Thursday, July 30, 2015
Two sensational days of music, food, fun and art in beautiful downtown Oakland promises the promoters. We attend last years festivities here. A KCBS barbeque competition will be held amidst the towering skyscrapers. of a revitalized vibrant downtown setting. We are polishing or judges badges and fueling the Racing Honda and we hope to see you there. Art & Soul Festival
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Gentlemen and Ladies,start your barbeques. We are firing up the grill to give Hot Rod's BBQ sauces a ride down the drag strip of meat over hot charcoals. We have three different and unique bbq sauces to sample and review. Come on over to Peppers & More and read all about it.
Read Review Here
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Ms. Goofy loves cheese. She also is a Chilehead in training. When I first met her, she was a novice in all things chile. Jalapeno peppers, one of the mildest peppers was a challenge for her. Over the years, she has been introduced to many varieties of peppers. She still shies away from the exotic peppers so I was a little surprised when she came home with some 'Three Alarm Pepper Cheese'.This Colby Jack cheese has a trio of peppers: Habanero, chipotle, and jalapeno. This is some great cheese. I love the mix of peppers with creamy Colby Jack cheese. It definitely will warm your taste buds. I would give it three stars out of five on the heat meter.
We have a glut of tomato's right now. BLT's, spaghetti sauce, and wonderful summer salads are my favorite tomato meals this time of year. How about mixing the Three Alarm cheese and our red orbs of summer? We thickly sliced the tomato's and seasoned them with salt and pepper. They were topped with a thick slice of our pepper cheese. The toaster oven was put to use. This was a wonderful hot summer treat. So easy but so tasty. As a side note, even though Ms. Goofy is more learned in her pepper palate, this cheese was too hot for her.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Here at Mad Meat Genius we are going to celebrate 'Throw Back Thursday' in a non-traditional meat sort of way. We are not going too far back, in fact we are only going back to Tuesday evening. I could not resist sharing a couple of images of the biggest baddest beef ribs ever. These Fred Flinstone cuts were found at Lakewood Meats in Lodi. We smoked them for 5 hours until they were very tender. It does not get any better than this.
Monday, July 20, 2015
Welcome back to the second half of the Bang-Bang. Our second stop of two successive barbeque meals was Baby Blues BBQ. Baby Blues BBQ was only several miles away from Cathead’s but in the City the distance was too far to walk. We did the politically correct thing and took two separate vehicles. This was political correct in my eyes, to protest the bureaucratic fascists that have the title of ‘Spare the Air’. Ben pointed to a parking spot in a residential area a block and one half away. I pounced on this spot and declared this parking berth, great ‘Parking Karma’. Baby Blues is located on a very busy corner on Mission Ave.
Baby Blues BBQ is located in an old drug store. The exterior has seen better days. We walk into the interior and a funky local tavern like establishment is revealed. This place has character that may be mistaken for blight. The tables and chairs are a collection of miss-matched hodge podge. We grab a small table in this dimly lit establishment. The table does have a nice assortment of house made bbq sauces. We taste them all and the habanero based sauce is quiet tasty and has a kick to make me smile.
Our pleasant pregnant waitress takes our order. My usual order of ribs and brisket and Ben ordered some chicken wings. The ribs offered here are baby backs. In a prompt amount of time our waitress returns with our order. As judges, we are trained not to compare entries but to judge each entry on its own merits. This is no easy task but here we go. The presentation was fine enough except for a small bowl of mystery meat on the corner of my plate.
It had to be brisket because that is what was ordered. It was a mound of oily, stringy beef that did not look that appealing. I am not sure if it had been boiled or just cooked to death because it was a hot mess. I did take a bite and it did not taste much better than it looked. The baby backs were tender to the fault of being overdone. The seasoning was lackluster. I did smother them in habanero sauce and they were edible, barely. The coleslaw seemed purchased and the muffin was unremarkable. This may be a little harsh but this meal failed on many levels.
Ben’s chicken wings were delicious and the bright spot of our visit to Baby Blues. Our waitress was pleasant and we received prompt service. The atmosphere is funky and a little gritty. I want to love all the bbq establishments we visit. It is not going to happen at Baby Blues BBQ. Bang-Bang.
Baby Blues BBQ
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Welcome to the Bang-Bang. I met up with fellow ‘KCBS Certified Master BBQ Judge’ Ben Lobenstein to eat two successive barbeque meals. Our first stop is Cathead’s BBQ located in San Francisco. Cathead’s BBQ has their own adjacent private parking lot, so parking karma was not needed this stop. The outside is painted a bright red with a whimsical mural on the wall. Cathead’s looks fun before we have even stepped through the door.
I arrived several minutes early and got a chance to meet with one of the owners; Richard Park. Richard is half of a culinary trained husband and wife team. This spot originally housed ‘Big Nates BBQ’ which was an iconic bbq restaurant. This place has been open for over three years. Where have I been? Richard explained how everything is house made from scratch. He uses different woods for different meats such as cherry and apple wood. They also host a yearly bbq competition that features other local bbq restaurants. Richard brines his brisket in Coca-Cola. Ben arrived and it was time to order.
The menu is fairly large with the standard bbq option and daily specials. There are a lot of creative side dishes. Every meal is accompanied by a small house made buttermilk biscuit. You can order their signature large Cathead size biscuit which is accompanied by honey butter and pepper jelly. Of course I wanted to try everything but we were on a Bang-Bang. I ordered my usual brisket and ribs. Here was the fun part. My sides were: habanero cole slaw, bacon creamed corn, and pimento mac & cheese.
Our names were called and it took several trips from the counter to deliver our large meals. Cathead’s BBQ does not hold back on the proportions. Each and every plate was crafted and sculpted to look yummy delicious. Let’s start with the proteins. The ribs had a flavorful dry rub and were smoked to a wonderful degree of doneness. There was some house made sauces available but were not needed. The Coca-Cola brined brisket had a great bark and a nice level of smoke. It was tender and satisfying. I did not use them but there was a wonderful mustard/vinegar sauce, tomato based sauce and a pepper infused vinegar available tableside.
The side dishes shined with care and beauty. Fresh corn creamed, studded with bacon was, ‘Oh so good’. I would of sworn cream had been added but was informed it had not. The habanero cole slaw was vibrant and had a kick that made this Chilehead smile. The mac & cheese was gooey and rich with the added bonus of pimentos. Overall it was a colorful and satisfying meal.
Cathead’s BBQ is now a destination restaurant in our itinerary. It hit on all cylinders. This meal started out on a good note with just the simple pleasure of parking and the festive mural painted on the colorful building. The barbequed meats are the stars of this show but the side dishes were spectacular. We got into our cars and journeyed to our next destination of Baby Blues BBQ
Thursday, July 16, 2015
‘’Bang-Bang’ was the sound captured in large font print when the bad guys were shooting at our favorite comic book super hero’s. ‘Bang-Bang’ has another meaning inn the culinary scene according to comedian Lois C. K. Bang-Bang is when you eat two back to back full meals in succession. Not small snacks but two full course meals. With so many bbq restaurants to visit this sounded perfect for this hungry trencherman. Ms. Goofy was out of town so I enlisted the help of a fellow Master BBQ Judge, Ben Lobenstein. We ate at two separate bbq restaurants back to back. In the next several days I would like to share this experience with you. As a teaser, I will tell you the names of the establishments we visited: ‘Cathead's BBQ and Baby Blues'. Stay tuned, because we are going to BANG-BANG
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
As some of you may know, I have a bona fide sweet tooth. After our meal last week at La Cumbre we saw "Cream', an ice cream sandwich store across the street. This was a first for us. You choose all your components to assemble an ice cream sandwich which is no easy task. It is not simple because of the so many choices of cookie bases, numerous varieties of ice cram and side toppings. This was my creation: white chocolate cookie base, brownie nut top, salted caramel ice cream and crushed butterfingers as a side dressing. It is just what the doctored ordered.
Saturday, July 11, 2015
Television personality Andrew Zimmerman has a new show called 'Bizarre Foods Delicious Destinations". The latest episode he visited the San Francisco's Taqueria La Cumbre. This lit the spark for a burrito adventure.We are no strangers to burritos in the Mission district of San Francisco. All of a sudden it is hip to call these tubes of meat fun "Mission Style' burritos. What ever you want to call them, burritos are fun, delicious, inexpensive and a good excuse to go the 'City'. The Racing Honda was fueled and we grabbed a bucket of quarters to feed the very hungry parking meters.
We did circle the block one time to find a parking spot right around the corner from our destination. We walked several steps to see a bright sign above La Cumbre boldly stating they were the "Birthplace of the Mission Style Burrito. I believe some burrito aficionados may dispute this claim but it works for us..It is the noon hour and we are the first ones to arrive. It was a good thing because within seconds dozens of people poured through the door. A group of a dozen skateboarding kids with a film crew in tow rolled through the door too. We ordered burritos of course, because we were in the Mission district.
You place your order at the counter. Choices must be made of your proteins, black or pinto beans, lettuce & tomato, hot or mild, wet/dry and any extra sides. I prefer the carne asada which is seasoned steak grilled to order and chopped. It is also sacrilegious to ask for lettuce and tomatoes because the salsa is the traditional vegetable additives. Whole pinto beans are another old school component for the burrito. The burrito is made before your eyes and it is ready before you can wipe the drool from your anticipating kisser..
A mandatory trip to the salsa bar to sample the various condiments was the next step. Corn nibblets was a first for this burrito connoisseur. I liked the roasted jalapenos and habanero peppers. This condiment is optional but as you know I am a hardcore Chilehead..The burrito was superb.The ingredients were fresh and well seasoned. If I could find any criticism it would be the meat to filling ration was on the light side otherwise this was a satisfying meal.
We can cross Taqueria La Cumbre off of our burrito bucket list. Are they the birthplace of the Mission Style burrito? My question is; does it really matter and does branding it a 'Mission Style' burrito make it better? We sure enjoyed our meal today. Thanks Mr. Zimmerman.
Taqueria La Cumbre
515 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
Thursday, July 9, 2015
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Have you ever heard of the Datil pepper? We reviewed this unique pepper table sauce that originates in Florida. Datil Peppers are grown in this region and can be traced back over 240 years ago starting with Spanish Settlers.. The name of this sauce is San Augustin Datil Pepper Table Sauce. Come on over to Peppers & More and read all about this unique sauce. Read Review Here.
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Today, we have another bacon offering from that bastion of "everything you always wanted but do not need'; Trader Joe's'. Baconesque is a flavored popcorn that at least does not promise true bacon goodness. They claim it has' 'Fluffy popcorn with white cheddar and a bacon like seasoning. It tastes quite good. The cheddar flavor, salt and fluffy popcorn is a good combination. Like so many other products the bacon flavor is only a dream. At least I did not expect too much.