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Late Nite Adobo

Typing out thoughts on a website… when the cravings hit you in the late nite…

by Tondagossa


So as I’m packing for my upcoming move (back) to the DC/MD/VA Metropolitan area, I find one of the first Christmas cards I’ve ever received after I arrived here in California… dated December 2004! Wow, the time really flies. And of course, a lot has changed since then, which goes without saying.

But as I prepare to leave, I think about the people here that I’m leaving behind – how I’ll miss them. So I thought I’d leave behind a little list of sorts, not meant to be comprehensive by any means.  It’s sort of a piece of me that has been made up of my “foodie adventures” here in Bakersfield.

Not very many people know this, but Bakersfield has more hidden gems than you would think.  Basque and Tex-Mex food may come to mind when you’re a hungry visitor new to the city.  It’s true you can find some great Basque and Mexican food here, but there’s definitely much more to be found.  Too Fat is a no-brainer for incredible deli-style subs or sandwiches and Rusty’s has some of the best local pizza I’ve ever had.  So I’ll just gloss over those two things and get into the nitty-gritty.

Italian Food

Frugatti’s is a great Italian restaurant that’s on Coffee Road.  It’s a nice family-owned restaurant with patio seating for sunny days, of which there are a lot.  The food is old-fashioned home-style cooking – can’t go wrong.  The first time I went to this place, I had the fettuccini alfredo… and it floored me.  One of the best I’ve had.

I know people around here say Luigi’s is good too.  I’ve had the Pasta Bolognese and thought it was good – just not great.  They sell their sauce in the deli section of the groceries around here, so people must really like it.  Too bad I haven’t had a chance to try Luigi’s again since I heard about the place just recently.

Japanese Food

Izumo is a tiny, inconspicuous restaurant, hidden on the corner of Ming and Stine.  If you’re not looking for it, you’ll probably never find it.  Haha… it’s way in the corner there, past the FoodMaxx, kind of like it’s attempting to keep its delicious secrets hidden – the fresh cuts of maki, nigiri or sashimi, the udon soups, even the Teppan grill (if that’s your thing).  They even have offerings such as yakisoba or slices of unagi (fresh water eel) served on rice, which you can’t always find in every Japanese restaurant.  Best sushi and value in town, in my opinion.  Also, the service is very friendly.


Okay, so I made a separate section for pho.  I didn’t feel right making a whole section for Vietnamese food if I wasn’t going to go all the way, you know?  But if you want some good pho, try some from Maui Pho Fusion BBQ & Grill, located on Ming & Stine.  Yes, yes… they have a funky name and seem like they might not have enough focus to make a decent pho – but trust me.  If you’re craving pho (or have a hangover), go there.  Ask for a beef pho.  Enjoy.

Soul Food

The one and only place you need to know about around Bakersfield when it comes to soul food is J’s Place, which you can find on Ming and New Stine where Today Cleaners is.  The showstopper on their menu is the chicken.  I remember when I was waiting for my food the first time I went there, people who didn’t know each other were having discussions about how much they liked the chicken!  J’s definitely has a following, but it’s word-of-mouth – and that’s saying something.  Also, just about everything else on their menu is as good as the chicken, including the sides.  On a cold Thusday night, their chicken n’ dumplings are a treat.  Another guilty pleasure of mine are the oxtails – so delicious.  Oh… and the catfish… and the cornbread… and the chili… I’m really going to miss this place.  ‘Nuff said.

Burgers and Fries

Yeah… I went there.  I’m not ashamed.  If we’re doing food, we have to do all food.  So here it is – no pun intended, but it’s a whopper – 34th Street Carwash.  Yes.  I said it.  And I said it with respect.  Hands-down, these are the best burgers and fries I’ve had to date.  I don’t know what’s going on in that little restaurant that they placed there so people can eat while they get their cars cleaned.  But whatever it is has made it one of Bakersfield’s best kept secrets, and I’m letting everyone know about it.  If you’re in town, eat there.  Try an Ortega Burger with fries… or a regular burger with fries… or hell, just the fries… just go there!


This more or less applies to California and the surrounding areas.  Pyramid, Anchor, Pacifico – these are some names to look for.  Some beer are just harder to find outside of California, and I’d say as a rule of thumb: always try out the local (or harder to find) beer wherever you are.  And when in California, it always makes sense to try the wine.

If you’re from the area, feel free to chime in with your favorite places!  And… farewell.  🙂


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