Monday, April 29, 2013
It was a beautiful weekend for everyone but Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut. He was forced to relinquish his throne to Matt 'Megatoad' Stonie as 'World Championship Asparagus Eater'. Megatoad devoured 9.5 pounds of deep fried asparagus in 10 minutes of time to claim his victory. Megatoad is the new King but Jaws still holds the World record of 9.8 pounds. Ms. Goofy and I were not there to witness this culinary upset. We did make an appearance Sunday to take in the festivities of the '2013 Stockton Asparagus Festival". We would like to share a couple of images with you.
It was hot. The thermometer hovered in the low 90's. We were strolling down the food court area when asparagus lemonade caught my fancy. Against my better judgement the greenish/yellow libation was purchased 'Reversal of fortune' did not occur but it was close. Cloyingly sweet with a chlorophyll bite finishing with a bitter aftertaste made the gag reflexes shutter. I can check asparagus lemonade off the bucket list.
Today's band was a blast from the past. Foghat rocked the house with hits that reloaded the memory banks.Dancing and swaying with the music was minimal because the heat was relentless. To make things even hotter, I took refuge in the arms of two Oakland Raiderettes. What a great day!!! We always enjoy the Asparagus festival.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
It is that time of year to celebrate our favorite spring vegetable Asparagus. The 2013 addition of the 'Stockton Asparagus Festival' will be held today and tomorrow in downtown Stockton, California. Today at noon, 'Joey Jaw's Chestnut will defend his title of 'World Champion Deep Fried Asparagus Eater". There will be numerous food booths to eat and enjoy the spears of spring. We hope to see you there!
You may ask what does that juicy, smoky, tri-tip have to do with asparagus? Barbequed tri-tip is the perfect accompaniment for a plate of asparagus.Amen!
2013 Stockton Asparagus Festival
Thursday, April 25, 2013
I was waiting in line waiting for my Barista to create a 'double shot, soy, low fat, no foam, venti, cappuccino, with room' when I spied a bag of 'smoky sweet barbecue kettle potato chips'. Who knew that Starbucks sells their own house brand of chips? Having bbq potato chip with your coffee must be a trend that I am not aware of. The chips are placed strategically by the cash register for that impulse buy. Well, 'Mama didn't raise no fool' so I grabbed a bag. I had to use a lot of restraint to not rip open the bag on the trip home.
These chips were pretty darn decent for a kettle style potato chip. The jury is still out if they really go with your coffee.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
It was a beautiful weekend to hold a BBQ contest in San Jose California. The thermometer hovered in the eighties while twenty four teams battled in the parking lot of the Mason’s Scottish Rite Center. This contest was held for the purpose of raising money to purchase baseball mitts for underprovided children. ‘Golden Rule 497 Masons’ and the San Francisco Jr. Giants’ had the goal of buying 1000 mitts from the proceeds of this event. The BBQ teams will compete in four meat categories of chicken, ribs, pork and brisket. After the competition the public will sample and enjoy these smoked meat treats. This event was the perfect venue to enjoy and participate in a smoky, tasty good time.
Ms. Goofy and I did not wear our ‘Master Judges Badges’ at this event. We were volunteers in the judging arena. This was a great opportunity to help out and still participate in this contest. We manned the doors that led into the judging area. We let the teams in at the appropriate time to be judged. Today’s event was not a ‘KCBS’ sanctioned event so the scoring was not held in the traditional form. The meats were judged for appearance, taste and tenderness but the judging was not blind. This entailed the teams presenting their entries in person to the judges and actually receiving scores and feedback immediately.
This method of judging was unique and provided an opportunity for judges and cookers to interact. Each judge would recite the score and explain the criteria for given total. This was an opportunity to learn how and why the judges scored. Each meat was judged individually instead of six at a time. This was time consuming. Being the doorman I got to interact with the cooks while they waited for their turn to be judged. It was a mixed bag of compliments, grumbles, gripes and elation from these BBQ competitors. This open forum of judging can be a great tool for learning. Hopefully this judging experience will benefit both judges and cooks.
Once the judging was completed it was time enjoy the festival. A lively band entertained this hungry crowd. A couple of adult beverages and interaction with our BBQ brethren made for a very enjoyable afternoon. The weather shined a summer glow of warmth over the grounds. We saw many barbeque sauce covered faces grinning with fabulous food approval. It was only a matter of time for the awards to be presented.
Congratulations are sent out to the Grand Champion team of ‘Smoky Luv BBQ’. Reserve Grand Champion went to ‘Bowling Over Pigs BBQ’ and his ‘too perfect chicken’. A great time was had by all and best of all some children will receive some brand new baseball mitts.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Bacon and caramelized onions all baked into a flavorful yeasty bread sounds scrumptillicious. Image the aromas of onions caramelizing, savory bacon and bread baking all mingling in your kitchen. This was the reality when we created this outrageous loaf of bacon love. Decadent, rich, savory, is it just what the doctor ordered? Grab your defibrillator and pull up a hospital gurney while we create this fabulously rich bread.
We used a recipe from “Yummly nibbles & bits”. We did make a couple of changes to the recipe to suit our tastes. We omitted all the sugars. Caramelizing onions will bring out natural sugars that will suffice for us. We also did not use sugar in the bread. It will take a little longer to rise but will not sacrifice any flavor. There was also a twist in the assembly of this bread. This was because of my inability to follow instructions. I stacked my slices of uncooked bread in the pan horizontally instead of vertically. It did not change the outcome of the bread except for presentation. Recipes are a guideline not the rule.
It is amazing how wonderful onions smell when caramelizing. This was worth the ticket of admission. We did use two yellow onions. They were cooked low and slow until brown and yummy. We used a combination of leftover slab chunks of bacon from the infamous Chilebrown ice cave. The origin of these bacon chunks were from ‘Archers Butcher Block’ & The Local Butcher Shop. This combination made for a regal addition. We assembled our loaf and put it in the oven. The aroma wafting from the oven was tortuously sinful. It took some patience but we were rewarded soon.
Still warm from the oven, this bread delivered everything the smells promised. Sweet with onion flavor, savory/salty bacon crunch all intertwined in yeasty bread. We wanted to go even farther over the top of bacon consumption. A bacon cheeseburger served on Bacon, Onion, Bread did the trick. Oh my gosh!!
Friday, April 19, 2013
Every couple of weeks a whistle sounds in the chileverde craving section of the ‘Mad Meat Genius’ mind. This itch needs to be scratched and Otaez in Oakland California will provide the meal to whet my appetite. Previously we visited Otaez’s sister restaurant located in Alameda. If memory serves me right this meal was very satisfying. Let’s pull up a tortilla chip and dip into the salsa of our noon time nosh.
We are no strangers to this establishment. I have been gong to this restaurant as far back as the eighties. It is located in a colorful urban neighborhood with many choices of Mexican restaurants nearby. Otaez is a poplar choice for many of the members of the ‘Men in Blue’. The outside walls are peppered with colorful murals depicting Mexican folk scenes. Through the doors reveal a huge dining area with plenty of booths and tables. More folk art murals decorate the walls. We receive chips and salsa immediately. Ms. Goofy and I are like a broken record when it comes to ordering. Chile Colorado burrito for Ms. Goofy and Chileverde for the meat freak goes the tune.
This is comfort food that we crave. The chileverde is the same recipe as the Alameda branch. The house made tortillas are a wonderful treat in my book. Ms. Goofy’s burrito was slathered in a red mole sauce that was spectacular. It had a hint of chocolate in its chile splendor. There is a reason we have been returning to this restaurant and may I suggest that you come visit Otaez and find out for yourself.
3872 International Blvd
Oakland, CA 94601
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013
Kowabunga, surf’s up! We are strapping the ice chest to the top of the ‘Racing Honda’ and traveling to Santa Cruz, California. Instead of catching some killer waves we are on a ‘Meat Adventure’ to El Salchichero meat market. El Salchichero is a full service community butcher shop. Locally sourced meats and products created from a chef’s perspective. El Salchichero makes house made pate, fresh & smoked sausage, assorted smoked & cured meats and most importantly bacon. Grab a board and let’s “Hang Ten, Dude”
El Salchichero is located in a small courtyard off the main streets. The outside is colorful and inviting. A dog watering station and hitching post is set up for your canine companions. The door handle is a cast in the shape of some link sausages. We are excited before we even have stepped through the doors. Once inside, we are greeted by charismatic Chris LaVeque owner and head charcuterie maker. The place is small with one refrigerator case displaying various meat products. Despite the small space the store is stocked in local products such as pickles, olive oils, vinegars, pasta and so much more all from local venders and farms. We are a little overwhelmed with the selections and go straight to the bacon.
There are several selections of bacon to choose from. Chris explains that all his bellies are sourced from local farms. Hickory wood is the smoke of choice. The bacon is dry rubbed, cured and cold smoked. Different herbs and flavorings are used in different batches. Chris proudly tells us the ingredients in his offerings and offers this information again on the packaging label. We make several selections of bacon and sausage. We return home in anticipation of bacon delight.
‘Saffron Bacon’ would be on our plate tonight. This bacon was cured with ranpor lime, sea salt, honey, celery baste. evaporated cane juice, celery powder, saffron and spice. These are some unique ingredients for bacon. They are meaty and have a slight lime fragrance. These meaty rashers will be wrapped around some fresh asparagus sourced from the ‘Richmond Farmers Market’. These wrapped bundles of joy will be sprinkled with some Meyer lemon juice, olive oil, parmesan cheese and sea salt. They will be grilled over a hot mesquite fire. Accompanying the asparagus will be some “Gyeong-Go Bul” a hot Korean style sausage also purchased from El Sachichero.
This bacon was spectacular. It was meaty and had a slight beef like flavor. There was a lime flavor accented by the lemon juice. I am not sure if I actually tasted a saffron flavor but even so it was fabulous. This was the perfect asparagus meat wrapper. The sausage was spicy and yummy. El Salchichero was a great ‘Meat Adventure”. We have another bacon flavor for a ‘Bacon Revue” to follow shortly. I am already planning a return trip to El Salchichero.
|Is that a sausage as your door handle or you just glad to Meat us!|
402 Ingalls Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Sometimes one forgets how wonderful a sirloin steak tastes. I almost automatically order a rib-eye. It is my go to favorite. We picked up this huge hunk of flavor at Freedom Meat Lockers on our latest 'Meat Adventure". Sirloin cuts need to be watched carefully on the grill. They need to be pulled at the proper temperature to insure tenderness. With a little attention you will be rewarded with steak perfection.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Welcome to another addition of the ‘Bacon Revue’. Today’s act is from Berkeley, California; ‘The Local Butcher Shop’. This natty butcher shop has a concept and theme that is a good fit for its location in the ‘Gourmet Ghetto’. We recently purchased some delicious organic grass fed hamburger meat from this shop. Bacon seemed to be the perfect accompaniment to our purchase. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Let the curtain rise.
This was some good looking bacon. It was darkly colored. It had some streaks of white film on its exterior surface. This is from salt that has risen and deposited on the surface. We wanted to know every detail about our purchase. What breed of pig? Cure? Smoke? And of course what is the price. This is when we ran into a brick
Once home the black iron was put to use. The meat to fat ratio leans to a meaty cut. The meat had a darker color possibly because of its possible heritage breed. It fried up beautifully. This crisp rasher of beauty had an almost beefy like flavor. All the components of salt, sugar, and smoke were in perfect balance. This was some bacon to seek your teeth into. We enjoyed it with a avocado sandwich. Yummy!
We really liked our bacon. It would have been nice to have known the pedigree of our purchase. The Local Butcher Shop is selling not just meat but a concept. They struck out in the customer service department. This bacon will receive a rating of 3 stars out of 5. I subtracted one point because of pretension, lack of knowledge and good old plain frustration. It was a mighty tasty sandwich.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Where: 1600 Shattuck Av. Berkeley, Ca.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
What a day! It was a beautiful day to have a barbeque competition. It was great to see some old friends and make some new ones. This barbeque extravaganza was held at the fairgrounds in Woodland, California. This venue was scenic and had a old fashioned country charm. It sure beat any arena parking lot. Thirty four teams battled today. We would like to share a few images of the event.
Zack Galiste "The Kid" is a new face in the battlefield of competitive barbeque. He is cooking and smoking to achieve "Rookie Team of The Year". He is mentored by father Derrick. I am not clear who is teaching who but this will be a team to be reckoned with. Good Luck team 'Son of Smoke".
Congratulations to 'Hound Dog BBQ' for winning 'Grand Champion'. Also we want to say hurray to 'Smokin Yankees' for winning 'Grand Reserve Champion'. What a day. Thanks for stopping by and sharing some pictures of our friends and extended BBQ family. I would like to leave you with a shot of yours truly and the 'Honorable Mayor of Woodland" 'Marlin H. Skip Davies'. Skip said my key to the city is in the mail.