Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Local Food

If you could recommend 3 eateries that represented where you live what would they be?

imageThis is tough for me in Bakersfield.   There are a bunch for me to pick from; but I need to narrow the field to 3 (with absolutely no chains).  Here’s my recommendations:

1.  Wool Growers – Basque food.  Loads of food.  Loads of socializing.  Loads of atmosphere.  The Basque came to Kern County to raise sheep.  Many Basque hotels and restaurants thrived near the train station to cater to immigrants arriving in Bakersfield.  Some establishments are still here with a rich history and loyal clientele.


2.  Dewar’s – Ice cream and candy shop.  This place has been around for awhile (1909).  All the locals know about chews, Black & Whites, and George’s Specials.


3.  Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace – Entertainment and food.  I picked the Crystal Palace because so many people think of Buck Owens when they think of Bakersfield.  The entertainment is great the food is alright.  However, I know many enjoy the gigantic chicken fried steaks.image


Other finalists include:  Mexicalli, Zingo’s, Milt’s, Bill Lee’s Bamboo Chopsticks, Fish Lips, the Highland Cafe, Westchester Bowl, 24th Street Cafe.

When you’re passing through Bakersfield on your way to somewhere else, stop in and spend some money.  We appreciate your visit.

If you can come up with 3 representatives for where you live, let me know.


L said...

NO Jacolitos?


Jacalito's suffers due to the May 1walk out in my country a few years ago. I cannot recommend them.

Mexicalli (downtown)is a place I like. The salsa is sweet. The bar has quite a following too. The remodeling of the nearby canal and park are adding the the atmosphere downtown too.

Anonymous said...

Love the Buck Owens photo - how are you, anyhow? My husbands favorite song is Streets of Bakersfield, Dwight Yoakum high lonesome all the better.

Aunt Snow said...

What's Basque food like, I don't have an idea?

I love the neon sign.

Representatives where we live - gosh, that's hard. I could go with our local high-end/health food joint, except I haven't eaten there for 10 years. Yet it is emblematic of our area, since any time I tell someone where I live they all go, "oh, I had dinner at [Name] isn't it wonderful?" Or I could go with our local watering hole, which actually has great food.

Or I could go toward our local beach, the gateway to our community, and there's the best Thai restaurant on the West Side.

Then there's my kitchen...


Aunt Snow: Basque food is "peasant" food. At Wool Growers you start with a set up (Lunch = vegetable soup, salad,tomatoes w/ peppers & onions, cheese, beans, salsa, sourdough (Pyrenees)& butter)followed by an entree if you have room. I typically have a hamburger or shrimp. My husband usually has a steak.

The set up at dinner adds spaghetti, pickled tongue, and french fries to the set up.

(I recommend wearing elastic waist pants.)

For your recommendations, just let me know where you like to eat.


By the way, other Basque restaurants serve family style. This is where everyone is seated at meal time and the food is brought out and passed around.

Lisa Paul said...

Here are my three recommendations for Sonoma (so many great restaurants, but you said only three):

Number one would be The Girl & The Fig right on the Plaza. It's beautiful French country food, all locally sourced ingredients, seasonal menus and a strict Rhone or Rhone-style wine list (no Cabs or Chards, but Grenache, Mourvedre, Cincault, Viogner and other Rhone style varietals or blends -- the kind we're making). There are two completely different scenes: the dining room is more for groups or tourists, but the local action is up at the bar (where you can also eat). We seldom show up there without meeting one of the famous local winemakers who often have their wines on the menu. Order one and chances are the bartenders (and G&F has the best) will probably send over the winemaker to talk to you.

Next up: if you have kids or you just want a no-fuss, great meal: Mary's Pizza Shack -- which originally was a shack out on Highway 12, but is now has a lovely restaurant on the Plaza. Founded by a Sicilian mother of ten in the Forties and still family-run, this is the place for wood-fired pizzas (with fresh local ingredients), great pasta dishes and classics like Veal Marsala. This is the kind of place where you'll find the local baseball team celebrating the big win, and farmers relaxing with family and friends after the harvest.

Finally, Della Santina just off the Plaza. It's hands-down one of the best Northern Italian restaurants in the Bay Area (where Northern Italians were the dominant Mediterranean immigrants). Plus it is one of the loveliest restaurants for a warm summer night since it has an extensive, vine-draped back patio. You'll also recognize the front of it as the "sets" used in the movie "Bottle Shock". One section of it stood in for Steven Spurrier's wine store in Paris.

Just a note, I think you were a bit rough on Buck's place. Sure, it's not haute cuisine, but stick with the steaks and the meal is wonderful. And you can't beat the music. We saw Buck's son's band the night we went. Where else can you see live music (with an excellent sound system that didn't kill your ears) and stroll a museum of Buck-a-phenalia.


Lisa - Thanks for the great recommends.

Life With Dogs said...

There are too many great choices here, but we live in the boonies, so you're not likely to happen across them. :)

Babe said...

Mmmmmmmm, mmmmmmmm!
Nothin' like a good can of worms!

Mrs. Mac said...

I so much enjoy local regional food than any chain hands down. Our three local eateries are:

GW Hunters (a woodsy family run place with plenty of wild game on the menu and hanging 'stuffed' on the walls.

Hudsons (a little hamburger stand in downtown Coeur d'Alene that's been around since the early 1900's .. standing room only .. no French fries .. always packed.

Chef In The Forest, a hidden A-frame hamlet across the lake from my home. It burned down on New Year's Eve ... but the owners are rebuilding. A 5 star in a podunk town.