June 6, 2023

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THE DISH: New Noriega’s aims to feed traditions | Foods

You can find a basic recipe that goes into building an fantastic restaurant.  You begin with excellent foodstuff, toss in ambiance, sprinkle in good provider and a dash of enthusiasm.

When the Noriega Resort, the James Beard Award-winning cafe that set the bar for Kern’s tradition of Basque eating, closed final 12 months, quite a few diners were despondent. Dropping a piece of culinary historical past will do that to individuals. 

Out of the wrestle of a pandemic 12 months, a new hope emerged. Restaurateurs Bill and Koie Osathanukhro, who also own Glitz Cafe, Pleased Wings and KK’s Cafe, ordered the Noriega Resort title and liquor license, along with the tables, chairs, plates and significantly of the memorabilia, to have on the tradition, albeit in a diverse spot, that begun in 1893.

Now open at 4809 Stockdale Freeway (in the former household of Cafe Med), Noriega’s is active serving three meals a day six days a week with all the Basque favorites that diners experienced arrive to really like, courtesy of chef Gilbert, who came from the first restaurant (and, like other famous people, prefers to only go by his first title).

“I want people today to practical experience Noriega’s,” Koie Osathanukhro mentioned. “I do not want people today to check out to compare but to have fun and practical experience it.”

There is a definite familiarity, commencing with the dining room with the prolonged tables set up for household-design and style dining.

Robert Wallace, a longtime shopper of the Old Town Kern institution, was energized by what he saw coming in for breakfast on Tuesday. A retired carpenter who now drives a bus for the Bakersfield City University District, Wallace was continuing a custom of his own. Just as his boss had brought him to Noriega Resort for lunch setting up in the 1970s, he brought his BCSD coworker and pal Brian Machuca to the new cafe to appreciate a Basque-style food.

“I brought him right here to knowledge this, working experience the foodstuff,” Wallace claimed. 

“I have no concept what to be expecting,” Machuca said. “He just brought me below.”

The good news is for Machuca, the food followed the standard breakfast lineup of Basque sausage, household-fixed bacon, Pyrenees Bakery bread, apricot jam, salsa, slices of Jack cheese and wine on the table. (The duo opted for tall eyeglasses of iced tea.) The food also provided a pork chop, just one of the lunch specials that day, and a choice of fried eggs or an omelet.

“Did you get an omelet?” Wallace asked his friend, who ordered immediately after him. “That’s a superior preference.”

The gregarious retiree enjoyed joking with server Jillian Ashbaugh, who served clarify the set up to Machuca.

(Those pondering about lunch and supper entrees ought to be assured that favorites like garlic fried chicken, oxtail stew, leg of lamb and primary rib are on the menu along with occasional specials together with lamb shank, chile verde and paella, which was served on Father’s Working day.)

Wallace mentioned the Basque dining experience relies on the foodstuff and the personnel.

“The staff members there manufactured the environment much far more than a restaurant,” he mentioned of the authentic cafe.

The staff guiding the new Noriega’s aims to make company come to feel welcome. Osathanukhro claimed spouse and children-design dining is an significant tradition to continue.

“You do not know just about every other but get to sit with each other and talk,” she said recalling a exclusive birthday dinner at the Noriega Resort. She said when they went to spend, they discovered their tablemates, who they had just satisfied, had paid out for their food.

Open up fewer than a month, the restaurant has now had a whole lot of fork out-it-ahead diners who have protected foods and drinks, Osathanukhro stated. That generosity and human link is something the restaurateur is joyful to foster.

“And just after COVID, never we all need to have that?” said normal manager Krystal Allison.

Quite a few of individuals with fond reminiscences of the Noriega Hotel have occur in and shared tales and expressed their excitement in the new endeavor, Osathanukhro explained, noting a person client pointed out her good-grandmother in an aged picture on screen. 

The cafe is filled with memorabilia from the first spot. The hard cash sign up, alongside with playing cards and poker chips, an original menu and liquor bottles are on display close to the entrance. Reprints of outdated photographs of the Noriega Hotel, which includes when it was the Iberia Hotel, are framed through the constructing as nicely as a worn leather apron, framed along with a image of wherever it when hung following to a sink. (The original bar and neon indicator are on display at the Kern County Museum.)

Allison mentioned work continues on creating the ideal environment.

“I you should not know that Koie will ever be performed,” she joked. “Very last weekend was used refinishing the fountain out entrance.”

In the quieter early hours, Allison mentioned she has a makeshift office in the bar location, which she enjoys remaining out on the ground.

Coming from 1933, she claimed she was excited to assist build on an present brand name.

“I was surely fascinated in the problem. It can be honoring the previous heritage when aiding the new house owners mature into their own.”

If Wallace and Machuca, who remaining content right after a significant breakfast, are any sign, Bakersfield will welcome this new Basque variation.

“I hope they are productive,” Wallace reported. “It won’t have the developing, but it truly is in an spot with easier obtain.”

Consumers who bear in mind the location’s days as Cafe Med and are delighted to have a flourishing community place again, and others are fired up that Noriega’s lives on, Allison said.

“When they arrive in, they are energized that the food items preferences just as they bear in mind. They’re supplying us a good shot. Alter is hard … but we can sense the link between Noriega’s and the consumer.”

Noriega’s is open Tuesday as a result of Sunday, serving breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. and lunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Meal seatings are at 6 and 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 6 p.m. only the relaxation of the 7 days.

Dinner reservations are strongly encouraged connect with 885-8515 to guide. For much more information and facts, check out its Facebook webpage (fb.com/noriegasbasque).

Stefani Dias can be achieved at 661-395-7488. Adhere to her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.