Shake + Stir: The Standard
The Standard’s front patio was the perfect setting to hold Shake+Stir’s sixth edition, hosted by CVLUX’s Donna Kaczmarski. The group of Fresno ladies included Realty Concepts’ Cherry Englert, Marlene Fugman, Laurie Salvano, Deanna Spellman, as well as Dr. Hediah Arbabzadeh, and Dr. Amber Mahal, who had the pleasure of sampling three cocktails and five appetizers alfresco as a Q&A on plastic surgery (Hediah’s profession) quickly ensued.
The Standard Restaurant and Lounge, located in northern Fresno’s RiverView Shopping Center at Friant and Fort Washington, offers an American-style dinner menu, craft cocktails, and upscale nightlife in a swanky lounge setting. Patrons can opt to sit both inside and out. The bar itself is centrally located between the lounge (complete with booth seating and a fireplace) and the dining room indoors. Choose between either the front patio or the cabanas for outdoor seating.
A springy floral arrangement, made of yellow tulips, punch pink roses, baby blue delphinium, lavender statice, pink bachelor buttons, and delicate ferns, was fixed in a wide-mouthed, low glass vase, created by Simply Flowers’ Mariah Walton, and adorned the coffee table set amid an outdoor lounge sectional.
Though The Standard is known for their drinks, their small bites and appetizers are absolutely something to look forward to as well. Bear in mind, each cocktail is made by hand, from scratch, to order. “That’s why so often the drinks take longer than the food to prepare,” our waiter explained as the ladies received their first beverage.
The first cocktail, called a Raspberry Smash, was a concoction of Slane Irish Whiskey, fresh mint, house- made sweet & sour, and freshly crushed raspberries. You can’t even taste the whiskey... “A nice summer drink; very fresh,” offered Deanna. Marlene argued that, “It’s healthy!” I mean, raspberries and mint really should be on our daily intake lists, anyway.
These were gone by the time the first appetizer came out shortly thereafter. Trust, you’ve never had calamari like The Standard’s Crispy Calamarie before! Long strips of the cephalopod are fried, then sautéed with jalapeños and slices of white onion, and served with spicy cocktail sauce. “Oh, this is interesting,” Hediah observed with enjoyment. Fork and knife are required for this one.
Speaking of oceanic creatures lead Donna to ask the gals about favorite vacations, which surprisingly revealed that this is a rather adventurous group. Between skydiving, parasailing, bungee jumping, zip lining, snorkeling, backpacking, mountain climbing, and motorcycle riding, these women have cumulatively done everything, and have been all over the world in the process. How Laurie managed to maintain her perfectly wild curls under a helmet during a cross-country Harley-Davidson trip was beyond everyone’s comprehension... “The trick is to not use product! Otherwise the sweat from your head reactivates it and makes your hair flat when you take off the helmet.” We have been enlightened!
Hands-down, the Southwest Egg Rolls were the favorite nibbler of the evening. Filled with avocado, corn, black beans, pico de gallo, and cilantro, they are cut on the bias and accompanied by an ancho-chipotle sauce. “These are fantastic; a great small bite,” mused Cherry of the fried goodness.
As stunning as it was delicious, the CocoMelon cocktail struck the ladies with its dual-coloring and sugared rim. Watermelon liqueur rests on the bottom, while a blend of coconut rum, pineapple juice, and house-made sweet & sour float on top. “It’s neat that you can enjoy it as-is, or stir it up for an entirely different flavor profile,” offered Marlene in reference to blending the mixers.
A close second favorite were the Asian Lettuce Wraps, though they are a bit of a trick to eat. “I don’t care—they are totally worth it,” professed Laurie. Butter lettuce cups are filled with grilled marinated chicken breast, water chestnuts, shredded carrots, cilantro, green onions, and puffed rice noodles, with a Thai peanut sauce drizzle.
Looking for a new place to celebrate Taco Tuesday? Hit up The Standard; their Mini Grilled Tacos are on promo for a mere $1 apiece. Soft corn tortillas hold a mixture of grilled chicken and bacon, and are then topped with lettuce, cilantro, and pico de gallo. “I’ll definitely take another one of those!” Amber declared with enthusiasm. The shredded marinated chicken manages to retain enough spicy juice to satisfy your heat craving.
Similar in styling to the Raspberry Smash, the Strawberry Basil Lemonade is deceptive because it tastes simply like a more refined version of the quintessential summertime thirst-quencher. “So refreshing; that’s dangerous!” laughed Deanna. Citrus Vodka and house-made sweet & sour are muddled with fresh strawberries and basil; the protruding basil leaf and lemon slice garnish is a festive touch. Last out was the Tempura Shrimp with Sweet & Spicy Sauce, which was yet another hit with the girls. The sauce is what makes these crispy shrimp skewers special; it’s got a kick, but it is also served steaming-hot. “I like that the tempura is moist, yet crisp,” Amber said, and everyone agreed. Rein in your enthusiasm and let them cool off a smidgen, or you’ll burn your mouth...like we did.
By the end of the evening, the Realty Concepts ladies had convinced CVLUX’s Editor in Chief, David Manning, to come with them on their next trip to San Francisco—not that he required much persuasion. “I put the ‘fun’ in functional!” he declared with an accompanied laugh. The girls had all their plastic surgery questions answered, and Cherry was so taken with the floral arrangement that she took it home with her. All in all, it was a lovely evening spent with lovelier people, made even better by great appetizers and drinks.
Hosted At The Standard
Managing Editor Lauren Barisic
Photographer Don Dizon
Florals Simply Flowers