Shake + Stir
Hosted at Heirloom
Heirloom’s much-anticipated grand opening took place at the beginning of February, yet its line to order still extends out the front door. CVLUX’s Donna Ensom hosted Annie Harris, Shannon Bigham, Darci Tatarian, Toby Petrocelli, and Kristen Deathridge for Shake+Stir’s twelfth edition, held at the high-top communal table in the middle of the establishment. Luke, Heirloom’s ace bartender, demonstrated his craft and efficiency by presenting one of Heirloom’s striking signature cocktails as everyone sat down to a vast spread offering something for every taste and culinary preference.
While the menu evolves daily, patrons can always count on farm-to-table ingredients and a variety wide enough to accommodate everyone from foodies to picky eaters—yes, even your kids have options…healthy ones! Because Heirloom is all about the culinary experience rooted in local abundance.
“Slow Food Fast” is the motto owners Brandon Smittcamp and Rema and Kevin Koligian strove to embody with the creation of Heirloom. Their brainchild, coupled with Head Chef Justin Shannon’s ingenuity for seasonally derived dishes, resulted in a farm-driven, casually upscale eatery.
Polished wood, exposed shelving, marble, and iron accents embody the modern farmhouse décor throughout—pops of bright color give the establishment a contemporary vibe that fits seamlessly within Heirloom’s model of freshness.
The restaurant is located in the Park Crossing Shopping Center at Friant Road and Fresno Street in northern Fresno. Full service is available at the bar, but you will more than likely need to stand in line for counter service before navigating self-seating—your food will be delivered to your table. Heads up: there are no reservations! Doors open for lunch at 11 a.m. everyday, and dinner is available until 9 o’clock Monday through Saturday and until 8 on Sunday evenings.
That first drink out was called the Kiwi Down Under. “This is the green drink that’s not that bad for you,” Luke explained with a laugh. Everyone wanted to know where the spice in the pale green concoction comes from. It’s celery juice, mixed with Buddha’s Hand Vodka (an Heirloom Infusion) and kiwi. And “it’s surprisingly refreshing,” admitted Darci.
Infusions (infused liquors) are one of Heirloom’s cocktail trademarks, and can be found in nearly all of their craft cocktails. Or you can select one (Mandarin Tequila, Vanilla Rum, Buddha’s Hand Vodka, White Guava Vodka, Pear Whiskey, or Meyer Lemon Gin) to pair with a selection of recommended mixers.
Roasted garlic and jalapeños, parmesan cheese, and lemon juice adorn the Grilled Oysters, which David, CVLUX’s Editor in Chief, professed to be his favorite dish of the night. “It’s blended with great spices!” Kristen mused. If you aren’t an oyster fan, these are a promising effort at conversion.
Another wood-fired feature, the Grilled Artichoke (obviously Californian) utilizes olive oil breadcrumbs and lemon parmesan dressing. Annie kept going back for more! Halved and charred to perfection, they are delightful alone, but the accompanying duo of sauces will jazz up the bud leaves even more.
Drop The Beet is one of Heirloom’s unconventional, seasonal Farm Stand Salads. Fire-roasted beets nest in goat cheese labneh, then are topped with sumac onions, bulgur, citrus supremes, leafy greens, roasted pistachios, and a drizzle of citrus vinaigrette. “I was already a beet fan, but these are prepared in a fun new way—I really appreciated the newness,” Annie told the group.
The Mediterranean salad, by contrast, is presented in a slaw-like fashion. Kristen liked “the shredded texture” composed of cabbage and kale. Chickpeas, za’atar roasted sweet potatoes, cucumber, feta, and falafel croutons are then tossed in a tahini dressing.
Decidedly the favorite cocktail of the evening, the La Paloma is an easy sipper. Toby put it best: “You can drink it all day long!” Perfectly pink, blanco tequila is shaken with wild elderflower liqueur, ruby red grapefruit juice, and soda water—it’s spring on the rocks.
Salmon fans will rejoice in the Fennel Crusted Salmon. “The crust is what makes it!” Shannon elaborated. The fish is seared with Meyer lemon and browned butter, then served with butternut squash ravioli, roasted mushrooms, and celery root.
The Popcorn Cauliflower options will amaze you the most. A gluten-free menu selection, the florets are coated with crispy brown rice tempura before flavorings are added. “This is the dish that surprised me the most—you know it isn’t chicken, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it is cauliflower,” explained Shannon. The Cashew option highlights candied cashews amidst honey cashew sauce, cilantro, and toasted sesame seeds. The Buffalo option is tossed in its namesake spice and served with blue cheese dressing. You can’t go wrong with either.
What makes the Seasonal Wedge different is the toppings. Baby iceberg serves as the base, and the traditional bacon and blue cheese dressing (featuring Point Reyes brand) are present. The addition of marinated red onions, watercress, broccoli, radishes, and crispy onions makes it a whole new ball game…ahem, salad. But remember that topping additions will alter. Nevertheless, “It’s delicious!” exclaimed Darci. “I’d absolutely order this again,” Toby concurred.
Order the Lavender Bubble Bath if you’re a bourbon fan. A blend of Italian amaro (made from artichokes), Kentucky bourbon, and French lavender water has a refreshing allure despite being a traditionally cold-weather spirit. “The lavender is delightful,” mused Kristen. You’ll feel transported to the Kentucky Derby with only a sip.
Speaking of travel, the ladies couldn’t help but share their excitement for upcoming summer trips—Vegas was a popular destination, and an affinity for seeing the United States immerged. Yet despite a yearning to go, everyone agreed that their homes are their favorite place to be. When Donna asked everyone to share their favorite room, the ladies revealed that food and drink was part of why they made their picks: being in the kitchen, coffee in bed, snacks in the family room, dinner on the patio—we create memories and routines around food. No matter your culinary preference or dinning style, Heirloom has found a way to transcend a number of typecasts in a way that unites its guests over the bounty of the season.