Chilebrown at home

Thursday, January 31, 2013


 We have found that after sampling and scoring the best barbeque in the nation our palette needs to be refreshed for the next competition. To keep our senses and taste buds sharp our method is to consume some ‘Prime, Aged, Corn-Fed Beef”. What better place to perform this task then,” The Oldest Steakhouse in the City of Las Vegas”, the ‘Golden Steer Steak House”. Since 1958 the ‘Golden Steer Steakhouse’ has served prime beef to numerous celebrities including the “Rat Pack’, mobsters, politicians  locals and tourists. This steak palace has been recognized by ‘Bon Appetit’ (September 2009) as serving ‘The Best Steaks On Earth’. “Golden Steer Steakhouse’ would be our destination for dinner. How about pulling up a chair and having a martini to share our dinning experience.

It is Sunday night and the strip is lit up with Vegas splendor. The steakhouse is located several blocks off the main drag in a small strip mall. The outside is bright with a “Golden Steer” illuminated by shining lights. We stroll into a dimly lit empty bar/hostess area and are greeted by a knowledgeable hostess. Once we had cocktails in hand the hostess gave us a fun history tour of the establishment. The ‘Rat Pack’ lead the long list of celebrities that had dined before us. A main dining area is flanked by a private dining room. A separate dining room is filled with luxurious leather booths. Each booth has a name and picture of a celebrity. Our hostess explained that because of the time period Sammy Davis was not allowed to sit in the main dining area. Sammy would eat and drink in this room surrounded by his ‘Rat Pack’ cronies. These booths are now very desirable and we were privileged to sit in the Sammy Davis booth.

This was one comfortable booth. We were told it was the original leather from 1958. We were surrounded by the memories of an older swinging Vegas era. Our waiter was prompt and we were surrounded by an attentive staff. Caesar salad would be our first choice. Our waiter created before our eyes the perfect salad. Raw eggs and anchovies surprisingly meld together with other ingredient to make the perfect salad. When this floor show was over it was time for beef.

Prime rib and rib-eye, aged, corn-fed, USDA prime, steak was the only thing that covered our huge plate. Ms. Goofy wept and I had a Cheshire grin when these masterpieces of beef were presented to us. Each tender bite was followed by a sigh of contentment. This beef had flavor that we crave. The hell with grass fed fodder. This was corn-fed bliss that true steak lovers adore. Creamed spinach perfumed with a kiss of pernod, twice baked potatoes and bread were our side dishes. They were delicious but beef was the real star.

This was one memorable meal. The ‘Golden Steer”, an “Old School’ steakhouse preserves and serves the charm and vibrancy of an older era. We experienced beef perfection. We cannot wait to return. We are ready for the next competition.

308 West Sahara Av.
Las Vegas, Nevada
702 384-4470

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


The ‘Racing Honda did a couple of laps this weekend. 1400 miles was the total distance traveled to Lake Havasu, Arizona with a side trip to Las Vegas. Our journey brings us to our first judging activity of this New Year. The“5th Annual Lake Havasu, Music, Brews & BBQ Championship” was held in the shadows of the “London Bridge”. Yes, you have read correctly. The “London Bridge” no longer spans the river Thames in England. In 1968, chain saw entrepreneur Robert L McCulloch purchased the bridge and had it relocated to Lake Havasu. It has become the focal point in this retirement/resort community. This was the perfect venue to hold a BBQ championship.

We arrived late Thursday afternoon. We wanted to experience the whole event. We had reservations at the swanky ‘London Bridge Resort”. This resort is the most luxurious digs in town. Restaurants, bars, several swimming pools with huge water slides, and a spectacular view of the bridge kept us in comfort for our short stay. This was our home base to rejuvenate and prepare for our judging duties.


The weather did not co-operate this weekend. The thermometer may have broke seventy degrees but the skies were overcast and dark gray. Late Friday afternoon the skies broke free with its moisture. It rained steady throughout the night. Our barbeque competitors were prepared and battled through. A little rain would not dampen the spirits and fires of these true competitors. I was a little disappointed of the rain because my new bathing suite/ thong was not put to use in the resort pool. The “Cannon Ball’ contest would not be held this year.

Eighty four teams were present this contest. Johnny Trigg of ‘Smokin Triggers’ and Harry Soo of ‘Slap Yo’ Daddy’, two contestants of the first season ‘Pittmaster” reality barbeque television show were holding court. “Big Poppa Smokers’ the reigning champion of the ‘2012 American Royal was competing. The whole country was represented by all the visiting teams. It is always a blast to see and experience the multiple cookers, smokers and barbeques. Every cooker has a story. Each team has a personality. A weekend is a short time to experience them all.

This contest was very special for Ms. Goofy. This would be her 30th contest judged. After completing this event and taking a test she will become a KCBS certified “Master Judge”. This title is prestigious and coveted by all. Because this was her milestone contest she was required to recite the judge’s oath. Ms. Goofy and two others proudly recited the pledge to uphold truth in BBQ judging. It was a proud moment. I do not think that was rain on Ms. Goofy’s cheek.

Snacks for the cooks

Words cannot describe how wonderful it is to taste and score the best barbeque in the nation. Each entry is a heart & soul offering from each competitor. Little variances in seasoning, different cooking methods, and different presentations make my judging duty challenging and rewarding. They are all winners in my book. We do have to pick a winner. ‘Grand Champion”  “Loot N’ Booty BBQ” barbeque team was crowned. Congratulations to all!

The weekend flew by. Ms. Goofy is now a ‘Master Judge’. We scored some spectacular barbeque. The sun did shine. We were rested and rejuvenated. Our adventure was not over because we were on a mission. “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas will not apply to you dear readers. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 25, 2013


We are camped out at the swanky 'London Bridge Resort' located in Lake Havasu Arizona. Today is the first day of 'Lake Havasu Music Brews and BBQ Champpionship' Seventy teams from across the nation will be competing and we will have the privilege to judge their entries. This will be Ms. Goofy's thirtieth contest which makes her eligible to join the ranks of the prestigious "Master Judge"rank. Today we will be judging, chili, bbq sauce and a category called 'Anything Goes". 'Anything Goes' is a free for all were competitors just try to impress judges. We expect steak, lobster, and possibly some bacon wrapped treats. We will return next week and share our adventures with you. See you soon.

Monday, January 21, 2013


“Crack is Whack”   Whitney Houston

The Fatted Calf in Napa had an ‘impulse buy’ item located right next to the cash register. ‘Bacon Crack’ an English toffee studded with bacon, covered with chocolate was beckoning to my addiction. That is plainly just not fair. I am weak. The clerk, with an evil grin, a wink and a nod took the money from my shaking hand. I barely made it home before I ripped the protective wrapper from this decadent delight.

This small morsel of candy was only a tease of pleasure leaving me wanting more. Two small bites and the snake had sunk its venom into my bacon fueled world. Thanks Fatted Calf for taking advantage of my weakness.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Every year we look forward to the release of McEvoy olive ranch ‘Olio Nuovo”. This is the first batch of extra virgin olive oil pressed from McEvoy’s organic olive trees. This special oil has a grassy aroma that shouts out freshness. It has a buttery texture with nuances of fruit. It finishes with a peppery bite. This oil needs to be used raw on salads to preserve its fabulous taste. Gently warmed with fresh pasta will be a treat. A special thanks to my sister (Presidentofcookies) for this tasty gift.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


 Food truck mania has arrived at the Richmond’s Farmers Market. We have a new tenant that will dazzle and feed you with Thai food favorites. The Baitong Thai Food Truck, every Friday will create Thai favorites such as: Pad Thai, Pumpkin Green Curry Chicken, Basil Noodles, Gai Yang (BBQ Chicken) and more. Everything is made to order. You can request extra heat if you are a Chilehead like myself. All entrées are served with green salad and choice of jasmine or sticky rice. Desserts are available. Mango with sticky rice sounds intriguing but ‘Roti with Banana and Egg” spikes my curiosity.

I had the Pumpkin Green Curry Chicken. This was one flavorful and filling dish. Tender chicken with green curry lit up the taste buds with flavor. Small chunks of pumpkin were a sweet addition to this dish. It calmed the extra heat that I requested. If you order the Gai Yang be sure to ask for extra peanut sauce. This is a flavor explosion .  I cannot wait to try the other dishes.

Baitong Thai Food Truck will be at the market every Friday. It is a great opportunity to try delicious Thai food at inexpensive prices. Stop on by and say Hello.

Richmond Farmers Market
24th & Barrett St.
Richmond, California

Sunday, January 13, 2013


 Ms. Goofy loves cheese. Her passion for cheese is so great we have begun to make cheese at home. Thanks to ‘Urban Cheesecraft’ we have a kit to guide us in the craft of cheese making. While reading my ‘Chilepepper’ magazine I spotted an advertisement for this cheese kit. You can make mozzarella, chevre, paneer, and more with the included tools and instructions. This would be the perfect Christmas gift for my cheese loving wife. Ms. Goofy made her trial run of mozzarella. Can you see the smile on her face? This cheese would be perfect for our pulled pork pizza. Pull up a chair and say ‘Cheese’.

The only ingredient we needed to acquire for our cheese making was milk. We did not want to use your ultra pasteurized garden variety from Wally-World. A venture to the Marin farmers market to visit the ‘StrausFamily Creamery’ booth would satisfy our needs. One gallon of Straus’s local, organic, non homogenized, cream on the top, whole milk would be our purchase. While at the market I also picked up my new favorite vegetable Romanesco broccoli but that is a different story. We are now ready to make cheese. I need to clarify; Ms. Goofy is ready. I was banished from the kitchen.

The details of the cheese making are a secret to me. I can tell you there was a lot of beer drinking, swearing and debauchery involved while the cheese making process went on. That was me watching the football playoff games. Curds & Whey, thermometers, cheese cloth and brightly colored gloves were the only clues I got while retrieving adult beverages from the ice cave.

Pizza would be the vehicle to sample Ms. Goofy’s maiden cheese adventure. Some left over and I mean over the top delicious pulled pork would be our main topping. Barbeque sauce would be the foundation to support cheese, pork and red onions. An oven with a baking stone was heated to extreme heat. Ten minutes in the fiery inferno and we had some good looking pies.
 This mozzarella cheese was hot, gooey, stringy, the perfect cheese to make our pizza pie scrumptious. Immediately Ms. Goofy had new ideas how to improve on our cheese making endeavor. She wants to add herbs or peppers. I just plain loved it. Ms. Goofy is happy with her new DIY Cheese kit. Old Chilebrown did pretty darn good getting Ms. Goofy this cheese maker. Please excuse me because I need to return to the couch. The next football game is almost on.

Friday, January 11, 2013


A ‘Master Certified Kansas City Barbeque Judge” must be ready to sample and score BBQ at all times. Our next competition is coming up in two weeks in Lake Havasu Arizona. Ms. Goofy will be earning her ‘Master’, certification at this event. We decided to cook some pork shoulder to keep our senses sharp. We have gained a lot of barbeque knowledge about cooking award winning pork. This was proven last summer at the ‘Oakland Bay Area BBQ Championship’. You may have noticed that we have been having a lot of fun testing barbeque sauces and rubs for review. It was time to sharpen our skills and taste some new products.

Our shoulder was cooked on a Weber Smoky Mountain cooker controlled by a Stoker unit. Our fuel was charcoal laced with apple and hickory wood. The pork was rubbed before cooking. During the low and slow journey in the smoker, the roast was basted with sauce. Halfway through the cooking process this butt was wrapped in foil. During the eight hour cook the smells emitting from the smoker were heavenly. Once done, rested and pulled the pork was sauced.

Jalapeno rolls and home made Cole slaw were the vehicles to cradle our  pulled pork. Moist, tender, smoky and bark to die for was my take on this sandwich. Ms. Goofy scored it paws up. Translated to judge speak that would be ‘9’s across the board’. She liked it. We killed a couple of birds with this roast. We sharpened our skills and sampled some new bbq products. Lake Havasu here we come.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


'Scorpion Hot Sauce' from 'Redlaw Hot Sauce Company' is on the table today. Serrano and Trinidad Scorpion peppers combine with fresh ingredients to make a tasty, zesty sauce that we loved. My latest review is on 'Peppers & More' and you can read it by clicking the link below.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Ms. Goofy is modeling her new Christmas stockings. We hope everyone has a bacon New Year!!!!!

Friday, January 4, 2013


Our journey begins at the greatest German Wurst-Haus, Dittmer’s, which I have ever visited. It was an impulse buy. I have read about mustard lover’s epiphany for the hot stinging, sinus clearing, bite of Lowensenf mustard. There it was and I had to have it. Several sandwiches slathered with Lowensenf later and a new mustard addiction had formed.  I needed more but Dittmer’s was an hour away. Lo and behold, ‘The Junket’ is a European café and delicatessen which is only ten minutes away. It also happens to be a food find that has our attention.

The Junket is located in the El Cerrito Plaza right next to Trader Joe’s (Trader Joe’s has everything I always wanted but don’t need). The outside is very plain. It has never caught our attention in the past even though it has been there for 30 years. Once inside the flavor sensors were ignited. Let’s start with the German and English products. Expatriates from these countries will be happy with the large selection of products. It was definitely fun debating whether to buy fresh or canned Haggis. Chocolates, Matjes herring, marmite, double Devon cream, breads, pickles, preserves you name it they have it.

The delicatessen had a large selection of cold cuts and meats to choose from. There were several imported meat products but most were from the states but made in a European style. Plenty of German knockwurst, bockwurst style and English banger sausages were tempting. A full case was filled with imported cheeses. So many choices for that perfect sandwich.

We were only there for mustard and it was a little early in the morning but the vast liquor selection was beckoning. Draft beer served in litre sized stein’s tempted me to don my lederhosen. German and English bottled beers were stocked in a refrigerator case for your viewing and selection.  A whole wall was dedicated to imported wines. The junket has a happy hour that we will not miss. To help absorb all the liquid refreshments a full sandwich menus with soups and salads are offered. I have been told from a reliable source to not miss the soup.

Lowensenf has a wonderful rich clean mustard seed flavor. It also has a sinus clearing horseradish kick that has humbled this Chilehead. The Junket is our new food destination that stocks Lowensenf mustard. I will see you there at ‘Happy Hour’. I will be the one in lederhosen eating Haggis.

The Junket
235 El Cerrito Plaza
El Cerrito, Ca. 94530
510 524-4622