Tuesday, April 29, 2014
It is now official. Ms. Goofy and I are now chili judges certified by the International Chili Society. This opens a new chapter in our career as judges. Judging chili is no easy task. Imagine tasting a dozen chili's that are all very good and all very similar. We will be looking for balance of flavors, tenderness of meats and of course chili love. Oh what fun we have.
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Twelve pounds eight and three quarter ounces of deep fried asparagus was consumed in 10 minutes to create a new worlds record. Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut put on a clinic in the art of mass consumption. We donned our asparagus shirts and arrived early to stake our stage site viewing area. This event was special to us because our friend Jon Davis, a brother in the bbq community, was making his inaugural attempt at this prestigious sport of mass eating.
Jon had his own fan club. It consisted of judges, professional bbq cookers, friends and family. There were signs made up to encourage Jon. We were only a few in this large crowd of Chestnut supporters but we did not lack in enthusiasm. The clouds in the sky created an ominous, dark mood leading up to the start. The announcer begun to whip the crowd into a frenzy with his humorous and snappy patter. The sky's parted and the sun shined brightly onto this stage of mass food consumption. Let the games begin.
Matt 'Megatoad' Stony took an early lead over the champion. Joey was using his trademark shimmy shake method. Jon dove into his first plate of Asparagus. The crowd was going wild. Ms. Goofy almost jumped onto the stage with her enthusiasm. The five minute mark arrived; Joey and Matt were neck and neck. They seemed to encourage each other to smash the existing record. Jon finished his first plate and started his second. Jon had the determination but his pace was no match with the professionals.
The last seconds of the match were counted down. Matt and Joey seemed tied. Joey and other professionals have a technique called 'Chipmunking" This is when they shove and cram as much food into their mouth and hold it to be eaten later. This must be done before the final bell. It must all be eventually swallowed. Joey is a champion. He beat Matt by only several ounces. They did smash the previous worlds record by almost 4 pounds
This was a contest that will go down in gastronomical history. We had front row seats to witness this extravaganza.. Our friend Jon ate a respectable 2 pounds. I do not think this trencherman will ever hit the stage but we sure have fun watching this event.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
It is that time of year again. Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut and Matt 'Megatoad' Stony will be battling it out to reign as champion of the deep fried asparagus eating contest. This contest will be extra special because our friend Jon Davis, from the competitive bbq circuit (Pork Dynasty) will be competing in this contest extravaganza. We will be there to cheer on our friend and keep our fingers crossed for no 'Reversals of Fortune". The contest begins at 12 noon on Saturday.
Asparagus Festival April 25-27
221 N. Center St.
Stockton, Ca. 94202
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Barbecue is not a food you associate with Marin. In fact Marin County has a reputation of being a very liberal, vegan eating, tie dye wearing and uber politically correct group of whackjobs. 'Best Lil Porkhouse' probably had to jump through hoops to sell bbq in this area. In fact we did find out later they have to use electric smokers so as not to slight the pristine Marin air quality. In the name of barbeque we stepped through the doors and braved this establishment.
Best Lil Smokehouse is located in a small strip mall on the main thoroughfare I am sure they are not called strip-malls but maybe urban shopping piazza. The setup is a little different. You order in a small kitchen area and then go to a dinning room which is two shops away. We ordered our usual bbq items from the owner's son. He was very friendly and answered our numerous questions.
The tables had a group of house made sauces. I really enjoyed the sauce that refereed to Satan on the label. It was sweet and balanced with just the right amount of heat for this chilehead. There were also good tasting sauces for the chile challenged including a very flavorful mustard based sauce. The table also had the bbq staple roll of towels to mop up all the wayward sauce and bbq love from your mug and extremities. After a short wait our food arrived.
Both of our plates looked delicious. They were not only good looking but huge.Ms. Goofy ordered the "Porkhouse Melt"; a sandwich of pulled pork, bacon, and cheese. The pulled pork was smoky good with pieces of bark diapered throughout' (Bark is the candy like crust of the pork roast). Ms. Goofy devoured this with a side of some of the best Mac & Cheese ever. Ms. Goofy may be a Mac & Cheese aficionado and this was very good. Bonus point were awarded for the bacon crumbles on top.
Ribs and brisket filled my large platter. These were baby back ribs. They were meaty and had a flavorful crust achieved by a spicy dry rub. They did not need any sauce. The brisket was decent enough but not memorable. It was tender but not smoky or a beefy flavor that I crave. This meat was a good vehicle to sample the house made sauces. My side of beans had an unusual twist of having bell pepper in it. At first I was a little concerned with this odd ingredient but it seemed to work. The coleslaw and corn muffing both were decent.
The Best Lil Smokehouse brings very good barbeque to Marinites. The local populace may have to wear disguises so they will not be recognized enjoying meat and enjoying an American food icon without guilt. The Best LIl Smokehouse has another location in Corte Madera were they can use real wood burning smokers. They are also opening another location in Alameda soon. They are doing barbeque right to have this success. We enjoyed our meal and may visit the new location when it opens. We need to leave Marin before the politically correct police come.
Best Lil Smokehouse
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Having a sweet tooth, curse or never ending pleasure? I choose the latter. Cakes, cookies, pies, and especially pecan pies are foods that I adore. Whenever we come across a new or special bakery we like to explore. 'Gregory's Gourmet Desserts' is our latest find. This may be categorized as an 'Underground Bakery' literally. Gregory's is located on the edge of the inner downtown Oakland California. It is tucked away on a side street by numerous parking structures. There only is a small sign to indicate your arrival. Even then you will not be sure there is a bakery. There is no storefront but only a short flight of stairs leading to a unmarked door. Gregory's is only open two days a week and for only a couple of hours. Yes, this is an 'Underground Bakery"
Our parking karma was present, sort of. Gregory's is located around numerous parking structures. These lots offer all day parking for the local downtown workers. It did not seem prudent to pay fifteen dollars to pick up some sweets so we looked for the very few metered spots on the street. We circled the block and decided that I would get out while Ms. Goofy revved the engine double parked out front. While I was inside a spot did open up on the same block. The streak lives on.
You descend a short flight of stairs and open the door. I was not sure what to expect. I was wondering if you needed a password. The door opened to a familiar odor of sweet baked goodies. I had to be careful opening the door because there was another person inside. We did the dance through the door and entered a very small hallway. This hallway had a table and a couple of racks with numerous baked goods. That is all she wrote,this place is tiny. A very helpful clerk excitingly told me about the products and offered a couple of samples. It may of been unfair to offer these samples because of my sweet-tooth weakness.
Gregory's is known for their decadent cheesecake. I can personalty vouch for that. Cookies are just like mom used to make. We had a chocolate cupcake that would satisfy any chocolate fiend like myself. Ms. Goofy had a lemon bar that was great but she longed for a little more lemon sweet goo. We plan to return very soon. There are so many more sweets to try. I just hope our parking karma has not run out.
Gregory's Gourmet Dessets
265 23rd Av.
Wednesdays and Fridays 11:00am till 4:00pm
Friday, April 18, 2014
Come to the kitchen and take a Caribbean taste vacation with us. Miss Anna's Hot Pepper Sauce will be our vehicle to take us on our journey. We had a lot of fun trying this new sauce. Check out our latest review on Peppers & More.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
What a surprise when Ms. Goofy told me she picked up some special bacon from our local store. Jalapeno bacon has gone mainstream. Combine two of my favorite ingredients to create possibly a marriage made in heaven. The constantly burning light-bulb above my head was shining bright with this new product. We immediately broke out the black iron for a lashing of fire. When we opened this package a wonderful jalapeno aroma filled the room. The bacon crisped up very nicely. It had a good meat to fat ration. It was crisp, salty and (drum roll please) had a distinct, pleasant, mild, jalapeno flavor. This is when I started to dance, cry and celebrate the wonderfulness of life.
Our first meal was of a juicy bacon burger. This special hamburger was sourced from our butcher friend Angelo. A dollop of home made mustard and all was assembled on a jalapeno cheese roll made to create a fantastic burger. We then made some candied bacon. This is a simple process of baking the bacon with a sprinkling of brown sugar. Bacon candy with a mild jalapeno twist rocked our world. Jalapeno bacon is here and we are happy.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
'The Great Tomato Plant Sale' was held yesterday by the 'Contra Costa Master Gardners. With over forty different varieties of heirloom tomatoes to choose from, guess which one beckoned out to me. 'Bloody Butcher' was put in our cart. How could I pass this by. Now I just have to be patient until that first bacon, lettuce and 'Bloody Butcher' tomato sandwich of the season.
Friday, April 11, 2014
Another familiar product has jumped on the bacon band wagon. Ritz crackers, everybody's favorite snack cracker has cashed in on this bacon phenom. This time I refuse to read the ingredient list because of past disappointments. They do have a smoky bacon like flavor. They are just as addicting as the original flavor. Let's make them into a sweet, salty dessert bar called 'White Trash Bars". The ingredient list is simple and the only variation is the substitution of bacon for original Ritz crackers. These bars are decadent, sweet, salty and yummy delicious.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
We had some little visitors in our yard the last several days. Ms. Goofy spotted this swarm of bees perched on one of our compost bins. What should we do? Run for the hills, grab a garden hose or do what most Americans would? We chose the later and Ms. Goofy checked her phone. According to the World Wide Web they would leave on their own. Well they did. I kind of wish they had stuck around. The honey pot is a little low.
Monday, April 7, 2014
This was the scene at the judging table at the “10th Annual Western Days CattleWomen Rib Cook-Off in Colusa California. This was a huge offering of some of the most scrumptious beef ribs ever presented to this judge. We were offered the opportunity to sit in on this feast and review of beef & pork bones. Normally Ms. Goofy and I judge KCBS sanctioned contests and are accustomed to the four meats consisting of chicken, pork ribs, pork shoulder and brisket. As some of you may know, I LOVE beef ribs. We felt privileged to don our shiny “Master Judge’ badges and enter this arena. The rib cook-off was held at the three day ‘Western Days’ event located at the county fairgrounds. This contest was only a small part of a wonderful community event.
Western Days is a celebration which embraces the heritage of Western cowboy culture. Cowboy hats, blue jeans, and maybe a pinch of chew was the required garb to stroll these festive grounds. This Mad Meat Genius and certified city slicker purchased a hat to blend in with the crowd. I may have had the right attire but I need to work on my swagger. There were plenty of participants on horses. They were contestants in the many arena events such as; ‘calf branding, sorting, and penning, team roping, and of course the parade.
A Dutch Oven cook-off was held Saturday. I have already penned next years date on the calendar. My team of the “Meatmen” will have a year to get ready. A hallway was set up with vendors selling products with a Western theme. The ‘Pickle Man’ was one of my favorite stops. I may have sampled his various offerings twice they were so good. I picked up a custom set of tongs from a blacksmith vendor. This was a colorful market that was unique and fun.
There were 17 teams present at this rib cook-off. They paid an entry fee and were provided beef and pork ribs to cook. They submitted an entry to the judges and the rest was offered to the public for lunch. This lunch was a site to see. For a nominal fee the public was given a huge and I mean huge plate of bones, salads and dessert. The hallway was packed with rib eating festival participants. This plate was so good looking I was tempted to get one. Using my better judgment and the fact that I had already burst my shirt buttons during judging I will wait till next time.
Sunday, April 6, 2014
We are looking forward to this one. I love beef ribs. The Racing Honda is being loaded as we speak. The destination is Colusa California for the 'Glen-Colusa CattleWomen 10 Annual BBQ Rib Cook-off at Colusa Western Days". We have polished our 'Master Judge' badges and hope to sample and judge some of the best ribs in town. If you are in the area, we hope to see you there.
Friday, April 4, 2014
This is no Aprils fools joke. This is the real deal. Bacon flavored toothpaste may be the beginning of the end of the world as we know it. I did read the ingredients list and this particular one I will share with you; "Flavor". This ingredient "Flavor" listed is a new one for me. This toothpaste even sort of tastes like bacon. When you follow up with Bacon Floss your teeth will feel baconly clean.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
This unusual cut of beef ribs was acquired at a local 'Mega Wally-World". The price was right and these little bones were packing some meat. I did not hesitate putting them in our cart. This would make the perfect little weekday dinner. The back membrane was removed before a dusting of rub was patted over the two slabs. They were rolled in a circle and fastened together with toothpicks so they could fit on my 14.5 WSM. Two hours at 265 degrees and one hour wrapped made for some tender bones. A generic sauce was used and we had a 'Flinstone Yaba Daba Doo' dinner. Good eats!