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Jul 19, 2007 03:58 PM

Avenal & Coalinga

Spent the week at these two locations.

First Avenal - tried out a previously mentioned place - Debbie's place. This is a small biuilding, sits maybe 15. Burgers and fries. But good burgers. Can order mini or regular size of any burger. Is on Skyline (the main road in Avenal) near the 33. Tried but could not locate Jerry's (??) - that was mentioned on a previous thread. Was told that it might be in the downtown area but was unsuccessful in findng it.

Also, Las Playitas - opposite side of street from Shell station in a stand alone building. Again small venue, maybe seats 20 maximum but decent Mexican food. Had the huevos rancheros and the salsa topping the eggs was good. I am told this is owned by the same family that has the original place in Hanford.

Coalinga - Phil and Donna's Country Deli 250 Van Ness (corner of Van Ness and Elm) 559-935-3325. Again, mostly burgers, but also wraps and sandwiches. Potato salad is very good.

I also tried a Chineese place in town (stand alone building) but would not recommend it. Can't think of the name but since town is so small you can't really miss it.

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  1. New place to add.

    Stopped at Los Primos this afternoon. This is a panderia/tacqueria. (Having grown up near the border with Tijuana I have to say I had never heard of this particular combination in a storefront before.) Store is mainly a small tienda that also sells homemade bollilos and has a walk up counter where you can get tacos, tortas and tostatdos (as well as nachos). There is no indoor seating and one table outside.

    I ordered one carne asado taco and one torta with chili rojo (shredded beef in red sauce). There is also barbaqoa and chicken available. The man in front of me ordered two tacos de lengua (tongue) so apparently that was also available. The taco was above average, a bit dry but that could just be my taste. The torta came served on a large "baked on the premises" bollilo roll. The bread was excellent and fresh. For a mere $3 this was (by my standards) a fairly large sandwich. The hidden gem here though was the bollilos. I got there at about 1:00 p.m. and they walked a large cart of freshly made ones to the front. I ordered two of those as well. Very good, slightly sweet and still hot from the oven. For 20 cents a peice they were a steal.

    Tacos -$1.25
    Tortas - $3.00
    Tostadas $2.00 (I think).

    This place is just past Las Playitas (on the same side of the street) but before you reach State Market. (On your left side if you are coming from I-5 into town.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: tavmark

      Thanks tavmark, for this and other postings on the outskirts of the Fresno area. They will come in handy when we are traveling.

    2. Thanks to your post, tavmark, we had a great lunch in Avenal this past Monday on our way to the central coast. Actually, I first went looking for Taqueria La Reyna and discovered the old town that I'd never seen before. If you're traveling west on Skyline it's past the light just at the point you think you've gone past everything in town, King St. veers off to the right and TLR is on the right side just 2-3 blocks. Turns out they were closed, but not sure if it was Monday or due to some construction going on, scaffolds out front redoing the facade, not sure if it was occurring on the interior as well.

      We back tracked to Las Primas, just east the the signal and State Mkt. on the south side of Skyline. It's in a two story 'U' shaped bunch of businesses. We ordered a couple of al pastors, a carne asada, a carnitas, a tripas, and one other I can't recall. LadyPB got a fresh baked muffin that was cake like, very tasty, a pre-packaged rice puddy and flan, and with a canned soda the total came to $10. Very friendly folks running the place, we took our goodies to Floyd D. Rice Park (turn right at the signal which is 7th St. and go north a couple of blocks to the high school) and sat at a picnic table under the trees, great spot. The brick red salsa was very good, flecked with little bits of peppers. The meats were all tasty, the chunks of carnitas were tender but came off as a little dry maybe due to their size, the salsa solved that problem. I had the tripas all to myself and loved it, nice 1/2 inch slices of tender honey-comb tripe in an exceptional sauce. Just as we were leaving LP I noticed they also had cabeza and pescado, iirc. In any event the QPR alone demands a return visit.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PolarBear

        Glad you liked it. I also haven't had much luck with anything in "downtown" (i.e. old town) Avenal. I think there is a bar that's open but that's pretty much it.

      2. Bumping this older thread because me and the wife tried Debbie's Place on our way up north for a little vacation, and I have to tell people it really is a GREAT burger. Super juicy, couple of different options, decent enough fries (though the burger is definitely the star here), little hole in the wall type place with no pretensions, just great burgers. Very pleasant, polite service too. Definitely give a visit if you're a burger afficionado and are travelling either way on I5 (it's a bit of a drive to get there, but well worth it for the hungry traveller). By the way, we both went with the "smaller" burger (I forget what they call it) with bacon and cheese, I knew from reading up about them online that the regular full size burger was huge, and that turned out to be true from seeing another persons order.

        Debbie's Place
        429 Skyline Blvd, Avenal, CA 93204

        1 Reply
        1. re: Argent3

          Thanks for the reminder A3, will be passing through this coming weekend.

        2. Bumping up this thread again. On a cruise down King St. about ready to make a U-turn approaching the north end, discovered this little place, last one on the right. There was a vertical spit grill outside the door hooked up to a propane tank along with the words "al pastor" painted on the window, that was all the encouragement we needed.

          It's run by a married couple, Mustafa and Rosalinda (hope I got their names right) and they've only been open less that a year, iirc. We each tried an al pastor taco, Lady PB had a tostada camarones and I added two more tacos, one cabeza and one lengua. I didn't care that much for the lengu, kind of a chopped, stringy style. the pastor was good, but not quite up to our benchmark standard from Don Pepe's in Fresno. I thought the cabeza was outstanding, tender and flavorful. The camarones had a nice subtlle bit of head that snuck in, very tasty. Well browned chips and spicy red salsa were the starters.

          While we were there an older gentleman was placing a fresh spit of al pastor on the grill. We left stuffed for a total of @$11, but not before LadyPB learned that their flan is homemade, brought a huge piece home for all of $2. Really nice folks and nice place, can't wait to try more of their menu.

          El Cantarito
          141 E Kings St
          Avenal, CA 93204
          (559) 386-1845

          Just noticed on that other site the al pastor are only offered Fri-Sun, and menudo is available for $4 or $6 for the grande on Sat-Sun. Noted get there early since they've been known to run out by 10am.

          1 Reply
          1. re: PolarBear

            Flan report: LadyPB says skip it, more of a jello texture, not custardy at all, not bad, just weird.

          2. Is it true that Debbie's Place in Avenal closed down, does anyone know?

            3 Replies
            1. re: Argent3

              New owners took over a year ago this past May.

              1. re: PolarBear

                Oh, thanks. Are the burgers still worth driving out for if going north to south CA or vice-versa?

                1. re: Argent3

                  Can't recall if our last stop was within the year or not.