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! Due to some computer issues, this column is a week later, but hey better late than never.
I’ve lived in the Sanger area for a long time, and DiCicco’s Sanger has always been there: close, convenient, and basic Italian cookery. Recently, nobody in the family wanted to cook and I didn’t want to go all the way into Fresno. We chose DiCicco’s, and things had changed. The place still had the familiar semi-dark atmosphere, the carpet with grape designs in it, tables, booths, black outfits on the servers, and faux-Italian-village painted walls. What was different was the menu.Changing the menu usually means changing the prices. Well, yeah. The DiCicco’s Sanger menu hadn’t changed in seven years, and costs for ingredients had gone up. What jumped out at me more than the prices were the look-at-that moments in scanning the bill of fare. There are new menu items, and I’ve had fun exploring “brave new dishes.”
Calzones are those friendly little footballs of goodness, usually hard-cooked to a crusty brown. What would a Seafood Calzone ($15.95) be like? Scallops, shrimp, fresh mushrooms, tomatoes, and mozzarella, doused in either a red sauce or a white sauce, and enjoy (I favor the white sauce). It’s a soft pasta, not a shell that needs a chisel in addition to a knife to break through to the succulent contents.
Florence, Italy, is known for cuisine that Popeye the Sailor Man would love—it features spinach. Chicken Florentine ($16.95) at DiCicco’s Sanger has chicken, spinach, and mushrooms, topped with mozzarella and lovingly baked. The chicken is still soft and tender, not overcooked, and the spinach is pillowy.
Combine a tomato sauce and an alfredo sauce, and what do you get? They call it a Pink Sauce. Gia’s Pasta ($15.85) has chicken and pasta in a pink sauce, served al forno, baked with cheese. To me, it evoked images of whitecaps surging across a bay at sunset. My wife’s description of it was simpler: “yum-yum.”
Vinnie’s Pasta ($15.85) teams meatballs, sausage, Bell peppers, red sauce, and rigatoni with that al forno style. I don’t know if it’s the sausage or the meatballs, but it has a stealth heat that creeps up on you, building to the molten-lava level about the time you get home. I found it exquisite, and my wife loved it…until she was convinced that her tongue was peeling.
There are other new additions to the menu. Don’t be afraid to travel beyond the familiar territory of spaghetti, pizza, lasagna, and fettuccini alfredo. Press on to the undiscovered country [Not Death (Shakespeare) or Klingons (Star Trek VI): but dishes you haven’t tried].
Check out more food articles and more of Terrance’s Great Food Search column in our Food Fun section.