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Great Food Search: A Summer’s Worth of Salads

IN THE July 31 ISSUE

FROM THE 2021 Articles,
andFood Fun,
andReedley News,
andTerrance V. Mc Arthur,
andThe Great Food Search
SECTIONS

by Terrance Mc Arthur

It’s summer, and you want to eat something light, so…Let there be SALADS! And there WERE salads…and they were GOOD!

The Great Food Search has featured salads before (in 2014 and 2019), and some of the restaurants I’ll talk about this year are ones I’ve mentioned in earlier articles, but they aren’t the same salads, so…Let’s Eat!

A whole lot of Cobb Salad at Blossom Trail Cafe, Sanger

Blossom Trail Café—864 N. Academy Ave., Sanger—Whatever the origin (the owner of the Brown Derby Restaurant with late night munchies put it together, or his chef whipped it up for him), the Cobb Salad is popular restaurant fare, with many variations. We dropped in at the Blossom Trail Café on a busy day, and sat at the counter, which gave us an up-close view of the food. This Cobb Salad mixed Romaine lettuce, turkey, avocado, tomato, green onions, eggs, bacon, cheddar cheese, and bleu cheese crumbles. Add on a bleu cheese dressing and toss in wedges of Garlic Bread, and you have a major-league meal that hits the flavor ball out of the park! (By the way, if you have something from their Fiesta Style entrees, you will happily learn that the Chile Verde sauce is made from scratch)

Hail, Ceasar Salad at DiCicco’s Sunnyside, Fresno

DiCicco’s Sunnyside—5635 E. Kings Canyon Rd., Fresno—I like a Caesar Salad, and I really like a Chicken Caesar Salad, so I found myself staring into a large wooden bowl of Romaine lettuce, croutons, and chicken with strong grill marks, dusted with Parmesan Cheese. It was a generous serving, and a happy munch.

A Shrimp Salad that’s not shrimp-sized, La Haciendita, Sanger

La Haciendita Restaurant—1845 Academy Ave., Sanger—Sometimes, you look at a menu and say, “OK, what haven’t I had before?” and that’s why I ordered a Shrimp Salad for take-out. The combo was pretty simple—shrimp, lettuce, avocado, and tomato—and I decided to have it with Thousand Island dressing. The shrimp were close encounters of the Jumbo kind, the avocado was captured in that fifteen minutes between chewy hard and turning-brown overripe, and the iceberg lettuce was much better than I usually find on a plate. Happily sauced with Thousand Island, it made me smile and down the whole thing in one sitting.

Mainstreet Cafe, Reedley, has a Spinach Chicken Salad. Woo-hoo!

Mainstreet Café—1052 G Street, Reedley—Reedley has dealt with the Covid pandemic by revitalizing outdoor dining. Al Fresco “corrals” with fencing, lighting, misters, and umbrellas make for islands in the streets of the city’s downtown. I’ve had many breakfasts at the Mainstreet Café, but I’ll go back again and again for lunch and another Spinach Chicken Salad. Grilled chicken on a bed of spinach, feta cheese, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese, which I topped off with a Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing. Ooh, wow-wow-wow! I’ve been a spinach fan since I saw my first Popeye cartoon, and the chicken was so soft and succulent! Upon presentation, almost all you could see was the chicken, but there was so much more buried beneath it. My wife kept making puppy-dog eyes to get more samples, but I stayed strong: “Get your own,”… and she will.

Not your mother’s Tuna Salad, Yosemite Falls, Clovis

Yosemite Falls—1455 Shaw Ave., Clovis—How about a Tuna Avocado Salad? Tuna salad, mixed greens, tomato, avocado, hard-boiled egg, Jack Cheese, and Cheddar Cheese. Naturally, I tossed on the Bleu Cheese dressing. With the dressing and the mixings in the tuna, everything was well-lubricated and tasty. I’ve been fond of the chain’s Cheese Bread for many years, and the log-cabin atmosphere makes for a cozy meal.

The Verdict—Blossom Trail and Haciendita made the decision difficult, but the first bite made Mainstreet Café’s Spinach Chicken Salad the winner of the month.

A friendly Summer Salad, locally sourced

Bonus Home Recipe—Since we find ourselves in the middle of a sizzling summer in the San Joaquin Valley, I decided to toss in a recipe suggestion from my kitchen: a basic Summer Salad. I peeled the skin off a couple of Gutahs (those wrinkly-looking Armenian Cucumbers, which are actually melons), and chopped them up with tomato and Red Onion, all purchased at the Hudson Farms Fruit Stand (4300 S. Academy Ave., Sanger), and poured on the vinaigrette-ish salad dressing from Uncle George Kebab (628 O St., Sanger)—They don’t market or advertise it. If you want to take it home, you can buy it, and they’ll fill a Styrofoam cup with it. However you use it, it makes the food better.

Happy 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 worked for the Fresno County Public Library for three decades. He is retired, but not retiring. A storyteller, puppeteer, writer, actor, magician, basketmaker, and all-around interesting person, his goal is to make life more unusual for everyone he meets.

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