Final Phrase: The Bakersfield meals scene continues to impress with a mixture of native traditions and fashionable twists of Bakersfield life
I love Bakersfield. And i love food. When Yelp approached me with the position of Yelp Community Ambassador for Bakersfield, where I could combine my two loves, I jumped in faster than you can say, “avocado toast”.
When people ask what I “do” as a community ambassador, my usual answer is: “It depends on the day!” No two days are the same. I could work until the wee hours of the morning editing a copy for the Local Yelp Newsletter (an emailed summary of the hottest places in town, each with a unique theme), writing reviews, and corresponding with local business owners. The next morning I could meet up with a new local business owner and have a glamorous soiree on the roof of the Padre Hotel in the evening. But regardless of the day, my mission is the same: connecting people to great local businesses.
On this great opportunity, I had the chance to gain an insight into some of Bakersfield’s best kept secrets, read what the community loves, and discover hidden gems – yes, we actually have them! Companies that would be buried in front of social media by national advertising campaigns on a budget. With the “Review Revolution” we were able to shed light on these unsung food heroes. Restaurants like Fuzion On where they mix Mexican and Asian flavors like crazy chefs. I’m looking at you, Kalbi Burger. Or the Insta-worthy unicorn macarons by Mai Giffard in the De Coeur Bake Shop – an instant social media sensation that is created right in our own city center.
Bakersfield’s booming food scene is daring, unique, and rooted in tradition. Nothing could be more comprehensive than Heather Laganelli and her team at Locale Farm to Table Eatery. You may remember when this was Union Station Deli. Heather has turned this once “greasy spoon” into a fresh and seasonal dining experience. Yelpers rave about their local menu items, which include fresh stone fruit and field vegetable salad.
It’s also hard to ignore the tide of Yelp love for our ever-growing food truck scene. From the fantastic freshly prepared falafel in Pita Paradise to the absolutely amazing Mexican sushi combination in Sushinola to the enchantingly delicious vampiro tacos from Vatos Tacos. Yelpers continue to rave about a traditional Guadalajaran favorite, Torta Ahogada from Loncheria Otro Rollo. It’s so good that even SoCal residents are looking for flavor.
It would be a thorn in my side to rule out one of the most unique flavors in our city: Bakersfield Basque, a tradition of its own that doesn’t need to be explained to any local. But to an outsider, it’s a strange feast of pickled tongue, spaghetti, french fries, and other delicious dishes. However you cut it, this unique family style tradition will always be a staple of the food scene and a personal favorite. Which Basque is best? Many a feud has been started with this simple question, and some things are better left unanswered.
The Bakersfield food scene continues to impress with a mix of local traditions and modern twists. Go on, Bakersfield. You are definitely five bright red stars in my book.
McKenzie Swisshelm is the Yelp Bakersfield Community Ambassador and leader of the Elite Team. In addition to planning great Yelp events with local businesses, she also posts some droolable food photos on Instagram @yelpbakersfield. The views expressed in this column are their own.