Sunday, March 26, 2017
Welcome to the 2017 competitive barbeque season. Our first stop is the Sam's Club in Reno, Nevada for a qualifying round of the Sam's Club National BBQ Tour. We had to winterize the Racing Honda for possible snow on our journey. Our idea of winterizing is to leave a day early and avoid the forecast of snow flurries. It did rain on Friday of the contest but the skies parted to create a beautiful crisp Saturday full of bbq bliss. It also was a wonderful time reconnecting with our friends in the bbq community.
Thirty teams brought out the heavy arsenal to qualify for the next round in this national contest. We noticed quit a few R.V.s protecting the competitors from the elements. The cooks had their game faces on today because of the high stakes involved of 500,000 dollars. Ms. Goofy and I polished our judging badges because we were ready to sample and score some of the best bbq in the nation.
After our judging duties were completed we got to visit with some of the cooks. We had a little time to spare before the award ceremony. As you may see these two families were very happy to learn that they qualified for the next round to be held in Las Vegas.
Congratulations to "Loot N' Booty" for winning the Grand Championship. This was a wonderful way to start out the 2017 competitive bbq season. In closing, I did want to leave you with this thought; Man does not live on bbq alone. (Harrah's Steakhouse)
Monday, March 20, 2017
This past Christmas I received Fat Cat Cranberry Habanero Relish as a gift through a secret Santa program. My benefactor was the owner of Fat Cat Gourmet Foods. I have been anxiously waiting to sample this cranberry/habanero relish. I believe it will go perfect with our barbequed turkey breast. We are no strangers to the Fat Cat line-up of hot sauces because we have reviewed them in the past with very favorable results. Have a seat and let’s have a March Madness Turkey and Fat Cat Cranberry Habanero Relish celebration.
Cane sugar, orange juice, cranberries, orange zest, habanero peppers and orange liqueur are the listed ingredients. I like this short and sweet ingredient list. This sauce should highlight some great flavors.
Aroma & Texture:
A thick and chunky relish screams; Thanksgiving is about to begin. The top is removed to release a pleasant symphony of aroma. We soak in the smell of fruit with citrus notes. There is a hint of pepper in this tune.
Cranberry tart and tang start to dance on the tip of your tongue to begin this relish journey. Before you begin to pucker Mr. Habanero says hello with a pleasant warming sensation. Orange zest and orange liquor join in to give this the holiday combination of flavors we all enjoy. The cranberry pucker never comes to fruition because of the calming and balance delivered by the sugar. This is one Fantastic flavorful relish. All the ingredients have separate distinct flavor profiles but meld together in perfect harmony.
The heat level was perfectly warming but not punishing. The heat level meter will tip to two stars out of five.
We cooked a turkey breast in one of our barbeques. This was the perfect protein to test our relish. We can proclaim Thanksgiving bliss. This relish delivered exactly what we wanted and more. Sweet, tart, citrusy and a gentle warming made this relish not only compliment but possibly the star of our meal. I found myself taking spoonful’s of relish with a little piece of turkey instead of vice versa.
Aunt Agnes relish from the can will be banished forever from our Thanksgiving table. Fat Cat Cranberry Habanero Relish will be in our pantry from now on. This relish brings a spark to the table. It is a wonderful combination of flavors. The habanero flavor and heat brings excitement to a once traditional but boring condiment. The combination of tart/perky cranberries with citrus, peppers and then all balanced with the perfect complement of sweetness. This relish is not just for Thanksgiving anymore. It will go perfect with grilled or roasted chicken. I am tempted to just have it on toast. We proudly give Fat Cranberry Habanero Relish a enthusiastic thumbs up. We love it.
Fat Cat Foods
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Friday, March 10, 2017
It is getting close to that time of year to break our your shillelagh and four leaf clovers because we have spotted Snake River Farms corned beef at the big warehouse store. We love to buy a couple of these corned round steaks (verses corned brisket). They freeze very well if you do not eat them right away. A purge of clear water to remove excess salt is the only preparation before smoking. A 5 hour sauna of apple & hickory wood at 275 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees is all she wrote. It does not get any better.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Last February was a celebration of my glorious birthday month. This celebration was entitled; 'My Big Fat Birthday Month' celebration. To our pleasant surprise we have discovered if you sign on to some restaurants mailing lists they will send you invitations for free birthday meals. Black Bear Diner wanted to gift me a free breakfast in honor of my birthday month. To be honest, I have never been to a Black Bear Diner. Ms. Goofy has been several time and claims they have a very good eggs Benedict. Let's go redeem our free breakfast.
We arrive to our destination and I am not sure if we have come to a diner our a kids theme park. The outside did have a fun vibration with its roller coaster bears. Inside was an extension of this lively bear jamboree. They even have a gift shop to purchase stuffed bears, t-shirts and even hot sauces. (more on the hot sauces later). Our waitress was pleasant and prompt. My free breakfast included eggs, waffle, and choice of meat. Ms. Goofy took the free breakfast and I ordered a steak. I asked to sub the potatoes for biscuits and gravy. Our waitress informed us that I could have biscuits and gravy included with all of the other sides. She warned us that these were big plates. To be healthy I ordered the fruit cup instead of hash browns.
The waitress was not kidding when she warned us of big plates. They were ginormous. Everything looked fantastic. My steak ordered medium rare came more mooing than medium but still was very decent. This was a lumberjack meal that quantity may have trumped quality. This was an exercise in carbo loading. Everything that was served to us was decent and filling. One little side note are the hot sauces.
Three hot sauces are offered at the table and the gift shop for purchase. Baby Burn, Mama Burn, and of course Papa Burn are the titles of these pepper concoctions. The theme of these sauces was very sweet with a pepper finish. The Mama burn had a nice chipotle smoky flavor. The Papa Burn was sweet with a habanero kick to say good morning. I personally thought this was a nice touch to our meal. These sauces like our meal were decent but not spectacular.
Thankyou Black Bear Diner for the Birthday breakfast. Black Bear Diner is a fun bear themed diner that have numerous locations. The meals here are huge and lumberjackish. Our service was great. Black Bear Diner is exactly what you expect. Maybe we will return next year to observe; My Big Fat Birthday Month celebration.
Friday, March 3, 2017
Bacon, pulled pork and brisket are some of my very favorite meats. Put them all on a pizza with some bbq sauce and you have a Smokehouse pizza. I was given a heads up on this creation from a fellow bbq competitor/judge; Jon. Jon is also a competitive eater, so he knows his food. We gave it a try and were pleasantly surprised. I do not think this would win any competitions but it was pretty tasty. It was also cheap at nine dollars for a whole pie. They sure pushed all my right buttons.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Ms. Goofy and I celebrated our anniversary and my birthday the other night at the Ruth Chris Steakhouse. Yes, we got married on my birthday. Mama didn’t raise no fool. We had a nice diner with good food and service to match. (?). The question mark will be addressed later. The food was very good evident by this 19 ounce bone-in USDA Prime New York strip steak. We are not reviewing our dining experience today but will expound on a couple of observations.
The first is the dress code. Ruth Chris is a high dollar steak house. One has certain expectations. It is nice to dress for the occasion and Ruth Chris advertises a dress code. We dressed in our fancy duds expecting the same by other diners. This was not the case. This particular Ruth Chris totally ignores their stated dress code of business casual. We were surrounded by two tables of Gentlemen wearing t-shirts and jeans. One patron’s jeans even had holes for everyone to witness. His son was wearing a beanie and could have possibly been in a ‘gansta rap’ video. Do I sound jaded. I have not even started.
My next and final rant or observation is my beloved crumb sweeper. As some of you may know I take great pleasure in watching and experiencing the art of crumb sweeping. The dinner is winding down and the entre is complete. The waiter clears the table to create a clean slate for possible dessert and or after dinner drinks. There is one task that needs to be done to complete this scenario; ‘The Crumb Sweeper”. Our waiter had an assistant who helped with the dining experience. He was pleasant enough and professional. The table was cleared and he reached into his pocket for an implement of crumb sweeping. He had a special fine tooth comb that was made for this all important chore. He reached down to the table without even glancing and painted a figure eight pattern with his crumb sweeping comb. Now you know I had strategically left some wayward crumbs for my own amusement. I was scorned by our server’s callous and weak attempt at crumb removal. He did not look or care but gave us a perfunctory crumb swipe. I was disappointed.
This was not meant to be a review. We did like the food and the service was good. Should you rate a restaurant on the enforcement of a dress code and a crumb sweeper’s performance? I have and probably will not return to Ruth Chris Steakhouse..