•High Sierra Grill brings out the candlelight and tablecloths, adds more meat and seafood.
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• Toledo’s tweaks a father’s flan recipe with chocolate and coconut cake.
• Vegan Flaco’s changes things up, Dickey’s opens and Mimi’s adds more breakfast.
Does a big bowl of cioppino sound good? How about a dessert that mixes chocolate cake with flan?
A few local restaurants are changing up their menus and these are just a couple of the additions.
The High Sierra Grill House at Bullard and West avenues has majorly shaken up its menu. The restaurant has added more seafood, steak and traditional dinner entrees.
When it first opened in 2013, Manny Perales, one of the owners, figured that with so many traditional, sit-down restaurants in the neighborhood ( Max’s Bistro, The Manhattan Steakhouse, Casa Corona, etc.) that people would want a quicker, lower-priced place for comfort food such as burgers, sandwiches and salads.
But, after opening, he discovered: “People want to be served. They want nice candlelight dinners with tablecloths and a basket of bread on the table.”
So, he is giving that experience to them, along with a new menu. It includes more seafood — fresh salmon, Chilean sea bass and oysters on the half shell.
On the weekends, the restaurant has started serving a San Francisco-style cioppino with Italian sausage, clams, mussels, crab legs and shrimp for $27.99.
They’ve also added more meat dishes, including a prime rib on the weekends that is slow smoked for 10 hours.
But the restaurant is hanging on to its mid-priced comfort food, too, so as not to drive away some loyal customers. That includes chicken-fried steak, a traditional liver and onions dish that is especially popular with senior customers, and the tri-tip sandwich, which is still the most popular item.
The new full menu is online.
If it’s dessert you’re hankering for, Toledo’s restaurants are testing a new cake-flan combo on weekends.
The restaurants have always served flan and fried ice cream, but Carmen Toledo, part of the family that owns the three northern Toledo’s, thought it was time to add something new.
She took her dad’s flan recipe and tinkered with it for almost a year to get two new versions: chocoflan and cocoflan. The chocoflan combines flan with chocolate cake. The other is flan made with coconut milk combined with a coconut cake made with coconut pudding and coconut flakes.
The desserts are based on a recipe called flan imposible — impossible flan in English — in which the cake and the flan are cooked together in one pan. The cake batter is poured in the bottom of the pan and the flan on top, but during cooking they switch places if everything is done just right.
The flan is creamy, Toledo says, “not so coyingly sweet and not so much of a eggy overkill.”
The restaurants are testing the desserts on weekends only for the next three months. You can get them at the three northern Toledo’s — 7315 N. Blackstone Ave. with the large patio, at the Fresno Street and Shaw Avenue location (which she says also has a patio that not many people know about) and at 1125 Shaw Ave. in Clovis. The downtown Toledo’s, which has a different owner but is still in the family, does not carry the desserts.
It’s now open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday serving vegan pozole, meatless soft tacos — with faux meat or without — and other dishes.
Since this place has a healthy bent, they recently added fresh organic juices. You can get fresh-made carrot juice or blends such as carrot, beet, cabbage and apple.
Or, you can get something fried, like french fries, onion rings or nachos. Yes, fried food at the same place as vegan and organic is a bit of an oxymoron, but this is still a restaurant that operates inside a bar and some customers wanted those munchies with their beer.
In addition to the lunchtime hours, Flacos is open until midnight most nights, til 9 p.m. on Sundays and closed on Mondays.
In another study in contrasts, Mimi’s Cafe is bringing new dishes to its breakfast and brunch menu inspired by the American South and France.
Newly added in the southern category is chicken and waffles, banana nut griddlecakes topped with Texas pecans and other dishes.
In the French category, Mimi’s now has hickory-smoked ham and swiss crepes, smoked salmon Benedict, and turkey, bacon, mushroom and brie crepes.
In other food news, yet another Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has opened in the area. The newest one is at 1610 Herndon Ave. in the former Blockbuster at Fowler Avenue in Clovis.
Dickey’s is a smaller, quick-service Texas-style barbecue joint (which means you won’t find tri-tip on the menu).
The franchised restaurant has made major expansions into the Valley in recent months and now has seven locations here.