We’d been living in the Central Valley for weeks before we finally stepped into the beer garden. How had we not known this place was here? Succulents, rustic reclaimed wood and antique farm pieces for plant holders, and outdoor seating.
Then, the beer list. The beer list!
Faction, Fieldwork, and so many others. Breweries we used to spend our time at in the Bay and travel to around the state.
Not to sound too dramatic, but this feeling fell over me as if to say – wow, we might fit in here after all. Walking into Pita Kabob‘s downtown gastropub that day was the most settling experience I’d had since we’d moved from the Bay to the Valley.
Not just great food and a killer craft beer list, but people who appreciated great food and killer craft beer. I find it important to surround myself with both.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago.
My book had just been published and a good friend connected me with Pita Kabob’s team with the idea that we could partner for an event. At that meeting, I’m told the restaurant has a food truck that is almost ready to launch.
The idea? Plan a book signing where they make foods from Food on Tap to serve out of the food truck.
Yes! That is exactly what took place last Thursday. It was such an excellent event and I had more support than I could have imaged (cue those feelings of gratitude again).
But let’s talk about the food.
Some of my past work has involved editing chef’s recipes so that they can be translated for use in a home kitchen. For example, modifying a recipe to make 12 servings instead of 60, or defining the amount of an ingredient versus just “salt”.
So while I’ve worked from the direction of chef recipe to my modified version, I’ve never had it happen the other way around.
Let me tell you. It is a pretty cool experience!
Chef Randy and the team at Pita Kabob made three of my recipes from the book, and then a fourth they used to create an off the hook sandwich.
To top that, it was all served out of a food truck! I’m not quite sure it gets any better.
Let’s talk about this sandwich. Note, it’s not going to win any health awards, but I’m an advocate of indulging when you slow down to fully appreciate it. And wow, is this sandwich something to appreciate.
I got to step into the truck while they made me a sandwich to try before they started serving for the night. It’s was a beautiful scene. I’d never been on a food truck before.
The sandwich features the Stout and Maple Glazed Sweet Potato Slices on page 130 of the book.
A twist on a Monte Cristo, first the sweet potatoes and sriracha bacon (I told you it was off the hook!) are put on the grill.
Next, the gyro meat is heated and topped with cheese.
Then comes the sourdough French toast.
Finally, it’s all piled onto the French toast and drizzled with the stout glaze and sprinkled with powder sugar.
I had to joke that I felt like Guy Fieri when they handed it to me. Like I needed to make the comment, “I’m goin’ in,” and, “winner, winner chicken dinner.”
It was a perfect combination of sweet and salty which happens to be my very favorite food combination out there.
After that came the Blonde Ale Honey Mustard Wings, then the Nachos with Roasted Chilies and IPA Beer Cheese Sauce which they topped with shawarma. Finally, the Pilsner Battered Fried Summer Squash Slices with Creamy Ranch Beer Dip which got a twist of labneh stirred in! All pictured in that overhead above.
It was all outstanding.
The whole night was a flurry of excellent food and beer, people asking about and buying my book, me signing copies, and trying to figure out ways to express my gratitude.
I knew this was a special place the moment we walked in that day, but at that time I never could have predicted that I’d have a cookbook, let alone be part of such a great event.
It was a memorable night, to say the least.
When you are in Visalia swing by and see for yourself.
Pita Kabob Gastropub Downtown
227 N. Court St.
Visalia, CA 93291
Let’s connect outside the blog! You can find my images and everyday food, travel, and fun on Instagram. My current favorite things (all things cozy and holiday inspired at the moment!) are on Pinterest as well as updates and shares on Twitter and Facebook.
Event graphic – Juan Verduzco, Printing & Media Manger, Pita Kabob
Photo of Lori – Wayne Rogge, @havebike