I do like pie. We were on our way home and the Redding Farmers Market was a welcome pit/pie stop. This is a small farmers market with several local farmers. This women bakes home made pies and breads. They are mini pies. So many flavors made choosing the crumb apple a hard decision. In hindsight I should of bought several other flavors like peach, pecan and rhubarb. I do like pie.
Sunday, August 18, 2019
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
'My father would probably turn over in his grave if he knew I paid ten dollars for a cup of ‘Joe’. I did pay 10 dollars at an elite ‘Starbucks Reserve Bar” coffee house for a single cup of coffee. These are not the same stores that you see on every other corner but a special house that serves their premium Starbucks Reserve brand coffee; In their words; “Starbucks Reserve is a selection of the rarest, most extraordinary coffees Starbucks has to offer. It’s where we push our own boundaries of craft, developing a unique roast for each individual lot before experimenting with coffee as an art form”. I do like a good cup of coffee so let’s give it a try.
There are only three Bay Area locations of the Starbucks Reserve Bar and we are in the tony town of Danville California. I almost drove by because the recognizable logo and familiar Starbucks features were not visible from the front of the building. I walked into a warm, comfortable, modern setting. The first thing I saw was the “Siphon” machine. This was going to be a new coffee experience.
Starbucks has a line-up of coffee beans that is trademarked “Starbucks Reserve” These are beans that are rare, roasted daily, small farmed and with limited availability. The menu has different ways of brewing these said beans. There is a ‘pour over’, and the signature ‘Clover’ machine which is a type of industrial ‘French Press” This store also has a unique way of brewing called the ‘Siphon”. I ordered, by the recommendation of the clerk, a cup of Malawi Sable Farms. (Subtle citrus with hints of cedar and ginger accents). This was going to be made by my own personal barista in the Siphon machine. Oh and by the way it was ten dollars for a cup.
My own private barista was named Ferdinand (I just made this name up to protect the baristas identity). He started this intriguing journey by pouring me a glass of sparkling water to clear my palate. I had a front row seat directly in front of the siphon machine. This contraption consists of a unique glass beaker with an upper and lower compartments held over a heat source. The heat source heats the water to 120 degrees. The lower beaker is then closed so that the heat creates a suction vacuum to bring the water to a second chamber on top of the beaker. Ferdinand then poured freshly ground Malawi coffee beans into the hot water. He stirred the mixture, not once, not twice but three times in a 90 second time period to let the coffee steep to perfection. The brewed coffee was released back to the bottom chamber through a filter.
Ferdinand poured the coffee into a silver serving vessel, put it on a wooden serving tray and confidently walked around the corner and presented it to me in grand fashion. He also gave me a miniature coffee mug to savor and smell the aroma. Let me tell you this was one smooth cup of coffee. It did have citrus, hints of cedar and ginger but what I really liked about it was the lack of bitterness. This process removes all bitter compounds.
My ten dollar cup of coffee was an act of edible performance art. It was a very good tasting and possibly one of the finest cups I have ever had. It was mesmerizing watching Ferdinand go through the Siphon process. I enjoyed having my own personal barista. For a couple of minutes I was King of the coffee house. I did enjoy my 10 dollar cup of coffee. Sorry Dad.
Thursday, August 8, 2019
I had to do it. I had to see what all the fuss was about. Burger King has a 100 percent meatless burger. Today was the revealing and I stood in a line of one to get this new fangled plant based burger. It is not vegan because I ordered it with cheese, mayonaisse and it was cooked on the same grill as the real meat Whoppers. This creation is called the Impossible Whopper. The texture was of beef. The flavor was mild with a kiss of the grill flavor. With lettuce, tomato mayonnaise, pickle and onion it was not bad. My question is why?
Sunday, August 4, 2019
They are here. They are at the market and my backyard. We are of course talking about fresh tomatoes. The aroma, the texture and the wonderful tomato flavor just cannot be beat in the summer time. I can see bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches in my near future. The tomatoes below are from my backyard and are the 'Cherokee Purple' variety. Bring on the tomatoes.
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
We are in Oakland California to try the much anticipated opened 4505 Burgers & BBQ. This is a sister restaurant to the original San Francisco venue. Traffic was light today and we found a parking spot right across the busy street. Bring lots of quarters because you will need to feed the meter. It seems that the new 4505 occupies a former hot dog joint and have remodeled. There is a very neat old fashioned revolving sign proclaiming you have arrived at 4505.
Before we go any further I would like to mention this disclaimer to our critique of 4505. We are dedicated bbq judges. We taste championship bbq from some of the best bbq competitors in the nation. We eat, score and enjoy bbq almost every weekend. It can be a little hard to not judge even when we are not officially judging. With that said we enter 4505 with open minds. We would like to tell you our thoughts about the whole package of food, service and venue. Let’s go.
Walking into the restaurant you walk through a Disneyland type of que for the line. I believe they are expecting big crowds. It is around 1:00pm and the place is busy but not crowded. The line does move slowly even though it is not crowded. You make your menu choices from a printed paper menu located next to the cash register. There are a lot of choices and options. I also found out one must and cannot deviate from this printed menu. I usually order ribs, brisket and pork shoulder to sample. A three meat choice option is offered but for some reason ribs are not included with this offering. You can order ribs and other meats by the pound but be prepared to pay three times. Do not deviate from the menu I have been reminded and told.
The order is placed and you need to find a seat. The waitress will bring you meal to an outdoor table. The outside is fun and inviting. It is like being at a catered outdoor picnic party. There is an area for children and there are lots of board games available for young entertainment. There is a great local mural and some fun wall hangings make this an inviting area. It is a summer afternoon and I am not sure if this will work in the winter.
There is a station to for water and self-serve bbq sauce. Three choices that are all on the sweet side are available. House White that is mayonnaise based, a tomato base and our favorite mustard and vinegar. Our meals are delivered quickly. They look like they just have been arranged for a magazine layout photo shoot. They are beautiful and because one eats with their eyes first we are happy. Ms. Goofy tries her deep fried mac & cheese and it is almost refrigerator cold. I flagged down a waitress and she scurried off and replaced this transgression with a piping hot fresh replacement.
This Deep Fried Mac & Cheese has bits of 4505 hot dogs in the creamy center. The cheese & noodle is battered and deep fried. Ms. Goofy loves it. This was the highlight of her meal. She had a ¼ pound grass fed burger. This is 4505’s signature dish. Ms. Goofy liked it and devoured this small offering. I had a bite and it did have the slight gamy twang that grass fed beef sometimes has. (I am not a fan of grass fed anything). Ms. Goofy was happy with her meal and proclaims her love for deep fried mac & cheese.
I had a 2 meat combination of pork shoulder and brisket served with sides of Cole slaw and bbq beans. I really liked the sides of beans with shreds of smoky meat to make this a satisfying side dish. The Cole slaw was fresh and properly dressed. Some pickles were served that were sweet and crunchy. A very fresh parker house roll was soft and pillow like that had a slightly malty/sweet like top that was great. The brisket had good smoke flavor. It was dry and when I drenched it in the mustard sauce it was quit palatable. The pulled pork was chewy. This was a good chewy because it had nice balance of smoke and pork flavor. I believe there was some crunchy pork cracklin’s in this mix. (I sure hope they were pork cracklin’s)
Overall 4505 Burgers & BBQ is a great addition to the neighborhood. It is a clean, modern and fun place to bring the family. The staff is professional, young and great with service. Our waitress corrected the kitchen error immediately and with a smile. The kitchen turned out some magazine cover looking plates of food. It is impressive and appreciated when a restaurant turns out such a good looking plate of food. The meats are good, not great. I need to remind myself that we are not judging competition bbq and follow all menu rules. With that said; 4505 Burgers & BBQ has good food, great service and is a fun venue. Winner, Winner, BBQ Dinner.
Sunday, July 28, 2019
Yesterday we judged a sanctioned KCBS bbq contest at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Your truly won a major award for achieving the milestone of judging 100+ bbq contests. It has been a fun journey with so many people to thank. There was a small presentation ceremony before judging yesterday. I was presented a bling necklace that proclaims that I am now a VIP judge. I am humbled and touched by this acknowledgement. The VIP bling is pictured in this rare photo of the Mad Meat Genius. Yesterday we also had a fantastic contest. I have to apologize for no photos of this event because it was crazy hot. The thermometer broke the 100 degree mark and we were in a very hot tent. Once the judging was done we took shelter in our air conditioned new 'Racing Honda II". See you next time.