It was a good week to be dining downtown this week, in large part because two new spots opened right next to each other on G Street.
Run by husband and wife Isaac and Shannon Dennis, the local coffee roasting business has provided coffee for Byrdie's, Moo Creamery, Bakersfield Pizza Co. and Bar, The Hen's Roost and the former De Coeur Bake Shop, which operated in the space now home to Rig City.
The couple also briefly ran a drive-through on 23rd Street but many will know their distinct coffee from the Haggin Oaks farmers market (8800 Ming Ave., usually on Sundays) or Brimhall market (9500 Brimhall Road on Saturdays.)
Don't expect sweet blended drinks here: Rig City uses syrups made from pure essential oils/extracts and whole vanilla beans. The honey syrup is made in-house using local honey from Tinney Family Bees.
Beyond the brew, the toast, made with Baker's Outpost bread ($5) is a wonder, served with your choice of two locally made spreads: butter, honey, peanut butter or jam.
One day after Rig City rolled out, Better Bowls opened in the adjacent 1818 G St. spot. Another Sunday farmers market regular, the business run by couple Jina and Blake McMillan specializes in gluten-free vegan Buddha bowls. Along with set options — American, Thai, Mediterranean, Southwest and barbecue jackfruit — the eatery allows guests to customize their own bowl, selecting a grain or starch, plant-based protein (tofu, chickpeas, or beans) and an assortment of vegetables. Regular bowls are $8; minis are $6.50.
Better Bowls is also serving breakfast with Bako Brekkie (roasted potatoes, bell peppers and onions, vegan sausage, fresh salsa and tofu "eggs") and overnight oats in four varieties. The standout flavor — espresso — pay tribute to neighbor Rig City adding their espresso along with cocoa powder, maple syrup and chocolate chips along with the rolled oats and almond milk.
In other downtown dining news, the Padre Hotel recently launched its spring menu at the Belvedere Room, its fine dining establishment. An event earlier this week allowed diners a chance to sample some items and see plated dishes. Carrots are served both sweet (sweet carrot cremeux) and savory (Grimmway roasted carrots), and on the entree side there is a crispy lamb belly, Duroc pork tomahawk and veal Porterhouse chop all heralding spring.
We mentioned the great toast at Rig City but the downtown spot you can't miss is Blue Oak Coffee Roasting, which serves delicacies from Blue Egg Catering. Blue Egg's Katy Ellis has elevated the downtown toast game, offering flagships such as the berry smash (with edible flower) and elote toast (with fresh corn and cotija cheese) as well as build your own. The shop now has themed days including farmers toast (avocado smash, perfect egg, bacon and side of salsa) on Thursdays and Bakersfield toast (smashed sacco beans, Luigi's seasoning and pickled red onions on Pyrenees bread) on Fridays.
Give them a test run on Toast Tuesdays when flagship flavors, also including lox and build-your-own, are just $6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To market we go!
Those headed out to the Haggin Oaks farmers market Sunday are in for an extra treat. Chef Richard Yoshimura of The Kitchen will team up with local growers Pickalittle Farm and Ecocentric Farms to demonstrate farm fresh cooking. Based on Ecocentric's Instagram feed, it looks like artichokes will serve as the star of a salad.
New and different
Starting later this week, Cloud 9 Coffee Co. will be open at two locations: the new one (4521 Buena Vista Road) and its former spot (5060 California Ave.). Hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. ... Famous Dave's is celebrating 10 years in Bakersfield with a 10 Year Anniversary Bash on Saturday and Sunday. There will be barbecue tastings, a chance to meet famous Wilbur, face painting and drawings for more than $8,000 in prizes. The fun runs from noon to 6 p.m. ... Vatos Tacos is moving beyond the Rosedale food truck, having put in the paperwork for a full-service restaurant to be called Vatos Tacos Grill & Cantina. We'll let you know when they announce a location. ... The Broken Yolk Cafe is now serving dinner. The former breakfast/lunch spot is offering entrees such as blackened salmon, New York steak, pork chops and a loaded baked potato.