Restaurants & Bars 1

Nickel Tour of Fresno Chow

Melanie Wong | May 30, 2008 11:47 PM

Three weeks ago I headed to Fresno, a town I’d not visited for a couple decades. My objective was lunch at Hunan Restaurant to see for myself if the long-lost Chef Liu still had his chops. Yes, he does and then some.

Afterwards, “PolarBear” let me ride along with his friend on their dash about town picking up food for a big do. In between we braked for Armenian bakeries and paletas, and it all made for a great nickel tour before I had to blow out of town. Here’s my report on the paletas at La Reina de Michoacan, http://www.chowhound.com/topics/31248...

Fresno Deli was our first stop and turned out to be expanded since either was last here.
An interesting selection of Armenian cold cuts and sausages in the case but no time to buy and taste, unfortunately. I had an informative chat with a customer in the produce section about green plums (eat them with salt). One tray of filo pastries, and we were on our way next door.

Occasion Bakery in the next building over has a few tables on the sidewalk.

The family’s story from Armenia to Lebanon and then to Fresno is emblazoned on two walls.

One of the weekend’s specials was the Armenian equivalent of kunafah (aka kanefe) sandwiched in an sesame-crusted flatbread. It was heated for me, and that softened up the crispy parts by the time we got around to eating it. But I did like the bread very much.
I bought a spinach boreg to take home. Reheated for dinner, I wasn’t that taken with it.

Zamora’s cheery mural was a bright spot in a hard scrabble neighborhood.
Inside, the aroma of sizzling pork fat greeted my nose, and I admired the display of carnitas and chicharrones while PB’s catering order was assembled.
The food filled the entire trunk of the car, but made it back safely. The chile verde was delicious, can’t speak to the other things.

Then off to Pupusas Laurita.
Here’s the huge tray of tamales that PB ordered. And, for a bonus, the lady slipped a few sweet tamales onto the order. I liked the sweet tamale very much.

Lastly on my way out of town I stopped for gas at the Chevron station and noticed an Indian sweets shop in the strip mall across the road. Of course, I had to make one more stop to check it out. I found Star Indian Cuisine & Sweet Center. The menu offers up the the Punjabi (North Indian) standards, but also chaat and dessert items. I asked for jalabees, but none were available that day. The counter lady said that the gulab jamun had just been made. I asked if they were still hot, and when she nodded, I knew that’s what I wanted. This fresh, they were meltingly tender and I liked them very much even though the thin crust had gotten quite soft. The syrup had just a hint of rosewater and wasn’t overpowering. I’d love to hear how the chaat is here.

Four hours in town went by so fast. I’d love to hear from the locals what else these spots are good at to try next time.

850 N Fresno St, Fresno, CA

Hunan Restaurant
6716 N Cedar Ave Ste 104, Fresno, CA 93710

La Reina De Michoacan
720 E Belmont Ave, Fresno, CA 93701

Occasion Bakery
4573 N Fresno St, Fresno, CA

Fresno Deli
2450 E Gettysburg Ave, Fresno, CA 93726

Pupusodromo Laurita
619 Divisadero St, Fresno, CA

Star Indian Cuisine & Sweets Center
5348 W Spruce Ave, Fresno, CA 93722

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