Thursday, June 29, 2017

When a visitor comes to town, it's time for Wool Grower's, Uricchio's Trattoria, Pyrennes Cafe and other iconic Bakersfield haunts, and get ready for a new gelato introduced for Luigi's Delicatessen and Sully's

 * ... FAMILY VISIT: What do you do with a visiting relative when you want to show them the best of
our town? I spent a few days with my 90-year-old step-father visiting from Scottsdale and, as always, he insisted on eating at some of our "authentic" Bakersfield restaurants. My picks: dinners at Uricchio's Trattoria, Jin Sushi and Wool Grower's with libation stops at The Padre Hotel and the new Silver Fox Lounge across the street from Mexicali downtown. Some of his favorites: the fried calamari at Uricchio's. the pickled tongue and osso bucco at Wool Grower's, and the long cool bar at Pyrennes Cafe under the fans on a hot day.

 * ... GELATO: And speaking of summer treats, make sure you tune into KERO TV anchor Tim Calahan's "Made in Kern County" series next Thursday to see his report on a new gelato being introduced locally. It's called "Gino's Gelato" and will be available at Luigi's Delicatessen and various Sully's locations. Who doesn't think this will be a hit this summer?

 * ... STEAKHOUSE: For all you fans of KC Steakhouse, be advised the popular downtown eatery will be closed July 2-July 5 and will resume normal business hours on Thursday, July 6. On the following Friday the family-owned restaurant will hold a "re-grand opening party." 

* ... HEAT: In light of the death of 48-year-old attorney Benjamin Greene during a 5K run hosted by the Bakersfield Track Club (BTC), I spoke with Dr. Raj Patel of Preferred Family Care about the dangers of exercising in extreme heat. His tip: make sure you rehydrate with liquids that contain electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium). Simply downing more water made be counter-productive because it does not contain the electrolytes that combat cramping and fatigue. His recommendation: coconut water or Pedialyte.

* ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "I only eat tacos on days that end with a 'y.'"

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "When I see names carved into a tree I don’t think it’s cute, I just think it's strange how many people take knives on a date."

 * ... CONSTRUCTION: The folks who live in Oleander are complaining that the repaving of California Avenue between Oak and H street has them boxed in, and it's not getting any better. The rebuilding of that stretch of California will take all summer to complete, adding to the already tough bottleneck at California and the Oak Street bridge for those motorists trying to get to Highway 99. Stay away from this stretch at all costs.

* ... WESTEROS: Looking for a way to get out of the heat over the Fourth of July holiday? If you are a fan of the wildly popular HBO series "Game of Thrones' as I am, be advised HBO2 will air the entire previous six seasons beginning Saturday. This will catch you up wth the entire series leading into the seventh (and final?) year that airs on July 16.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A writer explores the barrios and neighborhoods of east Bakersfield, my search for the best watermelon margarita in town and Motel Radio will appear at Temblor Brewing Co.

 * ... CHRIS ARNADE: Chris Arnade is a former Wall Street investor who for the past year has been traveling the country visiting the poorer areas of our nation to learn more about the issues that divide us. After driving from the east coast he ended up in Kern County recently where he spent time in east
Bakersfield visiting his favorite haunts for the poor: small churches, the local McDonald's and neighborhoods. His reports appear via Twitter and his last two tweets were these: "The US right now is massively divided. The biggest division is race. Even after Obama. The next biggest division is education." And he added this: "I have rarely seen as large a homeless community, relative to town size, as here in Bakersfield."

* ... MARGARITAS: Here's a followup valentine to my friend Dee Rhodes, who challenged me to find the best watermelon margarita in town. One reader, Derek Vaughn, wrote that "the watermelon margarita at Nuestro Mexico is the best I have ever had. They ran out of watermelon one day and the owner went to the store and bought more so he could make them for all of us." Blair Budai, a lighting specialist, chimed in that Centro 18 "serves one that is amazing. I think the best include jalapeƱo." While having lunch at Eureka Burger in the Southwest this weekend, I ordered one off the menu and it too was outstanding.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "Fish don’t seem that stupid to me. If a burrito dropped out of the sky and hung in mid-air I would probably eat it."

* ...MOTEL RADIO: Looking for some fresh and inspiring music this week? If so check out the New Orleans-based band Motel Radio that will be appearing at Temblor Brewing Co. on Thursday evening. Grab a bite in Temblor's restaurant and then enjoy this evolving group featuring Americana music. The music starts at 7:30 p.m. and get your tickets online at

 * ... GARTH BROOKS: How about this for popularity: The Garth Brooks concert scheduled for the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles sold out in just 30 seconds, breaking the fair's record for the fastest one-day sell out. Brooks added a second show that is now scheduled for 10:30 p.m. on July 27. Tickets will be on sale at noon on Thursday, June 29.

 * ... GOODWILL: Goodwill Industries is opening its sixth store in Bakersfield this week, going into the space of the old Orchard Supply building at Ming Avenue and Ashe Road. This new space occupies 18,000 square feet of the building and will employ 28 people.

 * ... DAN BLOCKER: John Rodenburg wrote to remember the time that Bonanza star Dan Blocker (Hoss Cartwright on the show) frequented Bakersfield. "Regarding your recent columns concerning Dan Blocker, my mother Johanna Rodenburg believes he was grand marshal of the Bakersfield Christmas Parade in 1960 rather than 1961. I have no reason to doubt her as her memory of such past events is both legendary and scary. She was at the parade that night, standing at the old Foster Freeze at Chester and 10th Street in extremely foggy conditions. She also noted that Lorne Greene of Bonanza fame was part of that same parade. "