Restaurant of the Week: La Elegante, and a Chinatown detour.

Posted by DFP Staff

We don’t get out much.  Well, out of our district that is.  To most people, Downtown Fresno is the triangle that is made by the three major freeways intersecting, but in our office it’s an even smaller piece of Fresno.  Our PBID  covers a very specific region and is broken into 3 zones, which you can see here.  Each property owner in those three zones pays an assessment and we in turn work with their needs in mind.  That has us running around our boundaries so much that we scarcely get a chance to explore beyond our district. So, to reiterate; we don’t get out much.

We also haven’t had a lot of opportunities to dine together since October.  Once the Ice Rink hit, we all ran off in separate directions and have been so busy that our weekly outings had been suspended.  But you know what?  Enough is enough!  It’s a new year, and gosh darnit, we really missed experiencing the tasty treats that downtown has to offer.

Luck would have it that this week La Elegante was already on our calendar.  La Elegante is located in Chinatown, somewhere that all of our office staff confessed to not visiting nearly enough for such close proximity.  Seriously, all that separates Downtown and Chinatown are some railroad tracks.  That’s it.  So we boldly went into new territory in the name of tacos that have been chosen multiple times as the favorite taco in Fresno.  Sometimes you just gotta break the rules during lunch hour. We’re real rebels, man.

So without further ado, TACOS.

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Steve had three Carne Asada Tacos.  They were much bigger than he anticipated, but he handled them like a champ.

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Rocio went the adventurous route, ordering Cabesa, Birria and Asada, listed in order of preference.

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Mitch was excited to try the Birria, and he wasn’t disappointed.  Or, in his words: “That’s a good goat!”

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Cole, always on the lookout for gluten-free delights, was excited about her veggie combo plate- two veggie tacos on corn tortillas with beans and rice.  She’s spicy enough on her own so she ordered hers sans sauce.

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Kim, always excited to order whatever Cole orders, also had the veggie combo but turned up the heat with extra hot sauce.  Yum-o!

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After our lunch was securely in our bellies we decided to explore a little bit.  We mean, who knows when we’d next make it ALL THE WAY to Chinatown.  It’ just SO FAR AWAY.  We know, we’re pathetic.

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We went to admire the old Buddhist temple.

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There is so much character in this building that you can’t help but oooh and aaaah at it.  Cole was enamored with a tree that had three cats playing in it.  We all have our things, y’know.

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So of course we took a group shot here.  Proper tourists.  We love this space and would love to see what it might become next since the congregation has relocated.

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Next we dropped by the Flower Shop.

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We marvelled at the really cute benches.

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We lamented that we were too early for the Hoot Nest.  All of their social media tells us that this is a great place to find really cool vintage items.  chinatown14

We documented our friendship in front of the Chinatown Youth Center.

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We were intrigued by the Takshing Chinese Herbs shop.

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So we went in.

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They’ve been operating in this location for 25 years!

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We had no clue there was a bike shop in Chinatown.  As a bunch of bike geeks we felt kinda dumb about that.  How do we miss these things right under our noses?!

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Finally, we stopped into Kogetsu-Do for some mochi.

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We all grabbed different flavors of the rice flour confections to take back to our desks…

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…and Kim was the only one to look scary while gobbling them up.  SO GOOD.  But really, how did she manage to get powder all over her whole face?

We loved our afternoon discovering Chinatown and it was good for us on so many different levels.  First of all, it’s important to know your neighbors and get out of your routines.  Then the deep philosophical side to it is that we always are so incredulous that people just don’t know what we have in Downtown Fresno.  We can get exasperated having to explain to people the great things that we love, thinking “Gosh, if they’d just come down here.”  and then we all go into Chinatown and realize that our closest neighbors are totally awesome and we had no clue!  If there’s one thing we gained today it was perspective.  In order to convince the rest of the city of our beloved downtown’s greatness we probably need to explore the rest of the city, too.  Lesson learned.

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  1. Love China Town. Missing Paris Cafe and Come & Get It Chicken & Waffles. Also heard that Chris Meat Market had moved to Blackstone.

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