Central Valley July 2017

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July 2017

Things are peachy

18 22 42 46 50

Wawona Frozen Foods is known worldwide for its juicy peaches. But there’s so much more going on with this local biz.


Grab a fork What’s for dinner? Yeah, we have that problem solved for you. Check out our guide to the area’s best menu items.

Go to the Fresno Food Expo Don’t eat anything before heading out to the Fresno Food Expo. The Expolicious event will be held July 27.

Did somebody say sandwiches? The Food Network’s Jeff Mauro knows a thing or two about sandwiches. And his favorite is pastrami.

Let’s go eat If you’re into traveling and trying new places to eat, why not combine the two? Food tourism is big. See why.

50 6 Sneak peek 7 Believe it 8 Pastimes 12 Don’t Miss Calendar 14 Two Degrees of Separation 16 25 Things You Didn’t Know 18 Valley Gem 22 Eat, Drink, Be Merry 38 Your Health 42 Eat, Drink, Be Merry 45 Contest 46 Eat, Drink, Be Merry 50 Get Up & Go 56 Snapshots

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Quinn Livingston makes a hot pastrami sandwich at Sunnyside Delicatessen. PHOTOGRAPHY: Mark Wojdylak

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At Home

Let’s talk about food


ometimes, when we create a story, we just know we’re going to get feedback. Someone along the way is going to get mad — incensed even — that we were off the mark. When we set out to create a story to celebrate neighborhood spots serving our favorite meals, we knew this would be one of those stories. People are passionate about food. But, before you pick up the phone to call or head to your computers to write a strongly worded letter, let me explain. We created the list that begins on page 22 after much brainstorming and discussion, but we know we are coming up short. There’s simply no way of making a list of the Valley’s best bites without leaving off a bunch of great places serving great food. (Dicicco’s lasagna? You bet! The Sichuan chicken salad from East Meets West China Bistro? So good! The kebab plate from The Mediterranean? Oh,

or desserts we order when we want a sure thing. Our selections are not the most expensive or the most showy items on the menu, but each packs a flavor punch that can’t be matched. So, let’s consider this a conversation starter. What are your favorite bites? Where do you go when you need some comfort food or want a meal that will satisfy? What is your favorite sweet treat? What’s your favorite spicy starter? What meal has you begging for more and dreaming of the next time you’ll have it? Let me know, and you might just see it featured in a future edition of Central Valley. In the meantime, read on. This edition is a buffet. Read about Valley Gem Wawona Frozen Foods on page 18, La Tapatia Tortilleria owner Helen Chavez-Hansen on page 16 and all things vegan on page 32. Check out our Q&A with Food Network Star Jeff Mauro and learn about his love of sandwiches on page 46. And stop by the upcoming Fresno Food Expo and learn all that’s going to be Expolicious this year on page 42. And if you still want more, take a food tour of California starting on page 50. Let me know what you think.

yeah!) Our Grab a Fork story showcases just a few of our favorite dishes from the restaurants we go to time and again, the meals

5210 N. Palm at the northeast corner of Palm and San Jose.


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Central Valley Magazine | JULY 2017 5


Red, white and boom!

July 2017/ Vol. 6, Issue 7 ......................... Central Valley magazine is produced by the Custom Publications staff of The Fresno Bee and published by The Fresno Bee. It is inserted into The Fresno Bee on the fourth Saturday of the month in the Fresno/Clovis area. It can also be found in waiting rooms throughout Fresno/Clovis. Cover price $3.95 President & Publisher Tom Cullinan Vice President, Sales & Strategic Marketing John Coakley Editor Carey Norton | 559-441-6755 Advertising Sales Director Bill Gutierrez | 559-441-6405 Production Coordinator Anna Ramseier | 559-441-6751 Central Valley Sales Leader Sonia White| 559-441-6156 Assistant Editor Monica Stevens | 559-441-6149 Custom Publications Staff Farin Montañez | 559-441-6677 Janessa Tyler | 559-441-6764 Dani Villalobos | 559-441-6759 Contributing Writers Cyndee Fontana-Ott, Katie Fries, Douglas Hoagland, Gail Marshall, Janice Stevens Contributing Photographers Matt Drake, Wayne Hutchison, Gary Kazanjian, Tomas Ovalle, Mark Wojdylak Design Erik Davison, Kristi Marinelly, Carey Norton, Monica Stevens, Juan Vega, Dani Villalobos, Lisa Vogt Contributing Artists Erik Davison, Pat Hunter Reader inquiries Central Valley magazine 1626 E St., Fresno, CA 93786 www.centralvalley.com 559-441-6755 All content © The Fresno Bee To contribute, please contact Carey Norton at 559-441-6755 or cnorton@fresnobee.com

The Fresno Bee

If you’re like us, the Fourth of July wouldn’t be the same without a display of fireworks. Often, the pyrotechnic devices are the focal point of cultural and religious celebrations throughout the world. It has been said that fireworks were invented to scare away evil spirits during the 7th century in China. Today, China remains the largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks in the world. On a smaller scale, the Walt Disney Company (Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort) is the largest consumer of fireworks in the United States. We can hear Katy Perry singing “Baby, you’re a firework” as we speak … Clovis Freedom Fest Gates open 4 p.m., fireworks at dusk Lamonica Stadium, 1055 Fowler Ave., Clovis Admission: $5 ABC30 & Chukchansi Park Independence Day Fireworks Extravaganza 7:05 p.m., Fresno Grizzlies vs. Tacoma Rainiers — post-game fireworks

Summer stages Woodward Shakespeare Festival The talented performers from Woodward Shakespeare Festival are ready to take the stage. A summer staple since 2005, the festival will bring two shows, “Twelfth Night” and “Titus Andronicus,” to Woodward Park this summer. “Twelfth Night” began its run in June, but you can still catch performances through July 8. The comedy features separated twins, mistaken identity and romantic entanglements. “Titus Andronicus,” which runs Aug. 3 through Aug. 26, begins with the Roman general Titus Andronicus returning from war. In stark contrast to the lighthearted “Twelfth Night,” it’s known for being Shakespeare’s most violent play.

Chukchansi Park, 1800 Tulare St., Fresno Admission (includes baseball game): $16+ Island Water Park Fireworks Extravaganza Water park opens at 10:30 a.m., Friday, July 3 and Saturday, July 4 Fireworks at dusk Admission: $23.99+ Wild Waters Star Spangled Revue Friday, June 30 through Tuesday, July 4 Dazzling fireworks, smoke, lasers and music Admission: $17.99+ Fireworks Spectacular over Shaver Lake Fireworks at dusk, Wednesday, July 5 Boat parade, followed by fireworks Admission: Free

The free performances are held at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at the WSF Stage overlooking the bluffs. Bring your own chairs, blankets and picnic dinner to enjoy before the show. Details: www.woodwardshakespeare.org 2nd Space Theatre 2nd Space Theatre presents “Fools,” the story of a young Russian school teacher who takes a job in a village that’s been cursed with chronic stupidity. The teacher falls in love with the village’s prettiest but dimmest resident and vows to break the curse. According to CBS-TV, “Fools” is “the brightest, freshest, funniest, wittiest, warmest and happiest to-dos on Broadway in many a day.” Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday through Aug. 20. Ticket prices: $20 general admission; $17 seniors and students Details: www.gcplayers.com/gcp-shows/fools


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Celebrating 100 years The Fresno County Farm Bureau reached an impressive milestone this year, celebrating 100 years with a big birthday blowout at its Centennial Gala on Friday, May 5, at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District. And what better way to honor the nonprofit organization’s impressive history in the community than in our annual food edition?

helps drive our economy. The special event recognized those who served the grassroots organization in the past, as well as made a nod to the future with a look forward at what the next 100 years may bring. Basketball legend and broadcaster, Bill Walton, was the keynote speaker, sharing insightful and entertaining tales from his storied career Since 1917, FCFB has been dedicated and throughout the evening’s program. The Painted committed to promoting and protecting agriculTable catered and severed dinner to the 500-plus ture in Fresno County — working alongside a guests in attendance. See page 59 for Snap Shots network of more than 5 million members across of the event. the nation to act as advocates, provide community Congratulations, FCFB — here’s to the next outreach and educational resources for regional century! farmers and ranchers in the vast industry that Details: www.fcfb.org

Follow the food

Safety first Taking a hike? Summer is the perfect time to explore the natural world, from local trails to nearby state and national parks. Before you head out, make sure you brush up on safety basics. The National Park Service recommends heeding the following advice while out on the trails: Carry a headlamp, even on short day hikes. Carry a minimum of 1 quart of water (per person) for every two hours. Don’t drink untreated water from streams or lakes. Wear sturdy, supportive footwear to protect your feet. Hats, sunscreen and light-colored clothing should be worn to protect you from the sun. Stay on established trails. Each member of the group should carry water and food, in case members become separated. Learn to identify poison oak. Properly store all food you won’t be carrying with you, particularly in areas known for bear activity. Never approach a bear.

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@FresnoFoodie When you just can’t decide where to eat, search @FresnoFoodie on Instagram and scroll through the gorgeous #foodporn for a delectable dish. The photos are submitted by local chefs and food enthusiasts, featuring droolworthy meals from their favorite Valley restaurants. The captions tell you where you can find your next meal, from Pismo’s Coastal Grill to Wayside Noodles to Fresno Breakfast House and everything in between. For similar posts, check out @GrizzlyCityEats. @TalesoftheCork If wine is more your thing, check out the wine and food pairings shared by Clovis wine and food fanatics Greg and Geena Stobbe. With an impressive 15,800 followers, @TalesoftheCork features a variety of vinos paired with homemade meals along with menu items from a range of local restaurants. Followers can keep up with local wine tasting events as well. @krolls_korner Want to prepare food at home, but needs some inspiration? Local registered dietitian nutritionist Tawnie Kroll posts professional photos of her creations @krolls_korner, along with a little nugget of nutritional information. Click the link in her profile to be directed to the recipes for the dishes that make your mouth water. @kuppajoycoffee There are quite a few reasons a coffee house with locations in Fresno and Clovis has more than 11,000 followers. @kuppajoycoffee offers

more than just pretty pictures of its baristas’ signature latte art featuring the common heart design to the “pondering zebra.” Verses from scripture give you a boost that pairs well with eye catching images of pastries, teas and mugs of coffee. @FoodCommonsFresno See what’s in season by following @FoodCommons Fresno. The company makes local sustainable food the easy choice by offering boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables to families through Ooooby, as well as wholesale produce for professional chefs. As a bonus, followers get to see occasional discount codes for the food box service. @ClovisDonuts Have a sweet tooth? Follow @ClovisDonuts for its fun pastry creations, from the Circus Cookie Donut to the S’Mores Donut to the shop’s famous stuffed and stacked cronuts. The owners are endlessly coming up with seasonal treats made with love — and lots of sugar.

Central Valley Magazine | JULY 2017 7



The Washington Colony is one of the Valley’s earliest planned developments BY: Janice Stevens | ILLUSTRATIONS: Pat Hunter | PHOTOGRAPHY: “Washington Union High School Centennial 1892-1992”


Janice Stevens is the author of multiple books on California history: Fresno’s Architectural Past, Vol. I and II, William Saroyan: Places in Time; Remembering the California Missions; and An Artist and a Writer Travel Highway 1 (North, Central and South), plus Breaking Bread with William Saroyan, collaborations with her business partner, watercolorist Pat Hunter, and two volumes of Stories of Service, compilations of Valley veterans’ military memoirs. Ask Janice a Fresno history question by emailing custom@ fresnobee.com or posting your question on the Central Valley magazine Facebook page, www.facebook. com/CentralValleyMag.

nce a barren land from the San Joaquin River to the Kings River, a natural depression known as the “Sinks of Dry Creek” became the birth place of Fresno. Within less than 50 years, the colony system would be established, and the barren land of the Central Valley would be transformed into productive agricultural communities. “The establishment of the town of Fresno was initiated in 1868. In July, A. Y. Easterby of Napa County purchased more than 5,000 acres of Fresno County land from a group of San Francisco businessmen known as the ‘German Syndicate.’ Easterby was convinced he could transform the barren planes into productive land through irrigation,” writes Michael R. Waiczis and William B. Secrest Jr. in “A Portrait of Fresno 1885-1985.” No community can exist or flourish without water, thus, Easterby collaborated with Moses J. Church to develop a canal to transport water from the Kings River to his arid land. Easterby planted wheat and, within a few years, reaped the benefits of a “mature crop.”

Washington Union High School is part of a large educational complex in Easton.

Easterby and Church continued with a vision of transporting water across the Valley to create a productive agricultural landscape. Easterby’s flourishing crops were a testament to the potential investors. “While Easterby and Church developed their irrigation system, the Central Pacific Railroad pushed south through the Central Valley, laying track and establishing new stations. Late in 1871, former Governor Leland Stanford, one of the Central Pacific’s ‘Big Four,’ and other officials arrived in Fresno County in search of a suitable location for the railroad’s next step. Across the plane, the surveyors were startled to see Easterby’s

Washington Union High School’s two-story main building was in use from 1924 to 1972. This watercolor was painted from a photo included in the book, “Washington Union High School Centennial 1892-1992.”

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green field, alone on the seemingly dry horizon. After a visit with Easterby on his ranch, Stanford is said to have exclaimed: ‘Wonderful! Here must we build the town!’ ” write Secrest and Waiczis. The wheels were in motion to grow a town and by 1875, the county seat moved from Millerton to Fresno and an imposing Fresno County Court House began to emerge. Advertisements touting the benefit of vast land began to draw investors to the Central Valley. “During this early period, land promoters began employing the ‘colony’ method of settlement in Fresno, where large parcels of land were subdivided and ‘colonized’ by groups of new settlers. The unique process was initiated by Bernard Marks, who organized the Central California colony in 1875. Notable among the many colonies, which were settled in the following years, were the Washington Irrigated Colony, Scandinavian Colony and Fresno Colony,” write Secrest and Waiczis. Encouraged by the growth and success of Fresno, and with the water accessed from irrigation ditches established by the Fresno Canal System, developers from San Francisco saw a lucrative market in the wide open spaces.

“According to all accounts, in the latter part of the ’70s, O.W. Easton and his associates, J. P. Whitney and Allen T. Covell, of San Francisco, purchased land in this area to be offered for sale to adventurous settlers. In 1878, Easton, known as the organizer of the Pacific Cost Land Bureau, purchased 3,200 acres (5 sections) and Whitney acquired 4,480 acres (7 sections). The three men expected to reap a fortune from their investment and spent almost $25,000 for general expenses and advertising without selling an acre. But Easton, who was not easily discouraged, sent men abroad to advertise his land, as well as to towns and communities in California,” writes Rachel Dack in “Portraits of Easton — Its Early Days” in the book, “Washington Union High School Centennial 18921992.” In the book, “Garden of the Sun,” by Wallace Smith, Smith notes, “Due south of the Malaga Colony was located a tract of 7,000 acres known as Washington Colony. This colony, like the Central, was settled chiefly by Scandinavians. Washington Colony still retains many of its early characteristics. Rev. Oscar W. Ostrom, one of the original settlers, made this statement concerning it:

The Immanuel’s Danish Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Easton, 1898-1956, was built at 5955 S. Elm Ave.

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continued ...




www.retrojunctionfresno.com 10 JULY 2017 | Central Valley Magazine



‘The colony in which I love and which comprises the Easton-Oleander district, is called Washington Colony. Scandinavian Colony is as far to the north of Fresno as Washington Colony is to the south (about five miles). ... Among the very first settlers was Charles Erickson, who by Swedish newspaper correspondence here in California, as well as in eastern papers, made known to the Swedes the wonders and possibilities of a colony. ... The people (Swedish) came because men like Charles Erickson and Judge Frank D. Rosendahl led the way and sounded the call over the United States. Good land, good climate, plenty of water, good promoters, and then just plain California were the inducements that led so large a number of the Swedes to Washington Colony.’ ” Improvements and developments in those early days gradually transformed the colony into a thriving community. “It is not too hard to imagine the amount of dust created as horse-drawn wagons and buggies drove along the dusty roads. As more and more settlers were arriving, the problem along Elm Avenue grew worse. With its usual ingenuity, in 1888, Easton, Eldredge and company set out to solve the problem. Their solution was to have a number of wells dug along Elm Avenue. Eight- to 10-horse teams, towing a wagon with a pump and tanks, would fill up at the wells and drive down the road, sprinkling water as they went along. This system continued for many years. Then in 1920, the paved highway was built from Fresno to Caruthers and Raisin City,” writes Dack. Communities require schools, churches and cemeteries. “By 1898, the town had four churches — Swedish Methodist, Methodist Episcopal, United Presbyterian and Lutheran,” writes Dack. “In 1888, the United Presbyterian Church appointed a committee to look into the purchase of land for a cemetery at the site of what is now the Washington Colony Cemetery. However, it was not until April 1, 1893, that the church was incorporated which, according to state law, was necessary before any land for that use could be purchased. The board of directors met at the church and a motion was carried that the congregation purchase 10 acres from Robert Smith. ... “Dirt and weeds covered most of the area. A

The two-story Washington Colony School was used from 1889 to 1921.

dirt mound behind the headstone marked each grave. Families cleared off their family plots or graves from time to time and this was always done for Decoration Day — now known as Memorial Day,” writes Dack. Washington Union High School was founded in 1892 and is considered to be the second oldest high school in Fresno County with Fresno High School established in 1889. “During its formative years, many school districts sprang up around Easton and throughout Washington Colony. Of course, Easton became an educational hub after May 12, 1892, when the Washington Union High School District was formed. Local school districts were ultimately joined with the high school district. At one time, there were as many as 12 grammar schools in the High School District,” notes Dack. Guy Keeler, in a Fresno Bee story headlined as “Marking Our Past,” writes, “Next time you pass a historical marker, check it out. Its story might surprise you.” Indeed. Markers and plaques mark historical significance, whether established as California Historical Landmarks or placed by members of the James Savage chapter of E Clampus Vitus, “a lighthearted fraternal order with a serious interest in preserving the past,” have installed more than 30 monuments commemorating significant sites in Valley history. “One, on Elm Avenue in front of Washington Union High School, commemorates the founding of the Washington Irrigated Colony in 1878 by early-day developers O.W. Easton and J.P. Whitney. The men bought 7,680 acres and started selling small farms in 20-acre parcels,” writes Keeler. The marker commemorates the founding of Washington Colony, one of the earliest settlements in the Central Valley. CV

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July 2017

Don’t let the dog days of summer get you down! Now is the perfect time to treat yourself to a concert, community fundraiser or a family-friendly event. We’ll even get you started with a few of our favorite ideas.

Light up the sky


If there’s a better way to celebrate America’s birthday than with baseball and fireworks, we don’t want to know.

All aboard


If you already have tickets for the Grizzlies’ July 4 game against the Salt Lake Bees, stick around afterward — you’ll have one of the best seats in the house for what promises to be the Central Valley’s biggest firework display. Details: www.milb.com/promotions/index.jsp?sid=t259#July

Dollar deal


For more complete calendar listings, go to planitfresno.com

the first Friday of every month, $1 will pay for admission to The Discovery Center. That means a family of four can enjoy the museum’s hands-on science exhibits, playground and Deutsch Cactus Garden for less than $5. Details: www.thediscoverycenter.net

A dollar might not buy much these days, but on

We can’t guarantee Train will play your song, but the band will definitely play some songs when its Play That Song tour hits the Save Mart Center. The Grammy winners will be joined by special guests O.A.R. and Natasha Bedingfield. Details: www.savemartcenter.com

A fresh look


Does your home need a facelift? If so, the Summer Decorating and Remodeling Show, presented by Fresno Home Shows, is the place to be

Enjoy the show


Looking for one more way to keep the kids busy this summer? Perhaps one that doesn’t involve being outside in the heat? Head over to Sierra Vista Cinemas every Tuesday this month for the 2017 Kids Summer Movie Series and catch a favorite movie for just $1.50. Details: www.sregmovies.com/ loc_sierravista

Up and away


You may see some future Olympians take flight at the North American Pole Vault Championship. The event brings

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some of the best pole vaulters in the world to Old Town Clovis to participate in a “street vault” competition. Details: www.oldtownclovis.org/north-americanpole-vault-championship

this weekend. You’ll learn tricks of the trade and connect with merchants and remodeling experts who can help you help your home. Details: www.fresnoshows.com

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International moments flavor kitchen memories O ur kitchen has ghosts — spirits of the most delightful kind. Sitting at my breakfast table with a crack-of-dawn morning latte and the newspaper, I am never alone. Swirling in and around our pot rack, Cuisinart and cabinets are the international friends who have left their signature dishes in our cocina, our cuisine, our kuche. We have just said goodbye to our latest house guests, Johanna, Manfred and Marion, from Germany. Johanna, 17, just finished her senior year at Central High School. She recently spent the day with her cohort of a dozen or so other international students wrapping up their year in the Valley. “We are really going to miss it here,” she said. “We were all crying.” “What will you miss?” I asked. She smiled that great smile, dimples blazing, and laughed. “The food!” she said. “We are all going to miss the food so much! I wish I can take home Dutch Bros., Starbucks and Taco Bell.” And letting her imagination go, she talked about her favorite everyday dinners, homemade tacos made by her host mom, Karen, and delicious, fresh California salads often from the garden. This is how it works in our house. The kitchen is our

cultural classroom. Marion and her husband, Manfred, prepared for a day in Yosemite in our kitchen. Marion tapped vigorously on her iPad. Diving into a breakfast of strawberry Belgian waffles with whipped cream, we laughed as I taught them to use the spray top. High-tech Americans! (Spray cheese would really freak them out.) We talked kitchens then and she searched for a photo of the newest version of a kitchen machine popular for decades in Germany. “Lisa has this!” she said excitedly as she searched. “She makes everything with it.” She and Manfred are the parents-in-law of a former exchange student we hosted, Lisa. We were their hotel while they visited Yosemite and Sequoia national parks. “Is it the Instant Pot?” I asked her, the newest machine I had heard about. Maybe, she said, as I described it. We continued to talk, and it was clear this was not the Instant Pot. I asked her how much this great kitchen gadget cost, and she said about $1,700. And it could not be bought in stores, but only at home meetings. Thermomix, it is called. It sells on Amazon for

Gail Marshall is the associate editor for the Opinion pages of The Fresno Bee. She also is a freelance writer and editor who has her own company, Marshall Arts Communications Consultants. A co-author of "Kidnapped at Chowchilla: The School Bus Hijacking," she is married and the mother of a son, Scott, who lives in heaven. Contact her at gailmailmarshall@gmail.com, on Facebook or @gailmarshall on Twitter.


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$1,750, and it’s labeled a kitchen blender. What? This food processor also weighs, cooks, chops, crushes, emulsifies, whips, mixes, steams, blends, kneads, grinds, simmers, grates and mills. Marion has one that’s 20 years old and still works great, she said. I’m going to borrow one of these and try it out and make the memory complete. We have hosted some grand dinners in the formal dining room over the years, to celebrate birthdays, successes, arrivals and anniversaries. But the most memorable by far were the small moments, the spontaneous. Sandra from France taught me to make the most wonderful crêpes and bought us the perfect pan in which to cook them. She filled our kitchen with friends one night, many having crêpes with strawberries or, Sandra’s favorite, Grand Marnier, for the first time. Noemie, also from France, was a terrific cook, whipping up a filet with champagne sauce like it was just a pan of bacon. Daniel from Chile, on the other hand, was like many of our students, a stranger to the kitchen. We had a tradition in the house that each student should teach us to make one dish from their country. His mother sent him instructions to make a fail-safe dish no one can miss. You take two cans of sweetened condensed milk and boil them — in the cans — on the stove for a couple of hours and you have the most

divine caramel sauce. He served it over pancakes. Jen from Quebec made the best lasagna ever — a four-hour project. My favorite story, however, comes from our Norwegian son, Knut. In a subsequent visit, he told a group of friends Swirling in and around our about one of his pot rack, Cuisinart and best memories of American food. It cabinets are the was my husband, Rich, every morninternational friends who ing making breakhave left their signature fast for him and mates from Slovadishes in our cocina, kia. our cuisine, our kuche. The boys loved Pillsbury Toaster Strudel pastries. Rich stocked them in every flavor and fixed them almost every day. And as Knut recalled this ritual down to the last detail, he described how Rich took the little icing packets and carefully wrote their initials in frosting on top of each pastry. I looked over at my sweet, modest husband. Teary eyes from the Daddy. CV



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Central Valley Magazine | JULY 2017 15

Helen ChavezHansen H

elen Chavez-Hansen — Fresno’s queen of tortillas and tortilla chips — is a talker. She admits that with a big laugh. And we were happy to listen. She tells of starting La Tapatia Tortilleria and turning it into a success. And as she rolls out her story, you find her ties to William Saroyan, an epic movie, liver with onions, and much more. Interesting? Oh, yeah. BY: Doug Hoagland | PHOTOGRAPHY: Wayne Hutchison, Paramount Pictures, McClatchy archive

1 New equipment for her tortilla plant fascinates her. In fact, it’s the best birthday gift she can get. 2 People tell her she doesn’t look 70. This makes her happy — almost as happy as when she gets a new chip fryer for the plant. 3 Her favorite pastime is surfing the internet for real estate (houses mainly). Words to live by: location, location, location. 4 She loves her second husband, John, but his proposal scared her. Having a long-distance boyfriend suited her independence. Not to worry: They’re living happily ever after. 5 She was 8 when she started cleaning houses with her mother, Beatrice. When 16 JULY 2017 | Central Valley Magazine

she got a little older, she washed dinner party dishes for a well-to-do Fresno family. 6 She went to Saturday Armenian school with her friends and felt welcome there. Nobody cared that she wasn’t Armenian. The American melting pot in action. 7 The husband of her third-grade teacher drove a Greyhound bus. Chavez-Hansen was 8. It was the early 1950s. The job seemed full of adventure. 8 Her Saroyan connection: They both attended long-gone Emerson Elementary School near downtown. Fresno’s most famous author got there first — by about 40 years. 9 She ran hurdles and played the violin at Roosevelt High School. Class of ’64.



Hansen’s advice

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on how to succeed at work: Show up every day and be on time. It all starts there. 11 In hiring Chavez-Hansen, her first boss said he was giving her “a break” as a young Hispanic. Ever determined and never bitter, she worked happily in that office for 11 years and left to run La Tapatia full time. 12 The clothes, cars and architecture of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s interest Chavez-Hansen. Chinese dynasties fascinate her, too. 13 A cream-colored Ford Fairlane with fins and bucket seats was her first car. Monthly payments were $45; she wrote the check for $90 to pay it off early. 14 Motown melodies: She still grooves to the tunes of her teenage years. The best: “Baby, I Need Your Loving” by the Four Tops. 15 On Sundays, the generations come to her

she got a call every day from Dad. 17 Growing up, she cooked dinner because her mother worked the night shift. Her father’s favorite: liver and onions. Chavez-Hansen: “Ugh!” 18 She finds it relaxing to walk on the beach, stroll by a stream or ... well, you get the idea. 19 Chavez-Hansen’s No. 1 rule for owning a business: You can’t be a boss in name only. Stay involved. Nobody cares as much as you do. Nobody. 20 JCPenney. Longs Drugs. Coney Island Hot Dogs. Gone from downtown Fresno but dear to ChavezHansen. 21 One of her achievements: 13.1 miles. She ran a half marathon and wishes she could have done more. The problem: bad knees from a skiing accident. 22 “The Ten Commandments” — starring Moses, a.k.a. Charlton Heston — is a favorite movie. Hard to beat parting the Red Sea. 23 Chavez-Hansen supports a scholarship program at Fowler High. Good school. Good city. Her home now. 24 Her favorite page-turner: James Michener’s “The Source,” a history of the Jewish people and the land of Israel. 25 She’s grateful to Taco Bell. (Note to purists: no groaning.) The chain helped popularize Mexican food. CV


14 house for dinner. Chavez-Hansen has four daughters who have families. She cooks and loves the commotion. 16 Memories of her late father, Lionel, are a nice reminder of a happy childhood. When she got older,

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24 Central Valley Magazine | JULY 2017 17



Wawona Frozen Foods shares the Central Valley’s most juicy summer flavors with the world BY: Doug Hoagland | PHOTOGRAPHY: Wayne Hutchison


awona Frozen Foods supplies some of the country’s best-known brands with the sweet fruit of this Valley. The brands are a who’s who of food manufacturers. Marie Callender’s. Mrs. Smith’s. Sara Lee. Yoplait. Breyers. Jamba Juice. The Clovis-based business takes what the sun smiles on and uses technology — and sub-zero temperatures — to preserve the fruit’s nutrition and freshness. Founded in the early 1960s by the legendary Earl Smittcamp, Wawona is led today by his youngest son, Bill. He’s an entrepreneur and philanthropist in the mold of his late father. The elder Smittcamp saw the possibilities for frozen peaches, strawberries and other fruit — possibilities that included the federal government’s school lunch program. Today, Wawona produces more than 68 million frozen fruit cups a year that the U.S. Department of Agriculture sends to schools. The result: Millions of American school children get a (thawed) taste of what Valley residents may take for granted.

18 JULY 2017 | Central Valley Magazine

Wawona’s reach extends far beyond this region — more than 100 Wawona products are sold and distributed in North America. But the company’s heart remains rooted in Clovis and surrounding communities. Look no further than The Old Town Clovis Peach Party for evidence of that fact. It’s a must-attend event for Bill, his wife, Linda, and their three children — Blake, Bradley and Blair. The Smittcamps and others hand out more than 7,500 servings of Wawona peach products at the annual Peach Party. “It shows where we come from, and we’re proud of that and of what we do,” Smittcamp says. In terms of sheer volume, the family has a lot to take pride in. Wawona annually freezes 65 to 75 million pounds of peaches and another 15 million pounds of strawberries. To get an idea how the business has grown, consider this: Wawona froze 11⁄2 to 2 million pounds of peaches in the beginning. That beginning is officially 1963. But the story goes back to the years after World War II.

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After serving as a Marine in the South Pacific, Earl bought a 200-acre farm at Nees and Minnewawa avenues from his wife’s father. It eventually became Wawona Ranch, where he grew peaches. Most were sold as fresh fruit that he packed. But, a small portion went to a frozen food processor in Sanger, where a problem developed in 1962: The processor didn’t have the capacity to handle all of Smittcamp’s fruit. Earl saw a business opportunity, and the following year he and his oldest son, Bob, started a frozen peach business. It was a small operation in the beginning. Today, Wawona Frozen Foods has two plants — one in Clovis and the other in southeast Fresno.

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The company grows about 20 percent of its fruit and buys the rest from other Valley growers. Its workforce is 250 full-time employees and 1,400 in peak season. Bill worked in the fresh fruit operation during the summer when he was a teenager. While attending Fresno State, he managed that operation and worked part-time in the frozen food side of the business. Following graduation, Bill continued to gain management and sales experience in the family business. He became Wawona Frozen Foods’ president and chief executive officer in 1982. His sons have since joined him at the company, and his daughter will join the team in July.

Wawona Frozen Foods supplies fruits to well-known brands, including Marie Callender’s, Sara Lee and Yoplait. Blake, Bill and Bradley Smittcamp at Wawona Ranch.

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Bill’s brother is president and CEO at Lyons Magnus Inc., a Fresno food-service company that’s part of the Smittcamp family’s business operations. Lyons Magnus is one of Wawona’s largest customers. How Wawona prepares peaches is a manystep process. The fruit is washed, halved, pitted, closely inspected for pit fragments, and then peeled, sliced and graded. Grading determines whether the peaches are used in a premium product, Wawona Dessert Peaches, which are sold to white table cloth restaurants, or go for other uses. Some peach slices are sold under the Wawona brand or the private label of known grocery stores. Some are used in pies, yogurts and purees. Under Bill’s leadership, Wawona is always looking to innovate for efficiency and cost savings. In one instance, the company worked with a Fresno State professor to devise a new airdriven system for removing peach skin. The previous system used water, and the company now saves 80,000 gallons a day. That innovation is part of Wawona’s philosophy of “continuous improvement.” Improving safety is the top priority. “It’s the No. 1 thing in our facilities. We’re talking about the safety of our employees as well as food safety,” Bill says. In an age when many companies have recalled food products because of contamination, Wawona has had no recalls. “We are so thankful and blessed it hasn’t

Bill Smittcamp became Wawona Frozen Foods’ president and chief executive officer in 1982.

happened to us,” he says. To help ensure food safety, Wawona voluntarily pays to have USDA inspectors review its quality and production teams for all its products. “Another set of eyes” is worth the cost, he says. (The business is only required to have inspections related to the fruit cups destined for the school lunch program.) Going above and beyond is part of the legacy of Earl and his late wife, Muriel. Their many contributions to the community included a $2 million donation that helped

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Look for Almonds in your Local Market

20 JULY 2017 | Central Valley Magazine



Maria Romero works at Wawona Frozen Foods.

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Wawona Frozen Foods produces more than 68 million frozen fruit cups a year that the U.S. Department of Agriculture sends to schools.

create the Smittcamp Family Honors Program at Fresno State in 1998 and provided land for the Smittcamp Alumni House. Bill focuses much of his energy at Valley Children’s Healthcare, where he serves as chairman of the board of trustees. He’s also on the boards of other organizations, including the CSU Fresno Foundation and Central Valley Community Bank. In recognition of his accomplishments, leadership and commitment to the community, Bill was recently named the 2017 recipient of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce’s Leon S. Peters Award. Earl — who died in 2014 at age 96 — received the award in 1993. “I serve because I’ve been pretty fortunate,” Bill says. “It’s in our nature to give back.” CV

Virgina Villalvazo works with strawberries at Wawona Frozen Foods.

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Central Valley Magazine | JULY 2017 21



Grab a fork A guide to the Central Valley’s best dishes

BY: Katie Fries, Farin MontaĂąez, Carey Norton, Janessa Tyler, Monica Stevens and Dani Villalobos | PHOTOGRAPHY: Gary Kazanjian, Custom Publications archive

A kale, pecorino and almond salad with Caesar dressing is prepared and offered at Annex Kitchen as a gluten-free recipe. 22 JULY 2017 | Central Valley Magazine

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rom the very first moment you take a bite, you know. This dish moves beyond just a simple nibble taken because you’re hungry. It’s the answer to all you’ve been searching for in the Central Valley. And the best thing about it is you don’t always have to spend a fortune or put on your best Sunday suit to indulge. We’re lucky enough to live in a community that has so many great restaurants — in every price point — that having the best doesn’t mean forking out a lot of dough. It will, however, mean grabbing a fork and preparing your taste buds for a treat. Let us know if you think our list skipped one of your favorites and we just might include it in an upcoming issue of Central Valley. But for now, here’s our ultimate guide to the Central Valley’s most amazing meals, eats and treats.

Breakfast Tessa Cate’s Cinnamon Roll Pancakes from Batter Up Pancakes

8029 N. Cedar Ave., Fresno www.batteruppancakes.com At Batter Up Pancakes, all menu items are fresh and handmade, but none quite compare to the sweet and spicy glory of the Tessa Cate’s Cinnamon Roll Pancake. It is just like eating the center of a cinnamon roll in every bite. Choose between Old Fashioned or Whole Grain Blue Cornmeal and indulge in the cream cheese frosting and cinnamon combination. Insider’s tip: Order some strong coffee to go with this one, and maybe a side of eggs to help fight the sugar highs. This one is sweet, but in the very best, most indulgent way possible. And ... as long as you’re there, the pancake masterminds have also told us there’s a new cheesecake pancake on the menu. Cream cheese, pancake batter and a bit of lemon to give it a zing. Oh, yeah. This may be in the running for next time. Price: 1 cake: $9.53, 2 cakes: $13.77; 3 cakes: $15.98

A handcrafted cup of coffee at Kuppa Joy Coffee House in Fresno. Kuppa Joy also has a location in Old Town Clovis. Tessa Cate’s Cinnamon Roll pancakes are a specialty item on the menu at Batter Up Pancakes.

A Kuppa Joy from Kuppa Joy Coffee House

1900 N. Echo Ave., Fresno 518 Clovis Ave., Clovis www.kuppajoy.com When Kuppa Joy Coffee House owner Zack Follett was in college and first started experimenting with coffee, he was a self-proclaimed “cream-and-sugar guy.” He came across crème brûlée and it quickly became his favorite flavor to put in a cup of joe. While preparing to open Kuppa Joy years later, Follett replaced his home oven with a commercial espresso machine and taught himself how to brew. His signature recipe became the Kuppa Joy: two shots of espresso, half a pump of dark chocolate and crème brûléeinfused milk. The coffee house is known for its unique coffee-rich flavors, but it has an Instagram-worthy propensity to make its drinks pretty as well. The latte art truly lets you feast with your eyes before you even take a sip. Price: $4.60 for 12-ounce, $5.50 for a 16-ounce. Have 16 ounces iced for $4.60 or blended for $5 Please see next page

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Central Valley Magazine | JULY 2017 23


The clam chowder flight at Pismo's Coastal Grill is the best way to experience all chowder has to offer.

Lunch Clam Chowders at Pismo’s Coastal Grill

7937 N. Blackstone Ave., Fresno www.pismos.com This may be an unpopular opinion, but when I want a good bowl of steaming clam chowder, I automatically think of Pismo’s — the local restaurant, not the popular Central Coast town. No offense to tourist-magnet Splash Café or any other seaside restaurant that serves up the clamfilled dish, but Fresno’s Pismo’s Coastal Grill has you beat. With freshly caught seafood a fisherman punctually delivers each morning, the eatery has concocted three different versions of clam chowder to offer guests in cup, bowl, bread bowl and mug form: Classic White, Spicy Red and Rhode Island Clear. Or, if you’re feeling extra daring, half-and-half is also an option. A favorite of mine is a combination of the Manhattan red and New England white. Price: Cup: $5.50, bowl: $6.50, mug: 7.99 and flight: $5.99

Max’s Roll at Wassabi

Wassabi on Fire 2920 E. Nees Ave., Fresno Wassabi Off the Hook 752 W. Shaw Ave., Fresno Sushi is just one of those things where people sit firmly on either side of the issue — you dig it

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or, well, you don’t. But I believe Wassabi — with both its Off the Hook and On Fire locations — could turn any sushi-adversary into an almostfan with the restaurant’s special Max’s Roll. Wassabi’s talented sushi chefs devised a combination of shrimp tempura and avocado wrapped with salmon and topped with tobiko and a spicy mayo, Sriracha and unagi sauce — creating just the right amount of spicy, sweet and yummy textures to round out this flavorful roll. Plus, for all those squeamish about all things Nemo and friends (too personal?), the Max’s Roll taste is decidedly non-fishy, with salmon being one of the most palatable classic raw-fish selections found at your local sushi bar. Price: $14

The tri-tip steak sandwich and a side of fries from Dog House Grill

2789 E. Shaw Ave., Fresno If you find yourself near Fresno State, you won’t regret heading to Dog House Grill. Finding a parking spot can be difficult, but the menu of scrumptious items is worth the wait. The tri-tip steak sandwich is celebrated throughout the Central Valley — and beyond, thanks to the sister restaurants on the Central Coast. Slices of juicy, tender tri-tip steak are smothered with barbecue sauce and wedged into a French roll. Your order isn’t complete without a side of fries: crisp and seasoned to perfection. Price: $9.25, with fries: add $2.29 Please see next page


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100 West Alluvial


(559) 299-2901

www.wawona.com Central Valley Magazine | JULY 2017 25

What is on your

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Dental implants provide teeth you can rely on for a better life as we age.

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How certain are you about When it comes to teeth, oral health experienced in younger years is not sustained as we live longer. Today our teeth have to last longer than ever before. Dr. Bramanti’s knowledge and experience allow him to anticipate future challenges and conditions to guide you to oral health solutions that fit your lifeplan. Dr. Bramanti is a world renown surgical specialist who was instrumental in establishing implant dentistry in Fresno in 1994. He has served Fresno for more than 22 years with well over 30 years of implant experience. Dr. Bramanti has successfully placed over 14,000 implants serving more than 6,000 satisfied Valley residents.

Dr. Bramanti’s clinical success and expertise provide implants you can rely on...for a lifetime. Call for an appointment today. And discover what is on your health horizon.

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containing rare steak, brisket, flank, tripe, meatballs, shrimp, imi, crab, squid, fishball and chicken — for $9.75. All of the ingredients come with rice noodles, basil, lime, jalapeño, green onion and sprouts in a flavorful broth. Price: $6.95 for a small bowl, $7.50 for medium and $8.25 for large

Mango salad from Figaro’s Mexican Grill

A fresh mango salad from Figaro's Mexican Grill packs a flavorful crunch. The mango salsa is reason enough to come back for more.

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Pho from Pho Paradise Vietnamese Cuisine


1848 N. First St. Fresno There’s tough competition among pho restaurants in Fresno (there are nine pho restaurants within a halfmile of Pho Paradise, with three just 200 yards away), and the deciding factor comes down to the broth and quality of meat. The beef noodle soup is popular for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which is why Pho Paradise is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. You can’t beat the price either, with the Paradise Special —

8482 N. Friant Road, Suite 104, Fresno 3140 Fowler Ave., Suite 103, Clovis www.figarosmexicangrill.com It sounds like a simple salad, but it packs a flavor punch that’s unmatched. This tasty dish starts with romaine lettuce sprinkled with grilled corn, onions, cabbage, cheese and tortilla strips. Then, the star of the show: the mango salsa. This isn’t just any mango salsa. Fresh mangoes are blended with cilantro and jicama to create a sweet and spicy crunch. A side note: Jicama is a fiber naturally infused with oligo fructose inulin, which has zero calories and doesn’t metabolize in the body. Inulin, a fructan, promotes bone health by enhancing absorption of calcium from other foods, protecting against osteoporosis. All this is to say, you can feel good about eating this salad. Especially if you ask for the dressings on the side. The salad’s two dressings can add quite a boost of flavor — the mango dressing

28 JULY 2017 | Central Valley Magazine

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is divine — but can add calories as well. Chicken pairs nicely with this large salad and makes it a complete and filling meal. Price: Salad: $10.71, with chicken: $11.96

Dinner Leticia Burger at House of JuJu

453 Pollasky Ave, Clovis www.houseofjuju.com Not a burger fan? Well, you’re about to be. The gourmet sandwiches Clovis’ House of JuJu doles out are legendary in most circles, with six signature burgers for guests to (painfully) choose from. But, like most battles, there’s always a victor — and the Leticia is my go-to champion every time. Served with its housemade spicy chipotle cilantro sauce and choice of meat, the burger is stacked with pepper jack cheese, roasted Ortega green chile, lettuce, tomato and avocado. The accompanying side — Chef Will’s Chili, spring mix salad, Dragon Lady Teriyaki Slaw or JuJu Roasted Potatoes — is also a highlight, with the joint’s famous roasted potatoes edging out all the rest. Selecting a dipping sauce for those bits of starchy goodness is also a challenge, but I typically go with the Spicy Garlic. Insider’s tip: A whole burger is well and good, but House of JuJu offers indecisive people a bit of reprieve with its sliders option, which comes with your choice

of three signature burgers. Seriously, take the restaurant’s metaphorical olive branch and run with it — you won’t be disappointed. Price: $12.95, sliders: $11.95

Camarones rancheros from Tacos Tijuana Y Mariscos

The Leticia Burger from House of JuJu is made with pepper jack cheese, a grilled Ortega chile, tomato, avocado and lettuce, and is topped with a spicy chipotle cilantro sauce. Try it at the restaurant’s Clovis or Morro Bay locations.

3838 E. Ventura Ave., Fresno 4170 E. Belmont Ave., Fresno Everyone knows it’s the hole-in-the-wall, humble establishments that serve the best bites in town, helpPlease see next page












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Create your own custom gift or choose from our large selection of premade gift baskets

Albert Hineges came all the way from Mendota to take on the Anaconda, a world-famous yard long burrito from Taquería Yarelis. This tasty monster meal went viral last December.

continued ... ing to pave out each city’s local landscape with spots that cater to a wide variety of tastes and backgrounds. One of these hidden gems: Tacos Tijuana y Mariscos. Fresno’s two locations cover the gamut of authentic Mexican cuisine, with their carne asada tacos earning high praise from customers throughout the Central Valley. On Tacos Tijuana y Mariscos’ “mariscos” side of things, the spots’ camarones rancheros brings the perfect amount of heat that those who are on either end of the spicy spectrum can get behind. A healthy helping of shrimp, onions and jalapeños are smothered in the house ranchera sauce, accompanied by rice and beans. Insider’s tip: Order the corn tortillas instead of flour. They’re homemade and completely delicious. Price: $12.95

The Rancher salad from Westwoods BBQ & Spice Co.

Villaggio Center


Sierra at Chestnut


800-397-NUTS(6887) 30 JULY 2017 | Central Valley Magazine

8042 N. Blackstone Ave., Fresno www.westwoodsbbq.com Normally I wouldn’t order a salad at a barbecue joint, but the Rancher salad makes me break the rules. The bed of lettuce is topped with cattle beans, bits of bacon, crispy tortilla chips, cheddar cheese and tomatoes. And the name wouldn’t be true if there wasn’t a drizzle of ranch dressing and barbecue sauce. And, if you’re a carnivore, because you are, after all, at a barbecue joint, you can order any of Westwoods’ meats to give this salad an extra punch. Price: $8

The Anaconda from Taquería Yarelis

429 N. Fresno St. www.facebook.com/taqueriayarelis You may need five other people to help you eat this world-famous, yard-long carne asada burrito. A video of chef Edwin Espinoza loading up five tortillas with beans, rice, carne asada, cheese, red and green salsa, onions, cilantro, guacamole crema and lime juice went viral online in December 2016 and has garnered more than 25.6 million views. The monster burrito is grilled on four sides after wrapping and cut in half to fit into a container with salsas, limes, radishes, grilled onions and peppers. Price: $23

Dessert Fudgy Peanut Butter Cup from G’s Creamery

2097 W. Bullard Ave., Fresno www.gscreamery.com At G’s Creamery, you’re more than a customer — you’re a friend. This relationship status is the foundation of the local ice cream parlor that serves more than a dozen flavors like Creamy Coconut, Salted Caramel Pretzel, Milk & Cookies and my favorite, Fudgy Peanut Butter Cup. The best part? G’s Creamery is friendly to animals. It uses milk and cream from grass-fed cows and eggs from cage-free chickens. It also doesn’t use fillers, additives, stabilizers or artificial flavors. Price: 1 scoop: $4, 2 scoops: $5.50, 3 scoops: $6

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Katie’s (all gluten-free) ideas BY: Katie Fries

Because I was diagnosed with celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder in which the body cannot process gluten) in 2009 and moved to Fresno in 2013, my dining out experience here has been dictated not by the area’s most buzzworthy foods, but by what I can safely consume. Happily, it’s getting easier to dine out if gluten is something you avoid. Many restaurants offer gluten-free menu options, if not menu items that are naturally gluten-free. These are some of my favorites. (Remember, cross-contamination is possible in kitchens where gluten-containing foods are also prepared.)

The kale salad from Annex Kitchen

2257 W. Shaw Ave., Fresno www.annexkitchenfresno.com The kale salad from Annex Kitchen has only four ingredients, so what makes it so great? It’s the way all four of those ingredients play off of each other, showcasing the leafy green’s hearty, earthy flavor. If you’ve been avoiding kale because you think it’s too bitter, too crunchy, too green, this is the perfect starter kale. The thin ribbons of fresh kale are accented with pecorino cheese, almond slivers and Caesar dressing. Annex Kitchen has a number of rave-worthy gluten-free main courses, but it would be a mistake to skip ordering this salad as a prelude to whichever you choose. Price: $9 for the small, $13 for large

Any of the tamales from Casa de Tamales

Rich flavors blend into ice-cream bliss in a scoop of Fudgy Peanut Butter Cup from G's Creamery.

An avocado paleta from La Reina de Michoacán

720 E. Belmont Ave., Fresno La Reina de Michoacán is a small ice cream-andpopsicle shop with endless flavors of cold treats. The paletas, or popsicles, are made from scratch with puréed natural fruit; many flavors feature chunks of real fruit inside. Classic flavors like galleta (cookies and cream), fresa/crema (strawberries and cream) or sandia (watermelon) are sure to please the tastebuds, but we prefer the more adventurous flavors like aguacate (avocado), elote (corn) and nanche, a sweet yellow fruit native to Mexico. Yes, avocado belongs in ice cream. Trust us. Price: Cream-based (leche) paletas, $2; waterbased (agua) paletas, $1.75

Bread pudding from Cracked Pepper Bistro

6737 N. Palm Ave., Fresno www.crackedpepperbistro.com Cracked Pepper Bistro’s bread pudding is Fresno famous. Like, people who haven’t even dined at the well-known spot know about the dessert — its reputation spreading outside of the foodie underground scene to the general masses over the years. The best part about this not-so-classified secret: it’s all true. The chef incorporates couple-day-old cheese Danishes, dinner rolls and croissants, a special brandy sauce and just the right amount of eggy-goodness to make the bread pudding a creamy, elegant standout among its doughy counterparts. You just have to try it yourself to truly understand the magic Cracked Pepper Bistro has created with this menu item. Price: $12

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609 E. Olive Ave., Suite C, Fresno and 938 Fulton Mall, Fresno (temporarily closed during Fulton Street construction) www.casadetamales.com Let’s just get this out of the way right now: There’s no wrong thing to order at Casa de Tamales. The choice here is less about what’s best and more about what you’re in the mood to eat, because the regular menu includes no fewer than a dozen different varieties of handmade tamales. The shredded beef tamale has a bit of spice tempered by the guac its served with, while the New Mexico Chile Pork tamale is a traditional favorite. Do you want to go meatless? Order one of the restaurant’s vegetarian or vegan options, like the jalapeño and cheese or spinach and artichoke. If you’re in the mood for sweet instead of savory, you can even order a dessert tamale. Try something new every time you visit. Better yet, order a dozen for a group and sample all of them. Pair your meal with a Sweetie, or another of the restaurant’s unique iced teas or lemonades, for a special treat. Price: $3.25 each, $6.50 for a one-item combo (includes one tamale, beans and rice) and $8.75 for a two-item combo

Lomo saltado from Limón

7089 N. Marks Ave., Suite 101, Fresno 9455 Fort Washington Road, Suite 101, Fresno www.limonfresno.com If your main complaint about stir-fry dishes is that there aren’t enough French fries, Limón has your back. The restaurant specializes in traditional Peruvian fare, including ceviche, but the saltados are the real hidden gem. The protein of your choice (chicken, beef or shrimp) is sautéed in a soy-based sauce along with onions and tomatoes and served atop a bed of fries with a side of rice (but who cares about the rice, we’re here for the fries). The saltados, like many of Limón’s dishes, can be prepared gluten-free upon request, and the menu includes a vegetarian option as well. Price: $14.95-18.50

Bread pudding from Cracked Pepper Bistro

6737 N. Palm Ave., Fresno www.crackedpepperbistro.com This gluten-free version is like a unicorn among gluten-free desserts in Fresno. There really is nothing like it. A lot of restaurants throw a bone to the gluten-free community by including a scoop of ice cream or a fruit plate on its dessert menus. Cracked Pepper Bistro could easily have gone that route, but instead chose to tweak its signature dessert for us. One portion of this rich, sweet treat easily serves two but if you’re like me, you eat half and save the rest for later. Price: $12

Pancakes from Batter Up Pancakes

8029 N. Cedar Ave., Fresno www.batteruppancakes.com The gluten-free diet is a double-edged sword. If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or another gluten intolerance, you feel great when you finally go gluten-free, but then you realize all you’re going to miss. Like pancakes. You can make your own using a gluten-free flours and ingredients, but unless you have access to a commercial kitchen, your pancakes will probably fall short of classic diner-style cakes. That’s why Batter Up Pancakes is so amazing. Its gluten-free pancakes are just as big, fluffy and — this is important — golden-brown on the outside just like their traditional counterparts. You can’t go wrong with the classic pancakes, but some specialty pancakes and seasonal pumpkin pancakes can be also be made with gluten-free batter. Price: 1 cake: $7.99, 2 cakes: $10.29, 3 cakes: $11.39

Central Valley Magazine | JULY 2017 31



Local foodies cater to vegans with plant-based meals BY: Farin MontaĂąez | PHOTOGRAPHY: TomĂĄs Ovalle

Janna Melkonian is a lifelong vegetarian with a talent for cooking. Melkonian launched Rappit Up, a meal service and catering company, a year ago after she started making vegetarian meals for a co-worker.

32 JULY 2017 | Central Valley Magazine

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s there a vegan option?” It’s a question that often earns me more than a sideways glance from other restaurant

goers. Most people don’t bat an eye at a request for a vegetarian meal, but remove five letters from the middle of the word and suddenly I’m the butt of a joke or the object of curiosity. (“So, what do you even eat?) Here’s what vegans don’t eat: animal products, including meat, eggs, honey, milk and other dairy products, such as cheese and ice cream. What do we eat? Well, I found four local vegan entrepreneurs to tell us just that. Their plant-based diets are widely varied, as are their reasons for going vegan in the first place.

Raw Fresno Raw Fresno food truck founder Naomi Hendrix gets right down to it. “Ten years ago, my son died of gluten intolerance, or Celiac disease, and I didn’t know he had that,” she says. Ian died six months before his 21st birthday after suffering multiple seizures. Three years later, Hendrix became very sick and was diagnosed with dysbiosis, a microbial imbalance in the body. “My doctor said I had to go gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, vinegar-free, soy-free and yeast-free,” she says without taking a breath. “No processed food, only food that I made at home, and it had to be nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.” Her lifesaver: a cookbook from a raw vegan restaurant. “Everything in there, I could have. It was amazing!” she recalls excitedly. To share her new, healthy diet with as many people as she could, she went back to school to become a certified healing food specialist and began teaching raw vegan food preparation classes at Whole Foods in Fresno. Her classes were an instant hit, and Hendrix began a five-day-a-week food delivery route that started with kefir-based green smoothies and progressed to include lunches and dinners. She secured a weekly spot at the Kaiser Permanente Farmers Market and, after three years, purchased a truck she found on Craigslist and joined Fresno’s booming food truck industry. Hendrix drives Minerva, named after her granny who lived to be 100, to deliver food to Kristina’s Natural Ranch Market and to attend various food truck events around the Valley. The food — consisting solely of vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds — is nutrient-dense, with loads of vitamins and minerals packed into each calorie. “I really feel that we are overfed and undernourished and we’re starving to death,” Hendrix says. “(Americans) just need to have more fruits and vegetables in their diets.”

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Hendrix loves to create combo meals, which could include an entrée like the Sprouted MicroGreen Salad made with cashew-based Heavenly Ranch dressing or Chef Naomi’s famous Stuffed Marinated Mushrooms. On the side is a dollop of hummus, dehydrated Krackers of the day and a dessert bite. “If I have taco ‘meat’ leftover from today, I would add flaxseeds and put all this into the dehydrator and make Krackers out of it,” Hendrix explains. “We have no waste.” Taco Pizza was a recent hit. It was made with taco crust topped with a creamy layer of basil pesto and hummus, stacked with tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, avocado and sprouted microgreens and drizzled with Heavenly Ranch. Hendrix’s favorite breakfast is a Bucky Sandwich, which is walnut butter, iron-rich blackstrap molasses, sweet strawberries and raw vegan brownie crumbles sandwiched between two crackers made of flax, sesame and sunflower seeds and the dish’s namesake — buckwheat.

Naomi Hendrix of Raw Fresno serves a raw vegan menu from a food truck at the Mariposa Mall in Fresno. She also delivers items, like this Veggie Tales Pizza, to Kristina’s Natural Ranch Market in northeast Fresno.

Please see next page

Central Valley Magazine | JULY 2017 33

continued ... The plant-based meals can be washed down with Raw Fresno’s kefir water, a probiotic beverage that is fizzy like a soda but contains no sugar, Hendrix says. “I’ve helped a lot of people get off soda using that instead,” she says. “If you don’t do a probiotic, if you don’t keep your flora balanced in your gut, that’s what causes disease.” Through a Downtown Foundation contest, Hendrix won 12 months of free rent in a downtown space. She chose a spot in The Galleria near Kern and N streets, where she is fundraising to open a permanent Raw Fresno restaurant. She plans to teach cooking classes there every Monday once it opens. “If I didn’t prepare this for Fresno, I would just be making it for me,” Hendrix says. “I have to share this. I have to help other people know that they can feed their children this and they won’t die like my son.”

Rappit Up

The Rappit Up menu, created by owner Janna Melkonian, includes wraps, salads, pizza and rice and pasta bowls. The Quinoa Fusion Salad includes kale, red onions, red and green sweet peppers, sweet organic corn, fresh cilantro, sweet English cucumbers, tri-color quinoa, cherry tomatoes and lemon vinaigrette.

34 JULY 2017 | Central Valley Magazine

Janna Melkonian shares that desire to provide healthy food for the community in a grab-and-go format. She developed Rappit Up, a vegan meal delivery and catering service, after her friends saw what she was eating and wanted her to cook for them as well. As we sit down to chat in Rio Acai Bowls in downtown Fresno, which sells Rappit Up salads and wraps in its refrigerated case, she tells me she was fortunate enough to have been raised vegetarian since birth — even her mother was vegetarian as Janna was growing in her womb. “I had meat one time on accident — and I felt sick. I felt there was something indigestible in my body,” she tells me. (She dug into some cheesy nachos when bowling with friends, but a rogue piece of chicken was hiding under the bubbly cheddar.) About a year ago, Melkonian cut dairy products from her diet as well, taking the plunge and going full vegan. “I was hesitant to tell people I was vegetarian because all the time people would ask me, ‘what do you even eat?’ or ‘where do you get your protein?’ That’s what society has ingrained in people’s minds, is that you don’t get enough protein if you don’t eat meat,” she says.

Did you know?

Famous vegans include actors Joaquin Phoenix and Jared Leto, actresses Alicia Silverstone and Jessica Chastain, stuntman Steve-O, singer/songwriters Alanis Morrisette, Jason Mraz and Gwen Stefani, activists César Chávez and Coretta Scott King, musician Stevie Wonder, UFC Ultimate Fighter Luke Cummo, NBA player Pau Gasol and tennis player Venus Williams, according to www.happycow.net. Just 2.5 percent of adults in the United States are vegan, according to PETA. Visit www.happycow.net for a list of vegan and vegetarian restaurant options near you. There are 81 results in the Fresno area.

“When in reality, complete proteins only exist in vegetables and in grains. If you do your own research you’ll learn that there is so much to eat and there is so much nutrition to get from vegetables and fruits.” Her wraps, pizzas, salads, pastas, sandwiches and rice bowls are works of art — but that’s not very hard to do when nature provides healthy fruits and veggies in a rainbow of colors. “I feel like the best thing to do is get as close to nature as possible — that’s your vegetables, fruits and colorful items, the things that grow from the ground,” she says. As a professional photographer, she posts photos and videos of the raw ingredients and final products and has a large following on Instagram (@littleveggierabbit) and Facebook (facebook.com/rappit.up.5). It’s hard not to salivate when watching a fork move through the Quinoa Fusion Salad, a combination of kale, tri-color quinoa, peppers, red onion, organic sweet yellow corn, cilantro and cherry tomatoes. Melkonian loves to use a lot of fresh herbs in her recipes, which she says are cleansing for the body. Each meal contains a balance of protein (from quinoa or black, pinto or kidney beans, for example) and carbohydrates (from grains, fruits and vegetables). Along with macronutrients, Rappit Up entrées are chock full of micronutrients, or vitamins and minerals. “Even if you have an omnivore diet, you should still be eating a lot of micronutrients that are helpful in cleansing the body and keeping you healthy,” Melkonian says. Rappit Up’s Spiced Lentil Wrap contains a rainbow of nutrition. Melkonian wraps purple cabbage, cilantro, green onions, carrots, avocado and spiced brown lentils in a flour tortilla and serves it with tangy tahini (sesame seed butter) sauce. “Eat your colors, eat your greens, and you’re good,” Melkonian says. With a growing clientele, Melkonian is proving that nutritious food can tantalize the tastebuds. She delivers Monday through Friday to the River Park area and Rio

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a cut

above the rest

Ashley Hankins-Marchetti created Eat Figs Not Pigs, a blog that furthers veganism by providing delicious plant-based recipes. Recently, Ashley served up a comfort food meal of crabless cakes with dill remoulade.

Go vegan for a day




Breakfast Yeah, we can’t start our day without coffee either. Replace your dairy coffee creamer with almond milk or coconut milk creamer. Grab breakfast on-the-go by mixing 1 cup of oats with 1 cup of almond milk or coconut milk in a closed container or mason jar and leaving it in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, top it with any combination of fruit and nuts. No need for sweetener — the fruit provides enough natural sugar and flavor. We love to top ours with banana slices, strawberries, blueberries and chopped walnuts or sliced almonds. Lunch Salads are the easiest thing to throw together, and they never get boring. There are infinite combinations of greens and toppings. Lettuces, kale and spinach serve as a base, then top with any combination of fruits and vegetables. Add half a cup of beans (kidney, black, white, garbanzo) and a plant-based dressing. Of course, you can stop into The Loving Hut, pick up a Rappit Up item at Rio Acai Bowl or find Minerva, Raw Fresno’s food truck, to pick up something on the go. Dinner Check out Eat Pigs Not Figs blog for delicious recipes. Craving Taco Bell? The women came up with a recipe for a Vegan Crunchwrap Supreme. Want some comfort food? Look up the recipe for Vegan Jalapeño Mac and Cheese or try the Crabless Cakes with Dill Remoulade (above) at www.eatfigsnotpigs.com/crabless-cakes-withdill-remoulade-vegan.


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Central Valley Magazine | JULY 2017 35

Acai Bowls in downtown Fresno, and she caters events on the weekends.

Eat Figs Not Pigs

Janna Melkonian is a lifelong vegetarian with a talent for cooking. Her new food-based business is called Rappit Up.

Vegan couple Ashley Hankins-Marchetti and Ashlee Marchetti have found a way to spread veganism beyond Fresno. Their blog, EatFigsNotPigs.com, features recipes for what they call “vegan comfort food” and averages about 1,000 hits a day. Their Instagram, @eat_figs_not_pigs, has more than 2,000 followers. It was the environmental factor that made the women quit meat cold turkey in September 2015. “My wife and I watched ‘Cowspiracy,’ ” Hankins-Marchetti says, referring to a documentary about the impact of factory farming on our earth, “and the next day we became vegan. … I had no idea what went on or how animal agriculture really affects the environment. So that was a big eye-opener for us.” They immediately cleared all of the animal products — eggs, cheese, milk and some prized veal shanks they special ordered from a butcher — from their kitchen and gave them away to neighbors. It may seem drastic, but after just a bit of research it was clear that a vegan diet was healthier for the envi-

ronment, animals and the couple’s personal health and well-being. “I was like, ‘how can I not be vegan?’ ” HankinsMarchetti says. But, as heavy meat eaters, it was quite a transition. The couple didn’t want to give up fried foods — “I used to live in the South,” Hankins Marchetti says. “And my wife went to culinary school. She was really big into meat and really big into dairy.” The women quickly realized their dining options weren’t limited. All they had to do was “veganize” the foods they were used to. She drew people in with her recipe for a Vegan Crunchwrap Supreme, a meatless, plant-based twist on the Taco Bell menu item. Then she moved on to tater tot nachos with beer cheese sauce, rigatoni pie with spicy pomodoro sauce, street-style tacos with habañero pesto and even menudo. Yes, it’s all vegan. Plant-based food sites like Food Gawker, Finding Vegan, One Green Planet, Food Monster and Follow Your Heart share her recipes and drive more traffic to the blog, which means vegans from all over the world are cooking Fresno-based recipes in their own homes. The similarity to food omnivores are used to might encourage them to try the meatless version of their favorite dish, which is what Hankins-Marchetti hopes for. “There are some vegans who are really extreme, who say it has to be all or nothing, but for me, if you can cut meat out of your diet for one day a week, that’s making a positive impact,” she says. “I believe everyone can go vegan, but not everyone can do it overnight.”

The Loving Hut Some people go vegan for their health, some do it out of compassion for animals, others concentrate on the environmental benefits.

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For Trung Tran, being vegan is spiritual and brings him closer to God, he says. Tran opened The Loving Hut, the first international vegan chain restaurant, in Fresno in 2006. Through his food and interactions with customers, he spreads the positive energy that he says comes from the vegan mentality. “When you eat vegan, you radiate love,” he says. “It’s a beautiful way of life.” Tran was born in Vietnam and immigrated to the United States in 1981. He and his family have been vegan for 25 years. “We do it because we respect all life,” he says. “Animals have families and they want to live just like we do.” Visitors to the Tower District restaurant can shop from a selection of vegan pantry staples like noodles, seasonings and sauces, along with vegan meat alternatives, while their food is prepared. Vegans are used to going to restaurants and only being able to order the salad — sans cheese and dairybased dressing — or perhaps cobble together some semblance of a meal from the selection of side dishes. So it’s refreshing to enter a restaurant where every item on the menu is free from all animal products. The Loving Hut offers a sampling of international cuisines, from Indian to Vietnamese to Chinese; dishes incorporate vegan protein made from non-GMO soy and wheat and go by spiritual names like Blissful, The Guru and Divine Pho. Tran is eager to share his restaurant’s recipes. “Whatever is on the menu, if the customer wants to learn how to cook it, I’ll take them right over there and show them how,” he says, pointing to the grill. “I just want to share the compassionate lifestyle with everyone, plus it’s healthy.” He loves to talk to customers curious about veganism. “More people are turning vegan because their soul is awakened,” he says. Through delicious, meatless food, Tran’s mission is to save the world, one customer at a time. “If everyone were vegan,” he says, “we’d have heaven here.” CV

Trung Tran serves vegan fare at The Loving Hut in Fresno’s Tower District. This stir-fry from The Loving Hut is made with vegan soy protein.

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Central Valley Magazine | JULY 2017 37




track 100-pound club offers support for Weight Watchers members who have 100 or more pounds to lose BY: Cyndee Fontana-Ott | PHOTOGRAPHY: Thinkstock


ith the help of Weight Watchers, Jenifer Gigliotti lost more than 200 pounds over the course of roughly three years. But that doesn’t mean she’s reached the finish line. Gigliotti is one of about 20 members who regularly attend a local Weight Watchers meeting for those who have, or had, at least 100 pounds to lose. She says the club and its members help keep her focused and on track. “I may have reached my goal, but that doesn’t mean I can be complacent,” says Gigliotti, who usually is 9 or 10 pounds below her goal weight. She’s someone who understands the journey — and

38 JULY 2017 | Central Valley Magazine

that makes her an inspiration to those on the same path, says meeting leader Annie Hickman. The 100 club meets once a month in Fresno; members range in age from their 20s to their 60s. After a trial run a few years ago, the club re-formed last year as a way to help those facing that 100-pound challenge, Hickman says. It’s a supplement to the general Weight Watchers meetings — a support group for members who have a common goal. “This is a longer journey for some people,” she says. It also may not be the first weight-loss attempt for everyone — some members have lost weight only to regain it over time. During the meetings, group members offer support,

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tips for staying on track, a shoulder to cry on and insight into topics ranging from loose skin to everyday challenges. Hickman says the members are real with each other — they hold themselves accountable and are wise to pitfalls and excuses. “Nobody got here eating too many peaches or eating too many carrots,” says Hickman, who has been a leader with Weight Watchers for more than two decades. Group members talk about how they’re doing for the month, the program and struggles they are facing, for example. Some may have highly personal reasons for losing weight, such as an overweight family member who died. Others are trying to break the chronic cycle of using food as a coping mechanism. Hickman has handed out tissues both for laughter and tears because members share all sorts of stories and observations. In the end, she says, everyone is trying to make a lifestyle change for the better. “It’s about choices and

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how they help or hinder you,” Hickman says. Member Kimberly Stone says she first attended the club meeting last fall because she wanted to talk to people who had the same kind of goal. While some Weight Watchers members have only 10 or 15 pounds to lose, Stone wanted to peel off more weight and hoped to bond with others who have the same challenge. The extra support has helped, says Stone, who has lost about 70 pounds and is working to lose another 50 pounds. She says it’s been useful to see what others do to stay on the path to their weight-loss goals. “We’re not in it alone — none of us are going it alone,” she says. At a recent meeting, the conversation focused on how to get back on track with eating after a setback. Stone says one of her biggest challenges is meal planning and prep. She says when she’s neglected that

It’s about choices and how they help or hinder you. — Annie Hickman, Weight Watchers leader

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Central Valley Magazine | JULY 2017 39

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continued ... chore, it’s much easier for her to slip up and hit the fast food drive-thru. “If I have my meals with me then I eat them,” she says. That planning and preparation is critical — “that’s been the biggest thing for me.” Everyone in the club is facing a similar challenge with weight loss. Stone says she’s learned “they all kind of have their struggles and fall down, but they just get back up.” Both Stone and Hickman say it’s inspiring to see and talk to someone like Gigliotti, who has lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off for many years. “You can lose the weight, but the even harder thing is keeping it off,” Stone says. Gigliotti, who has been in Weight Watchers for more than a decade, says maintaining her goal weight is an ongoing challenge — and a big reason she attends the club meetings. “We’re all in the same boat,” she says. “I may be an inspiration, but they are more of an inspiration to me to help keep me focused.” Weight Watchers meetings in general have been an important aspect of Gigliotti’s social life. Many members are friends who go to the movies or to lunch, for example. She also says Weight Watchers was an important

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support system for her when her mother died last year. In addition, losing 100 pounds or more is a different mental battle that Gigliotti understands from personal experience. While members may see her as a role model, “I tell them,” she says, “I have the same struggles that you have.” CV

Central Valley Magazine | JULY 2017 41



Celebrate the flavors of the Valley

Taste the flavors of the Central Valley at the Fresno Food Expo. Fresh fruit is on display at the Wawona booth during last year’s Fresno Food Expo.

42 JULY 2017 | Central Valley Magazine

Fresno Food Expo returns July 26-27 BY: Janessa Tyler | PHOTOGRAPHY: Meza Films Productions, Gary Kazanjian


he Fresno Food Expo is returning for two days to celebrate the flavors of the Central Valley at the Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center. Starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 26, pre-registered buyers and sponsors are invited to listen to Phil Lempert as he addresses consumer trends and the new retail environment. Known as the “Supermarket Guru,” Lempert has been featured on “20/20,” “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” The following day, pre-registered buyers are welcomed to join the Business-to-Business Trade Show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The final portion of the Fresno Food Expo is “Expolicious — A Celebration of Central California’s Vibrant Food Scene.” Held from 5 to 8 p.m. July 27, the public is invited to connect with more than 150 of Central California’s finest food

growers, manufacturers, chefs and restaurateurs who will be sampling delicious bites for Expolicious attendees to enjoy.

BITE Exhibitors include seasoned gems like Valley Lahvosh Baking Company, Wawona Frozen Foods and Sun-Maid Growers of California and local treasures such as Rosa Brothers Milk Company, ENZO Olive Oil Company and Valley Fig Growers.

DRINK Grab a glass of beer or wine from local breweries and wineries like House of Pendragon Brewing Company, TiogaSequoia Brewing Company, Full Circle Brewing Company, Riley’s Brewing, San Joaquin Wine Company and Cardella Winery. Please see next page

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July 27, 2017 5pm-8pm

Fresno Convention & Entertainment Center

A Celebration of Central California’s Vibrant Food Scene Featuring 150 of our region’s finest food growers & manufacturers, an eclectic mix of chefs and restaurateurs from Bakersfield to Stockton, topped off with local wines, craft beers and spirits.

It’s not just delicious, it’s Expolicious!

With Returning Special Guest: The Food Network’s: Simon Majumdar whose judging appearance on “Beat Bobby Flay,” “Cutthroat Kitchen,”and “The Next Iron Chef,” have given him the title of the Food Network’s “toughest critic.” Expolicious chefs will have the opportunity to be in the spotlight alongside Simon who will be tasting, tweeting, promoting and sharing his experience with his network of food industry followers from around the world.

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

For Discounts & Information FresnoFoodExpo.com E X P OL I C I OU S I S S PO N SO R ED BY

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Serving Breakfast & Lunch • Monday-Friday, 7am-2pm

Spencer Michaelson serves Frank Bonsignore at the Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. booth during last year’s Fresno Food Expo.

Summer Menu Choices: Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, Chicken Fried Steak and Summer Gazpacho

continued ...

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44 JULY 2017 | Central Valley Magazine

Presented by Baker Peterson Franklin, CPA, LLP, the Fresno Food Expo isn’t complete without the New Product Awards — the Buyer’s Choice Award and the People’s Choice Award — and the Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award. The first-, second- and third-place winners of the Buyer’s Choice Award are selected by a panel of influential judges, including Lempert; Erna Kubin-Clanin, proprietress of The Estate by the Elderberries; Jim Jarosz, division manager at Landsberg Orora Engineered Packaging Solutions; and Sean Topping, DSD receiving manager, local marketing and merchandising lead at Albertsons-Safeway Northern California Division. Products are judged in three areas: marketability, presentation and packing, and innovation and creation. The preliminary judging round will take place July 12 at the New Product Award preview event. Finalists will move on to the celebrity judging round, which will take place July 26. Last year, the first-place winner was Aubrey’s Jerky of SnackMasters Gourmet Jerky. The first-place winner of the People’s Choice Award is selected by the community through online voting, which runs Thursday, July 13 to Tuesday, July 25 by visiting www.fresnofoodexpo.com or www.facebook.com/fresnofoodexpo. Launched by Fred Ruiz, co-founder and chairman emeritus of Ruiz Foods, the Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award recognizes individuals and/or businesses with a strong presence of leadership and innovation in the Central Valley.

SHARE Central Valley will also be collecting recipes for Flavors, our annual recipe collection, which will publish in December. If you would like to share recipes of your favorite treats, stop by the Central Valley booth at Expolicious, or send the recipe and a photo to recipes@fresnobee.com. Your name and city of residence is required. Details: www.fresnofoodexpo.com CV

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Is your cookie the best in the batch?

Central Valley sponsors contest at The Big Fresno Fair


osition yourself someplace directly under an air-conditioning vent. Now close your eyes and think about snowmen, Christmas trees and, best of all, holiday cookies. Think about the crunch, the spice and the wonder of it all. Holiday cookies flavor the best part of the year and we would like to celebrate that. Central Valley magazine is hosting a holiday cookie contest at The Big Fresno Fair and we need your participation. Start your recipe search now, or dig into Grandma’s recipe box for the cookie that makes your holiday complete. To participate, you need to submit an entry form to The Big Fresno Fair by Sept. 9 (or Sept. 11, if you’re doing it online.) You must be a resident of Fresno County and must provide a typed copy of the recipe, ingredients and preparation method. A photograph of your cookie, your

name and the recipe may be used in Central Valley, The Fresno Bee or any of its associated publications. Entry forms can be found at www.fresnofair.com/competitive-exhibits. Once you’ve entered, show up with your cookies at 11 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 7 at The Big Fresno Fair’s Home Arts Building. The contest will be judged in front of an audience of fair-goers at noon. The best cookie baker will take home a KitchenAid Mixer. Second place will receive a $100 gift card to Sur la Table. Third will receive a $50 gift card to Sur la Table. Each winner will also receive a copy of their awardwinning recipe printed in Central Valley’s December 2017 edition. Questions? Email Central Valley editor Carey Norton at cnorton@fresnobee.com.

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Visit Valley Lahvosh Baking Co. at Fresno Food Expo July 26 & 27.

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Central Valley Magazine | JULY 2017 45



Talking hungry with Chef Jeff Mauro BY: Dani Villalobos | PHOTOGRAPHY: Mark Wojdylak


or celebrity chef Jeff Mauro, sandwiches are king. The former competitor and winner of season seven of the cooking competition show, “Food Network Star,” built his culinary foundation on good ol’ bread, cheese and meat in the restaurant business before he received his big TV break — but he sure hasn’t left his love for sammies behind. In 2011, Mauro landed a gig hosting the series “Sandwich King,” highlighting — you guessed it — his passion for the versatile meal before venturing on to other projects for the network, including daytime show, “The Kitchen,” and spin-off, “The Kitchen Sink.” He’s also partner and executive chef of Pork & Mindy’s restaurants, as well as its retail line of sauces and meats. We caught up with the sandwich guy for a quick Q&A to learn what makes him tick in the kitchen. (Hint: It involves pastrami.)

Q: What’s your personal approach to cooking? Philosophy?

A: Shop hungry — this way you are more excited by what’s in front of you. You tend to buy more, but this leads to you cooking more at home. I would rather have more food to cook, then getting home, the refrigerator is bare and then ordering out. A few philosophies are: Make sure your knives are sharp, that your cutting board doesn’t slip and that you preheat everything.

Q: How does that impact or influence your work on “The Kitchen,” “The Kitchen Sink” and “Sandwich King?” A: I love shooting my shows hungry, because if I am salivating, my words will be even more impactful and viewers will be able to pick that up through the screen.

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Q: Sandwiches are a staple meal in a lot of people’s lives. Why do you think that is?

A: Sandwich combinations are endless, so you can never say you are bored with eating a sandwich. The ability to mix and match flavors and ingredients is really fun and when you find that perfect combination, it is magical.

Q: What is your favorite go-to sandwich and why?

A: Pastrami on rye with a schmear of mustard. It has to be hand-cut pastrami, with a fair amount of perfectly rendered fat. A simple but unbelievably delicious sandwich.

Q: The advancement of machinery and technology are continuing to help make our lives easier in the kitchen. What are your favorite tools on the market right now?

A: Whether it is at home or my restaurants, I must have a heavy-bottomed square

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griddle pan. From breakfast to dinner, the options as to what you can cook in the griddle are endless. Throughout the years, I have had various forms of the George Foreman Grill, but I am really into the brand’s latest product, the Grill+Broil. It makes broiling more accessible putting it into a counter top appliance while also allowing you to grill. I used to buy pre-cut vegetables (I can chop fast but still, it can be time consuming when trying to put together a meal after a long day) but I have stopped doing that now that I have the BLACK+DECKER MultiPrep Slice ‘N Dice. This appliance lets you dice, slice and cut directly into a bowl or pan — hello, less dishes!

Q: What are some of the biggest trends you see in food this year? A: Gochujang, house-made pastrami and a trend back to people using white bread.

Q: How about popular ingredients chefs are incorporating into their meals?

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Did someone say pastrami? All this talk about sandwiches is making it difficult to not long for the smoked, meaty sandwich ourselves. Lucky for us, there are some local joints that dole out pretty outstanding versions of pastrami-filled creations that Mauro himself would most likely approve of. Here’s a sampling of our (and Yelp’s) favorites:


If lean pastrami meat is your thing, well then, this is your sandwich. The locally owned and operated business follows a standard add-in lineup for the majority of its hot and cold subs, including mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, tomato, oil and vinegar and wax peppers. Its pastrami and Swiss cheese sandwich comes stocked with these fixings — complementing the pastrami nicely, but not overpowering it.


The longtime gem, Sam’s Italian Deli & Market, also boasts a topnotch pastrami sandwich with its extra-lean bottom round and Swiss combo. All deli-style subs pack on lettuce, tomato, wax peppers, mayonnaise, mustard and dill pickles, as well as optional add-ins and requests at an additional fee. But really, who cares about all that with the eatery’s quality meat?


If you hit this spot during the lunch hour — good luck. The notorious, wrap-around line is commonplace for frequent patrons of the sandwich hotspot, but even crowds won’t drive the most impatient of patrons away. Served on a French roll, sliced wheat, sourdough or marble rye, the hot pastrami sandwich is paired with mayonnaise, mustard, cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, peppers, onions and Sunnyside Deli’s famous Italian dressing. continued ... A: I have been enjoying Sambal Oelek, a spicy Southeast Asian Chile sauce — people compare it to Sriracha.

Q: How can everyday people best integrate them into their home-cooked creations?

A: Using Sambal Oelek is great way to add spice and flavor to dishes without adding any extra calories. A little goes a long way, though, so be mindful when incorporating into dishes or as a topping. Its uses are really endless — it can be added to soups, chili, stir-fries, noodle dishes and tomato sauce. You can also incorporate it into marinades.

Q: Because of our location, Fresno is a farm-to-table kind of place. What is your choice meal to prepare using seasonal fruits and vegetables?

A: You can’t go wrong with a fresh pasta salad with an emphasis on the vegetables instead of the pasta — add in ingredients like peas and radishes.

Q: What is your favorite meal to get when you visit California?

A: I love the pastrami sandwich from Langer’s Delicatessen – Restaurant in LA — it is possibly my favorite sandwich on the planet.

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Nick Marziliano serves a New Yorker Hot Pastrami and Provolone Cheese sandwich with a dill pickle spear on the side at Sam’s Italian Deli & Market. Left, top: Georgia Garner prepares the signature hot pastrami at Geno’s Sandwiches & Salads. Left, bottom: Quinn Livingston prepares Sunnyside Delicatessen’s version of the classic.

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California is ripe for culinary exploration

BY: Cyndee Fontana-Ott | PHOTOGRAPHY: Tara Jones Haaf, Tammy Gass, So Diego Tours


ou have plenty of reasons to love California — the coast, the crops, the climate (mostly) and, of course, the cuisine. Our Golden State offers a culinary diversity that might allow you to feast from border to border without repeating a meal. Just about any city or town brings something different to the taste buds — seafood near the ocean, wine on the coast and beyond and the eclectic mix of ethnic, traditional, fusion and experimental dishes in big cities. But when traveling, you may not have time to scour Yelp reviews to find restaurants that tickle your palate. We’ve got a suggestion: Take a food tour. Most big cities, and many smaller ones, offer walkable tours with in-the-know guides. Figure to invest an averPlease see next page

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Take an Eat This, Shoot That food tour, which merges food and photography. Enjoy original San Diego cuisine along with colorful stories about the city’s past with So Diego Tours.

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Russian Hill Pizza is a stop along Gourmet Walks in San Francisco.

continued ... age of three to four hours and spend between $50 to $100 for multiple samples and expert guidance that ranges from the food to historical perspective to photographing that perfect bite. Think of a tour as a preview of the local scene. And most — except for those solely focused on alcohol — are fine for older children with a sense of adventure. For starters, consider booking an “Eat This, Shoot That” (www.eatthisshootthat.com) tour when you’re visiting Santa Barbara. Self-described founder and “big cheese” Tara Jones Haaf launched the enterprise about five years after losing her job in the recession. The venture merges her interest in food and training as a photographer.

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“There was a hole in the market here,” she says. Plus, the business “involves all the things that I’m good at.” That means talking food and wine along with coaching guests on how to create the best smartphone photos. You might visit the city’s first legal distillery since Prohibition, a hole-in-the-wall taqueria known for its street tacos and salsa bar, an iconic seafood restaurant or a tasting room featuring small-batch wines. “Every one has a unique story,” Haaf says. Tours focus on the “Funk Zone” — an up-and-coming hip district brimming with art, food and shops — and a more wine-centric journey through historic downtown environs that features tastings from the Santa Ynez Valley. In addition, “you get the full story of how Santa Barbara developed,” Haaf says.

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Savor Healdsburg Food Tours takes you on a stroll through the eclectic food scene of Healdsburg. Eat This, Shoot That tours focus on the “Funk Zone” — an up-and-coming hip district brimming with art, food and shops.

In San Francisco, Gourmet Walks (www.gourmet walks.com) is one of many tour companies focused on the food and neighborhoods of the city. Ahmet Aydogan, tour experience manager, says the company offers about a half-dozen walking tours. Perhaps the most popular is the Hayes Valley tour, which dives into one of San Francisco’s newer foodie neighborhoods featuring Victorian style along with street art, food trucks and diverse boutique-style restaurants. You might sample banh mi sandwiches, gingerbread cupcakes, craft beers or seasonal ice creams, for example. There are seven stops along the tour, Aydogan says, and guests should count on feeling full by the end. Other foodie options include Russian Hill, Fillmore Street and two versions of a chocolate tour (the premi-

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um version is for those 21 and older). There’s a balance between restaurants, food trends and history, he says, and you’ll probably leave with a list of favorites to try on your next visit to San Francisco. “It’s a seamless experience,” he says. “We pre-order and the food magically appears.” Gourmet Walks also offers a tour in downtown Napa that features breakfast tacos, artisan cheeses and tastings of olive oil and wine-infused chocolates. Through Savor Healdsburg Food Tours, you can explore the food and wine of this small city north of Santa Rosa in Northern California wine country. The company is operated by owner and head foodie

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Savor Healdsburg Food Tours takes you on a stroll through the eclectic food scene of Healdsburg.

continued ... Tammy Gass. “Tours are a great way to see the inner workings of a town or city in a short amount of time,” she says. In Healdsburg, that means getting a snapshot of the culinary variety available in this eminently walkable burg of about 11,700 people. The company (www.savorhealdsburgfoodtours.com) explores the town’s eclectic food scene in about six stops. There’s ethnic diversity — ranging from Japanese to Portuguese — generally represented along the way. “We have a lot of choices but everything is very focused on fresh, local products,” she says. One stop that’s nearly always a regular is the Shed, billed as a modern-day Grange that is part market, café and community gathering space. Gass says visitors can watch locals bring in produce or handcrafted wares; the Shed also is the spot to sample a “shrub,” a seasonal drink available at its fermentation bar. Other typical destinations include a tapas restaurant, tea house and wine-tasting stops. Count on visiting with the chef, sous chef, manager or other staff members who are knowledgeable about that location. Occasionally, Savor Healdsburg offers a five-hour farm, food and wine tour that takes guests further afield to peruse everything from organic gardens to olive oil. California’s state capital has a food-centric side showcased by the folks at Local Roots Food Tours. For several years, the company (www.localrootsfoodtours.com) has provided three tours in the downtown area and now is planning additions to that menu, including a jaunt around the small town of Murphys in the Sierra. Run by owners Dawnie Andrak and Tim Bailey (partners in life and business), Local Roots Food Tours

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So Diego Tours offers the “Tequila, Tacos and Tombstones” tour, which focuses on Mexican cuisine, from handmade tortillas and carnitas tacos to sips of signature cocktails.

focuses on specific districts (Downtown Historical, Sutter and Midtown Arts) that are rich in food, history and more. For example, the downtown tour encompasses the area that once was the jumping off point for people arriving via ship during the Gold Rush. The Midtown Arts features a strong focus on food and the signature murals that define the area. Each walking tour features five or six stops where you might sample upscale Mexican dishes, soak up the ambience (and sweets) of a retro dessert diner, try out a modern version of a German “bierhall” or indulge your inner child at a candy apothecary. Andrak, who recently graduated with a master’s degree in food studies, says the tours involve a little walking, talking, eating and drinking. You’ll also learn something about the city and its fresh and seasonal “farm-to-fork” cuisine. “It’s a nice way to sample a few restaurants,” Andrak says. “You definitely get plenty of food on our tours.” Finally, some of the most intriguingly named food tours are the creation of So Diego Tours (www.sodiegotours.com). Admit it — you’re fascinated by the promise of “Tequila, Tacos and Tombstones” or “Brothels, Bites and Booze.” Owner Bianca Jaime says guests will enjoy original San Diego cuisine along with colorful stories about the

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Try some sliders from the Gaslamp District during the “Brothels, Bites and Booze” tour with So Diego Tours.

city’s past. The “Tequila” tour covers the Old Town area and traces the arc from Spanish settlements to the Gold Rush. You’ll visit one of the oldest graveyards in San Diego and learn about the Whaley House (once dubbed the country’s most haunted house), which was foolishly built on the site of an old gallows. The food focus is on Mexican cuisine, from handmade tortillas and carnitas tacos to sips of signature cocktails (if you’re old enough, of course).

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The “Brothels” tour covers the Gaslamp District and its scandalous past. Jaime says that started in the post-Gold Rush era as thousands of sailors and pioneers flocked to the city — and gambling parlors, brothels and more cropped up to serve them. “We present a picture of what the lifestyle was like,” Jaime says. The food on this tour explores the diversity of an area that ranges from Irish to Greek fusion. “We have a story for each one of our restaurants,” she says. “They’re all very unique.” CV

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Clovis celebrated Big Hat Days on April 1 and 2. The two-day festival featured food and craft vendors, carnival rides, live entertainment and a beer garden.


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Evening of Possibility Valley Children’s Adaptive Sports held its annual fundraising gala, Evening of Possibility, on April 21. The program provides free recreational and athletic experiences for children with physical disabilities.

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Fresno Wildlife Rehabilitation Service Annual Fundraising Banquet


Fresno Wildlife Rehabilitation Service held its annual fundraising banquet on April 22. The nonprofit is dedicated to caring for orphaned and


injured wildlife native to the Central Valley.





1 Angie De La Cruz and Chloe McMullen 2 Seth Distefano and Ranger 3 Gina and Marty Martinez 4 Kathryn Fleener and Steven San Sebastián 5 Penny 6 Elena Rios and Elissa Ramirez 7 Mona Momary, Yoko Savage, Nathan Johns and Monica Wilson 8 Allen and Krystle Woodward PHOTOGRAPHY: Jessica Rogozinski

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58 JULY 2017 | Central Valley Magazine

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Fresno County Farm Bureau Centennial Gala The Fresno County Farm Bureau celebrated 100 years of promoting and protecting local agriculture at its centennial gala on May 5. The celebration included a social held at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District, followed by a dinner catered by The Painted Table. The Fresno County Farm Bureau is part of a grassroots, nationwide network of farm bureaus organized on county, state and national levels.


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1 Karen Musson and Amy Osterberg 2 Dr. Joseph Castro, Bill Walton and Mary Castro 3 Les Wright and Marilyn Kinoshita 4 Melissa Chaty 5 Phillip Berryhill, Viri Berryhill Carla Vieira and Ryan Vieira 6 Jeff Tuel, Nicole Leisle and Max Soler 7 John Efird and Stacy Efird 8 Brian Pacheco, Arlene Pacheco and Jerry Pacheco PHOTOGRAPHY: Matt Drake

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