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May 18, 2012 12:12 PM

Fresno Dilemma

Fresno dilemma--an embarrassment of riches.

With Fresno the two night pivot point for our swing through the High Sierras, our mid-June Fresno chow choices have been narrowed to two of these three, in no particular order:
--Cracked Pepper Bistro

Questions--what's needed is current 411:
--Are all three of the above hitting on all cylinders right now?
--We love Peruvian food and several years ago enjoyed Mochica (the Mission location) in San Francisco quite a bit. Is Limon of better quality? If yes, this would be valuable info.

--For several self-catered breakfast/lunches while in the national parks, we have jotted down Occasion Bakery (even if we miss their Friday falafel special) and Fresno Deli; would Izi's be redundant?
--Hunan, as impressive as I truly believe it to be based on chowhounds' accolades, echoes the several fine Sichuan places here in Atlanta that we regularly patronize. Plus, we are only two, and two could never do justice to such a menu as Chef Liu's.
--Don Pepe's. There is never enough weekend carnitas. lengua or barbacoa de borrego or fresh shrimp in all its forms and manners of preparation, nor sufficient time to eat it. Thank goodness that we don't lack for three of the four (fresh wild caught shrimp is increasingly hard to come by) here at home.

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  1. My first vote would be Trelio - always awesome; as between CPB and Limon have not been to either in a while but just heard from a friend who was in town that Limon was excellent - so on that basis I will go with Limon (having said that, if you NEED a bread pudding fix, then CPB wins that contest easily).

    2 Replies
    1. re: tavmark

      +1 on Trelio, especially if you're into wine, but arguably one of, if not the top places in the area.. Would also bump up CPB for their Eggplant Napolean as well as their stellar bread pudding. Need to return to Limon, like Tavmark have not been for a while, but the good reviews keep coming in, BTW, same family as the SF landmark resto.

      1. re: PolarBear

        We haven't been to Trelio in awhile but have always enjoyed our meals there in the past. Cracked Pepper Bistro produces some awesome food, make a reservation there. Another one of our favorites where we are weekly regulars when we are in town is Campagnia. They have a lovely atrium room there and the food is delicious. :)

    2. # 1 - Trelio. We have been several times within the past year & have not been disappointed.

      Tie for #2 & #3. Re. Limon, we were huge fans & had a number of great dinners & lunches at its old location. We went for dinner at the new location on Feb. 15th & were hugely disappointed. Hopefully it was a blip on the radar, maybe b/c it was the day after Valentine's Day, but all 3 of us were less than impressed. It makes me hesitate to recommend Limon at this point. To pay that much & be disappointed is hard to overcome.

      Re. Cracked Pepper. I can't criticize the food & I know many people who love it. The menu simply doesn't resonate with me in the way that Trelio's & Limon's do. I'm not sure it's fair to complain about that, as it comes down to taste, but it keeps me from loving the Cracked Pepper. It's definitely not a criticism of the quality, though.

      8 Replies
      1. re: browndogs2

        browndogs2 and everyone, great feedback.

        Good news. Just the kind of current 411 I was hoping for.
        Bad news. After Trelio, choice for our first night remains murky.

        We have several weeks, however, until our mid-June trip. Rather than making one choice at a distance, It's all about gathering options based on how we feel after a cross country trip and the drive north up I-5, everyones 'humour' and so forth. if it weren't for the fact that we are self-catering rather than eat National Park provender for four of the next five days, I'd be happy that first night with an Armenian deli takeout spread, a couple of stiff drinks and a bottle of wine. Since there is a birthday about that weeknight, however, the odds are we'll go out somewhere not too far from our Shaw Ave digs.

        Your feedback is greatly valued.

        1. re: Steve Drucker

          What part of Shaw Ave, it's a rather long street.

          1. re: Steve Drucker

            And to throw a completely different suggestion into the mix - I have been told by friends who usually have very good recommendations that the Thai place (Thai Gem I think) at the NE corner of Blackstone and Shaw (in the strip mall behind the Denny's) is excellent. I haven't been yet.

            1. re: tavmark

              Love Thai. The following week we'll be at Lotus of Siam in Las better half enjoys it and humors me.

              Re GPS411 from Polar Bear below. All things being equal, CPB has the highest first night probability.

              Except that on a deep and resonant level, Browndogs2 and I are on the same wavelength, re what Browndogs2 wrote up thread: 'The (CPB) menu simply doesn't resonate with me in the way that Trelio's & Limon's do.'

              Hence the Fresno Dilemma!

            2. re: Steve Drucker

              A mile west at the NE corner of Shaw and Palm is Fig Garden Village where The Ripe Tomato is located. Just heard from trusted pals that they are back on their game. I would call first to make sure Rudy is in the kitchen, his Rock Shrimp and Brie appetizer is legendary. Walking distance, a half mile east at the SW corner at Fresno St. is Cracked Pepper Bistro, chef Vatche packs 'em in so be sure and make resos even if it's a week night. Flemings is on the SE corner just a little farther.

              1. re: PolarBear

                I would be curious to hear more opinions about the Ripe Tomato, good or bad, with respect to what is going on over there currently. We've been a number of times over the past few years. It can be phenomenal but we've also had some disappointing meals, including a weekday lunch a few months ago. We went Mother's Day weekend, on Sat. night, & it was off in our opinions. The salads were tired & the champagne was warm. Nothing seemed fresh. They were slammed, but we've been disappointed several times lately by supposedly great restaurants & I'm tired of excusing them based on holiday weekends (Limon being another example). I will say the corn chowder did not disappoint. I hope they get things ironed out.

                I just read Limon's menu again & we will definitely give it another chance. It was one of our favorites before the Feb. 15th mess.

                1. re: browndogs2

                  It sounds like some up and down in the kitchen staffing at Limon? Would be very interested in your next experience there. Restaurants are a very tough business.