By Alex Ripepi
Every once in a while, it’s nice to break the day to day norm of eating whatever is the most convenient or the closest thing possible. Falling into the trap of chain restaurants with mediocre food is all too easy in Bakersfield. According to a post by thedailybeast.com, Bakersfield is rated as 16th among 20 top fast food cities with 198 restaurants in the city limits. But there’s no need to fret; there is an impressive array of local restaurants that offer something for everybody.
My first stop was a simple one: Mossman’s at the Westchester Lanes bowling alley. I had about an hour to eat and a simple, cheap and easy breakfast sounded like the best idea. I’d met many people who had heard of Mossman’s from an event that they catered, but other than a few who lived in downtown Bakersfield, most of them didn’t know about the alley’s hidden treasure.
When it came time to order I chose a pretty standard egg, sausage and hash browns combo with toast on the side. Once I was full, there was easily enough left over for another meal. It might seem a little plain, but the real treat is that the entirety of the meal costs only $5.99. The atmosphere of the restaurant is relaxing, too. The sounds of the bowling alley were pleasant white noise, and the employees were polite while not giving a feeling of being rushed. The restaurant is a nice place whether you’re a regular or just need a quick bite. And don’t worry about when you get there; breakfast is served all day.
My second choice was another stop downtown. Walking into Muertos Kitchen and Lounge felt like I was stepping out of Bakersfield. Located at 1514 Wall Street, Muertos is the kind of place that is easy to pass up if you weren’t previously aware of it. But passing it up would be a poor decision. The building is a bit small, so large groups should steer clear unless they want to sit on the patio. But that’s not to say the place is cramped. If anything, it mirrored the welcoming attitude of the employees that were working at the time. I ordered Basque tacos that contained lamb and blue cheese as the main ingredients. The lamb was amazing, and the blue cheese went really well with it. The meal cost me $12, but it was easily well worth it.
While chatting with my waitress, Sarah, I learned that Muertos has been around for about a year now, and has had a few, very small musical events that might be returning in the fall. Sarah also mentioned that less have people been discovering the place by accident and have instead been told about it by their friends. It’s a wonderful place to sit down and just relax for a while and enjoy some delicious food.
Lastly, I decided that something closer to campus would be a better idea, so I convinced my family to go to Lengthwise Bewing Company for dinner. Although it’s a pretty typical sports bar, I was glad to see a lot of CSUB memorabilia on the walls. There were a few different groups chatting, eating and drinking, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. When it came time to order, I went with an order of fish and chips with “stinky fries” – french fries with garlic and gorgonzola – instead of the regular. The meal in total ran for $10.95
I have to say, I wasn’t impressed with the fish on the whole. The actual fish was fine, but the breading was more of a crispy one than a fluffy, light one. Full disclosure, I went in with pretty high expectations, so I was a bit harsher than usual. The rest of my family had ordered among them a pulled pork sandwich, mac and cheese with bacon and gorgonzola and rib tips. All three of those meals looked, smelled and tasted good enough to make my family praise them.
For what it is, Lengthwise is definitely out of the norm. Rather than just being “barfood” the meals actually had time and care put into them, and the menu offers quite a bit of variance. A few of their items had gorgonzola incorporated into them, and they offer a deep fried Twinkie dessert, so anyone feeling sweet can satisfy their craving.
I figured that I should get another opinion on local food, so I asked CSUB sophomore Katie Aubin what her favorite local restaurant is.
“I like Taj Mahal Cuisine just because Indian is my favorite,” responded Aubin. “I like the chicken tikka. It’s pretty standard, but don’t mess with success.” Taj Mahal is close to campus, and I can also vouch for the quality of their food, it’s delicious.
So, as much as it seems easy to just go with the flow of McDonald’s to Jack in the Box every day, just try every once in a while to go out and support local business. Often the food is higher quality and the variation of meals is far beyond what you can find at most chain restaurants.