Monday, March 19, 2018
A little known secret of the U.C. Davis college is their Meat Sciences Lab meat market. The Department of Animal Services runs a functioning meat market that is open Thursday and Friday afternoons. This allows the public to purchase some of the best meat around for reasonable prices.The students raise different breeds of animals and process them all in the name of academia. We made a stop and purchased a really nice pork loin roast. Grab a fork and let's cook dinner.
This was a small 2.5 pound wrapped and tied pork loin roast. It was seasoned and browned in a skillet over high heat. We then took some raw rice, vegetables, chicken stock and formed a bed in a skillet to cradle the browned roast for a braising in a 350 degree oven. In about an hour the internal temperature of the roast reached 145 degrees. It was removed and allowed to rest for 10 minutes. The string was removed and the roast carved. It smelled fantastic.
I am a little hesitant to tell you about the U.C. Davis Meat Labs because it is such a fantastic place to buy meat. This pork had real old fashioned pork flavor. It was not your bland Wally World cut of pork. The roast was so tender and moist. The rice that had received the pork drippings was an added bonus in this satisfying meal. You can actually place an order at the U.C. Davis Meat Labs if you want to buy a larger amount. We are taking advantage of this and will be returning this Thursday. Stay tuned.
Saturday, March 17, 2018
There was a green beer sighting at the Galileo Club last night. We had a pre-St. Patrick's day celebration Italian style. This celebration included a Bocce Ball tournament with plenty of refreshments (green beer optional) and concluded with a corn beef dinner to satisfy all competitors. Ms. Goofy and I participated in the activities minus the green beer. I think anyone that is familiar with celebrating St. Pat's day has their green beer story and I will spare you mine.
You may wonder what makes this celebration Italian style besides the Bocce Ball tournament? My answer to that is the buffet line included a green tinted pesto pasta dish lined with Brussell sprouts. The traditional offerings of cabbage, potatoes and carrots were available too. They also had plain yellow mustard which is a must have item for corned beef. Of course I had to bring my German Lowensenf mustard from home which has a mean spice kick that is not for the faint of heart.
Below the green tinted pesto past is pictured with broccoli rabe next to it. I actually tried one Brussel sprout and it was very decent in a vegetable kind of way. We did have dessert of pistachio pudding, fruit platter and a florescent bright green vanilla pudding. I will spare you the image and just tell you it tasted better than it looked.
This was a fun way to celebrate St. Patricks Day eve and we have a full belly to prove it. We are really looking forward to next week when we will be traveling south to SoCal to participate in our first barbeque contest of the year. It will be held right smack in the middle of the Santa Anita Race track. Stay tuned.
Monday, March 5, 2018
Our barbeque judge friend Lori asked me the question; have you seen the Kettle Brand Chile Verde flavored potato chips? No I had not but I went right out and bought a bag. Lori knows I am on a quest to find the best Chile Verde ever and Kettle Chips are fair game. You know I do not do a lot of shopping except for meat products, so I got a little sticker shock when I paid 4 bucks for this 8.5 ounce bag. In the name of research for Mad Meat Genius readers no expense is spared. Let’s give them a try.
I will spare you the whole ingredient list but a couple of standouts are green bell pepper powder, chili powder, jalapeno powder and the usual suspects for a Kettle style ship. The aroma of the opened bag is familiar of potato chips of a fried oily aroma. I grab a couple of chips and chomp away hoping to experience green chile bliss. I am not going to lie, I was disappointed. If I had done a blind taste test I would not be able to identify any chile flavor. Was there any heat to speak off? There was a mild and I mean mild warming sensation that was disappointing. Dissapointing seems to be the theme of this review. This is good Kettle Style Potato chip and they are addicting but the Chile Verde flavor must have been left back at the marketing department.
Saturday, March 3, 2018
My Big Fat Birthday Month Celebration is over but is it?. Ms. Goofy gifted me the most wonderful box of American Wagyu Black Grade Tomahawk Snakes from Snake River Farms. Oh my! She knows what I like. This is a 2.5 pound rib-eye steak with a huge bone to mimic a tomahawk. It is also some of the best beef available comprising of the Black Grade American Wagyu beef. This grade is higher than USDA Prime. It has been wet aged for 21plus days. Needless to say they are very expensive and sought after by chefs and beef connoisseurs such as myself. We are going to cook one tonight.
I always have a little anxiety when cooking such a prize piece of beef. I want everything to turn out perfect. We used our new Weber kettle for tonight's cook. A large chimney full of charcoal briquettes was lit and placed on one side of the kettle. We wanted two cooking zones. A direct and indirect side would be used. This fire was smokin' hot. The steak was placed on the direct side of the grill which immediately produced flames because of the very high marbling fat content of this steak. The steak was seared, then placed on the indirect side and covered with the kettle lid. Another 10 minutes of cooking until the temperature reached 115. We wanted to serve this steak medium rare on the rare side. After a 10 minute rest we feasted on some of the best steak ever.
This was a steak to remember. Ms. Goofy knows how to treat her man. How can I describe the lusciousness, savory flavor of this beef. The fat has an almost buttery quality to it. Serving this steak at medium rare on the rare side guaranteed the tenderness of this cut. Every bite was an invitation of craving for the next morsel. It was almost a religious experience. I hope that each and everyone of you someday tries this American Wagyu Black Grade Tomahawk steak. I am dreaming about cooking the second steak from my gift box which is taking a brief nap in the Chilebrown Ice Cave.
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
It is time to celebrate our birthday/anniversary and we love a good steakhouse. Our barbeque friend Kevin has been shouting praises about Original Joe’s for a while. Now there are four different Original Joe’s in the Bay Area that I know of. This one is located in downtown San Jose right near the convention center. This Original Joe’s opened in the 60’s and has survived the transformation of downtown San Jose. Downtown San Jose has been revitalized to host many trendy restaurants and nightclubs. The San Jose Sharks ice hockey team plays in the arena right around the corner. Parking Karma was turned off today and we parked in the Convention Center which was a brisk 10 minute walk away.
We entered into a packed restaurant for a Tuesday evening. The server told us it was a 15 minute wait and it was. Original Joe’s has a old time feel to it. The lighting is low and you notice right away the waiters are dressed in dinner jackets. There is counter seating to watch the kitchen do its magic. Wooden table are surrounded by low booths that to me resemble an upscale type coffee house. There is a separate bar area which was also busy with diners and cocktail enthusiasts. The service was quick and efficient. Our waiter did not write anything down when he took our order and that always worries me a little bit. Not to worry because our meal was delivered with accuracy.
Let’s just start with the end of our meal. We enjoyed it. Everything was good and plentiful. The 18 ounce New York strip steak was cooked to medium rare as requested. Ms. Goofy had a huge hub cap of veal parmesan that no way was she going to finish even with my help. The raviolis were soft and pillow like with a ton of sauce. Sure I can nitpick about the salad lettuce leaves not cut to bite size pieces and the steak being under seasoned. Sure I can say the marinara sauce for the ravioli was pedestrian and too plentiful and the mushrooms needed some salt but I won’t. This was an old fashioned meal that may have been stuck in the 60’s era that customers expect and love from Original Joe’s.
We really enjoyed eating at and experiencing Original Joe’s of San Jose. It is nice to experience a feeling and vibration of the past. Original Joe’s is that culinary journey down memory lane. I am glad this restaurant has survived and there is a reason for it. This was a wonderful way to celebrate our birthday/anniversary.
Sunday, February 25, 2018
I love asparagus, but not at nine dollars a pound. Spring is right around the corner. A good indicator is when the farmers market has locally grown asparagus. The end of February and the beginning of March these luscious spears of spring arrive announcing the warmer weather to come. We visited the Marin Farmers Market this morning and found some of the very first asparagus. To my shock it was priced at nine dollars a pound. It is time to draw the line. Maybe somebody will pay that but not I. We opted for some very sweet shelling peas. They will go perfect with the corned beef we are smoking as I type. Spring is almost here.
P.S. Not done yet but close.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
We are visiting “Augie’s Montreal Deli during their inaugural opening week. The specialties are smoked brisket, turkey and poutine. Below is some information about Augies from the webstie.. They are located in a former industrial area of West Berkeley California. I only mention this because it is not a place you would casually drive by. Parking Karma worked today because we parked right in front. (See Note below). We walked through the door to a packed house with ice hockey on the television. A menu was on the wall with a counter to order at. The line moved fairly quick and we were cheerfully greeted by the owner Lex.
“Augie’s Montreal Deli is a Canadian family deli specializing in Montreal Smoked Meat (beef) and Montreal Smoked turkey sandwiches, Quebecois poutine (french fries smothered in cheese curds and St. Hubert gravy), home-made Polish dill pickles, and other Canadian comfort food favorites.Montreal smoke (or smoked) meat is a cured beef brisket with the spice of pastrami and the crumbly texture of corned beef. We naturally cure each brisket, hand rub with our traditional spice blend, then smoke them with hard woods and bake for 8 hours. We serve authentic poutine using St Hubert poutine sauce imported from Canada, and real deal squeaky cheese curds from Oakdale California. It’s the way that the good people of La Belle Province (a.k.a. Quebec) intended poutine to be.” (horked from Augies website)
We were there to try the smoked meat. They did offer smoked turkey but we opted for the Montreal beef brisket. Lex told me it is cured and smoked at a co-packer in Redding Ca. with his special recipe. It is steamed and sliced at Augies for meals. We also ordered an order of poutine. This was a first for Ms. Goofy. It does have all her favorite ingredients of cheese, fry’s and gravy. This version had some of the smoked meat added too. We were also told on the cuff that the gravy was from Canada as a comfort element. You know it is “All about the gravy Mang”.
Even though the house was packed we were served right away. The sandwich was large and looked fantastic. I pulled it slightly apart to sample the meat. It was tender and would pass any barbeque judge pull test. The flavor had a pastrami type spices and flavor with just a hint of smoke. The beef flavor was mild and what I liked was it was not overly salty as some cured meats can be. I put my sandwich back together with an added a dollop of spicy mustard. Oh yes, this was a sandwich to sink your teeth into. It was served with a very sour house cured pickle that complimented the rich cured beef. I ate the whole thing and then scooted over to help Ms. Goofy with her poutine.
The poutine was comfort food to the maximum. The gravy was salty and rich which covered extra crispy fries. The cheese curds do not have a lot of flavor but add a texture element and more fill to this very filling dish. The added bonus was little slices of the Montreal beef. Ms. Goofy loved it as I did. I will admit the gravy put it over the top yummy.
I still had room for a slice of cheesecake. Oh I almost forgot the Canadian chocolate bars they have for sale. My mother originally was from Canada and we would visit relatives up north. As a child, I remembered the Coffee Crisp candy bars more than the relatives. You cannot buy these candy bars here in the states at least on the West Coast. This touch added many bonus points to our meal. This concluded our inaugural visit of Augies and we were full and happy. We shall return. Leave your money at home because they only accept plastic which is definitely a new one for me.
Note: There are a dozen spots located right in front of Augies and lots of other parking nearby. The only problem is all this parking is signed for the various other retail businesses’ with posted warning signs that if you park in this spot and you are not a customer you will be towed. I am not sure how strict they are in enforcement and I care not to find out. I did notice they were removing a couple of these signs as we were leaving so this may not be a problem.