Chilebrown at home


Let's get Cookin!!!

Thursday, October 19, 2017


The French Laundry is a symphony of culinary genius. It has many talented musicians and the finest instruments that all come together to perform beautiful edible music. Our meal was so much more than just food but a form of performance art with many sensory delights. This restaurant has been on my bucket list for many years and we finally procured a coveted reservation. We would like to share this memorable meal with you.

“Oysters and Pearls”
“Sabayan” of Pearl Tapioca with Island Creek Oyster and White Sturgeon Caviar

The French Laundry is located in Yountville, California which is very close to the current wildfires.  They were closed the previous week and assisted in feeding responders. We arrived for our 5:00 pm reservation. The building is nicely landscaped and does not give you a sense of the things to come. That is until you walk into the courtyard and see the window surronded showcase kitchen. We see numerous chefs, scurrying around the kitchen doing various food preparations. We start to feel  the greatness to come.

Winter Radishes, Brokaw Avocado Mousse and Tender Garden Herbs

We were seated in a small dining room and were presented with an  I-Pad menu. We had several options of tasting menus. We could choose a vegetarian option or the more popular all-inclusive Chef's Tasting menu. We could order upgrades with foie gras, caviar, and even white truffles. We choose to start out with the basic tasting menu and I use the term basic with a smile on my face.

Garden Eggplant “Conserva,” Nantes Carrots, Nasturtium Leaves and Sweet Curry Emulsion

I want to touch on the service as being an art form. We were served in flights beginning with a server bringing the proper utensils. She would suddenly appear with a knife, fork, spoon, (bone for caviar) in multiple combinations. When she would appear we knew the next course would shortly follow. When our food was delivered it would be delivered by sometimes two or more waiters. The dish would be served in unison like a choreographed dance. The waiter would then describe the dish. We tried our best to remember what he or she had said but it was all a little overwhelming at the time.

Navel Orange, Belgian Endive, Cilantro Purée, Marcona Almonds and “Maltaise Mousseline”

Bitter Cocoa Laminated Brioche and Diane St. Clair’s Animal Farm Butter

No two ingredients were repeated in this meal. Each dish had many components. This brought up the question; how do we eat this? Do we eat the dish as a whole or should we savor each ingredient? There is no right or wrong answer. We would do both. Each ingredient had its own merit and flavor. When combined with the other ingredients a marriage of flavors transformed the parts into a whole. Oh the dilemma of fine dining.

Chestnut “Ravioli,” Garden Turnips and Whole Grain Mustard Sauce

My beloved crumb sweeper appeared with a silver plated crumb tray and a matching fine tooth comb. You should have seen the smile on my face. We explained why I was so amused so she came back several times to sweep the table even though it was not needed.

La Ratte Potato Purée, Creamed Garden Kale, Amarosa Potatoes and Spanish Caper-Brown Butter Jus

Matsutake Mushrooms, Broccoli Purée and Rosemary-Pine Nut Jus

One thing we noticed was how rich and flavorful the dishes were. Butter, cream and salt was used throughout. Meats and fishes were highly seasoned. I would even say they were seasoned to perfection. I did notice I was consuming a large quantity of water. When I judge barbeque water consumption also rises because of the high level of seasoning. It was all a good thing. We did have our choice of sparkling or plain water which was refilled after every course.

This was a memorable meal. The final act was when they filled our table with numerous desserts. The waiter even brought us a bag with two tins of sugar cookies to-go. He asked us if we wanted to see the kitchens were the magic occurred. We took him up on this offer to witness a beehive of culinary activity. What a fun and flavorful meal. There is a reason this is a Michelin Guide 3-star rated restaurant and we got to experience it.. Someday we hope to return.  When I returned home I hit the couch and still had a euphoric feeling from the symphony of culinary genius we had just experienced.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


Next weekend is our semi-annual D.O.G. (Dutch Oven Gathering) of the IDOS Norcal Chapter. (International Dutch Oven Society). Twice a year we get together and cook and share all things dutch oven. I usually make bread and this meeting will be no exception. This meeting will be the unveiling of my new sourdough bread with a starter that actually has a name; Sally. This sourdough starter originates from a restaurant from San Francisco that went out of business many years ago. I have been nurturing and feeding this living yeast culture for the last five days. I made a test loaf yesterday for quality control sampling. Oh yeah!

Thursday, October 12, 2017


Wildfires in Northern California are out of control. Human life, property and communities are experiencing a devastating loss. As I write this the fires are still burning with only 10 percent containment. We live twenty five miles away from this disaster. The air quality is horrendous.With this crisis, humanity shines. The barbeque community has banded together through several groups to cook and feed; firefighters, first responders and anybody connected with this turmoil. I had an opportunity to help with the effort. I wanted to share a couple images of my friends and hero's.

We had the option of wearing respirators because the air was thick with smoke. In the background we could see helicopters with drop buckets going to deliver their payload. We had an assembly line of volunteers making sandwiches. These sandwiches consisted of pulled pork, brisket and chicken. The community have also donated drinks, fruits and assorted foods to distribute to the crews. Many hands made light work and even though it was a terrible situation we made the best of it.

We hope this disaster ends soon. Thank goodness there are people that care and are trying to help. I am blessed that we are safe and could help just a little.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017



Kurobuta pork is the Japanese term for the heritage breed of pig; Berkshire. Snake River Farms specializes in American Wagyu beef but also sells Kurobuta pork and bacon. Ms. Goofy gifted me a birthday gift certificate and it was time to cash it in on this special bacon. Snake River Kurobuta bacon is sourced from their network of farms which raise pork naturally and without hormones. It also comes with a very special price tag of 69 dollars for a 3.2 pound slab. At a little over 22 dollars a pound, not including shipping we hope this is good.

Berkshire/Kurobuta pork is a very special tasting meat. It has a very slight beef like flavor. This is not your Wally world cut of pork. We made some BLT's to give our bacon a try. The slab was on the thin side with an average meat to fat ratio. It did not have any noticeable smoke aroma. It fried up normally and crisped well.This bacon was very decent but also very average. The balance of sugar and salt was acceptable. The smoke was not very noticeable. The bacon had the signature Berkshire flavor which is very special. Is the 22 dollar a pound worth it? I have to admit this bacon did not ring any special bells. I personally think at this price point it was not a spectacular product and expected more..

Saturday, October 7, 2017


Jamestown California was a bustling town in the gold rush era and now is home to Rawhide Meats. We are on a meat adventure and Rawhide Meats is our destination. We had finished our judging duties at the Sonora fairgrounds and Jamestown was a short drive away. The retail store is located right on the main highway and is easy to find if you do not make the mistake we did. We typed into our GPS the Rawhide Meat processing plant which was a little off track. We eventually found our destination.

We enter a clean shop to be greeted by a friendly clerk. Rawhide meats sells a lot of locally raised beef and pork. They smoke sausage and their processing plant which we had driven by earlier by accident. The beef was all grass fed so we took a pass. We did pick up some nice pork loin chops pictured below. I also could not pass up on the bacon which was offered in three different flavors; hickory smoked, black pepper and jalapeno flavored. Several different house made sausages were added to the cart. Our bill was tabulated and the total was very reasonable. I had to remind myself we were out of the Bay Area.

We have returned home and tried these chops They were yummy and full of porkyness. Another meal we sampled the banger sausage and also were pleased. We still are looking forward to trying the jalapeno bacon. Possibly some jalapeno poppers will be in out future. This was a successful Meat Adventure. Jamestown is having a new Gold Rush and it is called Rawhide Meats.

Rawhide Meats.
18256 Hwy 108
Jamestown, CA 95327

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


We have here a fun video submitted by a cheesecake aficionado 'the greatwhite hunter. It brought a smile to my face. Let's all go have a slice of cheesecake. Gobble, Gobble.

Sunday, October 1, 2017


What do mini-donuts and BBQ have in common? This weekend they were the perfect match before judging duties at the 'Unruly Country Brew N Que Festival". Nana Bears Mini Donuts had set up a booth right next door to the judging building. They looked and smelled so good that I could not resist. These fried to order, sweet, and totally scrumptious creations were topped with your choice of sweet toppings. I chose the works that had multiple sprinkles, whipped cream and candy toppings. This was the perfect jolt to begin our fun and tasty bbq journey.