• Norma, Rosa and Jesus Diaz have owned and operated Bakersfield-based La Rosa Fruit Bars and Ice Cream for more than 35 years. Jesus Diaz, right, started the business in 1980 with wife Rosa and now daughter Norma runs the business, headquartered on Niles Street.

    La Rosa celebrating fruits of family's labor

    On a hot day in many Bakersfield neighborhoods, listen closely and you can hear them — the four bells of the paleteria carts carrying La Rosa fruit and ice cream bars. That’s the siren call of a sweet local tradition going strong since 1980. The business, started by Jesus and Rosa Diaz, continues

  • Acai is headed downtown with Rio Acai Bowls, which should open in late August.

    THE DISH: Downtown ready to be bowled over, and try this tri-tip sandwich

    By this time next month, downtown will be all in for acai with the addition of a healthy food spot on Chester Avenue. In a sweet coincidence, Rio Acai Bowls is headed to the spot that, years ago, was home to See’s Candies. Formerly a partner in Rutz Acai and Cafe, Justin Cummings is striking out

  • Edilberto Guzman hand-tosses a pizza at California Pizza Kitchen in Bakersfield. It’s surprising how little space is devoted to pizzas on the menu — it’s a narrow column list on the inside, writes Californian restaurant critic Pete Tittl. It makes sense the chain has rebranded to emphasize its initials these days since the P — for pizza — is now no longer front and center.

    PETE TITTL: 'P' no longer the star at evolving California Pizza Kitchen

    Across the country, mid-priced restaurant chains have been hurting since the start of the last recession. Places like Olive Garden, Red Lobster, P.F. Chang’s, Applebee’s, Chili’s and others have watched consumers tighten spending or patronize locally owned establishments. In other words, they’ve

  • "Traje De Mariposas" by Betty Leonor, which took best of show at the 2012 Latination exhibit at Metro Galleries. Metro owner Don Martin said he will dedicate this year's exhibition in honor of Leonor, who died this week at age 44.

    Artist bared her soul in work

    Betty Leonor, who left a brief but powerful impression on the Bakersfield art scene with her seductive and striking paintings, died early Monday after battling liver cancer. She was 44. Her son, Jonathan Echevarria, said his mother was a touchstone for their family, which extends across the U.

  • Merle Haggard and his sister Lillian Haggard Rea hold an angel that will lie on the foundation underneath the boxcar home they both grew up in once it is in place at the Kern County Museum. "I wanted an angel to watch over the home," said Dianne Sharman, who helped organize the effort to preserve the Haggards' home.

    Home at last: Emotional Haggard accompanies boxcar to museum

    With their childhood home sitting on a flatbed nearby, Merle Haggard and his sister carefully climbed up on the raised foundation near the train tracks at the Kern County Museum and searched for a private moment together as dozens of observers, fanning themselves in the brutal heat, kept a

  • Charlotte Smith, Mackenzie Burdick, Hailey Cross and Rylee Popek tough it out in "Science Class" in a scene from "HIgh School Musical Jr.," playing thsi weekend at Bakersfield City School District Theater.

    STEFANI DIAS: Children take center stage this weekend

    It’s a good week for local theatergoers. Along with “Anything Goes,” in its final weekend at Stars Theatre Restaurant, and “The Princess of Pumpkin Center” at Gaslight Melodrama, a quartet of children’s productions take the stage this weekend. School doesn’t start until next month but it’s in

  • Aeromyth takes on the responsibility of getting Steven Tyler and the other rock gods of Aerosmith just right. Judge for yourself if they get it right at the Fake-A-Palooza festival Aug. 8 at the Kern County Fairgrounds.

    CESAREO GARASA: This tradeoff is even Steven

    How closely does the lead singer of Aeromyth resemble the lead singer of Aerosmith — as in the inimitable Spandex-clad, cushion-lipped, outrageous rock icon Steven Tyler? Enough to fool Tyler’s son, apparently. “One particular time, I was at the MGM in Vegas in the afternoon and Aerosmith was

  • A cast fit for a fairy tale. From left, evil stepsister Mildred Merced (Emily Candia) and mother Margo (Jennifer Prince); King Teddy's butler Jeevesy (Paul Sosa); Ota Mae (Ali Dougherty), the king's maid; King Teddy (Jay Stodder) and daughter Tiffany (Alyssa Bonnano), the eponymous "Princess of Pumpkin Center."

    REVIEW: Melodrama does it up royally

    Ayssa Bonanno may star as the titular “Princess of Pumpkin Center,” but you can’t help but feel a bit like royalty yourself when you attend the Gaslight Melodrama’s latest production. The Gaslight offers a different theater experience in many respects, the first of which greets you upon entering

  • Leah Henriksen and Rachel Long stand before walls they hand-painted in the children's buildings at the new Olive Drive Campus of Valley Baptist Church. “Our parents raised us (saying) ‘You have a best friend for life in your house,’” Henriksen said. “She’s my best friend and sister all in one person.”

    Double vision comes into focus for artistic twins

    In a Noah’s Ark-themed room at a church on Olive Drive, the monkeys, lions, turtles and elephants aren’t the only ones who entered two by two. The room’s painters, twins Leah Henriksen and Rachel Long, are a pair too. As Mirrored Creations, the twins, 24, recently finished painting rooms in

  • Everett Tracy, left, of T&T Truck & Crane Service goes over logistics with contractor Steve Moreland, center, and Jesus Salcido of  S&L Building. Tracy and Moreland will be instrumental in moving the 41-foot boxcar to the Kern County Museum on Wednesday. "This is history. You can't replace it," Tracy said.

    A moving story: How will they get Hag's boxcar to the museum?

    Some chain-link fencing, a few tree branches and assorted gas and power lines are just about all that’s left of the obstacles in a years-long effort to move Merle Haggard’s childhood home to the Kern County Museum. But the biggest impediment? “People, honestly.” That’s the prediction of Everett

  • Grammy-winning Spanish language performer Juanes, left, shakes hands with retired McFarland High School cross-country coach Jim White at the McFarland Christmas Parade in December. Juanes was in town to shoot a video for "Junto" for the Disney film "McFarland, USA."

    Juanes can't get enough of Kern County

    It may be a coincidence that Grammy Award-winning Latin artist Juanes has twice chosen to kick off a major tour in Bakersfield — but maybe not. It was in nearby McFarland that the Colombian superstar filmed the video for his single “Juntos” (Together), the theme song for Disney’s “McFarland, USA,”

  • The front of the newly-renovated Chain Cohn Stiles building.

    A new story for old building: Law firm's renovation complete

    To architecture aficionados, Chester and 18th is one of the best intersections in Bakersfield. On the northwest corner is the Sill Building, a marvel of the Modern style; directly across Chester is the Beaux Arts beauty rescued from a cocoon of stucco last year; the mid-century tower at the

  • Sushi Time server Hyewon Jhon is preparing to serve salmon sashimi at the restaurant on Coffee Road in Bakersfield. A new place in the northwest, Sushi Time offers a sense of joy in both the staff and the menu that will make it a worthy competitor to Love Sushi and Sushi Moon on that side of town. Though it’s new, it’s off to an impressive start in so many areas.

    PETE TITTL: Anytime is Sushi Time with fish this fresh

    It’s great when a sushi restaurant shows flair and imagination, particularly in the rolls and the names of the rolls. But what’s even more important, crucial really, is the freshness of the fish. Sushi Time, a new place in the northwest, has that part down pat, and there’s a sense of joy in both

  • Bakersfield OTR, which originated in Ohio, just added a location in Charlotte, N.C., bringing the chain's total restaurants to five. When will one come to the actual Bakersfeld?

    THE DISH: New Craft Tap House ready to pour it on

    Work is continuing at the old Garden Spot on Truxtun Avenue to create Craft Tap House, a brew pub offering no fewer than 50 craft beers with food. Partners on the project are Mike Miller, owner of Amestoy’s on the Hill; Imbibe owner Dave Dodd; Collin Reimer, co-owner of Prime Cut, J&M’s and

  • KERN'S PAST: Don't ask him how he grew that giant corn

    105 YEARS AGO Street sweepers still hold jobs: Members of the “Scouring Squadron” have not yet lost their jobs Unless some kind of more satisfactory street sweeper can be secured than the one that has been on trial for the last thirty days, the city of Bakersfield will continue with the method

  • Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (Tim Anthony, left) and Malcolm X (Brandon Richardson) as Malcolm X engage in a different kind of debate in a scene from "The Meeting," playing this weekend at The Empty Space.

    STEFANI DIAS: King vs. Malcolm X — can you imagine?

    Writers must take some liberties when turning real people into characters, especially when it comes to imagined scenarios. In “The Meeting,” playing this weekend at The Empty Space, playwright Jeff Stetson imagines a debate between civil rights activists Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  • The debut CD by Bakersfield hip-hop duo King Midas Clique is available now.

    MATT MUNOZ: Hip-hop duo Midas going for the gold

    King Midas Clique, Bakersfield’s latest hip-hop collaboration, could only be the work of fate. The duo of Eddie Brock and Alec “Doc” Holliday were not plucked from the sea of local lyricists and beat makers; these are seasoned pros eager to get their self-titled debut to fans of the genre. “Well,

  • Izamar Olaguez as Princess Jasmine and Nicole Heasley as Belle are ready for Saturday's inaugural Princess Breakfast featuring costumed characters who will be mingling with children at Stars Theatre Restaurant, 1931 Chester Ave.

    Even princesses have to eat: Stars sets the table

    While some parents already treat their children like royalty, Stars Theatre Restaurant wants to guarantee the royal treatment at its first-ever Princess Breakfast on Saturday. This weekend’s gathering will be quite the fete for your princess or prince with appearances by more than a dozen iconic