery that week, and I was on a mushy diet, so my wife and a friend had the Chinese Chicken Salad and the Apple Pecan Chicken Salad. I quietly moaned over my dish of mashed potatoes as they smacked their lips. The Chinese Chicken shared space with mandarin slices and strips of fried wonton, scattered across a bed of green. The apples and pecans were joined with an order of mushrooms, and I desperately wanted to grab a fork and dig in, but I remembered my dietary restrictions and said, like the Man in Black to Inigo Montoya, “Get used to disappointment.” They really enjoyed their salads…confound them.
The Bottom Line—So, they all had chicken, which is a good thing. The Red Caboose had surprising combinations, and it nearly unseated my personal champion—Uncle George Kabab. The deciding factor was all that chicken! As my gums recover from the surgery, I’ll be looking for more stops on The Great Food Search. May all your dining be delicious.