After the relaxation of Labor Day weekend, local diners enjoy the first sign of fall. It's certainly not the weather but rather the return of the Guild House for the season.
On Tuesday, the nonprofit, all-volunteer-operated restaurant returns after its annual summer hiatus.
Open Tuesday through Thursday, the Guild House offers a three-course gourmet meal from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for only $22 (plus tax and gratuity). Guests can choose from the day's entree or a weekly entree salad as the main course along with a house-made soup, sides and dessert. Coffee, tea or water are also included.
Guest host Robert Price, Californian contributing columnist and Emmy-winning reporter-commentator for KGET-TV, will be on hand Tuesday greeting people and chatting during lunch.
The menu that day will consist of sherried wild rice soup to start, followed by chicken piccata with angel hair pasta and a mixed green salad with strawberry vinaigrette. Dessert will be zabaglione, a light Italian custard, served with fruit. Guests can also choose a Cobb salad for the main course. All meals are served with house-made rolls.
On Wednesday, lunch will consist of green onion soup, Asian pork loin with black-and-white rice and ginger carrots, and coconut sour cream cake for dessert.
Thursday's lunch will have a Basque theme with the traditional Basque vegetable soup followed by garlic chicken, served with Jaussaud's beans (inspired by former local spot Maison Jaussaud), roasted red potatoes and a Basque green salad. Dessert will be a chocolate Kahlua mousse.
Along with dine-in service, the Guild House also offers takeout meals ($22) featuring the day's menu. Heading into the cooler months, you can also pick up a pint of the day's soup along with four fresh-baked rolls with butter for $12.
Private meeting rooms are also available, and, for larger parties (groups of eight or more).
Reservations are encouraged by calling 661-325-5478 but walk-in guests are also welcome.
The Guild House is open from 1:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday at 1905 18th St.
Visit guildhousebakersfield.com to view the lunch selections, which are posted for the month.
Proceeds from the restaurant benefit the Henrietta Weill Memorial Child Guidance Clinic, which provides mental health and substance abuse services to Kern County children, adults and families, as well as provides resources to promote wellness and recovery. Over the years, more than $2 million has been raised by the restaurant.
Over a Barrel for new items
The response has been wild for the new Cracker Barrel with diners lining up to wait for a meal at the popular chain.
Whether you're new to the Cracker Barrel experience or an old-timer, the restaurant has some new "flavor-forward" fall offerings to try.
First up is the Kick'n Ranch fried chicken, a bold take on the classic dish tossing the fried bone-in chicken in zesty buttermilk ranch seasoning along with a drizzle of Buffalo ranch sauce. The dish, available through Oct. 9, is also served with a side of pickle ranch for dipping, two homestyle sides and biscuits or corn muffins.
There are two new options for barrel bites — Cracker Barrel's take on shareable plates — with the white cheddar cheese bites and country fried pickles . Both are lightly breaded, then deep fried until golden and served with buttermilk ranch for dipping.
Indulge your sweet tooth by sipping on a new peach mimosa, made with sparkling wine and infused with sweet peach puree, or the Jack Daniels Country Cocktail Southern Peach, a refreshingly sweet, chilled cocktail that will be available through Oct. 9.
A new side option is the broccoli cheese casserole, bringing together the vegetable with cheese sauce and rice, all topped with buttery cracker crumbles. The casserole will be served through Oct. 9.
And what would a new menu be without sweet treats? Not one from Cracker Barrel, that's for sure. Available through Oct. 9 are the apple streusel pie, served with vanilla ice cream, and the peanut butter cup mocha, which is topped with chocolate whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate and peanut butter sauces.
Cracker Barrel is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at 3310 California Ave. Visit crackerbarrel.com for more information.