featured-food-and-winefood and wineIssue 28

Local Eats

By Noel Daniel

Being hungry in Stanislaus County is one of the best places to be. Even visitors from LA and the Bay Area flock to local establishments to curb their cravings. The Valley has some of the freshest foods and cooks up some classic comfort food on top of that. If you want it, it’s here.

Go ahead—we won’t judge if you try them all.

Concetta – Modesto

Next time you get a craving for some creamy, spicy deviled eggs, you might want to consider stopping in at Concetta—but they won’t be your grandma’s deviled eggs. Served with shrimp or else a tangy sriracha kick, Concetta’s food is some of the most gourmet comfort food you’ll find in downtown Modesto. Concetta’s more popular dishes are warmed brussel sprouts, ravioli pastas, and their aforementioned deviled eggs.


Crust & Crumb – Turlock

Crust & Crumb pizzas are works of art that perfectly balance rich flavorful toppings against decadent cheese and a perfectly crisp yet light crust that reportedly takes two whole days to create. Look for the Pulled Pork Pizza with house-smoked pulled pork paired with onion, pineapple and a drizzle of barbecue sauce with a kick, or the transcendent Greek Pizza with Kalamata olives, red onion, garlic, feta cheese, and a fresh spinach layer hidden under the mozzarella.


Kraving Kebab – Turlock

Kraving Kebab, located in Scandia Village, specializes in kebab pizza, which pairs traditional Turkish or Greek kebab flavors with the pizza tradition and drizzles the result in a lightly garlic white sauce. Look for the Kebab Supreme which also adds in diced mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers, parsley and whole pepperoncini for an out of this world flavor combination you can’t get anywhere else.

Surla’s – Modesto

Surla’s cuisine is a combination of flavors from the Philippines, Korea, Japan, China, Hawaii, France, Italy, and Spain. Order up some of Surla’s Restaurant’s famous lumpia, a Filipino spring roll that’s filled with grilled chicken, Joseph Farms Pepper Jack, sweet chili sauce, and scallions. Or dig into a Prime Shine burger—all Angus Beef with caramelized onions, bleu cheese, and a coupon for a Prime Shine Car Wash.


Traveler’s Pizza – Turlock

These pies are classic New York style thin crusts paired with farm-fresh toppings. The Traveling Pizza brand specializes in making delicious, hand-crafted pies to order in a mobile brick oven that reaches up to 1000 degrees fahrenheit. Look for the Piney the Elder, which pairs mozzarella, pine nuts, chicken, tomato, mushroom and feta cheese with a house-made fresh pesto sauce or, for the meat lovers, the incredible Supplication, with piles of meats and veggies laid atop a creamy garlic sauce.

Dust Bowl Brewing Co. – Turlock

What began as a downtown taproom and a dream blossomed into a massive brewery with an expansive list of beers and finger-lickin’ food. Try some fish tacos with warm flour tortillas, grilled or fried cod, lettuce, pico, and Tapatio ranch. Or, if you’re looking for a burger, try the Cali on for size: it features Jack cheese, sprouts, tomato, sweet onions, house made guacamole, Applewood smoked bacon, and cilantro lime aioli.

Ciao Bella – Modesto

Ciao Bella’s Italian is some of the creamiest and the freshest. Popular dishes include their stuffed calamari and their seafood pasta. Their alfredo sauce is flavorful and velvety, and their filet mignon and ribeye steak are juicy and well-seasoned. And if you’re a fish fan, you’re definitely in luck—Ciao Bella runs daily fresh fish specials such as halibut, petrale sole, and Chilean sea bass. That’s just to name a few. Try the rest out for yourself!

Ju Ju Thai – Turlock

It’s hard to pick the perfect Thai restaurant in the area, but while you’re deciding, make sure you give Ju Ju Thai a try. The beefy, garlic broth in the pho is good enough to drink, topped with tender, rare steak. Try a smooth bowl of Tom Kha, a coconut chicken soup that’s perfectly silky, spicy, and sour. Or order up a plate of drunken noodles—just be wary if you order it “extra spicy.” They mean business. You might want to follow it up with fried banana and coconut ice cream.

Main Street Footers – Turlock

If you’ve got a hankering for a piping hot, All-American hot dog, then make a trip down to Main Street in Turlock. Known for juicy links, fresh tomato, and plenty of cheese, these masters of the grill cook up classics like you wouldn’t believe. Treat yourself to a chili dog or a bowl of their crisp taco salad. Top your dog with anything from jalapeños and avocado to mozzarella and pepperoni.

Mr. Pickle’s – Turlock

If you’ve never had Mr. Pickles, then you need to make a quick lunch break. We’d recommend the BLAT: the Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, and Tomato. The savory combination of dutch crunch bread and Mr. Pickles’ signature garlic sauce compliments the mountains of smoked bacon and fresh avocado. Mouth watering yet?

Milano Pizza – Turlock

A relative newcomer to the Turlock area, Milano Pizza is hands-down the best pizza for the best price. The crust is crisp, the sauce is perfect, and deals are impossible to resist. This pizza-by-the-slice restaurant offers deals like $4.99 for a plate-sized slice of one-topping pie and a soda. Their flavors have the perfect range, too, from Spicy Chipotle Chicken with a savory adobo sauce to a creamy kabob with mushrooms and onion.

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