Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Contrary to popular belief I eat other foods despite award winning barbeque. In fact I love Italian food especially raviolis. I am a card carrying member of the Richmond Galileo Club an Italian social club even though I am not Italian. Today we had lunch at La Strada Italian Cuisine. I received a very high recommendation from an old Italian friend; "Whitey" This is a direct quote from my friend "Whitey"; "Every Dago in West County goes to La Strada" If it is good enough for Whitey it is good enough for me.
When we sat down we were treated to the most decadent freshly baked french bread. I say decadent because it was served with a bowl of olive oil , garlic and herbs. That is not all, three different types of vinegar were brought to add to this fragrant mix. Dipping the bread into this mouth tingling elixir could of been a meal in itself. Vampires look out. I started off with a house salad that was refreshing and vibrant.
The raviolis were house made and had a meat filling. It was served with your choice of sauce which today was marinara. I also ordered a couple of meatballs which were for an extra charge. The sauce was rich with tomato goodness. The raviolis were cooked on the al-dente side and had a bite to the tooth. The filling was meaty as described. This combination of pasta, filling and sauce was a hearty comforting mix of Italian love. The meatballs seemed to have been re-heated and a little hard to cut through. The meatballs will be left off the next order. Our dining companion Ron said we had to order the spumoni.
Spumoni was just the perfect ending to this lunch of Italian faire. Pistachio, chocolate and strawberry ice cream with candied fruit was yummy good. We plan to return to La Strada to try some other menu items. Whitey was right about this being a good Italian restaurant. Tomorrow night I will be at the Galileo Clubs Men's dinner and raviolis are on the menu too. When the moon hits the sky.
La Strada Italian Restaurant
2215 Church Lane
San Pablo, CA 94805
Sunday, August 13, 2017
It was a hot fun time to be had at the Ceres Bands Brews & BBQ Throwdown this weekend. Hot with temperatures in the 90's and sizzling with great championship BBQ. Ceres is a small town in the Stanislaus County. Ceres is named after the Roman goddess of agriculture. Today we celebrate BBQ with twenty one professional teams and eleven backyard teams battling for trophies and cash prizes. We were there with our official judges badges to sample and score fantastic barbeque.
The public was treated to bands, adult beverages and great food. They were able to purchase sampling tickets to partake in the championship bbq. Misting tents were provided to take a quick break from the heat. Fun was had by all.
Congratulations to Big Poppa Smokers for winning the Grand Championship in the professional division. Smokey Boys BBQ won first in Chicken and Smoky River Boys won first in Ribs for the backyard division. Thankyou to the Chamber of Commerce who did a top notch job to provide such a wonderful event.
Friday, August 11, 2017
Last weekend we squeezed in a mini Meat Adventure before our rib judging duties. We visited Adam's Meat Shop in Folsom California. Adam's was found by an old fashioned Google search. I just wrote this last sentence and had a little aside; A Google search is old fashioned? Adam's is located in a fairly new strip mall anchored by a huge Lowe's store. The outside is non-descript and I would have never found it if I had not been looking. We enter to a bright clean modern butcher shop.
Adams's offers a full butcher shop with all the trimmings. They will process game for the hunters and do custom cuts if requested. The sausage is house made with many different flavor offerings.They boast no nitrates and preservatives are used. I found a habanero/pineapple which was put into our cart. The meat refrigerators had some really nice looking bacon but it was not made by Adams so I passed this time.
We found some really nice USDA Choice Porterhouse steaks which called out our names. We had this for dinner the following day and it had all the right moves. It had a corn-fed beef flavor that we crave. The filet side was melt in your mouth tender with the strip side full of robustness of flavor. I even gnawed on the bone, it was that good.
Adam's Meat Shop will take care of all the meat needs for local residents of Folsom. It we are ever in this area Adams will be one of our stops. This was a good meat find.
Adam's Meat Shop
850 E. Bidwell St #145
Folsom, CA 95630
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
I had to see it for myself. Berkeley California's "The Local Butcher Shop" gave into demands of a whack-job animal rights terrorist group Direct Action Everywhere to hang their anti-meat propaganda sign in the window in exchange that they would stop holding protests in front of their shop. This group is the same group which protested our BBQ competition in San Francisco.
We here at Mad Meat Genius do not like to take political stands but this is ridiculous. This group are a bunch of cowards who like seeing themselves in the news. Chez Panisse is located a block away but they choose not to protest this famous meat serving restaurant. It is a sad day when "The (Meat) Terrorists" have won.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Rods-n-Ribs a benefit for the organization "Water for a Warrior" held in Roseville, California was our playground yesterday afternoon. This was a small town event that hosted big entertainment. Car show, farmers market, bands, crafts, food and of course a bbq rib competition. The weather was a perfect 80 degrees that was just hot enough for the kids to play in the fountain.
"Water for a Warrior" is a group which benefits veterans. Here is a quote from their website; " We will also be helping as many additional veterans as we can by providing products and services such as, hot tubs, accessories (such as rails, lifts, etc.), orientations, clean-ups, etc. and more.". They had a booth which sold tickets for the public to taste ribs. By purchasing ribs the public was also allowed to vote on their favorite rib to determine a "Peoples Choice" winner. They also had a raffle with fun prizes.
You have to check out Wild Bill cooking hot dogs with his wacky flame throwing car. Click the image to enlarge and witness a possibly new KCBS cooking method. This was a fun afternoon. We got to eat and score some fantastic ribs. Some veterans will benefit by this fun filled event. It does not get any better than this. Congratulations to "Pigs Can Fly' for taking the trophy today.
Friday, August 4, 2017
Farm Salad with Fresh Ricotta….. Mixed greens, bruleed apricot, spiced candied marcona almonds and yogurt with cava vinaigrette.
Potato and Herb Soup… Light summer potato soup with herbed potato croquette and garnished with chive oil
Pork Tenderloin Wellington with Pluot Sauce…. served with roasted heirloom squash and long green beans (Pictured Above)
Wild Mushroom Truffle Risotto,,,,,,, with white shimeiji, hen of the woods, shitake and oyster mushroom risotto finished with a touch of truffle oil and shaved parmesan, garnished with micro greens and roasted pine nuts.
Cassata afia Italia….. A classic frozen Italian dessert of raspberry sorbet, Sicilian pistachio gelato and vanilla ice cream, served with raspberry coulis and white chocolate ganache sauces, berry compote and candied pistachio garnish.
Treasure Island Apple Strudel….Layers of flakey pastry encasing Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples baked with brown sugar and cinnamon, served warm with a crème anglaise sauce, caramel swirl, SchlagSahne and chocolate garnish.
Maple Frozen Yogurt….A richly delicious sweet and tart maple yogurt mousse encased in a golden cake beehive served with fresh berry compote, house made kiwi and raspberry sauce, crème Chantilly and garnish.
These Petite Fours were served before the dessert. This was one spectacular meal. I am not sure I want to reveal our lunch tab because I am afraid our secret fine dining spot could be discovered. Okay, twist my arm. This three course meal was all-inclusive for the sum of 13 dollars. Oh my! Chef Ron you are a teaching force that we appreciate and hope to return soon. The students at the Treasure Island Job Corps Fine Dining are heading for a bright and tasty future.
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
What? I guess the question should be; Why not? “The Baconer’ is a company based out of Oakland California. I believe it is a fairly new business and sells at a few farmers markets and online. We found this bacon at the Kensington farmers market. What caught my attention was a big sign proclaiming Sous Vide Bacon. I had to investigate. I asked the friendly vender about this product and she did not know too much about the process. They were distributing some microscopic samples which I tried but was not the reason for my purchase. I plunked down 15 dollars for a 12 ounce package of sliced rashers because I was curious as all get go.
I reached out to the Baconer Company and talked to Camilo Velasquez who is the “Self-Appointed President for Life”. He graciously answered my questions in a vague sort of way. The pork is sourced from various farms and of various breeds. Duroc pig was one of the breeds mentioned. The bacon is cured in secret spices to achieve different flavors. It is hot smoked and here it is where it gets interesting. Commercially processed bacon has to be brought to an internal temperature of 145 degrees to be safe and ready to sell. The Baconer achieves this temperature by a Sous Vide machine. Mr. Velasquez tells me this process of Sous Vide retains moisture and flavor. I believe a taste test is in order.
Another interesting suggestion The Baconer recommends is to start your bacon in a frying pan with 1/8 inch of water to surround the bacon. Use a medium high heat and simmer off the water and crisp. This is for several reasons. It will protect the meat and cause it not to have heat shock and over render. (The Baconer’s claim). It also acts as a sort of braise. We will follow these directions
We cooked several slices in our trusty black iron to compare the techniques. The cast iron cooked a little faster and ended up being crisper. The braising with the water seemed to keep the bacon possibly a little plumper with less shrinkage. The unfortunate consequence was this method produced chewy bacon. They both tasted the same. We used our bacon in BLT sandwiches using some farmer’s market fresh tomatoes.
The Baconer’s bacon had a great pork flavor. It had a nice amount of smoke. The meat to fat ration was very good. We purchased the maple flavored bacon. We did not detect any maple flavor. It has a sweet component and there was a lot of sugar in these slices. I had to turn down the heat to not burn the bacon because of the high sugar content. This was very decent bacon but does it justify the high price tag? We know this bacon was finished in a Sous Vide machine because we were told this fact. Does it stand above the crowd with superior flavor and moisture? Not really but it is a very decent bacon.