The Great Food Search: My Salad Days

Aug 26, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Terrance V. Mc Arthur, The Great Food Search

by Terrance Mc Arthur

Sometimes, I hanker for a rare steak. Other days, I long for salmon. In the summer, a salad sounds like a really good idea. Yes, summers are My Salad Days.

Carne Asada Salad at Blossom Trail Cafe in Sanger. That’s the way the bleu cheese crumbles

Blossom Trail Café—864 N. Academy Ave., Sanger—It’s not far from home, and the food is good. It’s crowded, these days, thanks to Dale Yurong featuring it on Channel 30. Also, Wednesdays are really crowded because the regular clients know that’s the day that everything is only $10.99! Even Steak and Eggs! However, I was there for a salad. Why not a… Carne Asada Salad, normally $13.99, but a steal on $10.99 Wednesday? Strips of steak, crumbles of bleu cheese, chunks of tomato, rings of red onion, bites of bell pepper, pieces of red pepper, and a drenching—much more than a splash—of raspberry vinaigrette over a bed of baby greens. That was one serious salad!

Huck’s Chicken Salad at Huckleberry’s in Clovis. The Garlic Sourdough will get you every time

Huckleberry’s—2100 Clovis Ave., Clovis—Huckleberry’s in Clovis is the perfect stop before or after shopping at Costco. Breakfast or lunch, the Cajun/Creole style and the swamp/bayou/delta ambience is comfy and fun. Huck’s Chicken Salad is laid out in a display of seasoned chicken, crispy bacon, rounds of cucumber, tasty tomato, awesome avocado, and a hard-boiled egg over its greens. I poured on Ranch dressing for flavor, as if there wasn’t enough flavor on the plate already. (Excess isn’t always a bad thing.)

Chicken Spinach Salad at Irene’s in Fresno’s Tower District. A treat for the eye and mouth

Irene’s Café—747 E. Olive Ave., Fresno—The heartbeat of the Tower District, Irene’s is a great place for meeting and eating. I’m partial to spinach salads, and Irene’s has a Chicken Spinach Salad that fits the bill. Brown bacon bits, bleu cheese, red tomato, purple circles of onion, and deep, rosy, poppy seed dressing over green spinach and golden, crisp chicken. A treat for the taste buds and a colorful display for the eyes.

Mae West Chef’s Salad at Sandy’s Country Junction. “Come up and see me some time.”

Sandy’s Country Junction—532 Clovis Ave., Clovis—The place practically shouts, “Welcome to Old Town Clovis!” with its ranch-style décor. Who could pass up a menu with a Mae West Chef’s Salad on it? I was remembering lines like “Come up and see me some time” and “When I’m good, I’m very, very good. When I’m bad, I’m better” when a nine-inch-wide bowl was presented to me. Somewhere below mounds of shredded Jack and cheddar cheeses, squares of turkey cavorted with green onions, bacon and tomato hid under slices of boiled egg, and romaine lettuce waited for a soup-cup’s worth of Thousand Island dressing to pour down on it. Can you imagine? Yeah, you probably can. Two days later, I was still working through the leftovers.

Apple Pecan Chicken Salad at Yosemite Falls in Fresno. Apples & cranberries & pecans & chicken, oh my!

Yosemite Falls Café—5123 N. Blackstone Ave., Fresno—The first salad of the month, but the last restaurant alphabetically, YFC has branches across Fresno. The Apple Pecan Chicken Salad sounded intriguing. The menu said, “Must Try,” so I did. Grilled chicken, mixed greens, diced tomatoes, diced fresh apples, cranberries, caramelized pecans, Jack cheese, and Feta made a good impression, and my usual go-to of Ranch dressing topped it nicely.

The Verdict—There was a lot to like in this month’s salad sample. The apples, cranberries, and pecans at Yosemite Falls were an unusual combination. Irene’s poppy seed dressing was unique. The steak, cheese crumbles, and berry vinaigrette were taste bombs. The Garlic Sourdough on the side at Huckleberry’s was a major selling point. The sheer size of the salad bowl and the cup o’ dressing linger in the memory. And the winner is… Blossom Trail’s Carne Asada Salad, although Mae West almost stole the crown on size.

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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