Bakersfield Life Magazine July 2017

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July 2017




5:01 PM



The Food Issue

Carla Barrientos, Cameron Guinn and Sarah Brooks: Three of our 20 rising stars. $3.95

Leaders and role models

20 Under 40 People to Watch

• 20 restaurant profiles • Food festival calendar • Where local restauranteurs like to eat out • 10 cheap eats under $10

That’s Italian! Dining Divas, Food Dudes go to Luigi’s and Slice of Italy



Connected Playful A fresh new way of living is waiting for you within the exclusive gated enclave of Belcourt Gallery. With homes offering a signature style of elegance and subtle sophistication. Eminently comfortable and functional, yet deliciously rich in detail and design. Gracious exteriors, exquisitely crafted interior features and finishes, and spacious indoor/outdoor living areas for family gatherings and entertaining. An unmistakably unique sense of place. Irresistibly different in every way. SIX MODELS NOW OPEN

Two New Neighborhoods Coming Soon

Belcourt Gallery

Now Selling, a private, gated community


New Homes Coming Soon






By Woodbridge Pacific Group

By Woodbridge Pacific Group

By Woodbridge Pacific Group

By John Balfanz Homes

2,555 - 3,509 Square Feet 3 - 5 Bedrooms 3 - 5 Baths 3-Car Garage Base Price Low $400,000s 661-663-0500

2,965 - 4,162 Square Feet 4 - 5 Bedrooms 3.5 - 5.5 Baths 4-Car Garage Base Price Mid $400,000s 661-663-0600

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1,900 – 2,300 Square Feet 2 – 4 Bedrooms 2.5 – 3.5 Baths 2-Car Garage Base Price Low $300,000s

2,150 – 2,600 Square Feet 2 – 5 Bedrooms 2 – 3.5 Baths 3-Car Garage Base Price Mid $300,000s

14,000-32,000 Square Foot Lots From the mid $100,000s

Belcourt entrance at White Lane and Windermere Street. 12100 White Lane, Bakersfield, CA 93311 Mahogany and Patina Sales Office Hours: Thursday – Tuesday 10 – 5, Wednesday 1 – 5, Sunday 11– 5 The improvements, amenities, information and materials described herein are intended to provide general information about proposed plans of the developer and are subject to change or cancellation without notice. Renderings and depictions are not to scale and are an artist’s conception of proposed future development of the property depicted. All square footages are approximate. Land uses are conceptual only, subject to government approvals and market factors. -JGFTUZMF QIPUPHSBQIZ EPFT OPU SFnFDU BOZ FUIOJD PS SBDJBM QSFGFSFODF $" 3& -JDFOTF

hey made switching banks so easy for us. They did everything just short of making tortillas!”

P ASCUAL & P ATRICIA G ARCIA La Cabaña Mexican Restaurant Family-owned businesses are the strength of our community. La Cabaña Mexican Restaurant has been locally owned and operated in Bakersfield for more than 30 years, with Pascual Garcia leading the restaurant operations for the past 25 years. He and his wife, Patricia, and his business partners moved their business banking to Valley Republic Bank because they value the local relationships and service that comes with a local banker. “Frankly, Valley Republic stays one step ahead of us. Their ability to anticipate our needs is absolutely astonishing.”

Local. Responsive. Reliable. 5000 California Avenue, Suite 110 | 4300 Coffee Road, Suite A6 11330 Ming Avenue, Suite 400 510 Woollomes Avenue, Suite 106, Delano | 661.371.2000 Valley Republic Bancorp (VLLX)

JULY 2017


Dining Guide Feeling hungry? Check out our annual Dining Guide to Bakersfield’s best dining spots. Page 55


20 Under 40 See this year’s group of young leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators and role models. Page 70

For the record: The 5th Annual Roger Gunning Memorial Tournament took place April 27 at Bakersfield Country Club. The name of the event and its location were incorrect in the June issue.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

JULY 2017

DEPARTMENTS Up Front Thinking of getting into the food truck business? Get the pros and cons in “Money Matters” on Page 14.

Eat & Drink Check out the reviews from the Dining Divas and Food Dudes on their visit to Luigi’s and Slice of Italy. Feeling like cooking tonight? Try out the recipe for Fuzion On’s for Grilled pork sandwich on Page 32.

Lifestyles Think Rubik’s Cubes are just for fun and games? Not so at the Rubik’s Cube competition held at Golden Valley High School. See what the fastest time was on Page 37.


Go & Do We are a foodie kind of town; get the yearly overview on food festivals in Bakersfield on Page 40. Readers pick their top lunch spots for cheap eats on Page 42.

B Well



94 Up Front 13 The Big Picture 14 Money Matters 15 Word on the Street 16 Arts & Culture 17 12 Things ... 18 Happenings

24 Food Dudes 28 Lunchtime Picks 32 What’s Cooking

Eat & Drink 20 Dining Divas

Go & Do 40 Entertainment

Bakersfield Life Magazine

Lifestyles 34 What’s Haute 36 Pastimes 38 Tech Talk

July 2017

42 Out & About 44 Trip Planner B Well 46 Get Moving 52 Your Body 53 Love and Life People & Community 82 Business Profiles

42 90 Bakersfield Matters 91 Millennial Voices 92 Personality 94 All-Star Athlete 96 For A Cause 98 Our Town 100 History 102 Prime Finds 104 SNAP! 110 Last Word

Pale is the new tan. Get skin care tips for summer on Page 52.

People & Community Meet a real-life Train Robber, Nick Vehlewald, in “All-Star Athlete” on Page 94. “Last Word” on Page 110 wraps up Bakersfield’s food scene from the perspective of a local Yelper.

STAFF SHARES Bakersfield’s Premier City Magazine July 2017 / Vol. 11 / Issue 10 Bakersfield Life™ Magazine is published by TBC Media Publisher Ginger Moorhouse Associate Publisher Virginia Cowenhoven


A few of our featured 20 Under 40 honorees: Carla Barrientos, Cameron Guinn and Sarah Brooks. Cover photo by Jonah and Lindsay

Coming Next … To Advertise, contact

Joey Zachary at jzachary@bakersfield. com or 395-7363.

Sales and Marketing Director Joey Zachary

Specialty Publications Coordinator Laura Liera Art Director Glenn Hammett Graphic Designer Holly Bikakis

We want to give a shout out! You may have noticed that our social media postings have dropped off. Specialty Publications Coordinator Laura Liera, who kept everyone up-to-date on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with what we were up to, has moved on in her career. We will miss her enthusiasm, can-do attitude and, of course, the many birthday cakes she made for co-workers at TBC Media. Best wishes Laura in your future career!

Subscribe – The magazine is inserted into The Bakersfield Californian on the last Saturday of every month and available with The Californian through its digital subscription. For business subscriptions, please call 661-392-5777. Bakersfield Life Magazine

Editor Jim Lawitz

Assistant Managing Editor Mark Nessia

Kern Life


President/CEO Michelle Chantry

July 2017

Specialty Publications Intern Amy Daigle Photography Felix Adamo, Terrence Banks, Henry A. Barrios, Holly Bikakis, Casey Christie, Laura Liera, Jonah and Lindsay, Mark Nessia, Greg Nichols, Carla Rivas, Rod Thornburg Contributing writers Maureen Buscher-Dang, Nina Ha, Lisa Kimble, Lindsay Long, Stephen Lynch, Shelby Parker, Julie Plata, McKenzie Swisshelm, Chris Thornburgh

Foods we love this month. “A hearty ‘eskerrik asko’ to Bernadette at Noriega’s. Gracious and small in stature, she always amazes us with her ability to juggle multiple platters heaped with Basque delicacies. It is as if we are dining at Faustino Noriega’s family home in Santander near the Pyrenees mountains of Spain.” – Lisa Kimble, contributing writer “The jumbo crispy shrimp at Sizzler is a delicious dish that serves more sustenance for the individual to eat.” – Amy Daigle, specialty publications intern “I’ve got a crave-on for Uricchio’s linguine and clams, so I’ll have to satisfy that very soon! You can easily see that Claire and the rest of the staff love what they do, and that is what makes this family tradition con– Linda Petree, advertising tinue!” account executive “Fuzion On lives up to its name by combining Mexican and Asian flavors to create innovative dishes that are unique, fresh and absolutely delicious.” – Mark Nessia, assistant managing editor “I love pizza. My favorite pizza is Tony’s pepperoni pizza with pineapples. I love pineapple on my pizza! LR’s chili verde pizza in Delano is also AMAZING!” – Andrea Flores, account executive “Our family loves a good acai bowl. I like it overflowing with juicy blueberries, creamy peanut butter, hearty granola and tantalizing honey. Brazilian Acai Bowls even has live music on Friday nights!” – Nina Ha, contributing writer

We want to hear from you – Send comments or letters to the editor to Mark Nessia at Please include name, city and phone number. We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and to excerpt them.

Contact us – 1707 Eye St. Bakersfield, CA 93301 661-395-7500

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT Food is essential to life. Not only does it sustain our bodies, it fuels our souls – its influence and impact affecting us in more ways than we realize. Food is the ultimate unifier, common ground for allies and adversaries. At dining tables around the globe, friendships are formed, potential partners are courted and quarrels are put to an end. To “break bread” is to strengthen relationships, put past differences aside and incite laughter. Food is a universal language that is understood by all. Many values, traditions and cultures are passed down in the kitchen, succeeding where words may fail. A recipe by itself is merely a list of ingredients and the steps required to put a dish together. It’s the attention to detail and the tender care of its execution by those involved in its creation that breathe life into the process. A little girl helping her mom bake cookies using a recipe that was passed down by her mother may not understand the significance of the moment, but she will always remember the experience and its sweet results. Food is tied to memory, taking us back to certain destinations and reminding us of specific people in our lives. There’s a sense of nostalgia attached to meals that were consumed at key points in one’s life. From favorite dishes that take you back to your childhood to what you and your significant other ordered on your very first date, the food not only helps create a memorable experience, it is forever connected to the memory itself. Food is linked to emotion – a tangible representation of caring.

There’s a reason why Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day are the busiest holidays for restaurants. Treating someone can be a way of saying “I love you” without actually saying it. But these are also the homemade meals that take time and energy to prepare and await those at the end of their day and, more importantly, provide an opportunity to sit down and enjoy together. Food sparks innovation and creativity. From business lunches to late-night brainstorming sessions around boxes of cold pizza, great minds work best when well-fed. A popular example is how a lunch meeting between John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Joe Ranft and Pete Docter involving sketches on napkins led to four of Pixar’s greatest films: “A Bug’s Life,” “Monsters, Inc.,” Finding Nemo” and “WALL-E.” Food is medicine. Offering temporary solace, food can help mend a broken heart along with other aches and pains life can throw at us. The term “comfort food” is typically associated with security and its consumption leaves us feeling whole again. There’s no denying the power of food. Its ingredients bind us together and like all great foods, the more you have, the more you want. Food is love. So eat up.

Mark Nessia Assistant Editor 395-7383


Amy Daigle is an intern at Bakersfield Life Magazine. She is very outgoing, enjoys writing and loves food. She is also a student at Bakersfield College majoring in communications. Although she has a passion for journalism and public relations, she also enjoys exploring other fields.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

Connect with us – Instagram/bakersfield_life


Find out who’s coming to town in “Happenings” on Page 18.

The Big Picture / Money Matters / Word on the Street / Arts & Culture / 12 Things / Happenings

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY Last year, the best way to stay cool and see the fireworks was to be in or near the water at The Park at River Walk. Photo by Rod Thornburg


Up Front


Food trucks vs. brick-and-mortar restaurants LOW OVERHEAD

By Chris Thornburgh

The restaurant business is not for the faint of heart but it’s not stopping the food truck phenomenon. Some entrepreneurs are starting small as food trucks before plunging into a full-blown brickand-mortar restaurant. If you are considering acting on your food truck fantasy instead of enduring another day with the boss, let’s look at the pros and cons of the typical food truck business. Below are common advantages of a food truck.

LOW INVESTMENT ENTRY It’s no secret that opening a food truck is a much lower investment than a brick-and-mortar restaurant. The main cost is buying your own truck, which can range from $25,000 to $100,000 but most fall in the middle. If you’re not quite ready to commit to purchasing, renting is also an option, which typically ranges between $2,000 to $3,000 per month.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION One of the key ingredients to a restaurant’s success is location. Being mobile, food trucks can simply drive to a more profitable site if a location is not cutting it. 14

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July 2017

Food trucks don’t bear the larger overhead of brick-and-mortar restaurants. The costs of wide-ranging staff, utilities and property taxes of typical brick-and-mortar restaurants can really stack up.

FLEXIBILITY Operating a food truck allows culinary entrepreneurs to modify their brand or image easier before expanding. That said, you don’t want to constantly be changing your image if you want to build your customer base.

SMALL-SCALE LEARNING Food truck operators can learn the skills and knowledge needed to start and maintain a successful restaurant on a smaller scale. Many kinks can be worked out before opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant. If the romanticism of leaving behind your day job for a food truck business is still calling your name, let’s look at common drawbacks for a clearer picture.

RED TAPE Be prepared for ever-changing regulations, permits and licenses – even between cities and counties. There is a lot of pressure to add new rules

and regulations prohibiting the operation of food trucks within certain distances of established restaurants. For example, last year, the city of Bakersfield passed an ordinance regulating food trucks’ hours of operation, number of tables and chairs allowed, and distance from brick-andmortar restaurants.

WORK/LIFE BALANCE With little room for employees, many tasks fall on the owner. This means you will be working many weekends and nights to run a successful business until you can find and afford reliable help.

STORAGE Limited storage space of a food truck can lead to additional off-site storage costs and inconveniences. With limited space, you’re more likely to run out of an item and lose out on sales. Not only can the limited space cause an additional expense, it can take away from potential earnings.

maintenance on the vehicle itself, including added fuel and oil costs. Between the truck and kitchen equipment, many food truck operators spend 1 to 2 percent of annual sales for repairs and maintenance.

LIMITED APPEAL Food trucks offer a limited dining experience with a limited menu. The typical customer is looking to grab a bite on the go, which may minimize peak business hours to only a few a day.

THE BOTTOM LINE There are pros and cons to going mobile with your restaurant as a food truck. This doesn’t mean you are taking the easy way out or will immediately see profit, otherwise, everyone would be doing it. If you want to turn your food truck fantasy into reality, reach out to a qualified CPA before quitting your day job.

MAINTENANCE Food trucks incur regular

Chris Thornburgh

Chris Thornburgh is a CPA and partner at Brown Armstrong Accountancy Corp. Contact her at cthornburgh@ or 324-4971. The views expressed in this column are her own.


WHAT IS ONE FOOD YOU CAN'T GET SICK OF? Compiled by Bakersfield Life

“One food that I can eat every day is chocolate. I can eat it after every meal.” – Claire Boone

“Sweet Surrender’s food always puts me in a good mood. Particularly, the Matterhorn cake.” – Janet Clary

“The one that would carry me on for the longest are the beef kabobs at Flame & Skewers. It's pretty diverse.” – Juan Bustamante

“Chocolate is the food that I can never get tired of. (Bakersfield) has so many incredible establishments and I enjoy eating it with friends.” – Diane Galloway

“Anything from Luigi’s is always good.” – Kay Bardin

“I would say pizza.” – Lily Hirsch

“I love Sweet Surrender’s chocolate cake.” – Donna Cross

“The vegan burrito at Cafe Smitten. It's delicious. It's a very interesting combination of ingredients.”

“I love tacos. They bring people together.” – Connie Tablit

– Kellyanne Revenaugh



Up Front ART S & C U LT U RE

THIS MONTH’S PICKS Most anticipated movie releases in July

“The Emoji Movie”

Entertainment The fourth annual Tehachapi Mountain Beer and Wine Fest is set to gather thousands of craft beer and wine lovers together yet again. Leave the Bakersfield heat behind for the weekend and retreat to cool mountain weather . The event offers over 140 California craft beers and wines with virtually unlimited tastings from top breweries, like Tehachapi’s Local Craft Beer, Stone and Belching Beaver, and wineries, like Triassic Vineyards, Iron Stone and New Age. Each ticket comes with your

choice of dinner from one of the eight local restaurants on-site, such as Big Papa’s Steakhouse, Red House BBQ, and Bootleggers. This year, the festival partnered with Double Happiness Tours to provide day trippers with a safe and convenient transportation option, picking guests up and dropping them back off in Bakersfield. Live music courtesy of Mento Buru and The Tracy People’s Project provides entertainment for the weekend and the annual Mountain Bike BrewFondo

“War for the Planet of the Apes”

will take riders on trails that offer breathtaking views of Tehachapi Valley.


When: July 15, from 4 to 8 p.m. Where: Benz Visco Sports Park, Benz Visco Road, Tehachapi Tickets and more information:


“Spider-Man: Homecoming”

“SHOUT! The Mod Musical” takes the audience back in time with 1960s music, fashion and freedom. “SHOUT!” features new arrangements of classics like “Downtown,” and “Son of a Preacher Man.” The review follows the lives of five teens as they come of age during the ’60s and ’70s in England. When: July 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 30 Where: BMT Stars Theatre, 931 Chester Ave. Tickets: Visit


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

“Hickok” Source: Movie Insider

12 T HI NG S . ..

Compiled by Bakersfield Life

What the


“Kan Pai’s omakase. I love the quality and commitment to freshness. I also like Bakersfield Pizza Co. They do a great job and are innovative.” – Mai Giffard Owner of De Coeur Bake Shop


“When my wife, Melissa, and I decide to go out to eat (something other than barbecue), we have several places we like. Lately, we’ve been on a Mexicali run. We love the Mexicali West location. The decorations are always something to enjoy as well as the great food. My go-to is the taco and enchilada combo, but I always check out their specials. They come up with some pretty cool items.” – Jeff Salters

Owner of Salty’s BBQ & Catering

3 “Wool Growers. I like the oxtail stew. I love the deep flavors in the gravy, with sweet carrots and fried chicken with extra garlic be-

cause we are garlic addicts.” – Nick and Pum Hansa

sweet potato fries.” – Jeff Simpson

Owners of Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar

Co-owner of Sequoia Sandwich Company


“One of the places I enjoy is Uricchio’s. It’s different cuisine and the lasagna is really good.” – John Lee Owner of Yamato Sushi & Bar

5 “Panera’s almond

chicken sandwich with strawberry salad are healthy options.” – Victor Lopez Owner of Victor’s Mexican Grill

6 “I don't get to eat out a lot but when I do, you can find me at Camino Real Kitchen munching on chips and salsa, enjoying the sizzling enchiladas and sipping on a margarita!” – James Reed Owner of Cubbies

7 “Mama Roomba’s black

beans, plantains, chicken paillard, mushrooms and


“Being a San Diego native, my family’s go-to spot is In-N-Out. Down south, there is practically one off every exit. My wife and I go for the Double-Double (with extra sauce) while the kids go for a basic cheese burger, fries and a chocolate shake.” – Chris Sayre Executive chef at the Padre Hotel

9 “Noriega’s. Really, what

can I say about Noriega’s? This is my favorite restaurant in town. The food is matched only by the company! Noriega’s is so near and dear to me, that my cat’s namesake is Picon.” – Marah Jackson Pastry chef at Petroleum Club of Bakersfield

10 “New Vintage Grill and Moo Creamery have great menu selection for eating healthy and for those with

dietary restrictions.” – Muscle Grub staff

11 “My wife and I love to

have Athena’s gyros. It is a wonderful family owned establishment and the food is great. I can never leave without trying one of their fresh desserts. I have not tried one I haven’t loved.” – Michael B. Payne Owner of Mountain Mike’s Pizza – Brimhall location

12 “The best thing I’ve

eaten in town is the Ortega cheeseburger at Happy Jack’s. When you go to Happy Jack’s, don't walk in expecting a burger and some frozen, flavorless fries. At this place, it’s “burger ’n’ pie.” Freshly made every day at 5 a.m., my favorite is the banana cream pie. When I go, I’m not talking about getting a slice; I take the whole pie.” – Dupree Brar Owner of Slice of Italy




Find more community events at or submit yours via email to or via our Facebook page: Bakersfield Life Magazine.

Free concerts at The Marketplace Concerts by the Fountain continues throughout the month of July, every Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. at 9000 Ming Ave. This is an annual free event with free parking. Early arrival is recommended. Bands will be playing at a different date each week. The Left Coast Groovies will play on July 6, The Jay Smith Group on July 13, Brad Wilson on July 20 and The Akoustics on July 27. The concerts will be held at the middle of the outdoor shopping center’s main court. For more information, go to themarketplacebakersfield. com.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

Paul Rodriguez

July 1 Youth Acting Workshop with Karl Wade, 10 a.m., Beale Memorial Library. Free. July 2 Concerts in the Park, 8 p.m., Beale Park. Free. Enjoy the last free concert this summer by the Beale Park Band. July 3 10th Annual Fireworks Show, Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Buttonwill School football field. Free admission. July 4 Taft Fireworks Show, 6 p.m. Rails to Trails. $10. www.taftchamber. com

July 2017

Fourth of July Concert, 7 p.m., Coy Burnett Football Stadium with the Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra. Free. July 8 Aliza McCracken Book Signing, 2 p.m., Barnes and Noble Booksellers, 4001 California Ave. July 15 Guns N’ Hoses, 7 p.m., Rabobank Arena, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $18-$98. Peace officers and firefighters battle it out in the boxing ring for charity. rabobankarena. com. Paul Rodriguez, 8 p.m., The Fox Theater, 2001 H St. $28.25-$111.

July 18 BOSS Ladies luncheon, 11:30 a.m., Bakersfield Country Club, 4200 Country Club Drive. $30, no tickets will be sold at the door. Deadline for tickets is July 17. eventbrite. com. July 21 Murder Mystery at The Links, no host cocktail party at 6 p.m. and a Murder Mystery Dinner at 7 p.m., The Links at RiverLakes Ranch, 5201 Riverlakes Drive. $75-$80. July 22 Pepe Aguilar, 8 p.m., Rabobank Theater, 1001 Truxtun Ave. $50-$199.

BECAUSE YOU’VE EARNED IT. Windermere at Seven Oaks is an exclusive, gated residential community by Castle & Cooke. Where award-winning homes surround a beautifully landscaped central park. A place where quiet greenbelts embrace bubbling fountains amid the glorious colors of nature. A place where families just like yours can feel right at home. Experience Windermere today. You’ve earned it.

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Eat & Drink


Luigi’s Restaurant and Delicatessen Authentic Italian flavors don’t get better than this historic spot


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

Promotional Content

Facing page clockwise: Gino’s plate, spring salad, stuffed shells Florentine and the traditional side with roll, salami, cheese and marinated carrots. Dining Divas from left to right: Andrea Caldwell, Tamara Clark, Norma Rojas-Mora, Joanie Haenelt and Beatris Espericueta Sanders.

Compiled by Bakersfield Life Photos by Mark Nessia

For more than 100 years, Luigi’s family tradition of serving authentic Italian dishes continues to bring generations of local families together to indulge in savory flavors. The feel-good atmosphere starts from the moment you are greeted by the friendly staff and continues throughout your entire experience at Luigi’s – because let’s face it, dining at this local spot is an experience that transports you to a small villa in Italy without having to leave Bakersfield. If you’re in the mood to make your own Italian getaway at home, just pass on by next door to the restaurant at Luigi’s Delicatessen and pick up different sauces, cheeses and much more. But be advised, you might end up walking away with two bottles of wine, plus a pound of salami. For this special outing, the Divas enjoyed a sunny afternoon lunch at Luigi’s. Promotional Content

APPETIZERS Joanie Haenelt on the Gino’s plate: Our appetizer plate included a wedge of cambozola cheese, a blend of brie and blue cheeses. It was topped with Luigi’s homemade sun-dried tomato pesto. I spread some on the sliced fresh Pyrenees bread; it was creamy, mild-flavored and delicious. I normally don’t care for blue cheese, but this was exceptional. Beatris Espericueta Sanders on Luigi’s Italian beans: These beans make the perfect side dish to any course. Whether paired with a salad or a tri-tip sandwich, they are incredibly tasty and a great protein to your meal. Boiled and prepared with simple ingredients like olive oil, vinegar, fresh lemon and cilantro, these beans could be considered magical. Feel free to dip Luigi’s signature “hard or soft roll” into the broth for the extra carbs.

Continued on Page 22

Luigi’s Restaurant and Delicatessen 725 E. 19th St. 661-322-0926 Lunch hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday Bar hours: 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday Delicatessen hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday


Continued from Page 21

SPECIALS Norma-Rojas Mora on the spring salad: This is a seasonal salad, not usually found on the menu. But if you can visit soon, I’d totally recommend this delicious salad. It’s a combination of baby kale, arugula, strawberries, fennel, dried apricots and cranberries. It’s topped with pistachios and



Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

feta cheese and brought together with the dressing of lemon and extra virgin olive oil. The result: a delicious explosion of flavors. The citrus draws out the flavors and provides a fresh, light salad. You also have the option to add chicken if you’d like to have a complete meal. Tamara Clark on the stuffed shells Florentine: The ricotta filling was whipped, light and airy with folded-in spinach smothered

in their meat Bolognese sauce. I was expecting a heavier pasta dish, but these stuffed shells were scrumptious, light and airy due to the chef’s additional care to whip the ricotta and herb mixture. The meat Bolognese added a depth of flavor that’s iconic at Luigi’s and brought this whole dish together. This pasta is a must when you find yourself at Luigi’s on a Thursday. Norma on the Italian Dip with au jus: This is also a Thursday special. It’s a buttered, toasted roll filled with tender cuts of tri-tip, topped with provolone cheese and onion. This sandwich totally proves that sometimes, less is more. The simple combination allows all the flavors to come through, especially dipped in the perfectly seasoned au jus. This special is a deliciously filling sandwich. I can see why the Thursday special has people coming back for more.

GELATO Norma on the gelato: Gelato made on the premises? Sign me up for more! The salted caramel gelato was a perfect ending to a great meal. The combination of sweet and salty was perfect and a light finish to our meal. I have to admit, I couldn’t stop at one flavor so I tried the strawberry sorbet as well. The freshness of the strawberries resulted in a pure flavor that was tart, yet sweet on the palette. The gelato is made fresh every day. While it’s served as dessert, patrons can ask for quarts to go.

Facing page: Italian Dip with au jus Gelato


Eat & Drink


SLICE OF ITALY Not your typical pizzeria


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

Promotional Content

Facing page: Meatball sliders Top: Calamari fra diavolo Food Dudes from left to right: Rob McDonald (filling in), Gary Carruesco, Chris Wilson and Anthony Galagaza.

Compiled by Bakersfield Life

Photos by Greg Nichols

There are specialty pizza restaurants and there is Slice of Italy. Known for its fresh pizzas and pastas, the Rosedale eatery doesn’t limit itself to any one category of cuisine. With a menu that draws inspiration from all over the globe, Slice of Italy provides an assortment of options that make it a great choice for any occasion. The same commitment to quality and flavor in Slice of Italy’s signature dishes are implemented in its many seasonal specials, so stop on by and see what culinary creations the chefs are cooking up this summer!

APPETIZERS Chris Wilson on the meatball sliders: For an appetizer, these meatball sliders were amazing. I was served three large sliders that contained homemade meatballs, sauteed garlic, onions, green peppers and their flavorful marinara sauce. The inside of the slider was topped with fresh Promotional Content

mozzarella cheese and presented on a toasted golden brioche bun. Anthony Galagaza on the calamari fra diavolo: The calamari fra diavolo was an appetizer of fresh-cut calamari, lightly breaded and fried to a golden crisp and served with spicy marinara. It was presented nicely, but still gave you the feeling to dig in and enjoy. Calamari tends to scare me at times because it can be quite chewy to the point of unappealing. This was not the case with this appetizer. Without doubt, it was most likely one of the best-tasting calamari dishes I’ve had in town, which was completely unexpected. The texture and taste, along with the crispy bite, was sensational and, as always, you can’t go wrong with marinara sauce. I would have enjoyed more, but I was required to share with the other Food Dudes. Gary Carruesco on Southwest chicken rolls: This was a delicious combination of chicken, peppers, spices and cheese, all paired with a rich chipotle ranch dip that melted in your mouth with each bite.

Slice of Italy 10524 Hageman Road 661-589-1000 Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday

Continued on Page 27


Left: Southwest chicken rolls Right: BBQ Slice pizza Facing page: Fish and chips

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Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

(Except Loose Diamonds) Offer Ends July 31, 2017

Jane’s Jewelers Where Bakersfield Gets Engaged

9530 Hageman Road 587-6242 Our 55th year in Business! Hours: Tuesday thru Friday 10:00-6:00 • Saturday 10:00-3:00 • Closed Sunday & Monday Continued from Page 25

ENTREES Chris on the BBQ Slice pizza: I have always appreciated a great barbecue chicken pizza and this specialty pizza from Slice of Italy is one of the best. This BBQ Slice pizza starts with their special barbecue sauce, flavorful grilled chicken breast, breakfast bacon, onions, tomatoes, chopped jalapenos and a crisp mozzarella cheese. I was also very impressed with the texture and flavor of the crust. This is a pizza that I would definitely come back for. Anthony on the fish and chips: The fish and chips are a hand-battered seasonal fish, served with homemade tartar sauce along with a side of fresh-cut seasoned fries. I’m a big fish and chips fan, but it’s amazing how many restaurants can overcook, undercook or completely destroy the fish with too much oil or batter. Usually

the chips (fries) aren’t much to brag about either. But here at Slice of Italy, they definitely got it right. The fried batter was crispy, but not oily, and the aroma and taste made it all worthwhile and enjoyable. Every bite had consistently great flavor, and even though the fish had enough on its own, it went quite well with the addition of the tartar sauce. To me, the biggest surprise was the chips that went with the fish. They were seasoned perfectly and were a completely unexpected extension of the wonderful taste of the fish. Gary on the ribeye: When you think of a pizza parlor, you don’t often think steak and we were all shocked to see this on the menu. This ribeye could not have been seasoned and cooked more perfectly! Topped with a creamy mushroom sauce and paired with garlic mashed potatoes, this is a must for anyone who visits this restaurant.




Pita Paradise Story and photos by Laura Liera

It’s hard to keep a secret in Bakersfield, especially when it comes to food. For Pita Paradise, the secret has been out since they opened their food truck last year and brought affordable Middle Eastern cuisine to town. The aroma of chicken and steak shawarma creates a bubble of enticing smells on the corner of 21st and H streets and it’s no wonder why there’s always a group of eagerly hungry locals waiting for their falafel sandwich or combination platter. Chef Nas and business partner Marisol Santiago had no idea their 11-item menu would lead to loyal customers that stop by for lunch more than three times a week. The loyalty is found not only in the friendly relationship between the staff and clients but in the flavors in the food that can’t be replicated. Spices at Pita Paradise are shipped overseas from Jordan,

an Arab nation on the east bank of the Jordan River. “It’s more than salt and pepper and paprika,” Nas said. “My seasonings give it a more authentic Arabic taste.” Combination Platter ($11.99): If you’ve never had any kind of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern cuisine, I highly recommend this platter that is neatly arranged with a bed of yellow rice, pita bread, a falafel, salad, and drizzled with tahini sauce and a secret garlic sauce. Plus it’s topped with chicken and steak shawarma. The aro-

Top: Chicken and steak shawarma sandwiches Bottom: Combination platter


Bakersfield Life Magazine

ma of the shawarma is mouthwatering and that first bite is an explosion of flavors. You get punches of spices that you’ve probably never had before and they all create a savory bite. It’s hard not to devour this platter in record time but take your time and enjoy the different seasonings and textures. The meats are perfectly cooked and aren’t covered in oil or grease. For some, the size of the platter can be shared between two, but I’ll leave that up to you. Chicken shawarma sandwich ($5.49) Steak shawarma sandwich ($6.49): During our earlier chat, Nas mentioned the amount of prep that it takes to bring the freshest and tastiest menu to Bakersfield and these sandwiches are the

result of that labor. Meats are marinated every night for at least 12 hours. The marination not only gives the meats time to absorb more flavor but it also helps with the tenderness of the shawarma when it’s sliced and plated onto the pita bread. The meat is topped with crispy lettuce, fresh tomatoes, onions, pickles, tahini sauce and their signature garlic sauce. If you like a little heat, ask for their homemade green hot sauce; it really adds that extra level of comfort. Besides the food itself, I really enjoyed the fact that none of the food at Pita Paradise is a “food coma” lunch. The food is light and not packed in carbs. So don’t feel bad if you order a second chicken shawarma sandwich for your voyage back to work.

Pita Paradise On the corner of 21st and H streets 661-384-4324 Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday Catering available Check them out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Yelp @pitaparadisefoodtruck July 2017

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Happy Hour Bar & Tapas By Holly Bikakis

Photos by Laura Liera

There is a new powerhouse restaurant downtown, where every hour is Happy Hour! Not just in the sense of cocktails all day, but a place that specializes in tapas-sized portions – where sitting down and enjoying a meal is a social experience. Owners Chasity Goodson and Sophia and Justin Cummings are, by nature, foodies at heart and on their travels, seek out unique and fun restaurants. They wanted to bring back those experiences and different dishes back with them, so they opened Happy Hour Bar & Tapas in downtown Bakersfield in early May. What really knocks it out of the park is bringing in head chef Matt Hearn. He has been featured on Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and MTV’s “Snack-Off.” His dishes are innovative and his sauces are superb. These creations are layered with flavors and on point in the details. No microwaves or freezers here; everything is made fresh to order. Chicken Waffle Slider: This selection is from the “Make it Yours” tapas side of the menu. Choose between “Tasty 2” for $12, “Thrilling 3” for $14 or “Flavorful 4” for $20. Let me say first, I am a chicken and waffles fan and I seek it out whenever we are traveling. This one did not disappoint. First of all, the size is right: two small-sized fluffy and crispy waffles sandwiching a tender piece of fried chicken. Add a slice of thick bacon, apple slaw and homemade honey mustard syrup sauce and you’ve got a winner. The sweet, the salty and Promotional Content

the crunchy are all working together on this one. I know a few people who are hesitant about chicken and waffles together, but trust me, it’s savory and worth trying. Teres Major Steak ($14) and Brussels Sprouts ($8): Talk about melt-in-your-mouth steak. The most tender and flavorful pieces of steak covered with a veal rosemary red wine reduction sauce and garlic just makes my mouth water. Traditionally at tapas restaurants, patrons can order several dishes and combine them to make a full meal. Usually some meat, side dish and dessert options. We had Brussels sprouts, which I wasn’t sure if I would like, but hats off to Chef Matt – it was delicious and went great with the steak. They were sauteed with walnuts in a balsamic reduction sauce with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice. Happy Hour Bar & Tapas is an up-and-coming restaurant in the downtown dining scene. It’s got a relaxed vibe about it and even has charging stations at every table. There are two sides to the restaurant: one is more of the bar side on 18th Street and the other side on Chester Avenue will accommodate family dining with an expanded menu. It’s delicious without being pretentious. Cheers!

Clockwise: Chicken waffle slider, teres major steak and Brussels sprouts

Happy Hour Bar & Tapas 1418 18th St. 661-859-1664 Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday Reserve for parties and events. Find them on Facebook.



RJ’S BAR AND GRILL Story and photos by Holly Bikakis

Top: Pastrami sandwich Bottom: Thai chicken wraps

What do loyal patrons of a neighborhood restaurant do when it closes? They open it back up, of course. Welcome to the new RJ’s Bar and Grill. Owners Kyle Carter (not the former mayoral candidate) and Travis Ellis decided to take matters into their own hands and reopen RJ’s in its former northwest location this past January. We talked to manager Ashley Tudor about the changes and, mainly, you’ll still find many of the same menu items and staff from the old days, but they’ve upgraded their quality of food and a few cosmetic changes. They continue to make tweaks to the menu for the best dining experience. Every day offers different food and drink specials. Sundays are all about bottomless mimosas and Thursday nights, from 7 to 9 p.m., you’ll find Danny Hill from 95.3 broadcasting and giving away raffle tickets and $2 pints. They host a theme night once a month like ’80s night held in June. Also, if you’re a card-carrying service member, you’ll receive 15 percent off your meal all day, every day, because here, you are appreciated. Watch your favorite sports games, hang out with your friends and neighbors, and have some fun. That’s what a neighborhood bar and grill is all about.

Pastrami Sandwich ($10.99 traditional style, New York style with coleslaw add $3.99): My companion and I tried out the New York-style pastrami sandwich with coleslaw. The pastrami was sliced just right – not too thin and not too thick – but curled up on that toasted bun just right. The coleslaw had a sweet tanginess to it. It’s made in-house and has a touch of pineapple juice in it. Add some melted Swiss cheese and it makes for a hearty sandwich. Thai Chicken Wraps ($10.99): If you’re big into salad for lunches, which I am, this is a nice change of pace. Grilled chicken, carrot slices, green onion and chunks of mango wrapped up in butter lettuce leaves with some mango and sweet chili sauce for dressing makes a great, refreshing lunch. Not too heavy, yet satisfying. The sweetness of the mango with the hotness of the chili sauce, plus all the textures, make for an appetizing lunch pick. Next time you’re in the northwest, check RJ’s out; it’s good food. To make things sweeter, visit their Instagram and Facebook posts for daily specials and mention this article in Bakersfield Life Magazine to receive 10 percent off your bill. Welcome home RJ’s!

RJ’s Bar & Grill 9440 Hageman Road, Suite C 661-615-3738 Open Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Find them on Facebook and Instagram.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

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Tina Marie’s Downtown Cafe Story and photos by Mark Nessia

Immersed in the food industry when she was 12 years old, helping her grandma at a local Mexican restaurant, Tina Marie Brown knew early on she was destined to be a restaurant owner. Determined to open her own establishment by the time she was 30, Brown opened Tina Marie’s Downtown Cafe in 2003 at the age of 27. Built on a foundation of high-quality food served in a family setting, the eatery’s clientele grew and grew over the past 14 years. A sense of home and belonging greets everyone who walks in as staff and customers alike welcome guests with warm, smiling faces – a comfortable setting serving comfort food.

To say the portions are generous would be a severe understatement. Main attractions like the chicken-fried steak comes in two sizes: big and bigger. Boasting a menu of original recipes for breakfast and lunch, Tina Marie’s has something to whet everyone’s appetite, with items such as omelets and burritos; griddle staples like pancakes, waffles and French toast; sandwiches; burgers; and fresh salads. “I make people happy through the love of food,” the exuberant owner said. Downtown Special Salad ($9.89 for half, $11.89 for whole): The amount of sliced chicken breast alone would be enough to qualify as an entree, but Tina Marie’s places it on a bed of fresh greens,

berries and pecans tossed in vinaigrette and topped with Gorgonzola. This salad is filling, with its thick slices of grilled chicken breast (hand-breaded crispy chicken is also available) blending seamlessly together with the sweetness of the fresh salad elements. The chicken has just the right amount of char for added texture while retaining its juiciness. The Gorgonzola adds some saltiness to keep the naturally sweet salad balanced. Crunchy, cool and refreshing, this is a satisfying and delicious way to combat the summer heat. Tri-Tip Steak Sandwich ($10.99): Many restaurants serve 8-ounce steaks. Tina Marie’s serves 8ounce steak sandwiches. Slow roasted and sliced thick – really, really thick – the perfectly seasoned, medium-cooked tri-tip is snuggled inside a grilled French roll atop pickles, crisp red onions, juicy tomatoes and vibrant, green lettuce.

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I am a proponent for hearty portions but I had to pause and put a game plan together before attacking this sandwich. The solution: Cut it in two. Not only does it make the sandwich easier to handle, there’s a chance you won’t make even make it to the second half before tapping out – it’s that big. Accompanying this behemoth are golden-brown fries that have the perfect ratio of crispy exterior to soft interior. Lightly battered with a mixture of rice flour, wheat flour and starch, these could very well be the best fries in town. Also available as a side, though not listed on the menu, is a summer pasta made in-house with a special Italian base, tomatoes, onions, olives, bell peppers, summer squash, fresh shredded Parmesan and fusilli.

Top: Downtown special salad Left: Tri-tip steak sandwich

Tina Marie’s Downtown Cafe 2000 Chester Ave. 661-631-1188 Open Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.



Fuzion On’s grilled pork sandwich Compiled by Bakersfield Life

“This is a fresh sandwich that’s not heavy. It hits everywhere on your tongue with the crunch from the vegetables, the pepperiness from the pork and the acidity from the pickled vegetables.” — Chef Jeremy Carver FUZION ON’S GRILLED PORK SANDWICH


Your favorite French baguette 2 pounds of pork shoulder sliced into 1/5-inch strips Marinade: ¼ cup sugar 1 tablespoon black pepper 3 tablespoons sesame oil 1 tablespoon soy sauce Vietnamese spread: 2 egg yolks ½ teaspoon salt ½ clove minced garlic 32

Bakersfield Life Magazine

Pickled daikon/radish and carrots: ½ pound shredded carrots ½ pound shredded white radish or daikon 4 cups lukewarm water 3 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons salt ½ cup white vinegar or rice vinegar

Directions Prep:

Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl and pour in bag. July 2017

Add pork shoulder and place in fridge for at least two hours – overnight is recommended (Fuzion On marinades its meat for 24 hours). Mix the daikon/radish and carrots ingredients in a large bowl then transfer into a glass jar. Let it sit for at least one night in the fridge (three days is recommended). For the Vietnamese spread, whip egg yolks and slowly add vegetable oil, salt and garlic until the spread

becomes creamy in texture.


Cook pork on grill or stovetop. Preferred method is to start the pork on the grill, removing it before it chars then finishing on stovetop to allow meat to caramelize and cook in its own juices. Lightly toast baguette then add Vietnamese spread. Add pork and top with pickled daikon/radish and carrots.


Chef’s Take

M O R E FA S H I O N • M O R E F O O D • M O R E F U N

Over 50 Stores, Restaurants, Boutiques & Spas Stockdale Hwy. & Calloway Dr.



JULIA Owners Vincent and Stacie have curated 25-plus designer fashion jewelry brands to create a one-of-akind shopping destination at JULIA at The Marketplace, next to Chico’s. This month, we’re highlighting the brand UNOde50 from Madrid, Spain. Created in the late ’90s by a creative team headed by David Azulay, they decided to create a style of jewelry that was a radical rethinking of everything that existed until then. The name of the brand – UNOde50 – means “one of 50,” which was the philosophy of creating 50 units of each design. Even though they’ve increased production to meet demand now, they continue to fulfill the promise of exclusivity by releasing two unique,

limited-edition collections a year. UNOde50 jewelry is characterized by its bold use of metals and exclusively cut Swarovski crystals. Each piece is plated with 15-20 microns of sterling silver, which is two to three times more than the usual plating. Each piece is a unique statement unto itself, especially the larger statement necklaces, but are also designed to be worn together. They are guaranteed conversation starters and are designed to be cherished and handed down as wearable art. Stop by JULIA at The Marketplace (next to Chico’s) today and let one of their stylists help you discover the unique Spanish artistry of UNOde50!




3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

And Yes – $529 On Tip Toes – $239 Heaven Can Wait – $309 Aurora Borealis – $199 Super-Ego – $145 Boo Maximus – $239 Lady Marmalade – $239

Julia (located next to Chico’s at The Marketplace) 661-412-8068 Open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday



Bakersfield Life Magazine



July 2017


Find them on Facebook and Instagram @JULIABakersfield

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Don Hall Jewelers In a time of internet shopping and chain stores, Don Hall Jewelers stands out from the crowd. The family owned jewelry store has roots dating back to 1901 when C.W. Wickersham, great grandfather of owner Jon Hall, opened Wickersham Jewelers. Jon was introduced to the jewelry business at the age of 7, helping with small chores around the shop. When Jon’s father and business namesake Don Hall married into the family business, he ventured out on his own and opened Don Hall Jewelers in 1967. The result is a local family jeweler serving local families for 50 years. “People want to go to a custom hometown jeweler,” Jon said.

Jon and Don Hall

Customization is key as Don Hall Jewelers can modify any request to fit personal tastes and budget. The selection of rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, watches and more are surpassed only by

the expert knowledge of the staff, which keeps customers loyal, generation after generation. “We have parents who are customers and now their kids are customers,” Jon said. “We’re proud to be their family jeweler.”


1 2 3 4 5


Rose gold vintage diamond ring Lattice white and yellow gold wedding band with diamonds Custom blue and white diamond ballerina ring Star diamond pendant White and yellow gold free-form bracelet with diamonds



Don Hall Jewelers 3720 Gosford Road, Suite A 661-832-5200 Open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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RUBIK’S CUBE: More than a game

How a puzzle cube has transformed critical thinking in classrooms across Kern County


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

Story by Laura Liera Photos by Terrence Banks

It’s a puzzle that can drive even the most patient person into madness – well nearly. The Rubik’s Cube has been tried by many but only a few succeed. Getting all the colorful sides to align takes more than twisting and turning without any actual plan. Of course, how a local second-grader can solve the puzzle in 8.68 seconds has left German Robledo in complete wonder. “I’ve watched him and I couldn’t tell you how he does it,” said Robledo, a Golden Valley High School math teacher. The 8.68 seconds was the fastest time in this year’s Rubik’s Cube competition held at Golden Valley, hosted by Robledo and a group of students. The ’80s puzzle is a generational critical thinking game that everyone wants a chance to solve. As a kid, Robledo could never solve it. In 2008, he made it his goal to learn. He found a few YouTube videos and eventually solved it. “I then thought, ‘Well I’m a math teacher and this is a logic puzzle; how can I include this in my classroom?’” Robledo said. The eagerness to learn how to solve it caught on with students and by the end of the 2008 school year, Robledo and about 10 students were hosting a competition at lunch. Somehow the word got out, Robledo said, and teachers from other high schools, including Delano and Tehachapi, and even junior high and elementary schools were reaching out to incorporate the Rubik’s Cube into their curriculum. Robledo partnered with the Rubik’s Cube

Company and its pilot program “You Can Do The Rubik’s Cube,” which gave him the chance to host workshops on solving the cube. There are six stages in solving the cube, but more than one way to solve it. “This shows students the process of problem-solving,” Robledo said. “You start a problem and break it down into smaller steps until you finish it.”

The 8.68 seconds was the fastest time in this year’s Rubik’s Cube competition held at Golden Valley, hosted by Robledo and a group of students. Most students starting off take five to 10 minutes to solve the puzzle. Once they get more practice and figure out different strategies, it comes down to speed. And speed is what sets you apart in the Rubik’s Cube competition held once a year in May. Students are divided into different divisions from professional to beginner. The top three finalists in each division compete in the finals and one winner from each rank takes home a trophy. Although there’s a rush of adrenaline and pride behind solving the cube, Robledo said he’s seen an improvement in critical thinking when it comes to math, all because of the Rubik’s Cube. “I want them to actually interact with the material so there’s a personal connection to it,” he said. “When you’re doing hands-on projects, math is used to analyze and find solutions.”





Recent headline-grabbing reports that Harvard University has revoked the admissions of at least 10 incoming students who posted online comments mocking the Holocaust and sexual assault are shocking evidence that use of social media can have life-altering consequences. In California, where laws protect students’ First Amendment rights, revoking college admission for such comments would be unlikely. But in Massachusetts, where Harvard is located, students enjoy no such protections. No doubt, college admissions officers are trolling social media accounts; so are company hiring officers, who often make Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn early stops in their background checking. While there are many different venues where people communicate online, Facebook continues to increase in popularity for personal and professional uses. And if you are looking for a job, applying to a college or maybe even applying for a loan, someone likely will be checking out your Facebook profile. There is something almost “hypnotic” about Facebook. You may begin cautiously, but quickly one “friend” leads to another; one post a day leads to many; your profile photo is followed by photo albums; and in no time, you are commenting and “liking” with abandon. All this leads to a merger of your personal and professional life that can be fraught with hazards. Maureen Buscher-Dang is the owner of Buscher and Associates, a Bakersfield-based public relations and marketing company. The views expressed in this column are her own.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

It’s never too late to take steps to control and shape your online profile, starting with your Facebook account. 1 Don’t post anything others – especially admissions or hiring officers – should not see. This includes those drunken party photos and ugly comments about your boss.

2 Your mother likely warned

that you would be judged by the company you keep. The same holds true for your Facebook friends. Be selective about who you “friend.� Use privacy settings to limit the viewing of your friends list. You also will be judged by the Facebook apps you download.

3 Require notification when

your photo is “tagged� by a friend, you are mentioned in a post or someone comments on one of your posts. Remove offending or embarrassing entries.

4 Set privacy settings to

limit who can see your posts and profile information – friends only, friends of friends, the public?


5 Customize your online pro-






file. Many people have more than one online profile – one for workplace colleagues, another for “real family,� those weird relatives we all have, another for professional contacts, etc. While you can use privacy settings to do that, it may be less confusing and safer to set up different accounts using different “user names� and profile photos.



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6 The old saying that a

picture is worth a thousand words is true. And when it is a stupid or embarrassing picture, these may be bad words. Don’t post stupid photos. Use privacy settings to limit photo viewing.

7 Use Facebook to present a positive image in posts that highlight accomplishments and activities.

8 Review your Facebook

profile to see what others are seeing.

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Compiled by Bakersfield Life

A food festival for (almost) every season

Delicious food is abundant in Bakersfield and there’s no better example than the numerous food festivals that take place throughout the year. While the action does cool off during the summer months as residents seek solace indoors, Bakersfield will be ready resume the fun when the festivities return in the fall. Proof that if you cook it, they will come.


Country & Craft Beer Festival


Bakersfield Life Magazine



Macaroni and Cheese Festival

Bakersfield’s Biggest Baddest BBQ

July 2017

Jewish Food Festival



Chili Verde Cook-off – Entering its eighth year in 2018, Amestoy’s annual competition features great food and entertainment. Cioppino Feed – While not a festival, the Cioppino Feed is an annual staple of the Bakersfield West Rotary and raises funds for various Kern County organizations.

APRIL Jewish Food Festival – Celebrating the flavors and sounds of Jewish culture, the Jewish Food Festival features food, music, dancing and wine tasting. Country & Craft Beer Festival – Put on by the Active 20/30 Club of Bakersfield, the event features country music and craft beer from over 40 breweries to pair with food samples from local restaurants. Best of all, proceeds benefit children’s charities throughout Kern County. Macaroni and Cheese Festival – Wrapping up its fourth year in 2017, the annual Macaroni and Cheese Festival features live music, beer and wine, and, of course, gourmet mac and cheese.

Bakersfield Village Fest – Dubbed the “party of the year,” Village Fest is 16 acres of fun with over a dozen bands performing, 60-plus participating breweries, 30-plus wines and 30 restaurants.

Bakersfield Wing Festival

JUNE Bakersfield Wing Festival – The Bakersfield Wing Festival brings the town’s best wings together making it the hottest, spiciest and most flavorful event in Kern County, with wing-eating contests, live music and tons of vendors. Tunes and Tacos Cookoff – The Tunes and Tacos Cook-off brings taco vendors together to determine the best in town.

Greek Food Festival



Cherry Festival – Held at Murray Family Farms’ Big Red Barn, the Cherry Festival features over a dozen varieties of sweet cherries to sample, a cherry pie-eating contest, seed-spitting contest, karaoke, hayrides and more. Kern County Latino Food Festival and Menudo Cook-off – Live music, mariachis, children’s activities and mouthwatering menudo highlight this annual festival closing in on its 20th anniversary. Pizza and Craft Beer Fest – Debuting in 2017, the event showcases a classic pairing: pizza and beer. Crab Fest – A seafood lover’s dream come true with an all-you-can-eat buffet featuring king crab legs, mussels, shrimp and more. Bakersfield Craft Beer Festival – Beer may be the star of the show but the Craft Beer Festival also brings some of Bakersfield’s best food trucks to the party.



OCTOBER Greek Food Festival – This is the place to find Greek favorites like gyros, souvlaki, paidakia, feta fries, tiropites, loukoumades, baklava and more, plus Greek folk dancing performances and lessons. Bakersfield’s Biggest Baddest BBQ – Bringing the best of the best together to determine whose chicken, ribs, pork and brisket reign supreme, the real winners here are those in attendance.

NOVEMBER Bakersfield Uncorked – Enjoy an evening with wine from much-loved wineries, cuisine from local restaurants and live entertainment at the Junior League of Bakersfield’s premier event. Bacon and Craft Beer Festival – More than 100 handcrafted beers from over 50 breweries and the very best in bacon-inspired food. Can it get any better?

2300 Eye St. (Across from Rite Aid)


Monday-Friday 10-6, Saturday 10-5, Sunday closed


Go & Do


CHEAP EATS 10 lunch items for under $10

We asked Bakersfield Life Magazine followers on Facebook for their favorite cheap eats and here are the top picks.

1 SOUTHWESTERN SALAD Leaf lettuce, avocado, black beans, corn, red onion, red bell pepper and chicken. $6.89 FIRESTONE GRILL 3501 California Ave.






Slow cooked with your choice of side dish. $8.50

Choose your meat, add your toppings. $1.39 each

Fabulous Burger, fries and a drink. $8.49

SALTY'S BBQ & CATERING 9425 Rosedale Highway • 6801 White Lane

LOS TACOS DE HUICHO 123 E. 18th St. Find them on Facebook.

FABULOUS BURGERS 3004 Airport Drive Find them on Facebook.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017


6 PIZZA COMBO Lunch special: One individual two-topping pizza, small salad and a 16-ounce drink. $8

ENCHILADA SUIZA Chicken enchilada with green sauce, served with rice and beans. $8.95

RUSTY’S PIZZA PARLOR Eight locations in Bakersfield

NUESTRO MEXICO RESTAURANT 716 21st St. Find them on Facebook.





Loaded with ham, turkey, salami, pepper jack and cheddar cheese, lettuce, house vinaigrette, salt and pepper. $6.99

Ahi tuna, white rice, sesame oil, sesame seeds, seaweed, soy sauce, green onion, Sriracha mayo and Sriracha. $9

COUNTRY CLUB LIQUORS & DELICATESSEN 3737 Columbus St. Find them on Facebook.

RIO ACAI BOWLS 1914 Chester Ave.





Choice of chicken, pork, beef, veggie or tofu with stir-fried rice noodles, bean sprouts, salad and egg roll. $8.95

Squaw bread with mayo, avocado, lettuce, tomato and baby Swiss. $7.95


SEQUOIA SANDWICH COMPANY 1231 18th St. • 9500 Ming Ave. • 9160 Rosedale Highway, Ste. #100


Go & Do

Top: Majestic Mount Hood looms behind the Portland skyline. Bottom: People line up around the block to get into Salt & Straw ice cream shop.



Portland By Glenn Hammett

If you did a weeklong craft brewery crawl in Portland, Oregon, you probably wouldn’t get half way though the list. According to the latest information I could find, there are currently 70 breweries in Portland, more than any city in the country. And I thought Bakersfield has a lot of beer festivals; Portland has website devoted to tracking them ( and has 40 on the calendar from January to June of this year. There are 13 in April, alone. As beer-crazy as this place is, experiencing Portland can be fascinating, charming and alluring without setting foot in a brewpub. The City of Roses

Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

boasts scenic beauty, an unrivaled food scene, an abundance of outdoor and recreation opportunities, extensive entertainment and cultural offerings, and a vibe all its own. We recently took a five-day trip to Portland to visit our daughter Clarice, who relocated there late last year. On our first night, I was treated to a Portland Trail Blazers game, courtesy of my longtime friend, Phil, who is a 30-year Portland resident and Blazer season ticket holder. Being the only major pro sports team in Portland, Blazer games are the hottest tickets in town. The Moda Center, Portland’s beautiful 20,000-seat arena, was packed with loud, passionate fans, the majority of whom were attractive couples dressed for

night out. The Portland Art Museum’s main exhibit was “Rodin: The Human Experience,” commemorating the 100th anniversary of the great French sculptor’s death. After spending a couple of hours with the 52 bronzes, we explored the museum’s permanent collection, which features a nice mix of genres and time periods. Later that afternoon, we took advantage of Portland’s super-efficient public trans-

portation system ($5 buys and all-day pass for the light rail, street car and bus system) by hopping on a street car and venturing to the trendy and eclectic 23rd Avenue neighborhood. The area is densely populated with interesting shops, clothing boutiques, yoga studios, coffee houses and many of the city’s nationally renowned restaurants. Clarice told us that the ice cream at Salt & Straw was not to be missed and, judging from the length of the line to get into the modestly sized place, I believed her. The selection on the menu board behind the counter was beyond imaginative and just being enlightened to the possibilities of such flavor combinations was worth the wait. Honey lavender, arbequina olive oil. and green apple and wasabi flower were a few the intriguing offerings. On another day, we took the light rail to the Oregon Zoo on the west edge of the city. Though not as vast as the San Diego Zoo or the Denver Zoo, it offers plenty of variety and diversity and all of the exhibits are thoughtfully designed and well-constructed. Following the zoo visit, we met my friend Phil at Al-Amir, a wonderful Lebanese restaurant just a couple of blocks from the Willamette River and Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The vegetable shish kebab was the best I have ever had – perfectly cooked and seasoned and served with a crisp green salad, a generous serving of hummus and warm pita bread. We also took a drive to Multnomah Falls, a spectacular set of waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge about 30 miles from downtown. There is much more to Portland than beards, plaid shirts and hipsters. It’s a vibrant city, alive with entertainment, culture, exceptional restaurants and great access to the outdoors. Did I forget to mention beer?

Clockwise: An otter at the Oregon Zoo, Multnomah Falls, the TriMet, a mountain goat at the Oregon Zoo and the southern section of Waterfront Park.


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Camarillo Jiu-Jitsu By Holly Bikakis

Photos by Laura Liera

It’s a way of life. For the young, for the old, for your competitive nature or just for fun, jiujitsu is a discipline that becomes part of who you are. It’s a form of martial arts that is derived from elements of judo. The concept that a smaller, weaker opponent can defeat a larger, stronger opponent is achieved through grappling techniques, especially ground fighting, using chokeholds or joint locks. Classes teach students more than the sport itself; they are taught respect, confidence, self-discipline and patience. A school is only as good as its master, and here you are in good hands with owner and head instructor Daniel Camarillo. His father introduced him and his brother to judo at a young age, even building them a place to practice in the backyard. He has 40 years of competition and coaching experience that combines his judo background with technical jiujitsu to offer his students top-notch training. He is an eight-time winner of the U.S. Open Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament. Camarillo Jiu-Jitsu is the only SafeSport-certified jiujitsu academy in California and it is a national and international competition school. Currently, Camarillo Jiu-Jitsu offers 28 classes, six days a week. Everything from an early morning “zombie”

class to evening classes are offered for youth, women and adults. If you are truly serious about learning and mastering the art of jiujitsu, daily training is recommended. Classes that start on Monday have a layer added to them each day throughout the week, so at the end, you have learned the entire exercise. Jiujitsu Class Adults I have tried many exercise classes over the years, but none in the martial arts category. This was a totally different experience for me. Upon entering the studio, you get a good vibe from the other students, a sense of camaraderie and family. Everyone knows the process of getting ready for class and what to do. There were some other new students there on the night of my class and the experienced students helped us newbies. What’s also unique about a martial arts class is the ranking system. Students will line up according to their belt colors, which signifies their understanding of technique and skill level. I was in the beltless category and Camarillo’s wife, Lovey, was very kind in guiding me through the exercises. As a novice to a combat sport, it was exhilarating to do a scissor sweep and flip Lovey over. Even though the moves were awkward for me, I can see how empowering it is to be able to defend yourself when necessary. I highly recommend trying out some classes. The first week is free and there is no pressure or sales tactics to lure you in. If you feel comfortable, then get ready to start a new life at Camarillo Jiu-Jitsu.

Camarillo Jiu-Jitsu 811 19th St. 661-201-3346 Find them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

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CROSSFIT CRAZYHOUSE Story and photos by Laura Liera

The CrossFit fever has taken over what seems like every city in the country and Bakersfield isn’t immune. It’s definitely not your average gym class. It’s a fitness regimen that stands alone, created by Greg Glassman over several decades. The concept: maximizing the amount of work done in the shortest time based on functional movements used in gymnastics, weightlifting, running, rowing and more. The more work you do in less time, the better the outcome. For CrossFit CrazyHouse owner Jennifer Wright, having to spend less time working out while at the same time being in the best shape of her life is what hooked her to CrossFit five weeks postpartum eight years ago. “I always felt that there was some48

Bakersfield Life Magazine

thing more than the gym,” Wright said. “I felt like I was missing something more exciting.” Like most people, she had a gym membership and was going through the motions. Until she decided to put together a boot camp for friends and family and saw the positive reaction to the CrossFit-like workouts. Wright took it upon herself to get her level one CrossFit certification and she said it was the best decision she has ever made in her life. “When I found lifting and saw how it changed me, I felt a deep need and desire and excitement to share it with women,” she said. At CrossFit CrazyHouse, you feel the excitement of the coaches as soon as you walk in. It’s a big space with plenty of room for group classes. The music selection is electrifying and it pumps you up as you squat down. On a recent Thursday afternoon

July 2017

class, everyone was encouraged to lift a little heavier, with caution of course. The instructor paid close attention to form during the different exercises to prevent injury. She’d give pointers on how to adjust a squat in order to work the right muscles. The last 10 minutes of class were dedicated to high-intensity intervals that included burpees, kettlebell swings and medicine ball slams. An hour at CrossFit CrazyHouse will definitely leave you well aware of the name. It’s crazy. But your body will thank you.

CrossFit CrazyHouse 1759 Elzworth St. 661-477-1135 Find them on Facebook.

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Strength, Performance and Fitness By Glenn Hammett

Photos by Mark Nessia

The trainers at Strength, Performance and Fitness like to say that what they really sell is knowledge. They want members to know what it takes to reach and maintain their fitness goals; to not just to get it in best shape of their lives, but understand the mechanics, needs and limits of their bodies. I experienced this firsthand on a recent visit to Strength, Performance and Fitness, located on Shellabarger Street, near Brimhall Road and Calloway Drive. Halfway into the session, Leo took a group of the least-experienced participants aside to show us the overhead squat, a fundamental exercise in the metabolic conditioning world that involves holding a 35-pound bar (adding weight, once you get the technique down) over your head while doing a full squat. I started with the bar across my shoulders as Leo took great care in instructing me on the proper form of what appeared to be a pretty simple move. Lock the elbows, hips go back first, bar has to remain slightly behind the head and directly over the heels. It turns out that 30 years of spending the bulk of my waking hours sitting at a desk or hunched over the handlebars of a

A vigorous warmup of holding 70-pound kettlebells and stationary rowing intervals got the workout started.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

Mike Brown, co-owner of Strength, Performance and Fitness, and Jennie Samarripas.

bicycle had done little to benefit the mobility in my hips and shoulders. I have some serious stretching sessions ahead of me if I want to successfully perform an overhead squat. The gym’s approach is employ a wide variety of exercises to work all systems and areas of the body, moving between high volume and heavy weight. “An infinite number of combinations is possible. No two workouts are ever alike,” Leo explained. They also believe in building an atmosphere of support and camaraderie among his members. Sometimes, they will just play volleyball or Leo will order a catered breakfast for some post-workout nutrition and socializing. Members of Strength, Performance and Fitness fall into two basic camps: those who want to lose weight, increase their strength and stamina

and improve their overall health, and people who want to take it up a notch and improve their athleticism, master more advanced movements and, possibly, enter functional fitness competitions. One of Leo’s strongest and most accomplished members is a 45-year-old mother whose workout partner is her 20-something daughter. Both executed the overhead squat with ease. Surprisingly, Strength, Performance and Fitness’ membership is about 75 percent female. Leo said he is not sure why, but that it doesn’t really matter. As long as people have the desire to improve their lives and are willing to work hard at it, gender is irrelevant.

Strength, Performance and Fitness 9352 Shellabarger St. 661-578-7325 or 661-364-6665

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Pale is the new tan

Why protecting your skin from the sun can help prevent skin cancer By Laura Liera

When you’re lounging by the pool this summer, skin cancer is the last thought on your mind. We tend to shrug it off as a disease that happens when you’re older. But according to the American Cancer Society, melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young adults, especially young women. The rates of melanoma have been rising for the last 30 years. For Kern County residents who see the sun about eight months of the year, it’s a disease that is worth paying extra attention to. While there are several forms of skin cancer, there are some that are more common than others, melanoma being one of them. Lindsey Bennett, a Kaiser Permanente dermatologist, said melanoma is the most addressed because if caught late, it could be life threatening. There is no cure. There is no medication that can take it away. But melanoma is not simply a result of the sun. Risk factors include the number of moles you have, your skin type and genetics.

Secondary prevention for melanoma is an important factor in catching it early. “If we can detect the melanoma early and take it out, the success rate or cure rate is really quite good,” Bennett said. That’s when the ABCDEs of melanoma come into play. “A” being asymmetric, so spots that you can’t fold in half; “B” meaning jagged or irregular borders; “C,” more than one color present; “D,” the diameter is greater than a pencil eraser; and “E,” the evolution of change. Evolution of change is

critical. If a spot begins to change quickly, that is not normal. If a spot stands out from others, it may be best to have it checked out. The most common places for melanoma to appear is on the bottom of a foot, a hand, your back or an area where it can’t easily be seen. “I tell my patients, look yourself over from head to toe once a month and look in the places you don’t think to look,” Bennett said. There are no symptoms for skin cancer. Metastatic melanoma is a very serious condition that can lead to death. Melanomas can grow horizontally but when they grow vertically is when they start to become more invasive. “The deeper it gets, the higher chance that they have metastasized or spread to other organs,” Bennett said. “After they are 1 millimeter deep in the skin, we start looking at lymph nodes to see if they

have gone any further.” So how do you stay one step ahead of skin cancer? For starters, applying sunscreen should be the first thing you put on before stepping outside.

“Tan skin is actually damaged skin. It’s your body’s mechanism of trying to protect it so you’re clearly damaging it.” – Lindsey Bennett, Kaiser Permanente dermatologist

And don’t use the spray sunscreen as your first coat either. The heavy cream sunscreen with an SPF 50 and above is ideal. A spray sunscreen is okay for reapplication after being in the water for a few hours. Don’t be afraid to slather on a thick coat of sunscreen. According to Bennett, an ounce of sunscreen, or a shot glass full, should be applied. “Tan skin is actually damaged skin,” she said. “It’s your body’s mechanism of trying to protect it so you’re clearly damaging it.”


• You should apply 1 ounce (or shot glass) of sunscreen. 52

Bakersfield Life Magazine

• UPF clothing is recommended to protect you from the sun. July 2017

• Reflective light from buildings, cars, etc., is just as damaging as sun rays.

• Sun exposure ages the skin.


For the love of food Story and photos by Nina Ha

Food possesses a remarkable ability to connect us all: our basic human need for sustenance, our natural desire to satiate our appetites, and even our emotional proclivity toward sharing meals together. Certain tastes can bring us right back to a moment in our lives that we had long forgotten. Most of my favorite dishes have been prepared by the beautiful hands of my mother. My mom, Mary, loves others through her cooking, and for that, my stomach is eternally grateful. Although her days were busy, she always made it a point for our family to sit down to a meal together at the end of the day. Mom would race home after helping my dad run errands for our family business, and miraculously, a hot, home-cooked meal, complete with ample sides, would appear a mere 10 minutes later. I’m still baffled by how my mom’s inexplicable speed in the kitchen could

result in delicious meals such as tender pork with garlicky gravy, daikon soup with wood ear mushrooms or cabbage stir-fry in savory sauce over rice. Her legendary mee fun (Taiwanese rice noodles) is known all over Southern California among our friends. Many other loved ones have also left their culinary imprint on orable meals? Who made it? For my life. Anytime I eat calamari, whom did they make it? And with I think of my “ahmah” (grandwhom did you enjoy it? Perhaps mother) and the full-sized squid you can trace your way back to the she used to saute, which I would original chef and thank them or try eat in its entirety. My “ahgoo” to find their recipe. Or if you’re the (uncle) is a professional chef who gifted cook in your circle, consider makes the best seaweed-seasoned sharing your culinary secrets so battered fish. My mother-in-law, that your legacy of love will live on Bonnie, steams fresh-caught North through the food you pass down. Carolina blue crabs. And, my For we are all connected in this husband, Ben, taught himself how life from God: by the to make pad thai for me and friendships we keep, the kids. Also, we’re blessed the family we love, and to have foodie friends who the food we share. are like family. They often spend full days braising and Opinions expressed roasting meals for us to enjoy in this column are those together. As I’m learning of Nina Ha. more and more, food is love. Nina Ha What are your most mem-

Top: Nina’s grandmother’s legendary mee fun dish. Bottom: Nina’s mom, Mary, during Thanksgiving 2012.





Dining Guide




Dining Guide 2017 Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace

Since 1996, Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace has provided Bakersfield with excellent food paired with remarkable music. A restaurant, theater and museum all in one, the Palace showcases the rich history of West Coast country music while providing a venue for world-famous acts like Garth Brooks and Brad

Paisley and local standouts like Stampede. Food favorites include aged steaks, fresh seafood and Buck’s world-famous chicken-fried steak paired with live music five nights a week. It’s been a “Best of Bakersfield” winner for “Best Sunday Brunch” for the past 18 years.


Wiki’s Wine Dive & Grill is casual fun gourmet Wiki’s now features a lunch special, which changes daily, Monday through Friday, for only $7.50! That alone is worth the short 10-minute drive from downtown! Relax in our recently expanded “full strength” bar with nightly happy hour specials. Enjoy live music Thursday through Saturday. Our Sunday brunch is a hoot with our famous “Bubbles Bar,” Killer Stoli bloody

marys and our endless mimosa special from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check out our unique appetizers, including our famous lamb lollipops, fried green beans and Brussels sprouts! For those watching their diets, Wiki’s offers a Healthier Choice menu. Wiki’s is a great place to stop after work or a round of golf. Located where Ming Avenue and Buena Vista Road intersect.



Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

Nuestro Mexico Restaurant

Culinary art is what Nuestro Mexico Restaurant retains to be passionate about, providing family friendly service as if the client were at home, with the intentions of creating new and fond memories for the years to come. Nuestro Mexico Restaurant is not a typical restaurant in Bakersfield. Within

the two years that we have been open, we have opened new doors for clients. Giving them the opportunity to try new and unique dishes that no other restaurant in this city provides. Nuestro Mexico Restaurant is not focusing on what its competitors are doing better, but rather, being our own competition.


Dining Guide 2017

Take a staycation at Crest Bar & Grill Nestled among the palm trees of the Bakersfield RV Resort is this city’s best-kept secret: Crest Bar & Grill. Celebrating its 10th year, The Crest has taken its place among Bakersfield’s top locally owned restaurants. Named after the Crest Drive-In by owners the Patterson Family, the bar and grill invites locals and tourists alike to visit, relax and enjoy quality food in a comfortable environment. Whether it is the fresh soups made daily, the crisp romaine lettuce cut in-house, or the Alfredo and marinara sauces made from scratch, The Crest is sure to deliver a fantastic home-cooked meal. Customers always rave about the huevos rancheros, the East Coast prevost, the certified Angus beef filet mignon and prime rib slow-cooked overnight. On Fridays, The Crest has people clamoring for clam chowder (New England or Manhattan) as well as the fish and chips with tangy tartar sauce. Weekly and daily specials mean that there is always something new to try or an

old favorite to rediscover. The Crest is stocked with a full bar and prides itself on quality cocktails and a great selection of bottled beer and wine. “This is the best bloody mary in town” is often heard from many guests on the weekends. Other favorite drinks include our famous lemon drop martini with a whole lemon squeezed into it, the refreshing Long Island tea or the house margarita with fresh lime juice. Happy hour is daily from 2 to 6 p.m. and includes a special happy hour menu. The Crest is a perfect place to unwind after a day’s work. No restaurant can succeed on great food alone. The 30plus staff members of The Crest are always friendly, helpful and eager to make your experience a dining delight. General Manager Peter Karnowski and head chef Juan Pacheco bring a daily commitment to ensuring all guests leave The Crest completely satisfied and planning their next visit to the restaurant.



Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017








E R S’







Best BBQ Restaurant

Proudly serving Bakersfield for the past 46 years!

We also do catering! 9500 Brimhall Rd., Ste. 304 • 661-588-7004

Monday - Saturday 11am-8pm, Sunday 11am-6pm

9425 Rosedale Hwy • 661-587-8437 6801 White Lane • 661-847-9955

6720 Schirra Ct • 661-563-2739 -

Now booking for Christmas Party’s Catering: 661-549-Fire (3473)


Dining Guide 2017 Uricchio’s Trattoria

On June 4, 1995, Nick Uricchio and his son Steven opened Uricchio’s Trattoria in the historic Haberfelde Building in downtown Bakersfield, creating a memorable dining experience from start to finish by offering wonderful food and exceptional service in a unique setting. The family owned restaurant, now owned by Nick’s daughter Claire, continues the tradition 22 years

later, thanks to a staff of caring employees – many of whom have been with the establishment since the very beginning. The Italian eatery offers signature dishes like eggplant parmigiana, chicken piccata, lasagna and veal saltimbocca, along with an extensive seafood menu, wonderful salads, and vegetarian and gluten-free options. Specials are also offered every two weeks.


Crab In A Bag Established in 2016, Crab In A Bag offers patrons a unique dining experience that can be shared with family and friends of all ages. The menu features a Cajun seafood boil with seafood options that include whole shrimp, peeled shrimp, king crab, snow crab, Dungeness crab, mussels, crawfish and clams sold by the pound and topped with Cajun butter garlic, Cajun mild, Cajun medium or Cajun hot sauce. Each bag comes with four pieces of sausage, a potato and a piece of corn. Both our menu and

Bakersfield Life Magazine

Wool Growers Restaurant has been an iconic place in downtown Bakersfield for many years. With its friendly staff, this family owned and operated business serves dishes from the south of France and northern Spain – a region known for its long-standing culinary traditions. The restau-

rant’s founder, Mayie Maitia, was raised in France and brings her hometown to locals who enjoy Basque cuisine. The lunch menu consists of steak, halibut, shrimp scampi, lamb and a number of other Basque dishes. It also serves a hot and steaming Basque soup of the day that goes great with any meal.


Kamisama Ramen

overall dining experience is like no other in Kern County. If you love seafood, you’re going to love what Crab In A Bag has to offer.



Wool Growers Restaurant

July 2017

Ramen. The staple food for college students living on a budget. But in recent years, the noodle craft has evolved out of plastic foam cups and into a delicate steamed broth packed with more flavor than you could ever get packaged. The soup delight

is found at Kamisama Ramen in northwest Bakersfield. If you’re on the prowl to have “real” ramen for the first time, this is the place to visit. If you’re undecided about what to order, owner Mike Yang and his staff are experts and can recommend something to your liking.


Dining Guide 2017 La Costa Mariscos: Traditional Mexican flavors

Great Castle Chinese Restaurant

For 35 years, the locally owned Great Castle has been serving tantalizing Chinese food to Bakersfield. During that time, the restaurant has created favorites among locals, including kung pao dishes, tangerine beef, salt and pepper calamari, sizzling rice

soup and crispy duck. The focus on quality extends beyond just food. Staff at Great Castle care for customers as much as the food. In the 2016 “Best of Bakersfield” poll, Great Castle was voted a “favorite” for “Best Chinese Restaurant.”


Hungry Hunter

La Costa Mariscos is a family owned restaurant that has been in Bakersfield for more than 24 years. Our original location was on 21st Street. In 2014, we transitioned into our new home in the historic “Ice House,” on Chester Avenue and 34th Street. It is our desire to make you feel like family when you walk through those doors. We have flavor profiles for everyone, from traditional Mexican dishes to exotic seafood dishes. Our recipes come from our hometown of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. In 2015 we expanded our restaurant to include our “Costa Bar.” The same freshness that we serve in our food also translates across to our bar. We use fresh fruits, homemade syrups, and even homemade sweet and sour. And don’t forget about our micheladas! LA COSTA MARISCOS 3401 CHESTER AVE. • 661-322-2655


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

Hungry Hunter has been serving up some of Bakersfield’s best prime rib, steaks and seafood since 1992. Fresh is the name of the game, with all items, from sauces, soups, salads and more, all made inhouse daily. Prime rib is Hungry Hunter’s house specialty, but the steakhouse also has unforgettable steaks cut by hand,

ribs, shrimp and desserts. Don’t forget the whiskey peppercorn sauce! A full bar and reasonably priced wine list is complemented by happy hour from 2 to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and half-priced appetizers. Hungry Hunter also caters and its banquet facilities are perfect for wine and food pairings and spirit-tasting events.


Like us on Facebook 1641 Union Avenue • 661-527-2229

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11a.m. to 9 p.m. Locally owned and operated.


Dining Guide 2017 Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar

Blending the flavors of traditional Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese cuisine, Chef’s Choice Noodle Bar has become a staple of downtown Bakersfield dining in recent years. It was the 2014 “Best of Bakersfield” winner for “Best Thai Food.” This fall, Chef's Choice Noodle Bar is offering customized event plan-

The Broken Yolk Cafe

ning in its banquet facility and off-site catering. Chef’s Choice offers lunch events, after-work happy hour meet-and-greets, as well as dinner events. Call General Manager Nick Panici for more information. Regular diners can enjoy weekend specials from the catering menu. Check Facebook for these weekly specials.


Looking for the perfect breakfast in Bakersfield? There is no better place to start your day than The Broken Yolk Cafe. Whether you’re fueling up for the workday ahead, getting together with friends or just grabbing a quick bite on your lunch break, we’ve got you covered.

Offering everything from eggs Benedict, to soup and salad, healthy wraps and big juicy half-pound Angus burgers, The Broken Yolk Cafe is the place to be! We’re located on the corner of White Lane and Buena Vista Road. Open daily from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Second location opening this fall!


34th Street Burger + Deli: Serving up burgers for 50 years The switch to a new location hasn’t changed what has made 34th Street Burgers + Deli a Central Valley favorite for nearly 50 years. Keeping the same staff and recipes with the move, 34th Street brought along with it the same tantalizing tastes and atmosphere that has drawn diners from throughout the area. Favorites among guests include the signature burgers that are still made with a custom blend of beef tailored for juiciness, breakfast burritos and the carne asada served with fresh handmade tortillas every day.


Bakersfield Life Magazine

34TH STREET BURGER + DELI 2301 H ST. • 661-324-8455 • 3951 WIBLE ROAD • 661-831-3311

July 2017


Best Lunch in Downtown Bakersfield Lunch proceeds benefit Stars' theatre productions and educational arts programs for kids.

#bmtstars Stars Theatre Cafe - Open for Lunch Monday - Friday, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. 1931 Chester Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93301 Tel. (661) 325-6100 Web.

Discover the Foods of Mexico at the Red Pepper Since its inception in 1979, Chef Gilbert Sabedra has always been on the cutting edge. He has taken traditional Mexican foods, inspired by the infusions of International flavors and expanded the cuisine to ensure a feast for all your senses.

Cantina Hours:

Daily Until 11:00pm

Sunday Champagne Brunch 10 am - 2 pm

Dining Room Hours: Monday - Thursday 11:00am to 9:00pm Friday & Saturday 11:00am to 9:30pm Sunday 10:00am to 8:30pm


Dining Guide 2017 Caesar’s Italian Delicatessen

Caesar’s Italian Delicatessen is a friendly, fast and delicious experience. The family owned and operated full-service deli has been serving locals fresh sandwiches, salads, soups, pastas, freshly sliced meats and cheeses, and more for 46 years and developed a reputation for putting quality and customers

first. Customer favorites like the pickled tongue, party platters and pastas are made fresh in-house every day. Sandwiches are made with Pyrenees bread baked fresh daily and the personalized attention to the customers’ needs combined with the staff’s expertise result in a quality product and a memorable experience every time.

Mauricio’s Grill & Cantina

At Mauricio’s Grill & Cantina, customers are treated like family. Since opening its doors in Aug. 6, 1996, Mauricio’s has been keeping Bakersfield well-fed and happy, serving up traditional Mexican dishes prepared fresh. Customers can expect great value for their money and the service is second to none. Diners can enjoy their meals in



Salty’s BBQ & Catering is the best of both worlds Salty’s BBQ & Catering was bringing the best of both worlds – smokin’ and grillin’ – to hungry diners long before Food Network’s “Diners, DriveIns and Dives” thrust the local barbecue joint into the national spotlight. Owner Jeff Salters and company fire up tri-tip and chicken over red oak on the grill and ribs and pulled pork in a smoker. Salters’ specialty rub took five years to perfect and paired with his sweet-and-

smoky barbecue sauce, it’s a taste of the Midwest on the West Coast. The Salty’s approach is best captured by the Salty’s Special, a sandwich featuring grilled tri-tip and smoked pulled pork topped with barbecue sauce, yellow peppers and coleslaw between a grilled Pyrenees roll. With a little bit of sweetness and a little bit of heat, each bite is a mouthful of what Salty’s does best: make great barbecue day in and day out.



Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

the dining room, cantina or patio. Private banquet rooms are also available for special events and celebrations. This summer, Mauricio’s will be featuring items like pomegranate mojitos and slow-roasted carnitas. Quality of food, quality of service, and a clean and sanitary restaurant set Mauricio’s apart from the competition.

OPEN FOR DINNER Tuesday-Saturday 5-10 P.M. • Sunday Brunch 9:30-2 P.M.

Casual Gourmet.

LIVE MUSIC NIGHTLY Call for concert & entertainment information.

2800 Buck Owens Blvd., Bakersfield, CA 93308 You can visit our site and make reservations online!

(661) 328-7560

Delicious Mexican fare for everyone to enjoy.

Daily Open


at 11a

716 21st St., • 637-1343 • Open 7 days a week 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.


Dining Guide 2017 Red Pepper

Red Pepper Restaurant showcases owner Gilbert Sabedra’s simple, unique concept and the diverse foods of his heritage with a blend of traditional Mexican flavors and international flair. At this warm and welcoming restaurant in the northeast, you’ll find perfectly prepared staples like burritos and enchiladas. You can also try daring dishes like lobster and

Stars Theatre Cafe

shrimp relleno or a rack of lamb served with jalapeno mint sauce. Diners can sample seafood, as well as chili verde, steaks, lamb, chicken and pork. “All our foods are prepared fresh daily and cooked per customer order. Whenever possible, we strive to accommodate our guests’ individual cooking specifications,” said manager Sharon Kendall.


By night, Stars glistens with live entertainment and gourmet dinners. By day, Stars offers a delicious menu featuring classic burgers, salads, sandwiches and more! Located in the Stars Theatre Restaurant Lounge, Stars Cafe serves two purposes: to treat the downtown lunch crowd and to support the theater’s stage productions and arts programs for kids. Indulge in a juicy

cheeseburger or fruity gingham salad (a summertime favorite) and support the arts while doing so! Stars Theatre Cafe is perfect for small to large groups. Larger parties (10 or more) can be accommodated in the theater’s auditorium. Outdoor seating available by request. Seating is first come, first served. Outdoor seating available by request. Please call for parties 10 or more.


KC Steakhouse 2017

$10 Off

$5 Off



Present this coupon before ordering and receive $10 off your dinner bill for each pair of full dinner entrees.

Present this coupon before ordering and receive $5 off your lunch bill for each pair of full lunch entrees.

That’s a savings of $20 off Dinner!

That’s a savings of $10 off Lunch!

Not valid for banquets, with any other coupons or offers. Valid for up to four guests. Valid 7 days a week until 08/31/17.

Not valid for banquets, with any other coupons or offers. Valid during posted lunch hours only for up to four guests. Valid Monday through Friday until 08/31/17.

3580 Rosedale Highway / 661-328-0580


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

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Family owned and operated since 1939, KC Steakhouse has etched a place into the heart of Bakersfield. The surf and turf steak and lobster, a combination of filet mignon and a sweet and succulent Australian

lobster tail, is a local favorite to this day. Known as much for its atmosphere as its food, KC Steakhouse is a hot spot for business meetings, family gatherings, a truly happy hour and even marriage proposals.




Basque Restaurant


Place To Make Out-Of-Town Guests & Moscow Mules

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20 UNDER 40 Sponsored by CSU Bakersfield Photos by Jonah and Lindsay

Back row, from left: Jessica Grimes, David Bynum, Hillary Haenes, James Hefley, Nikolas Boone, Cameron Guinn, Carla Barrientos, Tanya Carruesco and Chris Keeler. Front row, from left: Traco Matthews, Mallory Torrigiani-Walton, Megan Silva, Kristen Maples Tejeda, Sophia Cummings, Rick Jhaj, Didra Gentry, Sarah Brooks and Gabe Ulloa. Not pictured: Chantal Trujillo and Justin Fahsbender. 70

Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

Leaders. Entrepreneurs. Innovators. Role models. These are a few words that describe this year’s group of 20 Under 40. But that only tells half of the story. Not only are these individuals successful in their respective careers, they are giving back to their community and doing their part to make the city a better place. Entering its fifth year, the 20 Under 40 People to Watch continues to showcase the rising stars of our community. They

are proof that age is just a number and that anything can be achieved with the right mindset, a positive attitude and a never-say-never approach. Demonstrating excellence in the workplace and a commitment to community service, the impact these individuals make today will be felt for years to come.

Continued on Page 72


Age: 34 Profession: Partner with Bynum & Wells LLP Community involvement: Habitat for Humanity, San Joaquin Community Hospital Foundation, Kern County Assessment Appeals Board Growing up in Bakersfield, David Bynum knows about the gripes claiming there’s nothing to do in town. But rather than join in on the complaints, he took a more proactive approach. Identifying areas of need that would benefit the city’s residents, Bynum started Rush Air Sports, an indoor athletic entertainment facility. Seeing a need for a local comedy scene in, he started booking acts at Temblor Brewing Company, which is owned by his brother Don. Now Bynum is preparing to launch his latest concept: The BLVD. Slated to open at near the end of the year, The BLVD is a 45,000-square-foot venue that will feature 22 bowling lanes, two-story laser tag, arcade, bocce ball courts, a high-quality restaurant and more. “It will be something that adults will be as happy to go to and eat at as kids are to go to and play,” Bynum said. Bynum’s role as a husband and father is the biggest inspiration for creating family friendly activities in town. “Bakersfield is a lot of young families and trying to find things for them to do is something I care about,” he said. Biggest inspiration: My dad has given me the blueprint of how to be a good business person, a good human being, a good citizen. I don’t think I’ll ever catch up to what he’s done, but he’s set the bar. Advice to others: Don’t take for granted the years that you have to devote to education because they’re going to set the trajectory for the rest of your life. Know that education never stops. Personal motto: Try to create the world that you want to be a part of.

David Bynum Age: 37 Profession: English Professor at Taft College Community involvement: R.O.S.E. Mentoring, Women’s History and More Movement, Bakersfield Homeless Shelter, Campus Crusade Mentors helped Jessica Grimes realize her full potential as a student. Now an English professor at Taft College, she’s paying it forward to the next generation of learners. College was always the goal for Grimes but she didn’t see herself moving beyond a bachelor’s degree. It wasn’t until a professor asked her about graduate school. He recommended Grimes apply to Yale Divinity School, so she did and was accepted. “A lot of my path has been mentors and interventions – people who have come and nudged me in the right direction,” Grimes said. Even her teaching career came together with a little encouragement from others. Grimes started as an adjunct professor at Bakersfield College and CSU Bakersfield before a mentor asked her about a job opening at Taft College. Not knowing much about Taft, Grimes took the plunge. Teaching at the community college level appeals to Grimes because it is all-inclusive, providing second chances to those looking to better their lives through education. From her job as an educator to her role as a mentor empowering women to her community involvement, Grimes strives to do all that she can to leave the community a better place. “I think I’m required to be the best person I can possibly be in every area of my life,” she said. “I need to do everything in my power to leave a positive impact. I feel like I don’t have an option.” Keys to success: Seeking out mentors and my faith. Notable achievements: I’m proud that I’m published and I’ve presented at conferences. I’m in a Ph.D. program. I’m working on my dissertation while teaching full time. Personal motto: Fail forward.

Jessica Grimes


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

Age: 30 Profession: Owner of A Cut In Time Barber Shop Community involvement: WarmLine, Christmas for Seniors, Disabled American Veterans, Friendship House There is more to Mallory Torrigiani-Walton than meets the eye. Her gender contradicts her career of choice. The ink that stains her skin can’t conceal the love and compassion in her heart. Her bubbly personality belies of the hurt she has endured. Seven years ago, Torrigiani-Walton was involved in a car accident that killed her grandma, Jackie VanCleave. Torrigiani-Walton suffered physical injuries in the crash, but the emotional damage was an even greater burden to bear. “I had a really hard time with survivor’s guilt,” she said. “I wasn’t the same person.” With the help of her family and boyfriend – now her husband – Torrigiani-Walton was encouraged to pick herself up and find something she enjoyed. She found refuge in cutting hair. But her career of choice brought about many naysayers. “When most people think of a barber, they think of a 60- or 70-year-old man, so to own a business that I only have females as barbers, a lot of people told me it wasn’t going to work,” Torrigiani-Walton said. “When someone tells you, you can’t do something or you can’t succeed, it makes that drive even more intense. Just being able to prove people wrong is a good accomplishment and I think we’ve done that here.” Best piece of advice received: My grandma used to say, “It’s always deeper than it looks.” You either need to step back or jump in. Usually, the best thing to do is jump right in. Advice to others: It’s OK to be different – to do something that others may not be doing. Personal motto: Work hard and love what you do no matter what that is.

Mallory TorrigianiWalton

Age: 33 Profession: Vice President of Operations and Compliance for Commercial Trade Inc. Community involvement: Make-A-Wish Foundation, Kern County Firefighters, Aglow Despite working in the family business, Chris Keeler still worked his way up the ladder. His involvement with Commercial Trade Inc., founded by his grandparents in 1967, started in junior high with Keeler working in the mail room for nearly four years. After venturing out on his own for some time, Keeler’s grandmother asked him to come back. Keeler started out as a medical debt collector, then moved up to commercial collection. Keeler quickly learned that being a debt collector is no easy task. Calling those who don’t necessarily want to hear from you results on a lot of hang-ups. But what most people don’t know is Keeler and his staff are actually trying to help those they’re reaching out to. “It’s just trying to get them up to the table to work out a deal to satisfy the debt,” he said. “You’re a problem-solver. We aren’t here to be mean. We’re here to work out an agreement for everyone.” Keeler then started handling the company’s technology in addition to some sales work before being promoted to vice president of operations and compliance in 2014. Not being handed his position and earning it instead makes Keeler more effective in his day-to-day duties. “I have to understand what everyone’s doing,” he said. “It’s hard to teach someone how to do something if you don’t know how to do it yourself.” Biggest inspiration: My grandparents. Just trying to keep their legacy going – trying to keep it going another 50 years. Advice to others: You need to balance everything out. Balance amongst everything – work and personal life. Personal motto: If I have seen farther than others, it’s because I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants.

Chris Keeler


Age: 33 Profession: Grant Development Director for Kern County Superintendent of Schools Community involvement: Downtown Kiwanis Club, Community Reading Project, Marley’s Mutts There’s power in writing. When Sarah Brooks tells a story of need, she immerses herself into the lives of those who will be impacted by her words. She spends time with families. She spends time at school sites. She spends time with those who work behind the scenes. The end result is not just text on paper, but something that captures the heart and soul of a community and the lives that will be forever changed by the awards Brooks’ work potentially brings. As the grant development director for Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Brooks has written several multimillion-dollar grants in the area of education, providing opportunities for kids in rural schools throughout the Central Valley. “We’re not all born with equal opportunities as much as we think,” Brooks said. “Grants are a way to level the playing field, to get resources to communities that need them. Ultimately, education is the only way. Without education, that poverty cycle will continue.” Education was not on Brooks’ radar when she was younger. She did not put much thought toward life after high school and struggled with reading and writing. It wasn’t until college that she found her passion and put forth the effort required to overcome her grammatical hindrances. Now she uses skills that were once barriers to advocate for children – the mission of KCSOS. “From something I struggled with, to be able to use it to help others, that’s pretty cool,” she said. Notable achievements: My funding rate is really high on grants. I’ve been able to receive some of the more competitive federal and state grants. Personal motto: Always be empathetic toward others.

Sarah Brooks


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

Age: 38 Profession: Public Affairs Specialist with Aera Energy Community involvement: Math and Science Academy mentor at South High School, MESA Community College Program, Hina Patel Foundation, Virginia Ruth Grimes Scholarship Foundation As a black male growing up in poverty, Traco Matthews’ chances of being successful were low. A lack of exposure to available opportunities combined with a “credibility gap” that made it tough to establish and build trust with society at large are obstacles that can oftentimes prove too difficult to overcome. But great mentors, led by his father, helped Matthews overcome challenges others could not. “My dad was a fantastic role model,” Matthews said. “Seeing his passion for wanting to make people whole, spiritually and emotionally, stuck with me. Just seeing his passion and his commitment to that really inspired me to always care about the community and giving back, knowing that life is about more than what you accumulate; it’s about who you touch.” That influence is why Matthews is heavily invested in mentoring youths – particularly those who grew up in situations similar to his – acting as a role model and providing them with spiritual, educational and emotional advice to help them succeed and live balanced lives. Looking back at how far he’s come instills two visceral feelings: gratitude and a sense of obligation to provide others the same opportunities that were offered to him. “I know I didn’t pull myself up by my bootstraps,” he said. “Therefore, I must pay it forward and give to those who have the same potential and just don’t know it yet.” Advice to others: Never, never, never stop dreaming. Never lose faith, never lose trust. The moment you do, all is lost. Personal motto: Life is about learning and growing.

Traco Matthews

Age: 31 Profession: Community Principal of Kelly F. Blanton Student Education Center Community involvement: Kern County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Cameron Guinn helps save lives in more ways than one. As principal of Kelly F. Blanton Student Education Center, a community school that serves kids who have been kicked out of home district schools and continuation school, Guinn and his staff act as a last line of defense, keeping kids in the classroom and off the streets. “You make mistakes with these kids, they drop out or they’re dead or they get incarcerated,” Guinn said. “We don’t get to have bad days as teachers in alternative education.” As a member of the dive team for search and rescue, Guinn helps pull people and vehicles out of the water. Sometimes he is the difference between life and death. The margin for error is small at his school. Whether inside the classroom or out in the Kern River, Guinn aims to serve because he knows his actions can have a major impact in the lives of others. “I want people to be able to count on me,” he said. “In home life and family life along with work and school and search and rescue and everything else, I’m trying to be competent in all of them at the same time.” Keys to success: The two biggest things for me is being open to change and that every single person I meet is important. Advice to others: If you forget about advancing yourself and support those around you, there’s this groundswell and you all move together. Share the credit for things, build up the people around you. Personal motto: Just as much as I want to be able to rely on people, I want people to be confident that when they ask me for something, I can deliver.

Cameron Guinn Age: 30 Profession: Attorney at Rodriguez & Associates Community involvement: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Alliance Against Family Violence & Sexual Assault, Honor Run If things start falling into place, that’s an indication of the direction you’re meant to go. That belief led Chantal Trujillo to become an attorney. Growing up with a father who worked in law enforcement, Trujillo was exposed to a life of service and helping others at an early age. “It’s kind of always been in me that that’s where I wanted to go,” she said. “That’s what I wanted to do with my life.” Practicing in personal injury and wrongful death, she helps provide comfort and closure for clients in times of need. Often referred to as lawyers, attorneys or counselors, Trujillo takes the counseling role seriously as she often works with heightened emotions. Through the ups and downs of the legal process, Trujillo must remain strong for her clients. “When someone is emotional, they don’t see clearly,” she said. “You have to help them make the best decisions. When they first come in, it’s not a good time in their life. But you hope that throughout the process, you can give them some closure and guide them. “It’s an honor to help them get that closure. At the end, they’re smiling and they feel, in some way, vindicated. It’s an honor to get them to that place.” Best advice received: Make memories and don’t just end up with dreams you didn’t accomplish. Actually live your life. Keys to success: Persistence and having faith in yourself. If other people can do it, you can do it, too. Notable accomplishments: I hold a second-degree black belt in kenpo karate. Personal motto: Keep going. Just work through it. It’s going to be OK.

Chantal Trujillo


Age: 26 Profession: Financial Adviser with Northwestern Mutual Community involvement: Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Kappa Sigma fraternity, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Alzheimer’s Association James Hefley was destined to be a financial adviser. He developed an entrepreneurial mindset early on and when his grandfather started giving him books on investing and the stock market when Hefley was 14, it paved a path toward a bachelor’s degree in finance from CSU Bakersfield. While enrolled in school full time, Hefley was offered an internship with Northwestern Mutual, which offered him a job upon graduation. Growing up in the high-risk, high-reward industry of investing and financial planning, Hefley’s biggest challenge was his age. “Being in an industry where people are in their 50s, 60s and 70s and I’m a 21-year-old kid coming in and telling them what they need to do, that was tough,” he said. “It made me step up my game and elevate my education level so that, even though I’m young, I know what I’m talking about and have the experience to back it.” Hefley knew there was a price to pay to achieve success in his profession at such a young age. But the long days and even longer nights were a necessary evil to be able to do something he loves. “When people ask me if I like what I do, I say I would never do anything else,” he said. “I would never leave what I do because I’ve found the thing I’m most passionate about and something I’m good at.” Keys to success: Having a vision of where I want to be in the future. I have a three-year vision written out that I read to myself twice a day. It describes where I see myself three years from now. Personal motto: Whatever you do, do well.

James Hefley Age: 33 Profession: Behavior Specialist with Kern County Superintendent of Schools Community involvement: CSUB Alumni Association, Active 20-30 Club, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Bakersfield Marathon At 24 years old, Carla Barrientos was on cloud nine. She recently graduated with her bachelor’s from CSU Bakersfield, was preparing to enroll in a master’s program and was entering the beginning stages of her teaching career. But an unexpected role that was added to the list: becoming a caretaker for her mother, Cynthia Grubb, who was battling cancer. Juggling family, school and work, in addition to the realization that her mother was very ill helped Barrientos realize what she was capable of even during tough times. “I learned a lot about myself and a lot about how strong I was – how strong my family was and how strong my faith was also,” she said. Grubb passed away at 48 years old but the morals she instilled in her daughter guide her till this day. Even now, Barrientos still tries to make her mother proud. Barrientos followed in her mother’s footsteps into the education field working with special-needs students and being part of a support system to those who don’t have one. “I always keep in mind what would (my mom) do; how would she help this person?” Barrientos said. “Would she turn her back? She wouldn’t so I always have that in the back of my head.” Best advice received: People don’t care what you know until they know that you care. Notable achievements: I’m the incoming president of the CSUB Alumni Association. I was nominated and voted by my peers on the board. I feel really proud to be able to represent our alumni. We have over 40,000. Personal motto: Just go for it. See where life takes you. It’s all about the journey, not about the destination.

Carla Barrientos


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

Age: 29 Profession: Member Programs and Engagement Manager / Director of Fun for the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Community involvement: Active Bakersfield Alliance, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference Since coming to Bakersfield in 2004, Hillary Haenes has made it her mission to get involved. As a new student at Centennial High School, she joined the cheer squad and the newspaper in an effort to meet new people. As a working professional, she engaged in community events and organizations to help better the city she now calls home. Originally from South Bend, Indiana, Haenes chose to stay in Bakersfield when her family moved back to the Midwest in 2014. “I literally have no family here, but I have formed such good friendships here that I consider a lot of my friends to be my family,” she said. “This is home for me.” Haenes’ co-workers are also part of her Bakersfield family. Despite working full-time at the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce as the member programs and engagement manager, Haenes still devotes one to two Saturdays a month working at Bella at The Marketplace, a women’s boutique she has worked at for the past 10 years. “Just getting to know people, forming those friendships, getting involved in the community, giving back – that’s how I got a sense of what Bakersfield is,” she said. Biggest inspiration: My mom. She’s very strong-willed. She taught me at a young age to be independent, to voice my opinion. Advice to others: Say yes. Discover new things, try new things. Find your passion. Personal motto: Be a positive person. Surround yourself with positive people, creative people. I always have to put my family first, even though they’re so many miles away.

Hillary Haenes

Age: 25 Profession: Owner of Ascend Real Estate and Property Management Community involvement: Bakersfield East Rotary Club, Active 20-30 Club Given Nikolas Boone’s success and accomplishments, it’s not uncommon for those who meet him to think he was a silver-spooned child given everything he could possibly want growing up. But the reality is far from it. The 25-year-old owner of Ascend Real Estate and Property Management was born to parents with rap sheets who were in and out of prison, leaving Boone with his grandparents for the majority of his first eight years of life. “Growing up in Oildale, I had to go jump through the tiers really quickly,” he said. Boone’s upbringing helped shape him into the man he is today – driven and unwilling to let adversity slow him down. Starting his own company while attending CSU Bakersfield full time 6 ½ years ago, Boone has turned a one-man real estate operation into business that has nine employees, manages close to 400 units and sells 60 to 80 homes a year. Boone’s biggest inspiration: his parents, who are still together, clean and have put their pasts behind them. “They showed me that whatever you want is a mindset,” Boone said. “They can just choose to stop being who they were and be who they are now – it’s a big accomplishment.” Why is it important to give back? Bakersfield has made me everything I am. Starting from the house we started living in to the house I own now is vastly different and 100 percent of it comes from Bakersfield. Bakersfield has given me a lot in a short amount of time and I’m happy to give back with what they’ve given me. Advice to others: There are two sides to every story. Personal motto: You gotta risk it to get the biscuit.

Nikolas Boone


Age: 35 Profession: Real Estate Agent with Miramar International Community involvement: CASA, Bakersfield Police Activities League, Boys & Girls Club It takes courage to walk away from something familiar and step toward the uncertain. When Tanya Carruesco left her job of 17 years as a manager at a local business to become a real estate agent, her decision affected not only her, but her husband and their three children. “When you have three other people you’re helping take care of, that’s the scariest thing – to go from a steady wage to one where you can make a lot of money one month and not make any money for the next six months,” she said. But Carruesco is an avid believer of facing your fears and taking chances, especially if it’s toward something you’re passionate about. She says the feeling of handing the keys to a new homeowner – to be a part of such a monumental milestone in his or her life – is an indescribable feeling. Carruesco uses her success as a real estate agent as an opportunity to give back to the community, particularly to programs and organizations that benefit Bakersfield youths. “I think that everything you put out there and you give of yourself comes back around in some sort of way,” she said. “The community is what supports you. Your children are going to grow up in that community. Your kids are going to be living in the world that we leave them. You want to have a good place for your children to grow up in.” Keys to success: Devoting yourself to people and doing the right thing. Advice to others: Face your fears and don’t be afraid to take chances if you’re passionate about something. Personal motto: Always do what you know is right.

Tanya Carruesco


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

Age: 38 Profession: CEO of Countryside Construction (formerly Prasayus Corp.) / Chief Development Officer for Countryside Corporation Community involvement: Bakersfield Homeless Shelter, Bakersfield Sikh Women’s Association, Hina Patel Foundation Honesty, purity and integrity. These are the pillars that helped Rick Jhaj expand his parents’ dream into an organization spanning nearly 20 individual businesses and 400 employees. Those values were tested in 2005, when the family’s primary store caught fire. The ceiling had collapsed, 30 employees were in danger of losing their jobs and a huge part of their income was taken out of the picture overnight. Standing in the middle of the store, Jhaj and his father said it was going to be OK. They were going to find a way to make things better. From the ashes of the fire came Countryside Market & Restaurants. “I told my dad we could build it better; we can do it bigger,” Jhaj said. They came up with a new design for the store while transferring the 30 employees affected by the fire to other locations, even though they had more than enough staff, while the facility was redesigned, rebuilt and reopened. The company did not lose a single employee. “We can’t do anything without our employees, the people who helped us get here,” Jhaj said. “We’re nothing without them. We do whatever we can to make sure they’re happy and taken care of.” Biggest inspiration: I’m known throughout my family as the guy who never stops smiling. I get that from my mother. My work ethic I get from my father. Notable achievements: I’m a father of two children. I’ve dreamt of being a father and there’s nothing better in the world. Why is it important to give back? Success is like a river: If you give, it flows; if you don’t, it will stop. Personal motto: Be humble, be kind. If you do that daily, success comes to you.

Rick Jhaj

Age: 37 Profession: Director of Quality and Risk Management for HealthSouth Bakersfield Rehabilitation Hospital Community involvement: American Heart and Stroke Associations, Go Red for Women, Circle of Red When Didra Gentry met with HealthSouth Bakersfield CEO Martha Samora in October 2016, Samora asked where Gentry was going to put her stake in the ground. Gentry said her stake is quality in patient care and patient satisfaction. Four months later, the rehabilitation hospital was No. 1 in patient satisfaction and quality measures in the western region, which consists of 16 facilities. “We call it magic here,” Gentry said. “We give magic back to the community.” Success was never not an option for Gentry. “My mom never believed that because I was a girl that I couldn’t succeed,” she said. “She took away a lot of those excuses and was always asking, ‘Why can’t you be No. 1? Why can’t you?’” In addition to her work at HealthSouth, Gentry also plays an active role in helping educate Kern County about heart, stroke and pulmonary disease. As a member of the board of directors for the Kern County American Heart Association, she helped get a bill passed that will mandate CPR in high schools as a requirement for graduation. “Kern County is sectioned off by mountains,” she said. “I feel that if we don’t make our community better, especially with educating the different populations about heart and stroke disease as well as pulmonary disease, we’re going to continue to see the decline.” Biggest inspiration: My mom has been such a guiding light in my life and my daughter is my amazing gift that I wake up every day for. Best advice received: No one can ever fault you if you keep the patient first. Personal motto: Loving and living life to the fullest.

Didra Gentry Age: 34 Profession: Business Owner and Realtor for Miramar International – Downtown Community involvement: Teen Challenge, Ford Dimensions, Bakersfield Police Activities League Parenthood changes a person. For Sophia Cummings, that time came sooner than expected. Pregnant at 15 and a mother at 16, she knew education was the key to providing for her daughter. Cummings gave birth on a Friday and was back in school on Monday. She graduated from Wasco High School in three years before earning her associate degree from Bakersfield College, her bachelor’s from CSU Bakersfield and her master’s from National University. “(Being a mom) made me even more motivated,” she said. “I was determined to be first of my generation – first of over 55 cousins – to attend college.” When the time came to choose a school to teach, Cummings chose to go back to Wasco. “I could have taught anywhere in Kern County and I chose to teach in Wasco,” she said. “I chose to connect with the parents in that community because I grew up in Wasco.” Cummings left teaching to help manage the numerous businesses she runs with her husband, Justin, but is still involved in community organizations and events related to education. With their businesses, which consists three Rio Acai Bowls locations, Happy Hour Bar & Tapas and LCA Cinema Productions, they are also able to give back in a different way. “At the end of the day, we’re providing employment,” she said. “We are giving back to the community in more than one way. Somebody gets to pay their rent, child care, tuition because we’re able to provide our community with employment. That’s what’s important.” Biggest inspiration: My daughter has always been the motivation for me. I knew from that moment on, I wanted to do something for myself. Personal motto: Everyone wakes up with the same 24 hours in the day. Work smarter, not harder.

Sophia Cummings


Age: 30 Profession: Marketing Officer for Kern Federal Credit Union Community involvement: Ambassador for Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, Bakersfield Young Professionals, CASA, Kern Community Foundation Gabe Ulloa is proof that you can make a big splash despite coming from “small” institutions. Offered an opportunity to apply for a corporate summer internship with Coach, he found himself in a room with 120 hopefuls from across the country. Ulloa came home dejected, thinking he stood no chance against kids from more prestigious schools, but one month later, he received a phone call announcing that he was a first-choice selection for the marketing department. Working in Manhattan for a summer, he helped develop a re-engagement program that was eventually launched in all Coach stores in the U.S. and Canada. “That was really the defining, changing moment for me in my career where, up until then, I didn’t know what I’m going to do,” Ulloa said. “All of a sudden, this internship happens and nothing has been the same since then.” Now a marketing officer for Kern Federal Credit Union, Ulloa still finds himself a new situation where he is a small fish in a big pond. Enrolled in the Filene i3 program in which 25 percent of participants eventually become CEOs of credit unions, Ulloa does not let his humble beginnings intimidate him any longer. “One of the guys in the program is in charge of public relations for all the credit unions in Canada,” he said. “These are super important bigwig people in the credit union world. It’s nice that I can compete on a similar playing field with high-level super intelligent people.” Advice to others: Get comfortable being uncomfortable. If you’re constantly uncomfortable, nothing can surprise you, nothing can throw you off. Personal motto: Never stop learning.

Gabe Ulloa Age: 32 Profession: Quality Improvement and Special Projects Manager for General Production Service Community involvement: Mopars of Bakersfield, Taft Union High School’s Oil Technology Academy, Association of Energy Service Companies, Ronald McDonald House The cycle begins anew for those in the Kern County oil and gas industry. Community support for Kristen Maples Tejeda’s parents’ business, United Distribution, helped put Tejeda through school. Now she is returning the favor as a mentor with Taft Union High School’s Oil Technology Academy. Despite being young and working in a predominately male industry, Tejeda was able to accomplish great things early in her career. Asked to lead a project with colleagues 20 years her senior, Tejeda implemented a planning and forecasting system that was ultimately administered throughout a Fortune 100 company. “I don’t believe I worked with a woman on that project,” Tejeda said. As a mentor, Tejeda tells young women not to let their gender prevent them from entering the oil and gas industry. “With my mentees through Taft Union High School, I encourage them that don’t not go into this industry just because you won’t have like faces at the conference room table,” she said. “You still have a seat at the table.” Tejeda’s work with youths repays the assistance she received when she was younger. “Our oil and gas industry is a family,” she said. “They were taking care of my family and in turn we take care of other families with our employees and their kids. It goes full circle.” Advice to others: Education is power. Even if you don’t recognize them as opportunities now, take advantage of them because they may open a door that you may otherwise not have known was there. Why is it important to give back? I can never repay the people who have given to me. How I can do that is by giving to others. Personal motto: Be your own hero.

Kristen Maples Tejeda


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Age: 36 Profession: Environmental Manager for Aera Energy Community involvement: Roosevelt Reading Program, STEMposium, Society of Petroleum Engineers Megan Silva forges her own path. Whatever she sets her sights on, she achieves. After graduating from Montana Tech, she started her career working offshore on an oil rig. She’s manned numerous engineering positions, had a stint in human resources, worked in supply chain and is now the environmental manager for Aera Energy. Her ambition and drive have taken her to New Orleans, New Mexico and Texas, never staying in one place longer than two years. “I’ve always taken chances and I’ve always done things that weren’t always the norm,” Silva said. That changed when she came to Bakersfield 11 years ago. Silva fell in love – with a man who would become her husband and a city where they would raise their children. Megan was working for Oxy, a global company, while Nathan worked for Aera, which only operates in California. The two drilling engineers faced an important decision: stay or leave. “I’m happy that we made the decision to stay here locally,” Megan said. “I think my values align with the values here of family, hard work – people are nice to one another. I think it’s a great place to raise a family. I live close to my work, so that gives me more time. Time not spent commuting is time I can spend with my kids.” Best advice received: You have to have goals, you have to work hard for them, you have to be able to take care of yourself and be honest. Be accountable and responsible for your actions. Why is it important to give back? I feel like the community’s been good to me and so I want to do the same thing. Personal motto: She believed she could so she did.

Megan Silva

Age: 36 Profession: Vice President of Operations for the Bakersfield Condors Community involvement: Kern County Wounded Heroes Fund, Special Olympics For much of the past 15 years, Justin Fahsbender has not worked a single day. That’s because he is a firm believer that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. After graduating from CSU Bakersfield, Fahsbender had brief stints with a local financial institute and the Houston Rockets of the NBA, but all roads led him back to the Bakersfield Condors. Fahsbender initially joined the organization as a game day intern in 2002, eventually moving to a front office internship before becoming an account manager, group sales manager and, eventually, vice president of operations. “If (team president) Matthew Riley didn’t come to my class and I didn’t get this internship, could I picture myself doing anything else? I really can’t. I don’t have any desire to go anywhere else,” Fahsbender said. Despite working for a major-league team, Fahsbender prefers the hands-on experience working in minor league sports. Throughout his tenure, he has seen the Condors go from the six-team West Coast Hockey League to the 27team East Coast Hockey League to the American Hockey League – one step away from the NHL. “I got to do all that career growth while still staying in Bakersfield and being where I want to be,” he said. “That’s been pretty neat.” Biggest inspiration: I’ve always tried to mimic what my dad does. I see the life that he’s led and the values that he has and I try every day to make sure I don’t disappoint. Notable achievements: Just as a hockey team on the ice has a captain, I was named captain of our front office and I took that pretty seriously. Personal motto: Be a good human being.

Justin Fahsbender


People & Community


Happy Hour | Bar & Tapas

Happy Hour owners Sophia Cummings, Chasity Goodson and Justin Cummings with chef Matt Hearn.

Where did the idea for Happy Hour | Bar & Tapas begin? We are all business professionals and love happy hour in general. We love to entertain professionals over a meal and/ or cocktails. As business owners already, this seemed a business endeavor we all were willing to go on together. Each of us brought a different set of skills to the table, from financing to the logistics of running a food business to networking. So putting it all together, we all felt confident in our ability to exploit all of these skills and put together a business we would all be excited to be a part of. What style of food can people expect? People can expect a variety of authentic foods. Everything on the menu is made to order. As owners, we all had an idea of what we wanted on the menu; we wanted to pioneer a few new tapas-style menu


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items that were inspired from our travels and our own cultures, and still hold firm on some of the Bakersfield classics. We are pioneering the pork belly bao bun, the chicken ’n’ waffle slider and the famous burger rings. Our chef, Matt Hearn, is the man bringing these menu ideas to life, along with his own chef’s creations. A tapas restaurant – solely tapas style – is an avenue for our customers to indulge in a variety of menu items, trading, sharing and having the option of choices. What drink selections will be available at Happy Hour | Bar & Tapas? The Happy Hour bar menu selections vary from pale ales, top-shelf liquor, imported beer, domestic beer, local beers, craft beers, fine scotches, top-shelf whiskeys, well liquors, a variety of wines, sparkling wines and handcrafted cocktails to match menu items, freshsqueezed juices for cock-

tails and classic cocktails. We will be introducing a few Happy Hour signature cocktails once we have finalized our bar menu. What kind of atmosphere do you hope to bring to Bakersfield with Happy Hour | Bar & Tapas? Happy Hour will be bringing to Bakersfield something new, something loungy, something authentic and something that will make you want to loosen your tie and have a variety of dishes all the while sipping on a cocktail. We want to contribute to the already thriving downtown area and become a place where you can have a great food experience with pocketbook-friendly prices. Our “restaurant side” will be open in July (or sooner) to accommodate larger seating and families on the Chester Avenue entrance. The bar side will still have its current vibe of music, TVs and amazing cocktails.

Why did you choose to open a restaurant in downtown Bakersfield? We are all believers in downtown Bakersfield. We hold business downtown, we congregate downtown, we work downtown, we eat downtown, and with this being said, it only made sense to continue the revitalization of downtown Bakersfield. We truly love what downtown Bakersfield is cultivating: a culture of community and diversity.

Happy Hour | Bar & Tapas 1418 18th St. 661-859-1664 Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday Find them on Facebook @HappyHourBarAndTapas. Promotional Content

Where sociable meets delicious.



People & Community


Evergreen Villa Assisted Living

When you or your loved ones can longer live an independent life, usually it is the family member who will assume the role of a caregiver. That gets tiresome very quickly. This is where a facility like ours, an RCFE (residential care for the elderly), comes in. There are many different types of facilities that can help seniors transition from an independent life to various levels of assistance. These include no assistance at a retirement community, to low-level assistance at RCFEs, to high level of assistance in skilled nursing homes. We are different from other RCFEs in our hardware and software. Our facility is 3,800 square feet with three private and two semi-private rooms. Both the living room and the kitchen are much bigger than most. There is another dedicated large room for the clients to socialize, watch the pool or just relax. Even the employees have their own break room. There is a handicap-compliant shower room to serve our clients. We offer basic amenities like assistance with bathing, grooming, three meals a day (with snacks in between), medication management, incontinence program and 84

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transportation to doctors’ offices. What distinguishes us from others is the weekly visit by a licensed physician or nurse to monitor our clients’ status and a nutritionist at least twice a year to review our clients’ dietary requirements. Being a six-bed facility gives us some advantages over our larger counterpart. For example, we are in a residential neighborhood and so it feels more like a home than an institution. We are able to respond to the clients’ needs more quickly because we are smaller. A lower client-to-caregiver ratio means we will be able to give more personalized care. When it comes to moving out of your home out of necessity, we strive to make ours your “home away from home.” Our belief is to treat our clients with dignity and respect.

Evergreen Villa Assisted Living Please call us at 661-317-4777 to see if we may be of service to you or your loved ones.

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We are your

home away from home

What makes Evergreen Villa Assisted Living different? • Personalized care • Quick response time • Comfortable home environment • Weekly visits by a licensed professional (a nurse or a doctor) to monitor your health. • A premier, luxurious, and spacious home with customizable care to fit your needs.

Evergreen Villa Assisted Living • 661-317-4777

People & Community


Dr. Jekwon (Jay) Yeh Medical Director of Radiation Oncology at Rio Bravo Oncology According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and Kern County is no different. When you or a loved one is faced with the difficult journey of a cancer diagnosis, it is important to find the most qualified, compassionate, and personalized health care professionals available. Assuring patients diagnosed with cancer have access to the highest quality care is why Rio Bravo Oncology is proud to introduce Dr. Jekwon (Jay) Yeh to the Bakersfield community. Dr. Yeh is excited to join Rio Bravo Oncology after practicing at the Cancer Center of Irvine where he also served as the chairman of the Continuing Medical Education Program. A native of Orange County, he graduated cum laude from the University of California, Irvine, where he majored in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. From there, he went on to earn his M.D. from Boston University School of Medicine and completed his internship under the Department of Surgery at Flushing Hospital Medical Center in New York City. He then underwent specialty training in radiation oncology at the Southern California Permanente Group in Los Angeles, where he also served as chief resident. Dr. Yeh has been the primary investigator of several clinical research projects in prostate, gastrointestinal and brain/ central nervous system malignancies. He has published scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals including the International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics; American Journal of Clinical Oncology; and the Brachytherapy Journal. He has presented many of his research projects at international scientific conferences including: American Society for Radiation Oncology, American Brachytherapy Society and American Radium Society.

Rio Bravo Onocology

What brings him to Bakersfield? “Kern County, like many 4500 Morning Drive, #105 counties, need oncologists to 661-491-5060 meet the growing needs of the community. I want patients diagnosed with cancer in Kern County to be able to stay close to their support system, which includes family and loved ones, while they receive high-quality care,” said Dr. Yeh. “We have state-of-the-art medical equipment, including Kern County’s newest linear accelerator, which is one of the most critical advances in radiation 86

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oncology in the last 30 years. It maximizes the precision of the therapeutic radiation beams on the tumor; it is relatively pain-free and ensures the patient is comfortable.” What do these advancements mean for patients with cancer? Dr. Yeh says: “The precision of radiation treatments available today provide additional options to patients. I work with patients diagnosed with cancer and help them navigate the journey and select treatment options that meet their needs. For instance, recently, a patient expressed her desire to have conservative breast surgery followed by radiation and avoid more aggressive surgery that would remove her breast.” According to Dr. Yeh, patients with prostate cancer in Bakersfield will have additional options. That is because Dr. Yeh has successfully treated several thousand cases of prostate cancer with radiation and performed over 1,000 high-dose-rate brachytherapy implants for prostate cancer treatment. Dr. Yeh has also been instrumental in the research and development of the hydrogel rectal spacer to help decrease the risk of rectal injury with radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Dr. Yeh is one of the world’s most experienced in the hydrogel implantation technique, having performed over 500 cases of rectal spacer implantations. When Dr. Yeh isn’t working hard at saving lives, he enjoys spending time with Juno, his German shepherd that he rescued from an animal shelter. He also enjoys cooking and grilling. Dr. Yeh stays healthy by lifting weights, jogging and kickboxing. Dr. Yeh is a leader in the field of radiation oncology with a strong reputation in providing excellent patient care. He is excited to bring his expertise and cutting-edge treatment options to the Bakersfield community and Central Valley. Promotional Content

“Rio Bravo Oncology is committed to maximizing the patient experience, outcomes, and life goals, through technical excellence, quality care, and comprehensive coordinated services.” Rio Bravo Oncology’s location demonstrates a commitment to expanding medical services in an underserved area of Kern County. Our convenient location assures that the members of our community who are diagnosed with cancer have access to the highest quality care, close to home. We are part of a larger physician driven, multispecialty medical campus, designed to meet the needs of patients all in one location. Extensive expertise in the treatment of genitourinary, gastronintestinal, gynecological, central nervous system (CNS), sarcoma, skin, lymphoma and lung cancers. We invite you to contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment.

4500 Morning Dr, #105, Bakersfield, CA 93306 661-491-5060 Office Hours: Mon-Fri: 8am-5pm; Sat-Sun: Closed

People & Community


Global Leadership Summit

Holly Culhane, consultant emeritus at P.A.S. Associates, a Bakersfield-based HR consulting firm, is helping organize this year’s Global Leadership Summit, which will be broadcast from Chicago and viewed in Bakersfield at the live stream host site Valley Baptist Church, 4800 Fruitvale Ave., on Thursday and Friday, Aug. 10 and 11. The summit provides training and inspiration for leaders working in a wide range of fields, including education, business, government, public service, nonprofit organizations and churches. What is the Global Leadership Summit? Founded 20 years ago by Bill Hybels, the senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, the Global Leadership Summit is an annual two-day Christian training program conducted through the Willow Creek Association, a nonprofit organization that is comprised of more than 7,000 member churches from 90 denominations and 45 countries. Who will be presenting at this year’s summit? Assembled each year is a faculty of top leadership experts from across a variety of sectors: church, business, nonprofit, academic and government. In addition to founder Hybels, this 88

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year’s presenters include Sheryl Why do you attend the Global Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating Leadership Summit? officer; Marcus Buckingham, author As a businesswoman, I regard the and founder of The Marcus Buckingsummit as a great opportunity for me ham Co.; Bryan Stevenson, founder to recalibrate and work on my leaderand executive director of the Equal ship growth and development. Because Justice Initiative; Juliet Funt, CEO of of the summit, I’m more aware of the Whitespace at Work; Marcus Lemonis, areas in which I need to work. The star of CNBC’s “The Profit” and CEO of several summits that I have attended Camping World and Good Sam; Sam have given me an excellent foundation Adeyemi, founder and senior pastor of for my growth and development. Daystar Christian Center in Nigeria; Laszlo Bock, senior adviser at Google; How does this training help Immaculee Ilibagiza, author and adindividual and team performance? vocate for Peace An independent and Forgiveness; study by Colorado Global Leadership Summit Gary Haugen, Springs-based Excel• Aug. 10 and 11 founder and CEO lence in Giving • Valley Baptist Church, of International revealed Global 4800 Fruitvale Ave. Justice Mission; Leadership Summit • Angela Duckparticipants often find worth, author success when they apand professor at ply the skills they have the University of Pennsylvania; Fredrik learned. The study concluded that the Haren, author and business creativity summit is playing a vital role in supplyexpert; Andy Stanley, author and pastor; ing organizations with passionate and and comedian Michael JR. qualified leaders. Who attends? Hundreds of thousands of people – from all walks of life – attend the annual Global Leadership Summit. Most attend via satellite broadcasts from the Willow Creek’s campus near Chicago to more than 600 “host sites,” such as the one in Bakersfield.

How do you register to attend? Go to The large team rate (10 or more members) is $169 per person. The individual participant rate is $199. Student, faculty and military rate is $89. The sessions begin each day at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. Promotional Content

People & Community


Designing woman Local fashion illustrator’s work featured at senior living center art exhibit By Lisa Kimble

If you thought some of the most impressive art in town for public consumption could only be found at the museum or a gallery, you might be surprised to learn that some adorn the walls of a most unlikely place – the craft room of a Bakersfield retirement home. Since 2016, Brookdale Senior Living Center has been coordinating exhibits featuring works by its residents from years gone by. Three years ago, Program Director Myde Cisneros knew she’d stumbled upon a treasure trove of talent that had been closeted for decades when resident Charline Mackessy showed her some sketches from a career long past, but not forgotten.

95-year-old Mackessy entertained guests with stories about the sketches she’d done under contract for Judds Specialty Shop. “I thought it was fascinating; her work was so hidden in our community,” Cisneros said. Before the days of digital wizardry, fashion illustrators like Mackessy were in high demand. Whether it was for newspaper advertisements or department store catalogues, the talent for meticulously bringing garments to life on paper with pen and pencil was sought after. Today it is a lost art. But Cisneros recognized the relics of a bygone era, had 14 of them framed and organized an exhibit of Mackessy’s work on an art wall for the Brookdale community to delight in. At an opening reception in May, 95-year-old Mackessy entertained guests with stories about the sketches 90

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she’d done under contract for Judds Specialty Shop. Located at the southwest corner of 18th and H streets downtown, Judds was one of Bakersfield’s go-to, high-end women’s retailers in the salon style of couturiers back in the day. A 1966 Bakersfield Californian ad of Mackessy’s featured an embellished gown and sable fur for $195 – a princely sum back then. “I am pleased that they enjoyed it,” she said. Born in Taft, Mackessy recalled drawing some of the patents her father was working on. “I always had a pencil doing something,” she said. She never saw her mother paint, but when she left to study commercial art at California College of the Arts in Oakland, her mother began taking lessons, becoming a remarkable artist in her own right. Hers was an inherited talent. She yearned to become a dress designer and was inspired by famed Hollywood costumer Edith Head, whose advice to Mackessy many years ago was to “keep studying.” Instead, the young artist began doing commercial work at an Oakland department store, sketching mostly towels and sheets. Back in Bakersfield, she was tapped to do work for a holiday catalogue for Bakersfield’s Chinese department store. She drafted war saving guides for The Californian and maps for the federal government. After a brief turn as a substitute illustrator for Brock’s Department Store, Mackessy took samples of her work to Judds in 1962. She guesstimates she sketched thousands of ads until 1984. Her last appeared in the first issue published at The Californian’s new printing facility. “They would give me clothes they wanted drawn. I’d bring them home and family would try them on.” She snapped a photo with her Polaroid. Four or five hours later, she’d recreated the garment on paper, written the copy and hand-delivered the advertisements

to the newspaper’s printing department downtown before the proof was sent to the store. “I loved clothes,” the petite Mackessy said. She also favored a tall, lanky physique where the woman’s figure appeared relaxed. Full-page advertisements gave her “a little satisfaction.” Mackessy also drew for Sullivan’s and created the logo for Christine’s Vogue – other popular women’s clothiers at the time. She was paid by the hour, but in modest fashion, always under billed. “A lot of my paycheck was spent on their clothes,” she laughed. “I never felt like charging a lot. I was grateful I got to do it.” For more than two decades, Mackessy illustrated everything from sleepwear to shifts, caftans to capes and accessories. Styles came in and out of vogue. Of the many she created, including the hundreds still in storage, her favorite, of a slender model wearing a blouse tucked into a maxi skirt and cinched at the waist with a wide belt, stands alone on an easel at the show. The exhibit will be on display through July at Brookdale Riverwalk at 350 Calloway Drive.

Lisa Kimble

Opinions expressed in this column are those of Lisa Kimble.



There is incredible value doing work you don’t enjoy. It builds character, resilience and you learn how to work to see someone else’s vision come to life. During my early 20s, a time when most young adults are struggling to find their place in the world, a friend asked a question regarding time, gifting and resources that has shaped my outlook of career pursuit. It was something to the effect of “Do you feel like a bird in a cage or like you’re on a runway?” Everything changed when I realized it was all about the pursuit, not the arrival at any given destination. Striving to prove yourself, while feeling like a failure, is common among excited young professionals entering the workforce. We have the energy and drive to succeed, but we want more. We are no longer the generation who does what we’re told – without thinking about it first. The wheels of our minds turn as we think outside the box and we dream. I knew for myself, I no longer wanted to be a bird in a

cage; I wanted to pursue my passion of story-telling through media. It’s life-changing to step back and look at your life from a new perspective. If I hadn’t, I may have missed the grand things I was supposed to see. I began to ask a lot of questions and I became a student of people.

Do you feel like a bird in a cage or like you’re on a runway? What is it you enjoy doing? What is your dream job? If money wasn’t an issue, what would you be doing right now? What are you good at? What does your education and experience lend to? What are you passionate about? What would you do for free? How can you turn that passion into a career? How can you learn? Where did you succeed today? What areas of my life need improvement? How can I change? I watched a waitress light up and share her dream of being an

actress. A salesman shared his dream of opening a nonprofit. Tears filled the eyes of the mom who wanted to be a nurse but felt she had missed her calling. It’s never too late to have pursue the dream in supyour heart. ported my Choosing to move journey. forward despite setTeamwork backs, discouragements truly makes the and (many) failures to figure out my “why,” was dream work. Pursuing passion what drove me. Success comes with sacrifice comes when you take and although there a chance and fail, and may be fear you will fall then you try again. short, choose to throw Even if it meant fear out the window and forfeiting income and keep moving forward. I choosing the unknown, wouldn’t change any of I was no longer willing the process. I love what to settle for a shelfed I do. Even though I may dream. I chose risk not always have the and endured the pain, courage, I don’t want to heartache and tears, miss out on the advenbelieving that down ture. the road it would prove profitable in every sense of the word. Lindsay does photogIt’s essential to raphy, video and a range network and learn from of media services and is like-minded the co-ownprofessionals. Ever of Jonah eryone has someand Lindsay thing to offer and Photograthere is always phy + Film. room for improveThe views ment. I am deeply expressed in thankful for my this column community, family Lindsay Long are her own. and friends who


People & Community


Family, camaraderie keys to Great Castle’s success By Shelby Parker

Yun-Li Wang makes the rounds of saying hello to customers, refilling glasses, taking orders, and answering phone calls or tending to guests. But she’s not a waitress at Great Castle Chinese Restaurant. She’s the owner. Being a restaurant owner might look glamorous by the way it’s portrayed in TV and movies, but the reality means grueling hours and not much time outside of the “office.” “It’s so hard – long hours, open every day,” said Wang. Great Castle is only closed for major holidays, such as Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Wang admitted that you can’t have a life if you’re in the restaurant business. Each day, she makes sure that the employees and food are taken care of. If the customers aren’t happy, she discusses it with the staff to ensure the best service possible. Great Castle is the only restaurant left of the original restaurants on Union Avenue from years ago. The location isn’t near popular shopping centers or frequented spots in town, but Wang goes by the idea that good service and good food makes customers come back. And come back they do. For the past 39 years, Great Castle has been a food staple in Bakersfield. Tzu Chun Wang and his wife started the Chinese restaurant in 1978. Since then, it has been a family affair. 92

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Tzu Chun’s children grew up working in the restaurant, spending most of their time there. After his passing in 2005, three of his four children took over the business. Yun-Li might not have chosen this route herself, but wanting to keep the restaurant in the family, that’s exactly the one she took. Although her father didn’t speak much English, he was known for visiting with customers – smiling and shaking hands. “Smile is a good language,” Yun-Li said of her father. Many customers still tell her how they miss Tzu Chun and the way he would greet them in the parking lot upon their visits. Customer service isn’t the only trait the siblings learned from him.






Their father taught Wei, the youngest brother, how to cook after they moved to Bakersfield from Taiwan. Their father believed that if you were going to work in the kitchen, you needed to know about the kitchen. Step by step, he worked his way to the No. 1 cook. As if part of the circle of life, the younger generation of their family, including Yun-Li’s two children, her nieces and nephews, spent a good deal of their time at the restaurant as well. “They’re scared of this kind of life,” said Yun-Li, due to the long hours and time that is dedicated to the business. Yun-Li told the kids that if they don’t want to work in the restaurant, they need to do well in school. “You are married to the restaurant,” she said. Tzu Chun was dedicated to the restaurant. In all the years he was there, he never took a day off. Now, each of the siblings rotate and take one day outside of the restaurant. “You can’t take your money with you,” Yun-Li said. “You can’t enjoy your life.” That’s one thing Yun-Li changed. While the family works together a lot, they didn’t get much quality time outside the restaurant. Last year, Great Castle closed for three days for Thanksgiving, so the family could go on vacation to Las Vegas. Spending so much time at the restaurant, Yun-Li has gained a second family with the faithful customers of the community. She and her staff have gotten to know several generations of regular customers, hearing their stories and celebrating life’s big moments. “We want to make sure they’re happy,” she said. “The food is not enough.”



For the past 39 years, Great Castle has been a food staple in Bakersfield. Tzu Chun Wang and his wife started the Chinese restaurant in 1978.

by the 201 7 7pm to 9 pm


06 Your favorite Classic Rock & Blues with THE LEFT COAST GROOVIES 13 Contemporary Jazz Fusion with THE JAY SMITH GROUP

20 Rockin' the Blues, Rippin' Guitar with BRAD WILSON 27 THE AKOUSTIKS Coming at You With a Twist of Flavor and Soul.

Great Castle Chinese Restaurant owner Yun-Li Wang with a plate of honey walnut shrimp – a customer favorite. | 9000 Ming Ave. (at Haggin Oaks Blvd.)


People & Community


BAKERSFIELD PRODUCT PROVIDES BIG BAT FOR TRAIN ROBBERS By Stephen Lynch A Bakersfield Native, Nick Vehlewald played baseball at Garces High School, CSUB and, now, with the Bakersfield Train Robbers.


Photos by Rod Thornburg

A year ago, Nick Vehlewald thought his baseball career was probably over. The former Garces High standout had just completed his senior year at Cal State Bakersfield and he was suddenly a man without a team or a foreseeable pathway to continue playing the sport. That all changed this past winter when the Pecos League decided to fill the void left by the departure of the Bakersfield Blaze and make the Bakersfield Train Robbers the new tenants of Sam Lynn Ballpark. After finding out about the Train Robbers, Vehlewald called team manager Bill Moore and “one thing led to another.” That phone call was fortuitous for both parties involved.

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Vehlewald couldn’t be happier to be playing baseball this summer and the Train Robbers found a quality local player to help draw fans to the ballpark and provide a big bat in the middle of their lineup. “I’ve played here (in Bakersfield) for a long time,” Vehlewald said. “First Little League and then high school, then college and now pro ball. This is an awesome opportunity for me.” Vehlewald, who mostly plays third base for his new team, is making the most of the opportunity. His hot hitting helped the Train Robbers finish their first homestand of the season with a 10-0 record. “We’re off to a great start and we’re playing really well,” Vehlewald said. He hopes that trend continues for the remainder of the team’s 64game schedule.

Vehlewald has been part of winning teams throughout his baseball career.

“I’ve played here (in Bakersfield) for a long time,” Vehlewald said. “First Little League and then high school, then college and now pro ball. This is an awesome opportunity for me.” Garces won back-to-back Southeast Yosemite League baseball championships during Vehlewald’s junior and senior seasons. He posted an eye-popping .500

batting average and nine home runs as senior. That led him to be recruited by CSUB, where he played four years including 2015, when CSUB won the WAC Tournament. That victory earned the Roadrunners a spot in the NCAA Tournament during which Vehlewald hit a home run against UCLA. Vehlewald considers that blast along with the WAC title the biggest highlights of his baseball career. Vehlewald’s bat has provided a plethora of big moments over the years. “Definitely the strength of my game is at the plate,” Vehlewald said. “I like being in situations where there are runners on second and third, we’re down by one and I have the opportunity to put the ball in the gap and give us in the lead. I pride myself on being a good hitter.” The 5-foot-11, 200-pounder first started

honing his hitting skills as a kid on the Bakersfield Northwest Baseball Complex adjacent to Sam Lynn Ballpark, his new home stadium. “I played (at Sam Lynn Ballpark several times) in high school for the Terrio Tournament,” Vehlewald said. “It was cool. It was fun. But now calling it home and coming here every day and working out on this field, you kind of get more of the vibe on how historic it actually is.” Vehlewald knows the 76-year-old ballpark might be the last stop of his baseball career, but that doesn’t bother him in the least. “I want to continue on my career as long as I can,” Vehlewald said. “I know I probably won’t make it to the Major Leagues or have a huge signing bonus or anything like that. But to be able to play the game I love for couple of more years would be great.”

Nick Vehlewald



THE STATION Born: Nov. 9, 1993 Parents: Dan and Bridget Vehlewald. • Started playing baseball at age 3 in JBA. • Senior year of high school was SEYL MVP and FirstTeam All-Area in baseball and Second Team All-Area in football. • Played in the Bakersfield

U.S. Army All-Star football game in 2012. • Started 32 games and hit three home runs during four years of playing for CSUB. • Majored in communications at CSUB. • Favorite leisure activities include playing golf and hanging out with family and friends.

Kern County Fire Fighters


A special thanks to our readers for nominating this year’s class!


People & Community


Helping feed the homeless one burrito at a time Bakersfield Burrito Project celebrates another year aiding the homeless in Kern County

By Laura Liera

The Bakersfield Burrito Project has helped feed the homeless for the past eight years.


More than 200 burritos are rolled up and filled with beans, rice and cheese every Sunday, rain or shine, at the Wesley United Methodist Church community kitchen in east Bakersfield. The volunteers with the Bakersfield Burrito Project take pride in how fast they can stuff and roll burritos that will end up in the hands of Bakersfield’s homeless population. Celebrating its eighth anniversary on July 9, the nonprofit organization is inviting local restaurants to a burrito throwdown. Belinda Lopez Rickett, founder of the Bakersfield Burrito Project, said the Sunday event will still have the iconic construction of a nearly 40-foot long burrito, but the throwdown will add a fun, friendly competition to the

Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

celebration. The event will be held at Central Park at Mill Creek. Mill Creek holds special meaning for Rickett. It’s the place where the idea for the nonprofit came about in 2009 and it’s a reminder of where the group of volunteers started. “We have a lot of volunteers who were previously homeless and they come in and want to help because they know what it feels like to not know where their next meal will come from,” Rickett said. The burrito is the ideal comfort food. Plus it includes complex proteins like rice and beans. And it only costs around 27 cents to make one burrito. The nonprofit distributes hot burritos to homeless populations in east Bakersfield, Old Town Kern, Oildale and central Bakersfield. Jason Rickett, administrative

assistant, said there are many Sunday regulars who stop by for food and a bottle of water.

Celebrating its eighth anniversary on July 9, the nonprofit organization is inviting local restaurants to a burrito throwdown. “We also seek out regulars to make sure they are OK,” Jason said. “We are concerned for the people that are out there without a hot meal.” Although providing a Sunday meal every week is the nonprofit’s main goal, they are also passing along useful information that many homeless people may not be aware of. The organization doesn’t want to be a bandage for homelessness,




Belinda said. They want to be a liaison to other Kern County departments that can assist them with benefits. From meeting with representatives at Kern Family Health Care to 2-1-1 Kern County, the partnerships are vital. The nonprofit’s active 25 volunteers are also gaining experience they can list on their resumes when they apply for jobs or school scholarships. “We have had volunteers who have successfully gotten jobs because they volunteered at the Bakersfield Burrito Project,” Belinda said.

As the burrito project gets ready to celebrate another year, Jason is always looking forward to the next step for the nonprofit: owning their own kitchen. Jason would like to open a cash-only donation restaurant, inspired by JBJ Soul Kitchen in New Jersey created by glamour rock star Jon Bon Jovi. The menu has no prices. You select what you like and make a donation. If you can donate more, you are helping to feed someone who may only have $2.

Bakersfield Burrito Project 8th Anniversary When: Sunday, July 9 Where: Central Park at Mill Creek, 606 21st St. Time: Noon To donate snacks for the event or monetary donation, visit


People & Community

Above: Teacher Matthew Dills poses with the current CalLearn workshop class. Right: Matthew Dills instructs teen moms in technology and life skills at Carney’s Business Technology Center.


USING TECHNOLOGY TO EMPOWER YOUNG TEEN MOMS Cal-Learn workshop offers computer skills to help teens succeed By Laura Liera Photos courtesy of InMotion Video Productions

Life doesn’t come with a GPS. There are hiccups that happen along the way and most of us are just trying to survive. But what happens when you’re a 16-year-old teenage girl and the pregnancy test reads positive? Despite the decline in teen pregnancy rates this year, Kern


Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

County maintains the highest teen birth rate statewide, according to data released earlier this year by the Kern County Department of Public Health. Becoming a mother before graduating high school completely changes your life. The idea of college is put on hold. And even getting through high school could become a blur. But teachers like Matthew Dills are empowering teenage moms

and giving them hope when everyone has already given up on them. For the fifth year in Bakersfield, Dills has partnered with Carney’s Business Technology Center to host a Cal-Learn Workshop to help teen moms learn technology and life skills. “Technology is key in our culture,” Dills said. “It’s how you’re successful in our culture ... if you learn to master technology, you will be highly successful in life.”

The workshop is an intensive eighthour class where every teen mom walks away with the laptop, printer and router they work on during class. They learn Microsoft Office Suite, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook. The goal is for them to get comfortable using those tools so they can add that to their experience on a resume and, hopefully, have a better chance of getting hired.

“Technology is key in our culture. It’s how you’re successful in our culture ... if you learn to master technology, you will be highly successful in life.”

– Matthew Dills

Not all who apply for the workshop get selected. There is a pre-assessment they must pass. The goal is to see 60 teens per year. “I mix in life skills to try and encourage them,” Dills said. “I show them biopics on people that have overcome some major adversities and putting that into perspective in terms of our own challenges relative to our circumstances.” The workshop also covers interpersonal skills like proper handshakes, eye contact and body language. Teens who are a part of the workshop range in age from 16 to 19 years old. The ultimate goal is for every teen to have enough skills to be employable and provide a healthy life to their child. “They can do a lot if they set their mind to it and work hard,” Dills said.

The Cal-Learn workshop is funded through the Department of Human Services through the Cal-Learn Program – Kern’s version of a statewide effort to assist custodial parenting teens and young adults in completing their high school education. For more information, visit www.

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People & Community


Noriega Hotel a pivotal center of Basque community By Julie Plata

Several Basque restaurants are currently found in Bakersfield, but the Noriega is the city’s last Basque boardinghouse. Eightysix years after the Elizaldes took over duties at the hotel, their descendants continue to own the establishment and keep the traditions alive. From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s the Basque population in California

100 Bakersfield Life Magazine


The Noriega Hotel is renowned for its Basque cuisine and as a tourist hot spot, but it also holds a special place in the history of Bakersfield and with the Basque immigrants who settled there. The first Basques in California date back to when Spanish conquistadors, soldados and misioneros claimed the land for the Spanish crown. They founded missions and many towns that would grow to become the state’s major metropolitan cities, such as San Francisco and Sacramento.

grew exponentially. As they emigrated from their homelands and invested in and worked sheep ranches in California’s central valley, the Basques brought along their traditions, customs and food. During the offseason, the expert Basque stockmen and herders needed to find a base where they could rest. Boarding houses offered a bed, warm meal, camaraderie and served as a home away from home. During the late 1800s, many French hotels and boardinghouses were established in present-day east Bakersfield. Eventually the French establishments, such as Cesmat’s and Plantier’s,

July 2017

were replaced by Basque boardinghouses, including the Amestoy, the Pyrenees and Noriega’s – originally named the Iberia. In 1893, Faustino Noriega and Fernando Etcheverry opened the Iberia Hotel at 525 Sumner St., across from the train station. Business flourished and by 1902, the Iberia was in need of an expansion. On May 23, 1902, The Californian announced that Noriega had ordered plans to increase the hotel’s capacity to 20 rooms. Less than a year later, the Iberia almost ceased to exist when a fire started in a nearby hay shed. Thanks to the quick work of the fire department and the fortu-

nate location of the hotel’s handball court, the Iberia was saved from the flames. Advertisements in the Bakersfield Morning Echo praised the Iberia as the “Headquarters for stockmen, Choicest Brands of Liquors and Cigars, Best Handball Court in the State.” Soon after, the establishment was renamed the Noriega Hotel. In 1931, Jean and Grace Elizalde became the proprietors of the Noriega. When Elizalde passed away two years later, his widow continued the dream they started together until her death in 1974. Noriega’s was the go-to place for wedding receptions, celebrations and


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Facing page: A hearty breakfast is served at Noriega's.

community meetings and in 1940, the restaurant and bar were added to the hotel. The true spirit of what the Noriega represented to the Basque community was conveyed in The Bakersfield Californian on March 18, 1938, as the “pivotal center of the Basque population in Kern county and its social nucleus … a gravitational point for the Basques when they enter the city.” The guests could relax with their countrymen and enjoy a

Top: Dining room Left: Noriega Hotel register from the 1950s.

bowling game that “is older in version than the form enjoyed by Sir Francis Drake when he deferred his naval battle with the Spanish armada.” Several Basque restaurants are currently found in Bakersfield, but the Noriega is the city’s last Basque boardinghouse. Eighty-six years after the Elizaldes took over duties at the hotel, their descendants continue to own the establishment and keep the traditions alive.

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People & Community


Get your Fourth of July spirit on Celebrate the holiday with this amazing red, white and blue charm bracelet. Stop by Christine’s at 4915 Stockdale Highway or call 661-834-3068.

Celebrate “Shark Week” at Color Me Mine! The kids will have a blast painting their own shark mugs, bowls, piggy banks, plaques and even chip-n-dips! Color Me Mine at The Marketplace, 9000 Ming Ave., 661-664-7366 or

Enjoy a bright summer shopping spree where everything has a second chance.

When you make a Rags to Rescue purchase, you support the dogs of Helping Animals Live Tomorrow Rescue. Review us on Yelp or like us on Facebook and receive 10 percent off your next purchase. Open Tuesday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 234 H St.​

Freshen up your home with some fresh ideas Farm Girls Vintage Finds 2113 Q St. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Find them on Facebook and Instagram

Icons and more Local Bakersfield landmarks captured on canvas or watercolor paper in an exhibit at the Arts Council of Kern, Mission Bank Building, 1330 Truxtun Ave. The reception is on Thursday, Aug. 10, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Additional paintings continue to be at the Art Center, 1607 19th St. To commission your favorite icon, contact the artist, Charlotte White, at 661-330-2676. 102 Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

USC Alumni Scholarship Fundraiser Date: May 11 Held at: Luigi’s Photos by: Carla Rivas

Carrie Johnson and Ellen Solum

Choon and Lina Park, Kristine and Dave Morton

Madeline Goossen, Judy Hampton, Genie Reade and Sally Goossen

Kenna and Dustin Trahan

John Jackson and Gary Paskwietz

John and Terry Christensen and Greg Laskowski 104 Bakersfield Life Magazine

July 2017

Mary K. Shell, Karen Goh and Pat Smith

Brad and Julie Barnes, Joan Tallman and Steve Hollingsworth

Justin Bell, Joe Tallman and Tom Clark

Ted and Marti Wiedmann and Blake Goehring

CSUB Spring Barbeque Date: May 12 Held at: CSUB Photos by: Greg Nichols

Linda and Matt Provencio

Katelyn, Aaron and Gina Banducci

Amanda McDonnell, Jordan Vlahos, Art and Debbi Marroquin, Manny and Crystal Macias

Mike McCarthy and Hanna Grisham

Diane Haddock and Terri Blair

James Cowan, Ross Patterson, Emerson Cowan, Patty Patterson, Stacy and Molly Cowan

Beth Ferguson, Donna and Ted Nighbert and Christina Pirtle

Joanie and Robert Haenelt

Bill and Stacy Cargill

Roger Parsons and Lauren Kaufman

Kamil Erfanian, David and Megan Bynum


STEMposium Date: May 19 Held at: Bakersfield College Photos by: Rod Thornburg

Cynthia Cuahutle and Kimberly Ottinger

Jamie Costa, Shannon Harper and Jose Navarrete

Courtney Olsen and Meigan Wu

Jacob Mueller and Adelina Conception

Noelia Vizcaino, Meagan Shaw, Mariella Guzman and Zayda Vera

Mohsin Khan, Jimmy Herrera, Andrea Walker and Drew Chidester

Natalie Madrigal, Attila Bosze and Andrea Hernadez


19th & N Street, Downtown Bakersfield

106 Bakersfield Life Magazine

(661) 325-8476

July 2017

Mindy Wilmot, Adam Alvidrez, Cheryl Scott and Karen Martinez

Casino Royale Night for Kern Law Enforcement Date: May 20 Held at: Home of Mr. and Mrs. Nabeel Mansour Photos by: Greg Nichols

Samy and Marianne Abiaoui

Scott and Stephanie Spielman

Christine Karamian, Ruby Sandhu, Rasha Mansour and Alma Saravia

Meir Brown and Emily McCullah

Rich and Nikki Rodriguez, Aman and Rasham Sandu and Rajan Goyal

Kevin and Judy McCarthy

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Arts Council of Kern Opening Reception Date: June 8 Held at: Access Center Gallery Photos by: Greg Nichols

Ed Flickinger and Aliza McCracken

Natalia and Maria Mercado

Jesiah and Melodie Ramos

Greg Iger and Shannon Kehrer

Christine and Desi Vega

Jasmine and Marc Aguilar 108 Bakersfield Life Magazine

Paul Ramirez and Rue Diaries

Mike McCabe and Howard Lee

Reema Hammad, Jeff Lemucchi and Portia Chang July 2017

Latino Food Festival benefitting KCHCC Date: May 28 Held at: Kern County Museum

Sandra Lofthus and Sandra Duran

Christina and Jose Canez

Amie Garcia, Trish, Melvin and Daniel Lopez

Juan Villarreal and Rully Putra

Esther Gonzalez, Yaslin Marroquin, Monica Horstman and Dr. Mark Algee

Irma Boyar and Max Lemus

Maria Hurtado, Elizabeth Vargas, Alondra Joya, Angela Jimenez, Veronica Vargas and Martha Gonzalez

Photos by: Carla Rivas

Priscilla and Isaac Cuadras

Mike Hernandez, Trish Castruita and Ali Hernandez


People & Community



I love Bakersfield. And I love food. So when Yelp approached me with the position of Yelp community ambassador for Bakersfield where I could combine both my loves, I jumped at it faster than you can say “avocado toast.” When people ask what I “do” as a community ambassador, my usual response is: “It depends on the day!” No two days are the same. I could be working well into the wee hours of the night editing copy for the Local Yelp Newsletter (an emailed digest of the hottest places around town, each with a unique theme), writing reviews and corresponding with local business owners. The next

Yelpers far and wide also continue to rave about a traditional Guadalajaran favorite, the torta ahogada, from Loncheria Otro Rollo. It’s so good, even SoCal residents are driving up for a taste. morning, I could be meeting with a new local business owner and hosting a swanky soiree on the rooftop of the Padre Hotel in the evening. But regardless of the 110

Bakersfield Life Magazine

day, my mission is the same: connecting people to great local businesses. With this amazing opportunity, I’ve had the ability to gain insight into some of Bakersfield’s best-kept secrets, get a read on what the community loves and explore hidden gems – yes, we actually have them! Businesses that, before social media, would be buried by big budget national ad campaigns. With the “review revolution” we’ve been able to shine a light on these unsung food heroes. Restaurants like Fuzion On, where they’re mixing up Mexican and Asian flavors like mad culinary scientists. I’m looking at you, Kalbi Burger. Or the Insta-worthy unicorn macarons from Mai Giffard July 2017

at De Coeur Bake Shop – an instant social media sensation created right in our own downtown. Bakersfield’s booming food scene is daring, unique and rooted in tradition. Nothing could be more encompassing of that than Heather Laganelli and her team over at Locale Farm to Table Eatery. You may remember when this was Union Station Deli. Heather has transformed this once “greasy spoon” into a fresh and seasonal dining experience. Yelpers are raving about their locally sourced menu items, which include a fresh stone fruit and field greens salad. It’s also hard to ignore the flurry of Yelp love for our ever-expanding food truck

scene, from the fantastic fresh-made falafel at Pita Paradise and the totally amazing Mexican-sushi combination at Sushinola, to bewitchingly delicious vampiro tacos from Vatos Tacos. Yelpers far and wide also continue to rave about a traditional Guadalajaran favorite, the torta ahogada, from Loncheria Otro Rollo. It’s so good, even SoCal residents are driving up for a taste. It would be remiss of me to exclude one of our town’s most unique flavors: Bakersfield Basque, a tradition all our own that needs no explaining to any local. But to an outsider, it’s a strange feast of pickled tongue, spaghetti, french fries and other delectable dishes. Any way you cut it, this unique family style tradition will always be a food scene fixture and personal favorite. As to which Basque is best? Many a feud have been started with this simple question and some things are better left unanswered. The Bakersfield food scene continues to impress with a blend of local traditions and modern twists. Keep doing you, Bakersfield. You’re definitely five shiny bright-red stars in my book. McKenzie Swisshelm is the community ambassador for Yelp Bakersfield and leader of the Elite Squad. In addition to planning great Yelp Events with local business, she posts some drool-worthy food photos on Instagram @yelpbakersfield. The views expressed in this column are her own.

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