MAD MEAT GENIUS

MAD MEAT GENIUS
Chilebrown at home

Monday, August 13, 2018

BELCAMPO RESTAURANT AND BUTCHER SHOP OAKLAND



Several weeks ago was the Grand Opening of Belcampo Restaurant and Butcher Shop in the scenic Jack London Square of Oakland California. We wanted to wait a couple of weeks to bypass  the opening jitters  to  go try the thirty two dollar, 100 day dry aged, grass fed, beef burger. To you who have not heard of Belcampo they are a successful ‘farm to table’ meat company. They are not only selling you quality grass fed beef but a concept with C.E.O Anya Fernald words; “Our vision is bold; our ambition is to build an alternative meat supply system; real solutions are never simple fixes. Help us put health, taste and transparency first. Help us build a better cleaner world through meat.” She also has been quoted in the New Yorker; “We’re creating a product that is financially non-viable for a lot of people.” We are here to try the hamburger.


This is Jack London Square, so you park in the main parking garage. (Belcampo does not validate). We enter Belcampo to a bright, clean, modern and nice looking restaurant. We can see a small butcher shop in the back and a big bar on the right. This is a modern, urban setting with plenty of man-buns, skinny jeans, beards and hip looking servers and customers. We are seated immediately by the hostess and get menus. I do not see the 100 day aged burger on the menu. My server informs me they are out. We choose to order the 18 dollar 29 dry aged burger and another 12 dollar regular burger. Our server asked us if we wanted fries deep fried in beef tallow fat for an additional three dollars. We ordered both to compare.


Our burgers were cooked and delivered promptly. I ordered my burger medium but the image proves otherwise. It did have good beef flavor. I enjoyed it. This burger had caramelized onions as a topping which added a sweet component that was very desirable. I thought the aging process added a mellowness to the beef I can say that after tasting Ms. Goofy’s burger which had a sharpness and almost a gamy type of flavor. This should have been expected with this grass fed offering. We both enjoyed our burgers.


Both of our plates had a generous helping of fries. Ms. Goofy was supposed to have the beef tallow fried batch. We tried each other’s fries. We both scratched our head because they both tasted the same. Our server came by to check on us and asked us which fry we liked better? Apparently we had both got the regular fries and our server said she would bring us a batch of the tallow fries immediately. They arrived immediately after we had almost finished our burgers. They were limp and not even salted. Oh my!  Well, so much for our three dollar upgrade. 


I am not sure we will return to try the 100 day dry aged burger. We enjoyed our burgers, not the fries. Belcampo Oakland is a clean modern restaurant that is selling not only quality grass fed beef but a new modern concept in the beef industry. This Mad Meat Genius has just not yet jumped on the band wagon.

Friday, August 10, 2018

BACON MAPLE BAR



I love fried sugary treats. Add some bacon and it is a done deal. Alhambra Donut and Deli has bacon maple bars that I could not resist. I am surprised that California has not declared these decadent delights as illegal. Until they do I will eat my fill.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

ITALIAN DELITE


Our friend Jim has been telling us how good the Philly Cheese steak sandwiches are at Italian Delite located in Novato, California. We decided to give this local sandwich shop a try.Italian Delite is located in a small strip mall off the beaten path and possibly only accessible by locals or GPS. Novato is unfamiliar territory for this Mad Meat Genius. Parking Karma was turned off today because possibly Jim drove and the popularity of Italian Delite. A short walk and we had arrived.


We were there at the noon hour. The placed was packed. Italian Delite is a small place with possibly a dozen tables. You place your order at the counter and choose you beverage and choice of various flavored potato chips. The menu had various deli type sandwiches available. I noticed chicken wings and spaghetti too. We were there for the Philly Cheese steaks. You had the choice of one half a sandwich or a whole sandwich. Of course I ordered the whole sandwich because of my usual giant appetite. Despite the full restaurant our sandwiches were made immediately.
  I came to the counter to pick up our order. Three baskets on the counter holding three sandwiches cut in half were in front of me. I told the clerk I had ordered a whole and one half (Ms. Goofy has a petite appetite and would only brave one half an order). The clerk said all three baskets are yours. Wow. A whole sandwich in reality is two huge sandwiches. A bottle of vinegar based hot sauce was given with said order. It was time to eat.


There was a lot to like about this sandwich. The bread was fresh and warm. It was soft but sturdy enough to hold its contents. The steak was very thin strips of some sort of beef. It had a very nice beefy flavor. It was hot being freshly fried on the griddle. It did have a toughness that required some chewing. Roasted sliced bell peppers and griddle fried onions all topped with melted provolone (?) cheese all topped the sliced beef. The bread had a mayonnaise layer which was warmed from all the hot ingredients was a nice and familiar touch.


I did finish three sections of my order. I enjoyed it. All the ingredients were fresh and hot. This was a version of Philly Cheese steak that is popular evident by the crowd. The servers were very friendly and quickly prepared our meal. If we lived in the area this would be on our rotation of food hangouts. Thanks Jim for sharing this spot with us.

Note: I apologize for no money shot of the open sandwich. I took one and it turned out blurry. It may          have blurred for my shaking with anticipation of the meal to come.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

CREAMED CORN


Creamed corn, so simple but so satisfying. Sweet corn on the cob is in peak season right now. All the farmers markets, stores and sometimes even my backyard has fresh corn available. I had forgotten how easy this dish  is to make We picked up several ears of corn at our local farmers market and decided to make some creamed corn.


Four tablespoons of butter, 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon of flour, salt & pepper and 4 ears of corn (We used 2 yellow and 2 white)  are all the ingredients needed. Cut the kernels from the ears of corn and reserve in a bowl. Take a spoon and scrape the cob to get all the remaining corn starch Whisk the flour into the milk. Melt the butter into a saute pan over medium heat. Add the corn and briefly stir. Add the milk and bring to simmer. Add the salt & pepper to taste. Cook for around 5 minutes or until mixture is thick and creamy. I like the corn to still have a little bite. Now wasn't that easy.


We served our creamed corn with some barbequed steak. This dish is so satisfying. A lot of recipes call for a little sugar to be added to this dish. Our corn was so fresh this was not needed. Sometimes simple is so much better.

Monday, July 30, 2018

40th Annual Garlic Festival


It is hard to believe we are at the 40th Annual Garlic Festival. We have been attending this festival for a very long time. Three years ago they have added a KCBS sanctioned bbq contest and we have been very happy attending and judging this stinking rose fueled event. We would like to share a couple of images with you.







The weather was very pleasant with temperatures in the low 80's. This festival has something for every garlic lover. Garlic ice cream? Yes. I have tried it in previous festivals and can attest it is sweet and garlicky. .






 This craft vendor had the most fun ceramic hanging art pieces. There was a section that had lots of arts and crafts for the strolling garlic laced public. There was a tent that had nothing but garlic related food items such as mustard, olive oils, relishes and so much more. Garlic. Garlic. Garlic.











Our good friends, the competition bbq team "Son of Smoke" which features Zack "The Kid" won Grand Championship today. Congratulations to all who competed. If you love garlic this is the festival you should not miss. We cannot wait till next year.


Friday, July 27, 2018

CHURCHILLS STEAKHOUSE


Being at a three day Buck Knife Collectors Club convention can really work up an appetite. I was out of town and asked the locals in Spokane Washington which was the best steakhouse in town. Churchills steakhouse was mentioned several times and I decided to give them a try. Parking was not a problem but brings some quarters for the meter. I would like to mention Churchills is located downtown Spokane and this area has seen better days. I was the first person to be seated at this empty house of steak tonight. Being the first and only customer you would think I would get top notch service.


My meal did not start off very well. I sat and waited for the waiter to show up. Ten minutes went by and I was going to give him five more minutes before I walked out the door. He did show up at the fourteen minute mark. He asked  me if I wanted to see the steak selection. He brought out raw cuts of the various USDA Prime Choice Black Angus corn fed bliss. (lobster too). I chose the sixteen ounce New York. My waiter, though tardy was pleasant enough but this was not the first time I would be sitting alone for extended times.



The steak was cooked in an infra-red broiler at high heat. It was also seasoned with a special spice rub. The rub and the high heat formed a very dark meat crust. The steak was cut open to reveal a perfect medium rare. Drumroll please. This steak will go down in my memory banks as being one of the top ten best steaks ever. Wow, this steak was tender and the meat crust added a texture component that could not be beat. Corn fed prime is so good. The sides of mushrooms peas and mashed potatoes were decent and filling. Churchill is also known for their dessert. Behold the 'Chocolate Sack'.


The Chocolate Sack is not the most imaginative name for this creation but it is impressive. It is huge. The sack is yummy dark chocolate. The filling is of cake, whip cream, chocolate mousse, raspberry, strawberry and more. The waiter, my new waiter (Did I mention my original waiter disappeared for what ever reason, suggested to cut down the center of the sack and dive right in. I did my best but I could not finish this sack. 

In conclusion come to Churchills for one of the best steaks ever but hope you do not get my tardy disappearing waiter. 





Sunday, July 22, 2018

TIME


It is always prudent as a bbq judge and competitor to have a trusted time piece to promptly make the appointed turn in times. I have had a pocket watch in my catch all drawer for many a years. It was a gift from my father that was passed down from his father and most likely gifted from his father. I brought it to a jeweler/watch repairman for restoration. He informed me that this was an Elgin 21 jewel pocket watch that dated back from 1895. The jeweler also said this watch should last at least another 100 years.