We recieve our fair share of invitations to parties as journalists, but we’re rarely treated to stuff our faces with cheesy appetizers, decadent desserts and handcrafted cocktails.
Living in the Central Valley has blessed us with an abundance of restaurants that serve international cuisine — English-style fish and chips, teriyaki-glazed fried chicken, street-style tacos and sautéed mahi-mahi.
And Elephant Bar Restaurant is the capital of global-inspired grub.
Located on the corner of Blackstone and Nees avenues, Elephant Bar Restaurant takes your mind and body on a journey through tropical rainforests. We — Monica Stevens, Farin Montañez, Katie Fries and I — were promptly greeted by a server and, without hesitation, we placed orders for appetizers and cocktails.
Elephant Bar Restaurant uses
premium liquor as opposed to inexpensive, generic liquor. It makes a difference, trust us.
(Side note: My boyfriend, Ramon Torres, also joined us.)
▪ Tito’s Mule: Similar to the Moscow Mule, the Tito’s Mule is made with fresh-squeezed lime juice, ginger beer and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
I said: “If I was trying to get intoxicated, the Tito’s Mule would be my best friend. It was delicious and refreshing.”
▪ Agave Margarita: Our taste buds traveled to Mexico with the Agave Margarita. In addition to fresh-squeezed lime juice, there are shots of Espolón Tequila Blanco and Tres Agaves Agave Nectar.
▪ Spiced Long Island: For $12, you get a tall glass of Hangar 1 Mandarin Blossom, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Hendrick’s Gin, El Jimador Blanco Tequila, lemon juice and a squirt of Coca-Cola.
“Oh my gosh,” Stevens said. “It was strong. It was delicious.”
▪ Mint Mojito: As a popular drink at the Kentucky Derby, you can’t go wrong with the Mint Mojito — made with Bacardi light rum, fresh-squeezed lime juice, soda water and a sprig of mint.
“It was smooth, strong,” Fries said. “The flavors were very distinct.”
▪ Basil Cucumber Lemonade: A refreshing blend of Basil Hayden’s bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup and slices of cucumber. With bourbon whiskey being a main ingredient, you have to tread lightly — unless a hangover is on your agenda for tomorrow.
▪ Zesty Artichoke Dip: In a nutshell, the Zesty Artichoke Dip is a mixture of artichoke hearts, spinach, tomatoes and pepper jack cheese served next to corn tortilla chips.
▪ Nachos: A huge plate of corn tortilla chips topped with melted cheese, tomatoes, slices of jalapeño, green onions, chilli and a dollop of sour cream.
You can also add chicken for $3.
▪ Potato Skins: A favorite among us, crispy spuds filled with hickory-smoked bacon, cheddar cheese and green onions are a delightful alternative to french fries.
You have an option, which we highly recommend, of adding chicken marinated in made-from-scratch buffalo sauce.
(Side note: We ordered three servings of potato skins throughout our stay.)
▪ Jungle Colada: We would be lying if we said we didn’t love the Jungle Colada. It tastes like vanilla ice cream, infused with raspberries and chunks of pineapple.
It sounds amazing, right?
Like the piña colada, which means “strained pineapple,” the Jungle Colada takes you to the Caribbean islands.
The coconut-pineapple-mango frozen beverage isn’t complete without whipped cream and The Kraken Black Spiced Rum.
▪ Raspberry Lemon Drop Martini: I felt like Carrie Bradshaw from “Sex and the City” while drinking the Raspberry Lemon Drop Martini.
The sweet-and-sour martini features SKYY Vodka, fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juice, simple syrup and raspberry liqueur.
▪ Olú Passion Mai Tai: Like the Jungle Colada, the Olú Passion Mai Tai tastes like a piece of paradise. It includes Bacardi light rum, pineapple and lime juice, passion fruit purée, grenadine, orange Curaçao and The Kraken Black Spiced Rum.
▪ Patterson’s Nap: After sampling 10 cocktails and a handful of appetizers, we were ready for a nap. But the Patterson’s Nap gave us a shock of energy.
It features lemon and orange juice, simple syrup, Campari and Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
▪ Coconut Shrimp Skewers: My boyfriend raved about the Coconut Shrimp Skewers, which happen to be considered a “Signature Item.” There are six skewers of hand-breaded shrimp, drizzled with pineapple-orange sauce, and served on a bed of crispy rice noodles.
▪ Mini Walnut Fudge Brownie: OK, for starters, I love warm-cold desserts — imagine the Pizookie from BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse. The combination of a warm fudge brownie and vanilla ice cream is perfect to curve my craving for chocolate.
If you’re feeling bold, order the Mini Indulgences Sampler. It includes the Mini Walnut Fudge Brownie, the Wonton Sundae with chocolate and caramel sauces, creme brûlée and scoops of vanilla ice cream.
Overall, the No. 1 cocktail — based on our votes — is the Jungle Colada followed by the Olú Passion Mai Tai.
▪ The 8 A.M.: Despite the name, we had a cup of The 8 A.M. at 8 p.m. — a hot blend of coffee, Patrón XO Cafe, demerara syrup and thick cream.
“It was so good,” Stevens said. “It was very thick.”
▪ Gooey Butter Cake: If you’re a fan of yellow cake like my boyfriend, you’ll love the Gooey Butter Cake. There are layers of yellow cake and cream cheese, topped with vanilla ice cream, pears and bourbon caramel sauce.
Between the Mini Walnut Fudge Brownie and the Gooey Butter Cake, I’d order the former because chocolate can’t be replaced by caramel.
Elephant Bar Restaurant
7965 N. Blackstone Ave., Fresno
Details: (559) 261-0325, www.elephantbar.com
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