Archive for the ‘Foodie Survival Kit’ Category
In case you missed my earlier post on Fresno, CA kicking off a series devoted to helping stranded foodies eat well in far –off U.S. lands – I’ve got another installment here on the birthplace of Michael Jackson and the deathbed of American manufacturing – good old Gary, Indiana.
This is a town that has clearly struggled on many levels – read miles of boarded-up housing, high unemployment, and financial woes. Along with that comes a commercial food scene dominated by KFC, Whitecastle, and Seven Eleven.
After much searching, there is one shiny establishment that offers an alternative to large fast food and that is Big Daddy’s BBQ.
A local husband-and-wife team brought their flea-market meat-smoking business up a notch and opened a full-scale eatery with several large “pits” out back churning out pulled pork, chicken, brisket and all sorts of goodness. They use a light, sweeter, tangy red sauce and the pulled pork sandwich I devoured was moist and truly beautiful.
So next time you’re in Gary (if you ever find yourself there), get your eat on with good BBQ from Big Daddy, who says: “The meat is the boss, then the sauce.”
- Big Daddy’s BBQ
- Phone: 1-219-888-9592
- Address: 4213 Cleveland St, Gary, IN 46408
Perhaps you’re stranded on a businazz trip in a strange city. You may be meeting your new in-laws in a foreign land. Or you could be taking a ‘mandatory’ family vacation to a food desert.
This “Foodie Survival” series is designed to equip the discerning grub snob with edible (and even destination-worthy) eats from all over. With a focus on second, third, or even fourth-tier cities – you’ll never get stuck at a Micky-D’s again.
Our first installment is Fresno, California. Just a few hours away from San Francisco but one would think it moon-pies away from being a natural food haven. It’s actually got some real gems which I’ll outline for you below:
TRELIO| 559.297.0783 | http://www.treliorestaurant.com/
Run by two brothers who are insanely serious about good local food, Trelio is technically in nearby Clovis but just a 15-minute jaunt from downtown Fresno.
You’ll find the food here very well executed and inventive. Pimp a phyllo wrapped goat brie with pistachio butter, central valley figs and aged balsamic. Get pumped by one of the best, thickest, juiciest bone-in pork chops you’ve ever noshed on over brussels ‘n bacon and cipollini onions.
Wash all that down with a beautiful west coast pinot and that’ll cure your jet lag from that eastern state you arrived from. Highly recommended…
LA ELEGANTE | (559) 497-5844 | Too small for a website
Whilst speaking with the head chef at Trelio at the end of the aforementioned meal, I asked for his reco on the best authentic Mexican cuisine in the area (having felt overwhelmed by the selection found on Yelp and nearly every street corner in the area). Without hesitation, he said – with a slight accent, a tilt of the head, and a sparkle in the eye: “La Elegante.” The Gypsy Kings rendition of Hotel California started playing in the background as he spoke and I immediately knew there was something special here…
Next day, we drove out to the sketchiness that is Kern St. in the “Chinatown” district of Fresno. Several minutes, four Mexican shops, two mean stares, and a request for 89 cents later, we finally found La Elegante. The food here was beyond words and hands-down the tastiest no-frills homemade Mexican food this Bostonian gringo has ever tasted. Amazing soft tortillas stuffed with really flavorful carnitas and accompanied by beautiful rice and beans. Everything from this spot looked amazing.
Word to the wise – I only recommend coming to this neighborhood in broad daylight. But the food is too good to pass up.
On our final day in town, we decided to hit this much-lauded Armenian joint. You first think: “Armenian food in Fresno? Boy, you be playin.’ “ But oh was my shish kebab the most wonderfully-seasoned lamb over fragrant rice and veggies. Simple. Delicious. Cheap.
At the end of the day, Fresno greatly surprised me with the food it offered. You’ll do much better going with smaller no-frills joints than seeking-out something upscale. But for that one nice dinner while you’re in town – Trelio is not far away.
Hope these suggestions fill your inner foodie with glee on the next boondoggle.