Chilebrown at home

Friday, April 30, 2010


It is a never ending quest to find the ultimate Chile Verde dish. We have traveled near and far to quench our desire of the green chile stew of porky goodness. Today's travel brings us to Celia's located in Antioch California. Celia's is a chain restaurant that has about a dozen locations throughout the Bay Area. This location in Antioch is very popular among the local population. On the weekends the bar is packed with margarita and tequila enthusiasts. They usually have a Mariachi band to entertain the restaurant patrons. Our visit brought us on a Saturday afternoon. The place was pretty quiet. The interior still looks festive with all the murals on the wall. We were promptly seated and the complimentary chips and salsa were brought.

The chips were fair and the salsa mediocre. The salsa was made from canned vegetables and was fairly mild. The chips had probably seen better times. I ordered the Chile verde and Ms. Goofy ordered some type of combination. We did not tell the waiter our quest. I think he could tell by the saliva dripping from my mouth. The food was brought faster than we could sing 'Cielto Lindo'. This Chile Verde looked delicious.

Looks can be deceiving. The pork cubes were tough like shoe leather. The meat was dry and tasteless. The green sauce was flat. No heat, no seasoning, and no Love. Ms. Goofy was also sad with her dish. This dish had just received a shot of nuclear blasting. The sawdust filling of her enchilada was hotter than the sun, temperature wise. The beans had shriveled from this atomic blast. There is one bright note to this disaster, The beer was ice cold!

Celia's is a fun, bright and cheery place. The bar has a local following that is entertained with Mariachi music. Come for the margaritas but leave for dinner.
523 W 10th
Antioch Ca.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Hey, wait a minute, that is an Amaryllis. This image was a lot prettier than the final image of the pork loin. The Amaryllis may be beautiful but it will not compare to the taste of this bacon wrapped pork loin. The wood fire oven was stoked with almond wood to cook this hunk of pork love. Some bacon that was imported from Butlers will cradle, protect, and baste the loin from the intense ring of fire. Our good friend, Reverend Biggles has always preached on the salvation of a meat trivet. He was preaching to the choir because we used a trivet consisting of cubed potatoes. This will elevate the meat from the bottom of its cooking vessel. "Let the Fire Fall!"

The pork loin was cleaned of all silver skin. It was then seasoned generously with salt, pepper and some mild chili powder. The bacon was wrapped around the roast and tied with string. A russet potato was chopped into large cubes. We left the skin on. Salt & pepper, and a whole lot of olive oil was rubbed over this potato trivet. A thermometer was inserted through the center of the roast. The trivet and roast was placed into a ceramic vessel. The fire was built and we relaxed.

The wood fire oven does not have a temperature control. It takes a little practice to get your fire to the proper cooking heat. I have had a tendency to build too big a fire. The thermometer is our saviour. The roast was placed in the oven and the door was closed. Ten minutes later, Ms. Goofy smelled a burning aroma. Some tin foil was placed over the roast and all was well. When the temperature hit 144 the roast was removed to the kitchen for a 15 minute rest.

The roast was perfect, juicy and delicious. The bacon sacrificed itself to the ring of fire to protect the roast. It was a sort of burnt bacon jerky. The potatoes were crunchy on the outside and tender inside. They were basted with the bacon and pork juices. This trivet served its purpose and delivered a heavenly side dish. You know, We are having a lot of fun!

Monday, April 26, 2010


It took 10 minutes for Joey Chestnut to devour 8.7 pounds of deep fried breaded Asparagus. This was just enough for Joey "Jaws" Chestnut to regain his title of "World Champion Asparagus Eater'. We were privileged to witness this gastronomical feat. This contest took place at the 25th annual Asparagus Festival held in Stockton California.

It was a beautiful sunny day. A wild and crazy marching band snaked its way through out the festival to celebrate this joyous celebration of the 'Spears of Spring'. Bubba Paris was so happy that he signed autographs for a fee. Martin Yan demonstrated how to cook Asparagus in his amusing presentations. All these jubilant events worked us into a ravenous state of hunger.

We headed to "Asparagus Alley and ordered some deep fried breaded Asparagus. We could not duplicate "Jaws" record, but we did our best. I am not sure if this booth was selling Turkey or Vulture legs.

It was a beautiful day to celebrate Asparagus. 'Blue Oyster Cult' took the main stage and rocked the house. They probably could of used a little more 'cow bell'. This is an event that entertains. We are all ready thinking about next year.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


You know you have been waiting for this. Two deep fried chicken breasts coated with the Orignal Colonels secret spices, cradling two strips of bacon, jack & pepper jack cheese, and held together with the special Colonel's sauce. Who could ask for more? I could not resist. This was consumed for a review of "Kung-Fu Monkey Brand Red Dragon Sauce". You know, sometimes we all need a little guilty pleasure.

Friday, April 23, 2010


It is Thursday night. What a great excuse to go to the 'City', grab a bite and see a show. We won free tickets to see 'Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack" at the 'Marines Memorial Theater'. We had a big decision of which one of the hundreds of great restaurants to eat. Guy Fieri of 'Diners, Drive-ins and Dives' helped us with our decision. He visited a great Dive Bar located in the Outer Richmond district of San Francisco. The Tee-Off Bar & Grill is a local watering hole that just so happens to serve some fantastic grub. We watched the clip below and it was a done deal.

I still have not learned my lesson about bringing a back up camera. After taking a not so good opening shot the battery died. Luckily this clip will show you exactly what we ordered. The pork chop and mac & cheese were even better looking and tasting then the show. The pork chop plate was a symphony of colors and tastes. The yellow corn, green asparagus, achiote red with black hatch marked pork chop, multicolored apricot relish was all placed around a mound of white garlic mashed potatoes. This was a taste explosion. The mac & cheese was a cheesy gooey plate of comfort. This was washed down with some tasty micro beers. The prices were unbelievably reasonable. This was a true find!

Tee-Off Bar & Grill

Our bellies were bursting with comfort and joy while we watched the Rat Pack work their magic. It was a wonderful Thursday night. Next time I will bring a back up battery.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


It is that time of year to head to Stockton California for the Asparagus Festival. The weather is forcasted to be in the high 70's. This will be the perfect temperature for Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut to regain his Asparagus eating crown. Joey lost last year to Patrick Bertoletti's consumption of 7 pounds 5.81 ounces of deep fried Asparagus. This contest will be held at the Main Stage at 12 noon, Saturday.

Our friend Martin Yan will be demonstrating his celebrity cooking skills at various times of the festival. We definitely will be watching and standing by in case Martin needs a hand in his demonstration. There will be plenty of Asparagus treats at 'Asparagus Alley'. Pete Escovido, Blue Oyster Cult, Loverboy and Sha Na Na are several of the scheduled music performers.

Hope to see you there!

April 23-25 Downtown Stockton, California

P.S. I do not think the Ross Sisters will be performing, but I sure wish they were.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Piedmontese is a breed of cattle that looks like beef and tastes like beef but with the cholesterol and fat content of poultry or white fish. The Piedmontese cattle originated in the Piedmont region of Northwestern Italy. They are 100% grass fed, chemical free and 100 percent organic. This beef has a reputation of superior taste and tenderness. This will be our question of the day. Does this beef live up to all the hype?

It took a little searching to find this beef. We found it at a specialty butcher shop at the CafĂ© Rouge. We purchased the chuck roast because we wanted to make Chili Colorado. This meat looks so very good. It is a deep dark red color. There is very little fat, but there is a lot of marbled fat striated through out the meat. It smelled beefy. We purchased four pounds at six dollars a pound. Let’s go to the kitchen.

The beef was cubed and seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. A large enameled cast iron pan was used to render some bacon for the fat to brown the meat. Once the lard was rendered the beef cubes were browned in batches. We just seared and caramelized the surface of these cubes of meat joy. Some onions and leeks were chopped. These were gathered from the garden. Some home canned tomatos and a mixture of several chili powders were added. I will refer you to a previous recipe here. This pot of Red was simmered for two hours. The house smelled delicious.

We purchased some fresh masa to make some grilled tortillas. A fire was built in the Weber and the tortillas were formed. A little Jumbo Asparagus made it to the grill also. You know I had to get the grill in here somehow. The meal was ready for the ultimate decision. The meat was tender. It almost melted in your mouth. It had a beef flavor that was unreal. The flavor of the beef was the star of the show. I would say it had a little gamey flavor in a good way. It was so tender and had a flavor that needs to be experienced. Piedmontese beef is a protein that I would recommend. We definitely will be purchasing different cuts of this beef for experimentation. Who would of thunk that I like grass fed beef?

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Today we are going on a mini meat adventure. We are traveling a whopping 15 miles to Berkeley California. The restaurant 'Cafe Rouge' has a meat counter that we are going to visit. We are on a mission to find some Piedmontese beef. Cafe Rouge is located in the trendy 'Fourth Street' shopping district. There is a store for your every desire and need. I like to think that you can buy everything that you never needed here. There is a Peet's coffee to fuel your shopping frenzy.

In the back of Cafe Rouge are a couple of small meat displays. One refrigerator has some prime cuts of meat ageing. There is an impressive list of house made charcuterie. There is Heritage pork, sustainably raised beef, free range chickens and a whole gaggle of house made sausages. This meat market will also sell you sausage making material. You can purchase, Casings (hog, sheep and beef), caul fat,lard and pigs blood. This may come in handy for future sausage creation. One thing you notice when you are browsing the meat counter is the smell. You are in the back of a restaurant and it smells heavenly. The smell makes you want to grab a menu and have some nourishment.

There were a lot of tempting meat items to buy here. They cure their own bacon. This will have to wait for another visit. Today we were on a mission to buy some Piedmontese beef for some Chili Colorado. Cafe Rouge has a lot of premium meat selections. You will also pay a hefty fee for the privilege of sampling these wares. We are looking forward to returning.

Cafe Rouge
1782 Fourth St.
Berkeley, Ca. 94710

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Lindt & Sprungli are master Swiss chololatiers since 1845. They claim to select the highest quality cocoa beans to create the finest textures and tastes chocolate can offer. This chocolate bar has been imported from Stratham, New Hampshire. The reason we are trying this chocolate today is because it is a dark chocolate bar with chili. This bar is infused with spicy red chili. Chocolate and Chili are wonderful and complementing flavors.


Sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, milk fat, soya lecithin (emulsifier), chili extract, artificial flavoring. May contain traces of peanuts/tree nuts.

I am scratching my head already with the artificial flavor and the nut traces. I am also wondering if a red flag should be raised on not naming the chili extract. We will have to give it an old fashion taste.

The chocolate bar smells wonderful. It smells of a deep dark rich chocolate. I almost started to drool while smelling this bar. There is no aroma of chili present.

The first bite is a mouthful of sweet dark chocolate. I almost taste a little smokiness with this chocolate. It is very sweet. Several seconds later a warming glow will hit the back of your tongue. It is not a nuclear blast of heat. It is a mellow tinge of heat to tell you that chili is present. I could not identify the chili type This is a grown up chocolate bar. You can savor the deep dark chocolate and it is accompanied by a wisp of chili flavor.

I would recommend this chocolate bar to every grownup that likes chili peppers and chocolate. This bar is perfect for an after dinner nibble. I wish we knew what type of chili that was used in the extract. Chili extract usually scares me but this was put to a flavorful use. The price is right. ($3.50/3.5 oz.). These bars can be purchased at most of your local places of shopping. Give it a try!

Lindt & Sprungli

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Another Stoker trial run was complete. There are still some bugs to fix. I just wanted to share the finished product with you. These ribs were some of the best tasting ribs we have had since our last cook. They were not fall off the bone ribs and were not supposed to be. They were perfectly cooked. When we took a bite, it gently pulled off the bone and left a crescent shape mark from our chomp. The rib smoke flavor was created by chunks of sugar maple wood. These ribs were slathered with some every day store bought sauce.

These were spareribs. They were rubbed with an impromptu mix of spices. The pantry was scoured. Sugar, Kosher salt, pepper, and chile powder was grabbed. The ribs marinated while the fire was built. A mixture of 'Competition and Original Kingsford' charcoal was used. They were ignited in a chimney starter. Four hours later the spareribs were done.

The Stoker unit did all the monitoring of the fire pit temperature. When the fire dropped the fan would kick in and restore the perfect cooking environment. When the ribs were done we just poured our bbq sauce over the top and spread it out with a spoon. These were not competition ribs. These were just our everyday kickass, oh so very yummy, delicious ribs from heaven. They were a gooey sticky mess, just the way we Love them!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


This is Chilebrown in his element. We are tweaking,learning and experiencing the Stoker Moment. The Stoker unit is a wonderful tool to control your barbeque pit. I will be the first to admit that it is not easy to learn all the controls and nuances of setting up this device. You know what the best part is? We get to eat the experiments. We are having too much fun!

Friday, April 9, 2010


Greg from ‘Black Iron Dude’ pointed out to me about a new group of people that are promoting a ‘Meatless Monday’. Their goal is to help reduce meat consumption 15% to improve personal health and the health of the planet. An ‘A’ list of celebrities has jumped on this band wagon. (Paul McCartney, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michael Pollan). Martha Stewart is a big supporter of this movement. The board of Supervisors of San Francisco just passed a nonbinding resolution urging restaurants and stores to offer vegetarian options on Monday. That is just what we need. The government will tell us what not to eat on Monday’s,

It is bad enough that I had to wear a helmet on the short bus. Later in life a helmet was required to ride my motorcycle. I do not smoke but the government is telling me that I cannot in public. When will it stop? I personally am going to boycott San Francisco on Monday’s. That will teach them.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Our Adventure continues to 'Butler Gourmet Meats' in Carson City Nevada. Carson City is only a half hour drive from Lake Tahoe. We are no strangers to Carson City. Once a year the town holds a festival called the Rendezvous. We attend and compete in the Rendezvous Dutch Oven Cook Off held in June. We have also visited Butler Meats and have tried their bacon before. Today we were lucky to meet the owner David Theiss.

David Theiss started working at Butler Meats in the 70's. His first job was sweeping the floors. He worked his way up learning the trade and skills as he progressed. In 1984 he purchased Butler Meats and has not stopped learning and creating new products. David sells 18 types of sauces and marinades. He is constantly trying new flavors and combinations. When we met David, he treated us as an old friend. He guided us through his large inventory of meat products.

Butler Meats, has all your meat desires. They have steaks to entire sides of beef. There are forty five different flavored sausages. Organic chickens, lamb, hams, venison, stuffed pork chops and a whole lot more. Then there is our favorite, smoked slab bacon. "Score". Butler serves deli sandwiches and has a very large lunch crowd. One thing we noticed was all the different meat packages you can buy. You can fill your freezer with meat combinations. This is an old fashioned Butcher Shop that serves the Carson City populace with quality meat.

We purchased a large amount of different sausages, ham and some slab bacon. This meat stop was very satisfying. We got to meet David and witnessed an old fashion butcher shop the way it should be. The next time you are in Carson City treat yourself to a visit.

Butler Gourmet Meats

Sunday, April 4, 2010


We are on a mission to find the ‘Holy Grail of Bacon’. We have been searching to find the Gold Standard of bacon. We thought we had finally found the Gold Standard at “A&B Meat Market’ in Bend Oregon. Sadly the owners retired and “A&B” went out of business. The search still continues and disappointments sometimes are part of the routine. Two out of our four planned meat stops had fallen and shuttered their doors. ‘Butcher Boys’ in Sparks Nevada closed at the beginning of the year.’ Butcher Boy Prime’ meats has gutted their store and posted a sign that they will become a catering business. This meat adventure was not a total loss. We visited two wonderful meat markets in the Tahoe area. Today we are visiting “Overland Meat & Seafood Co.”

“Overland Meat & Seafood Company is located in beautiful South Lake Tahoe California. They are a phenomenal place to find fresh fish and custom cuts of meat. They carry free-range meats, organic poultry, seafood and they also have an extensive wine collection. The store has numerous condiments and meat accompaniments. This is a one-stop shop to gather top shelf ingredients for an exquisite home cooked dinner.

Once we shook the snow off our shoes and entered Overland, We were greeted by Brian Cohen the owner. He was very helpful and was interested in our quest. He explained that he has fresh seafood delivered by overnight UPS delivery on Fridays. The locals line up to see what the newest delivery will bring. He also makes a house Chorizo and Jerky. He does not cure his own bacon but sells “Falls Brand” from Idaho. Brian has a very nice shop. We witnessed customers approaching Brian to ask about the fresh seafood delivery.
We made a purchase of some chorizo, jerky and bacon. This bacon looks very meaty. I wish our room had a stove. Overland Meat & Seafood would be our destination meat market if we were residents of the area. If we ever rent a cabin in the area we will defiantly be shopping here.

Next stop is Carson City to visit Butler’s Meats.

Overland Meat & Seafood
2227 Lake Tahoe Blvd

South Lake Tahoe Ca. 96150


Saturday, April 3, 2010


We hoped that we would get snowed in. The chain control was posted, but Ms. Goofy raised her paw and waved at the 'Chain Monkeys' because we were cruisin in 'Black Bart'.(Black Bart is our four by four three quarter ton ten mile to the gallon meat retrieval machine). We have an ice chest full of goodies that includes an Easter Ham and meat products.

We visited four Meat Markets and two were shuttered. Curing, smoking, and processing meats is an endangered species. Next week we will share our visits to' Butler Meats' and 'Overland Meat & Seafood Company'.

"Happy Easter"

Friday, April 2, 2010


We made it. It was clear sailing over the Sierra's. The roads were fairly clear of snow. Ms. Goofy was relieved because she hates putting on the chains. Once we rolled into town, we noticed the "The Brewery at Lake Tahoe". Micro beer was just what the doctor ordered. The IPA was very tasty. The Brewery has a restaurant that specializes in pizza. The aroma was intoxicating. We may have to return. Tonight we are looking for a some fine dining. We are searching for a serious meat fix.

We checked in at our Casino/Resort and proceeded to donate our paychecks to the tables. It looks like a ghost town in these gambling halls. We cruised around surveying the numerous steak house emporiums. We decided on "19 Kitchen-Bar" located in 'Harvey's'. This restaurant is located on the 19 floor of the resort. It has a beautiful view of the lake. We witnessed a spectacular sunset. The food was just an added bonus to this show. We both had large pieces of protein accompanied with Asparagus and donuts. What a feast.

Today we are going to embark on a Meat Adventure. We have 4 scheduled stops. I hope we brought enough ice chests.