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La Cabana revisited in North Fork (Sierra Nevada near Fresno)

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Restaurants & Bars

La Cabana revisited in North Fork (Sierra Nevada near Fresno)

PolarBear | May 30, 2005 06:09 PM

Week ago last Sat. for Lady PB's BD, took a drive up to Whiskey Falls with her sister and our BIL. We timed our trip to catch an early dinner at La Cabana on the way home. Found out on our previous visit that the specials are only available after 5:30pm.

Three specials were on the menu, a Prawn dish with a salsa of mango, pineapple and miniature grapes, Chicken Fajitas, and a Braised Beef dish. All come with rice, black beans, and a couple of different vegetable relishes, IIRC.

We asked the chef if he could make a Queso Fundido in the style of the former Don Fernando's in Fresno (the owner's brother), unfortunately he knew what we were referring to but lacked some of the ingredients.

There was no soup offered on this evening we decided to each have a carnitas taco (1.25 ea) as an appetizer. We all noted this was a little pricier than usual since we're accustomed to getting two at this rate. Each had two small fresh corn tortillas one atop the other and two large chunks of the tastiest fork tender pork we've ever experienced. The meat was moist, flavorful and stringy, no resemblance whatever to the small overcooked pieces one often sees. Had to restrain ourselves from ordering another round to save room for the specials we'd ordered.

The four of us got two orders of the prawns and mango salsa, an order of the chicken fajitas, and an order of the beef special and shared among ourselves.

BIL and SIL haven't stopped raving about the prawns, cooked perfectly with subtle spices and a citrus note (orange maybe?), the fruit matching perfectly. We also all agreed that the chicken fajitas were the best we'd ever had, moist and full of flavor but the sauce took it over the top, deep and rich, cannot do it justice with words. The braised beef appeared much like the chunks of pork on the tacos, a little larger but again with yet a different flavor experience.

We split a couple of the housemade flans for dessert which were OK, but didn't come near the wow factor of the specials and tacos.

About half way through our meal a lady went and retrieved a guitar for one of the locals whom she said had a great voice, we were skeptical until he played and sang a Mexican ballad that Linda Ronstad had recorded (sorry didn't get the name), at the urging of us and the other diners he continued doing Marty Robbin's El Paso, one from Roy Orbison, an Elvis tune and several others, each as good if not better than the original artists. Truly, dinner and a show.

Total bill for the four of us with 3 beers came to around $80 pre-tip, figured the specials ranged between $14-16.

LC isn't fancy but the staff is warm and friendly and it's almost like having dinner at someone's home. With the Friday evening Jazz at the Lake series about to kick into gear for the summer at Bass Lake just about 7 miles away, we'll be taking the back roads there, bypassing the dining options at Chukchansi casino, Oakhurst and the lake to sample more of Mr. Arce and company's wonderful food.

Reservations are highly advised, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, also not sure if they take credit cards or checks. Open til around 9pm weekends, closed Sunday and Monday.

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