Pete Tittl

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    PETE TITTL: How we love to hit the sauce at Benji's

    By Pete Tittl
    Friday, Apr 10 2015 12:00 PM

    There are some things in life that don't change a lot, and thank God for that. Case in point: Benji's French-Basque Restaurant, among the old guard of Bakersfield's finest restaurants.

    The last official column I wrote on the Basque institution on Rosedale Highway was four years ago, but that doesn't mean I haven't been eating there. It's the sort of place a restaurant critic loves to visit on free nights. Founded by the Arduain brothers -- Benji and Rene, who died in 2012 -- the French-Basque restaurant is still a great operation in so many ways.

    My favorites include any steak (all under $30 -- a good value nowadays) with a pepper cognac sauce that's never been equaled in all my travels; the roast leg of lamb with the brown mushroom...

  2. PETE TITTL: Small new location making a big impact

    What can you say about a small new restaurant that is so impressive your companion compares it to many of the humble medium-priced places you find in Santa Barbara? That's the first impression we had of Nuestro Mexico, a restaurant that...

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    PETE TITTL: Deli Delicious seeking niche in tough market

    It's not often that we have a restaurant born in Fresno move south to our fair city, but Deli Delicious has done just that, opening a Rosedale store in the always-competitive sandwich restaurant market. What helps Deli Delicious stand...

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    PETE TITTL: Oh! Noodles hard to find, but worth the search

    The tough part of my job is seeing big dreams die hard, often for reasons that are arbitrary and not in the least fair. I thought of this as we visited Oh! Noodles Asian Noodles & Grill on Panama Lane. It's located in a space that was...

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    PETE TITTL: Possibilities endless at Mesa Mexican

    I have a feeling that 20 years from now, when someone is writing the history of restaurants in America, Chipotle could be as influential today as McDonald's was in the 1960s. If you're old enough, you remember eating in the days before...

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    DINING OUT: Call this pizza super-fast casual

    Pizza Rev has opened its first two locations in town, and while the conventional pizza parlors probably won't lose much business in the process -- this is just a different product, folks -- it does give us another decent fast-casual dining...

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    PETE TITTL: The other honest-to-goodness breakfast hub downtown

    There are times when the hour wait for breakfast/lunch at 24th Street Cafe can be a bit impossible, particularly on a Sunday morning. They've got the patio, the staff is efficient, but some weekend days just have a honey-do list that makes...

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    PETE TITTL: Lines at Lino's? Not yet, but just wait

    The American dream is alive and well in Pumpkin Center. A father and son who toiled in the kitchen at Cafe Med for nearly two decades have opened their own place in a humble storefront on Taft Highway in Pumpkin Center, across from a cat...

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    PETE TITTL: Change is a good thing, at least so far, at Prime Cut

    A transformation is underway at Prime Cut, which got new owners last fall when Merv and Michelle Crist sold the northwest Bakersfield meat-and-eats emporium. If you visit on the weekends, you can get smoked prime rib off the specials...

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    PETE TITTL: Get to Pyrenees before Fieri lets the secret out

    Change is not an easy thing in the restaurant business, but we like what we've seen so far from the new owners of Pyrenees Cafe. The interior alone is impressive, considering such old institutions can sometimes seem worn and past their...

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    The Dish: Texas 28 waffle not awful, but ...

    We had a chance to visit Texas 28, which closed for a time late last year to renovate the kitchen and revamp the menu. We were pleased to see some of our favorites were retained in the overhaul, such as the chicken-fried steak strips...

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    PETE TITTL: Wool Growers still at the top of its game

    The impromptu idea was to go to Wool Growers without reservations on a weekday evening. It was the night before New Year's Eve. Surely no one would be out. Things would be calm. We'd stroll right in, get seated and commence the feast....

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    THE DISH: This is crude: Olive oil price rising

    Brace yourself for continued price increases for olive oil. Curtis Cord, publisher of Olive Oil Times, said worldwide production has tanked due to a variety of factors, including bad weather and pests such as the olive fruit fly and...

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