Friday, March 27, 2015
We are at the Santa Anita Park soaking in the history and splendor of this grand race track. One can only imagine the era when Sea Biscuit was the top news story of the day. There was no ‘March Madness’, ‘Super Bowl’ or television reality shows to entertain. George Woolf was a jockey who rode Sea Biscuit to victory. In 1938 he purchased ‘The Derby’ restaurant to hold court with race fans, celebrities and jockeys. We could not resist to partake in this piece of living history. We also heard they served a great steak too.
Parking karma was left to the valet tonight. Once inside it took several moments to adjust to the dim lighting. We then were treated to a warm and glorious trip into past dining elegance. The booths were of leather, massive ceilings with chandeliers, and walls adjourned with horse racing themed paintings. There was racing memorabilia at every turn of this elegant setting. We were seated in a plush booth in the dinning room. I scooted my toosh around the slick seats to find the well worn comfortable spot that so many before had occupied. I settled in to enjoy the show.
Are your ready for this? A twenty four ounce, chipotle dusted Porterhouse topped with scallops, shrimp and ‘pico-de-gallo’ salsa was my dinner choice. Perfectly cooked prime rib for Ms. Goofy did not disappoint. These offerings of beef were just what the doctored ordered. I finished every bite and wanted to knaw on the bone but I needed to save room for some decadent cheesecake.
If you are in the Arcadia area, you must stop and dine and experience ‘The Derby’. The Derby restaurant serves great steaks with old school ambiance. We experienced a trip back into gastronomical history. Eating some great steaks is my kind of history lesson.
233 Huntington E Dr.
Arcadia, Ca. 91006
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Every once in awhile our Meat Adventures strike gold and today it was found at ‘Alexander’s Prime Meats and Catering’. We were in
At first glance of the refrigerated meat cases, it seemed like any other meat market. I looked a little closer and noticed the spectacular marbled cuts of beef offered for sale. This was some great looking beef. The prices seemed fairly standard for a butchers shop. It was not until after talking to the butchers I realized I had just stepped into a market of premium beef. Yes, U.S.D.A. Prime, dry aged beef, the flavor that we crave. The prices now seemed like a down right bargain. I also noticed the window showcasing hanging beef.
Our butcher was very patient while we made our purchase decisions. I introduced myself as the Mad Meat Genius and doors began to open. It is always a pleasure when you feel and experience the passion of employees and owners who takes pride in their product. This is what we felt. We were introduced to the owner Michael Milazo who gave us a tour and explained the dry aging process to us.
Most of Alexander’s beef is sourced from Harris Ranch. It is aged in their walk-in for a minimum of three weeks. This prime meat is in high demand. It is understandable because they are charging reasonable prices that some markets offer ‘Choice’ grade meat for. Michael showed me the difference in the progression of the aging process. Beef is the king here but they do make several varieties of sausage too. They also have other meats to choose from. It was time to get back to the competition. We left with some very good looking steaks and sausage.
Alexander’s Prime Meats and Catering is a jewel of a meat market find. If only it was not 400 miles away from our abode. We did meet some very nice and passionate people at Alexander’s. We cooked the Porterhouse steak and it was fantastic. The sirloin side was just as tender as the filet according to Ms. Goofy. I loved it too. We hope to return someday.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
One hundred barbeque teams set a California record for largest bbq competition at the iconic and historic Santa Anita Racetrack this weekend. This huge gathering of bbq racers were set up right in the middle grounds of the race track. We would like to share a couple of images with you trying to capture this magical event. I emphasize magical because a feeling of excitement permeated our barbeque saturated pores. The horses racing around the track several feet away, the roar of the crowd, the smells and some of the best bbq in the nation created a event to be remembered. “And they’re off”
We arrived Friday afternoon. This was our first visit to this historic racetrack. Let’s just say it is huge. Santa Anita Racetrack is a step back into time with its splendor and beautiful backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains. This is the home of the famous racing horse Sea Biscuit and the playing grounds of numerous old time movie stars. Barbeque competitors were the stars today.
We could have valet parked the Racing Honda at the “Turf Club’ but we opted to self park today. We had to circle to the far end of the track to have access to the infield. There was a tunnel that went underneath the race track to the infield. Some of the larger bbq rigs had to wait for before and after the races when they built a temporary driving bridge across the track. The interior of the race track had almost enough room to hold the 100 competitors.
There was just this special feeling walking the grounds. Horses and jockeys ran the track practicing for the main race. The competitors were prepping for the four meats they were about to cook. The competitors were situated on comfortable grassy confines. They were also instructed to keep the noise down to not spook the horses on the nearby track. We could not wait till the main event.
There was a huge crowd at this event. Not only was the public able to purchase this great bbq to eat they were able to bet on the horses. There was a band to entertain, food demonstrations by TV. Celebrities and even a play area for the kids made for non-stop entertainment. What I found really exciting was race time. You could hear the roar of the crowd from the grandstands. The horses would race by and you could hear and feel the excitement.
The winners were picked and it was awards time. It had been a long day. The horse races had stopped. The teams gathered for the announcements. Congratulations to ‘Knock Ur Socks Off for Reserve Grand Champion and Smoking Mo’s BBQ the Grand Champions. What a wonderful weekend.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Friday, March 20, 2015
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
As a rule, I do not venture to Southern California very often. There has always been a rival between the north and south. It is a feeling that is hard to put into so many words; traffic, politics, sports teams, water rights and attitude.Southern California was unavoidable, so I made the best of it by visiting Bigmista's Barbecue & Sammich Shop.. I will spare you the traveling details but picture seven lanes of bumper to bumper traffic on a early Saturday afternoon.
Bigmista's is located in a small strip mall in Long Beach. I know I had arrived by the smoker out front and the line out the door. There must be something good going on inside with a crowd like this. I took my place in line. Once inside the door the line snaked through the small shop. There were some bench seating but everybody seemed to get their order to go. Right up front, bigger than life was Neil Strawder the owner and celebrity head cook. He was slicing and dicing meats to order on the other side of a Plexiglas window. He was slicing brisket that looked fantastic. The Plexiglas was fogged from all the customers drooling and breathing hard at this meat display.
I was getting close to the front of the line and had a chance to introduce myself to Neil. We had a lot of mutual friends in the bbq world. Neil has been on the television show BBQ Pittmasters He is well respected and a force to be reckoned with in bbq competition. He handed me a sample of brisket over the glass teasing everyone one else in line. Tasting that sample of brisket made my journey worthwhile. It was my time to order. They were out of ribs understandably with the crowds. I did order a 'bowl' which consisted of a choice of meat and a side. I had to have some more brisket.
The brisket had a beautiful smoke ring and deep rich beef flavor to match. It was very tender. This would of scored high in any bbq competition. I had the brisket over some very tasty Cole slaw. I also had the best moist cake like corn bread too. The little food that I did have was phenomenal. I can understand the lines now. Southern California does have a bright spot and it is here at Bigmista's Barbecue.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Moxy's Neurotic rub is another spice blend in the line up from Dog Day Spice Company. This rub is named after the owners German Shepard Moxy, who was a little bit neurotic but sweet almost all of the time. We will try this rub on a pork shoulder roast that will be smoked on our Weber Smoky Mountain Cooker. The ingredients are few and simple; pure cane sugar, salt, chile's, paprika, onion, garlic and pepper. and spices. When the resealable pouch is opened an aromatic bouquet of fresh spices tingle your senses. I dip my clean finger into the mix and taste a salty sweet mix with no discernible heat. Let/s fire up the grill.
Fast forward nine hours in the smoker. The roast looks fantastic. The sugars in the rub have caramelized to form some fantastic meat bark. This bark is considered meat candy in our household. It had a fantastic flavor that was enjoyed over several meals. This rub not only caramelized but also seasoned the pork to compliment and elevate the porky goodness. This is another great spice rub offered by Dog Day Spice Company.
Dog Day Spice Company