Local Lifestyle

Thursday, Mar 13 2014 03:22 PM

HERB BENHAM: Got a problem? Moo-ve on

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Herb Benham

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    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Moo Creamery in Bakersfield.

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By HERB BENHAM, Californian columnist hbenham@bakersfield.com

Don't even think about boycotting Moo.

This is Big Herb, and BH wants you to double down on the restaurant owned by the husband and wife team of Richard Yoshimura and Jessica Pounds.

People will do what they want, and BH likes independence in his friends and admirers. I guess there's a potential upside: If you decline to go to Moo Creamery for your first time or return as a regular customer, that means more food for me -- food that includes their amazing ginger molasses cookies, the best nachos I've ever had and Moo's sweet Sloppy Joes that will make you forget all about your dear mother's.

Richard and Jessica found themselves in a hullabaloo after Jessica allegedly signed an anti-fracking petition circulated among California food and beverage professionals "that seeks a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial but highly effective oilfield technique used frequently in Kern County," according to a report Wednesday in this newspaper.

Jessica told me she can't remember signing it and, if she did, she says she had little idea what fracking was.

"We work 20 hours a day," she said. "Obviously I'd be a poor politician but we don't have time to do anything politically anyway."

A few members of the oil industry are upset, and stern warnings have been issued on Facebook.

In Berkeley, if you're against fracking, own a business and advertise your anti-fracking stance, it's like having the good housekeeping stamp of approval; people will throw flowers on your doorstep and chant your name in their daily prayers.

In Bakersfield, not so much.

Here's the deal. Fracking, anti-fracking, Democrat, Republican, Jewish or Catholic, rapper or crooner, these people are running a restaurant. They've thrown everything they have, including their tender youth, into their place on Truxtun Avenue -- that you should go to soon because it's TREMENDOUS -- in order to serve good food and make money.

I look at it this way: People who own restaurants, bring music to town and open Dirty Dog DIY Washes are trying to make our lives better.

Richard and Jessica learned their craft at a series of Los Angeles restaurants, like Clementine, Milk, the Border Grill, Patina and Cafe del Rey -- and they learned well.

We ate dinner at Moo a couple of Thursdays ago when they had Asian Night. Moo served the best salmon tacos I've ever had: grilled salmon, lemon aioli, roasted jalapenos, jicama slaw, capers and cilantro. Usually fish tacos are a way to get rid of pale, bland fish but these were amazing.

Equally good was Richard's bacon-fried rice with pineapple, ginger, carrots, scallions, cilantro and two eggs over easy. The star of the meal was the pulled-pork nachos with fried wonton chips, pepperjack, teriyaki sauce, pico de gallo, roasted jalapenos, scallions and guacamole.

I talked to Jessica after the fracking news blew up. She felt like putting her head on the train tracks. I suggested that it might be extreme and that she at least wait until I have another go at her pulled- pork nachos.

These things have a tendency to blow over. Moo might find out who its friends are. What seems like a disaster may be the best thing that ever happened to the restaurant.

I'm betting most people won't care and those who do still like to eat. I believe the community will rally because we like good food and we don't hold a grudge.

Tell me I'm wrong.

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