MAD MEAT GENIUS

MAD MEAT GENIUS
Chilebrown at home

Saturday, October 23, 2021

BLACK STAR PIRATE BBQ

 

We are on a wild journey to Black Star Pirate BBQ. I do mean journey. The location is somewhat of a challenge to navigate. One must drive into the Richmond San Rafael Bridge toll lanes and take the last exit before hitting the bridge. You then drive through a historic abandoned Navel fuel depot. You think you have hit a dead end and there is a sign pointing up a narrow, steep winding road. Carefully navigate this road and at the top you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Point San Pablo harbor. You still need to be careful making your way down the winding road to the large parking lot. We have arrived.


This is a working harbor that has a lot of history. Nearby was a whaling station. I used to go fishing from this harbor on charter fishing boats. When you get out of your car you will notice whimsical art installations. You will see the entrance to Black Star Pirate BBQ by the colorful sign. I immediately get a 60’s type vibe with the colors and flower child themed decoration.  There is a sign board with the menu and a hostess to take your order. Once your order is placed you have a choice of seats indoors or out. The inside is a very old coffee shop that is very busy with employee activities. There are numerous seating arrangements outside. This place is set up to handle a crowd. There is a stage for music. Most seats have a view of the Bay and the harbor. It is a fun and scenic way to eat your meal.




I ordered ribs, brisket and it came with my choice of sides; mushrooms, cole slaw and beans. It was delivered on a cafeteria type tray. It looked spectacular. One eats with their eyes first and I loved it before I even took a bite. I started with the ribs. They were not trimmed of excess fat. The rib had a crisp crust of seasoning and fat. I am not even mad. I took a bite and out oozed some of some of the most heavenly pork fat that has ever existed to mankind. WoW!. They were fall off the bone and I tasted a real pork flavor. I wonder if this was some heritage breed of pork. The brisket was very tender with deep beef flavor. It was seasoned very well and was very enjoyable. These meats were served with a generic bbq sauce but it was not needed



The sides were hitting on all garlic cylinders. I love mushrooms and these were rich and full of garlic. The assortment of beans was tender, rich and satisfying. Again, a garlic theme was present. Maybe I had achieved garlic overload but the Cole slaw may have had a kiss of the stinking rose. 


Overall Black Star Pirate BBQ is a destination restaurant. Be prepared for a drive and rewarded with a fun dining experience. This is not competition bbq but who cares when the food is passionately made with great results. The grounds are fun, making for a most enjoyable meal.  I hope for success for Black Star Pirate BBQ.


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

BELCAMPO........CLOSED


I was just informed by an alert reader that Belcampo has shuttered their restaurants and meat markets. Belcampo is not a victim of the pandemic but of SCANDAL Accusations that go back as far as May infer the company sold meat cuts by other purveyors and labeled them as their own. Meat that was cornfed raised by traditional methods and bought for 10 dollars a pound was then resold as grass-fed Belcampo meat. It was then resold for 47 dollars a pound. Co-founder Anya Fernald claimed this was an isolated incident and the Santa Monica store did not follow protocols for sourcing products and failed to inform customers on the true origins of the meat products. This was fraud and went against all the principles that Belcamp claimed they stood for.
  I have mixed feelings about the closure. The concept of Belcampo was farm to table using sustainable farming practices. They charged a premium price to participate in their philosophy and products. One has to applaud and appreciate the business model. The line was crossed by possible greed. R.I.P. Belcampo

 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

LIVERMORE BUTCHER SHOP

 


This was an unplanned Meat Adventure but when the opportunity knocks one must seize the moment. I actually was at the Livermore Farmers Market and I parked a block away from the Livermore Butcher Shop. This was a nice local butcher for the people of Livermore. It is a small shop but packed full of meaty delights. There was a lot of employees present to handle any rush of customers. When I walked through the doors I was a little blown away by the selection of meats and accompaniments. The left refrigerator case started with house made sausages.. Moving counter clockwise the nest two cases had various cuts of premium pork, beef and lamb. The final separate refrigerator was dedicated to game.


Mustards, sauces, oils and vinegars aligned the busy shop shelves in the center of the store. It was a little overwhelming because there were so many food items that caught my eye. I initially scanned the refrigerator cases, then the condiment selection and repeated. My instincts brought me to the house made sausage case. Now I had to decide which flavor out of  almost a dozen diffenrent flavors. The clerk was patient answering my questions.


I ultimately chose an Italian sausage and a Southwestern sausage. The Southwestern pork sausage is pictured. It had mild chile and cheese throughout. It was spiced with cumin, oregano, cilantro and various other spices. It had a very comforting and warm (not pepper hot) flavor. Ms. Goofy complimented the snap of the casing.
  We will return to Livermore Butcher Shop to explore more of their meat offerings. I was pleasantly surprised and not prepared for this meat adventure. I could return for just the selection of mustards they carry. The locals are lucky to have the Livermore Butcher Shop. 








Monday, October 11, 2021

GREAT Q JUST AHEAD


 This Mad Meat Genius attended the Blade Show West in Long Beach California this weekend. I stayed in the Swanky Hyatt right across from the Convention Center. Across the street was a bunch of chain restaurants which included “Q Smokehouse”. It was a no brainer to walk across the street and give it a try. Walking through the door my senses were assaulted with BBQ kitsch. It reminded me of a Famous Dave’s. I actually kind of like it. It is fun and puts one in the mood to be delighted. I was seated immutably.


The menu had the 4 meats represented. Brisket and pulled pork with beans and slaws was my choice today. It was delivered on a paper lined cafeteria tray. The presentation was very nice showing the kitchen took pride in their food. I dug in and was pleasantly surprised. This offering of bbq meat and sides was actually pretty good. The meats were not competition style but I was not expecting that either. The brisket was a tad dry but slathered in the sweet house brand sauces made for a beefy treat. The sides were good with the cornbread winning this round. It was cakelike, warm and delightful. Smokehouse Q was a good choice for dinner. It hit on a lot of cylinders. Do not expect competition bbq but expect to have fun and a decent enjoyable bbq meal.


Sunday, October 3, 2021

PIG JIG

 

Ms. Goofy and I were doing our happy dance in anticipation of the "Pig Jig" bbq competition to be held in San Jose California. BBQ competitions are few and far between these last several years and it is a joyous occasion to break out our judges badges. Today's competition was a fundraiser for the NephCure Kidney International organization. The teams were all corporate sponsored. We did see a couple professional cooks today but it was all for a good cause. Let's get right into the competition. Ribs , tri-tip and a very fun third category called; "Wild Card". Be prepared to become hungry.












 
















Yes, it was crazy. Squid to cheesecake made for some very interesting and tasty treats for the judges. Did I mention we did have some traditional bbq ribs. Each corporate team had their decorated cook site. They would offer food and swag to all participants. This event was not open to the public. One must be on a team or a donor to get an invitation to this event. There was live music, bouncy things for kids, ice cream trucks, photo booths and even an axe throwing venue.









 












What a great day for fun, sun, bbq, and a category Wild Card that impressed. We left with a full belly and big smiles on our faces. It is always nice to know the day was dedicated to a good cause. 



 


























 


Wednesday, September 29, 2021

STRIKE....LANE 33 CAFE

 


Who would of thunk to serve Mexican food at a bowling alley café? The Napa Bowl did at their Lane 33 Café. We found about about this hidden gem from a local news rag. (online; a virtual rag). We live fairly close and decided to give it a try.


  I have not been in a bowling alley in years. I have very fond memories of bowling as a youth. The first memory trigger was a distinct aroma of a bowling alley. It smells of lane oil, years of tobacco smoke and possibly dirty socks/shoes. The bowling alley was fairly crowded for a Tuesday at noon. The cafe is located at lane 33 in a separate room adjacent the lanes. They do have an entrance from the parking lot too.


The cafe is also a step back into a bygone era. A small counter with stool seats overlooking a flat top grill brings back memories of a fry cook slinging hash. The tables are old as so the décor but it is a comforting feeling. You order from the counter. They have burgers and sandwiches but they have been praised for the Mexican faire. I ordered chileverde with house made tortillas and Ms. Goofy a burritos with the pork filling.


The meal was served promptly. Paper plates and plastic utensils were offered for these very plain comforting dishes. Nothing about this dish sang praises to the Chileverde gods, but what it delivered was a comforting meal. Everything was well seasoned, The pork was very tender. The chile was mild and not real assertive. The house made tortillas was masa heaven. Bonus points are awarded for these soft corn pillows of joy.

   Lane 33 Cafe is a nice nostalgic cafe located in a fun location and if we ever decide to go bowling, we will definitely will return. 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

PIE WAGON

 


This sign teased me just like I am going to tease you. There was no pie sold by this food truck advertisement at the Mare Island Pedalfest. You could buy beer only from this truck. It was located at Mare Island California at a fun bike race we attended.




They actually did not even sell the beer at this truck because we were there before opening hours. The Pedalfest was held at the Mare Island Brewery. It is located in a repurposed Navel Shipyard. There was a lot of history at this location. There was a fun bike race but no beer or pie.