Chilebrown at home

Friday, December 29, 2017


I have added a new word to my vocabulary and it is; baconluxious. This chocolate bar according to the their label is; "Delicate maple sweetness, a sprinkle of bonfire smoked sea salt and crispy uncured bacon in milk chocolate". It is all that and more. This is really good. I can actually taste bacon. (I like this so much I will even give them a pass on using a non-term "uncured bacon".) 'Chuao brand chocolates has hit on all cylinders with its sweet maple flavored milk chocolate. This confection has a kiss of smoke and the most baconluxious addition of bacon. I am in bacon chocolate heaven.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017


It took almost 25 years but my set in now complete. I am talking about my custom made kitchen knives made by Bob Kramer. Bob Kramer is a Master Bladesmith who is very respected by Chef's and knife enthusiasts worldwide. To obtain a knife by Bob is almost impossible and are coveted by many. I have been collecting his knives one at a time for a long time. I have been on his elite knife list for approximately 25 years. We met Bob and toured his facility when he was located in Seattle. This roasting fork will completed my set. Christmas arrived a weak early this year.

When I placed the order for this fork several years ago, I wanted it made in stainless steal. Bob has been making masterpieces in Damascus steel lately and decided to upgrade my order at no additional cost for my patience in waiting for this special order. What is Damascus steel you may ask? This is from Bob Kramers web site; "Bob's custom Damascus, also known as 'pattern welded steel', is the result of combining at least two different types of steel that harden and temper in the same range to achieve a desired aesthetic. Damascus has a  complex creation process and requires lots of time and concentration; it constantly allows me to tap into my creativity to produce a unique art piece that is also a high performance tool for your kitchen."

My roasting fork arrived last week as a sort of pre Christmas surprise. What a beauty. We gave it a test run yesterday using it to carve the Christmas Prime Rib Roast. It worked like a charm and was a beautiful tool to look at as an added bonus. Needless to say I am very happy to have a complete Bob Kramer knifes set. It was worth the wait.

Saturday, December 23, 2017


Parking Karma has returned evident by the nose of the Racing Honda parked almost in the front door of Marin Sun Farms. Marin Sun Farms is our destination lunch stop after a mini-Meat Adventure picking up our prime ribs from Willowside Meats. Ms. Goofy is our driver while the Great White Hunter has navigated and I have been the designated back seat driver. We make quit the racing team. Marin Sun Farms is a unique meat purveyor. They are  fully vertically integrated from pasture to processing to plate. Their meat is also grass fed, pastured raised, and California local. They sell at farmers markets and have several butcher locations. Todays journey brings us to Pt. Reyes location which also has a restaurant attached to the butcher shop. We are hungry, so let's go eat.

This is a fairly small location with several meat cases and about a dozen tables. We browse the meat cases and then ask for a table.. We have our pick of tables which have a unique fuzzy fur lined chairs. It is a good thing that our posteriors are insulated because it is colder inside this restaurant than it is outside. I am wondering if it is a new trend to not turn on the heat. We make our choices. As some of you may know I am not a big fan of grass raised beef but I am game because this is our only option. New York Steak for me, burger for Ms. Goofy and Brussel sprouts for the Great White Hunter. Have I ever mentioned that the Great White Hunter is a little weird?

I also asked for a side of house made pickles. The pickles were brought out first and they were fantastic. This has to be a good sign for the things to come. Ms. Goofy and I also had salad with our meals. This salad was fairly plain but when you added the pickles it turned into a funky fresh treat. I bet you were wondering how the grass fed beef was, so here we go.
   Ms. Goofy said she noticed the difference in taste. The Umami factor is missing. I use this word with a little reservation but it is true that there is a lusciousness and a savory feeling that has you craving the next bite which was missing from this burger. Grass fed beef has a dryer mouth feeling and texture. My steak was tender enough and had decent beef flavor. My steak also was covered in a pan sauce which I am sure butter was involved. This may have contributed greatly to my enjoyment. We shared some fries that were cooked in pork lard. They were okay but needed a little more crispness. We both finished our plates and enjoyed them as much as grass fed protein would allow.

The Great White Hunter had some of the most fantastic Brussels Sprouts. They were fantastic because they were deep fried in pork lard and smothered in home made mayonnaise (aioli) and cheese. These were not grass fed I believe but delicious.. He also had a house made sausage that was a tad dry.
  Overall we enjoyed our meals. I am still not sold on grass-fed beef. Marin Sun Farms is a nice little stop if you are driving on the coast.  We did not buy anything from the meat market for several reasons. Our ice chest were full of meat from Willowside and grass fed beef from Marin Sun Farms commands a very high price tag. One thing that deterred from enjoying our meal more was the temperature inside the restaurant. This is something that has me puzzled. Turn on the heater why don't you !

Marin Sun Farms
10905 Shoreline Highway 1
 Point Reyes Station CA 94956

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


We had a hankering for some pulled pork this cold and breezy Sunday. The day before I went to our local farmers market and picked up a Berkshire Pork Roast to achieve this culinary urge for pulled pork. This special roast was picked up from the good people of Hanson Farms. They raise the Berkshire breed of pig for market. This roast weighed in at 5 pounds and cost 12 dollars a pound. Berkshire breed pig is known for its elegant round and buttery flavor that melts in your mouth. It is elegant and has a slight beefy flavor. This should be very special.

We defrosted the roast in several water baths to reveal the true shape of the roast. Something was very odd. If you look at the image above you can see what I mean. The shoulder roast has a bone included which is called the blade bone. This is industry standard and expected unless sold as boneless. What is odd was another bone that you can see on the very right of this image. I am not sure the name of this bone but it was odd for a shoulder roast and contributed to 15-20 percent waste. You will also notice a split down the center of the roast which I am going to say is just sloppy butchering. I believe  Hanson Farms is not directly responsible. They send out their product to Wolfpack Meats University Nevada Reno. We have had problems in the past from poor butchering from this teaching college. We have also tried to contact them in the past with questions with no response.

We cooked our roast in the smoker using traditional rubs, techniques and cooking procedures. The flavor of this roast was spectacular. Berkshire pork is something to be experienced. Here is the rub. the texture was off. This pork was chewy, a little tough, and just did not have the lusciousness associated with this breed. Was this  cook (myself) error in cooking techniques. This is very possible because this breed is very different than your Wallyworld pork shoulder roast.I have given up on any products butchered by Wolfpack Meats because they are consistently terrible.  I did reach out to the Hansons by e-mail with no response. I do not fault the Hansons product because they I have bought meat in the past with spectacular results. I will definitely have to do some more research on cooking heritage breed pork. It is time to move on because we have more Meat Adventures planned later this week.

Saturday, December 16, 2017


Head Chef Ryan Pang
The Great White Hunter and I are on a journey to try the new ‘Quality Bourbons & Barbecue in Mountain View California. This new barbecue restaurant should be extra special because our bbq competitor friend Ryan Pang is the General Manager. Ryan is no stranger to championship bbq. He has won numerous trophies and also is a television personality. He made an appearance on Guys Grocery Games. Those of you not familiar with Mountain View it is a tony town that caters to the  techies and nearby Stanford College. What this means is parking was horrendous. Parking karma was on hiatus.  I am not sure if the Great White Hunter jinxed me or Mountain View is very popular at the noon hour. Let’s just say we got a work out walking to the restaurant.

We finally arrived to a packed house. The dining area is fairly small and loud. We did grab one of the last remaining spots and settled in for a barbecue treat. We scoured the menu and noticed the extensive list of bourbons. Wow, over a hundred different varieties made this list a blur. We were here for the bbq. I asked the waiter if I could order a combination of meats and a side. They do sell the meats by the pound and we made up a list of what I wanted to try. This included ribs, brisket and house smoke pastrami. I also wanted to try the house made sausage which the Great White Hunter ordered. Even though the restaurant was packed our meal was delivered very promptly.

We started out with an appetizer of bacon wrapped jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and the house made sausage. It is served with the house made barbecue sauce. This appetizer was a great start. The heat of the jalapeno was tamed by the rich cream cheese with the added bonus of smoky bacon. The house sauce was tomato based with a hint of smoke. It was a very nice compliment to this rich, smoky, spicy treat. The rest of our meal came liquidity split. Our small table was full of food. Ryan included samples of all the side dishes with some home cured pickles.

Let’s start out with the sides. The house made pickles made The Great White Hunter reminisce of his Aunt Flossies home cured pickles. I believe I saw a tear stream down his bbq sauce streaked face. They were fresh with a vinegar splash and still had a little crunch. Creamed corn was decadent, Cole slaw was comforting, beans were hearty, and the potato salad was perfectly satisfying. The attention and finesse of  the sides with a homemade touch showed the kitchen was paying attention and cared about quality. The sides fired on all the right cylinders. We shall proceed to the barbeque.

The house smoke pastrami was my favorite. It was so very tender, kissed with smoke and just the right amount of salt. The ribs were dry rubbed with a fantastic mix of spices. They were fall off the bone good with a little bark from the spice rub. There was barbecue sauce served on the side but it was not needed. The brisket was an example of meat perfection. These prime packers were smoked by a championship competitor and it showed. This meat had all the right moves. Flavorful bark, tender and most of all beefy brisket flavor love. Oh my!!!!. The Great White Hunters house made sausage was made with pork and brisket trimmings. It was mild and full of porky goodness. Everything was so good.

I am trying to find some fault with Quality Bourbons & Barbecue. The only fault I can honestly find is the parking. Ryan Pang has a vehicle to showcase his cooking genius. This restaurant can fill your bbq cravings and needs. If you have desire for bourbon they have you covered in this department too.  I will return just for the pastrami it was that good. Ryans kitchen pays a lot of attention to detail evident by the sides and the wonderful pickles. The barbeque meats are better than competition which I am scoring very highly. What a wonderful bbq adventure.

Quality Bourbon & Barbecue
216 Castro Street
Mountain View, CA 94041

Thursday, December 14, 2017


Secret Santa has made an early delivery. Yours truly is in a hot sauce group on social media. We all put our names in a hat and exchange gifts with a hot sauce theme. A lot of hot sauce company owners and hot sauce freaks like myself participate. What fun it was to receive a gift basket shaped as the state of Texas filled with products from hot sauce producer "Micky V's". These products from Texas will be enjoyed as soon as this tune leaves my head.

The stars at night
Are big and bright
Deep in the heart of Texas

Sunday, December 10, 2017


Just saying Gummy Bear Sausage sounds a little disgusting. Ms. Goofy just rolled her eyes when I asked the butcher to wrap up a couple for purchase at Tootle's Butcher Shop. The butcher did mention it was one of the best sellers. Gummy Bear Sausage is pork sausage with the addition of candied gummy bears. For some strange reason we are going to give it a try tonight.

 There is no secret to cooking these festive oddities. We just browned them in a cast iron pan and finished them off in the oven. Some of the gummy bears did melt out of the sausage but there was plenty left to sample this unique meat. Can we have a drum roll please? This actually worked. The gummy bear added a sweetness to this pork sausage which was pleasant. I cannot honestly tell you if one color gummy bear tasted better than another but the sweet factor worked. This novelty sausage was actually pretty good. I can honestly say I probably would not buy them again too. It was fun to try but I have a feeling Ms. Goofy is not going to be happy about cleaning melted gummy bear out of the cast iron pan.

Thursday, December 7, 2017


We do not make it up to Marysville California that often. We just so happened to be in the neighborhood on another errand and Tootle's Butcher Shop was right around the corner. The last Meat Adventure we visited Tootle's we were told the Chileverde was a must have item but they were sold out because of the popularity. When we entered Tootle's the clerk asked us what we desired and I promptly replied; Chileverde? We were in luck and it was available. I was a little surprised that it was not cooked but sold as bulk raw Chileverde ingredients. We bought several pounds for tonight's dinner.

We received basic instructions on how to cook our Chileverde. Heat up a little oil in a pan and brown the ingredients over a high heat. When a little color is achieved turn down the heat to a simmer and cover the pan. Cook until the vegetables have softened and the meat is tender. We did add a little salsa for a little extra moisture. This whole process took about 25 minutes. It was suggested to serve over rice.

This rendering of Chileverde hit the spot. It had very nice seasoning and had a little pepper flavor from the jalapenos. We do not know the whole ingredient list but I did see onions and sliced jalapenos. The big plus was how easy and convenient it was to make this dish. The pork was tender and satisfying. The next time we are in Marysville, Tootle's Chileverde is on the list. 

Tootle's Butcher Shop
317 3rd St.
 Marysville, CA 95901

Monday, December 4, 2017


With great fanfare I would like to announce the grand opening of R & R Coffee. This new coffee stand is located at the Hilltop Mall in Richmond California. Phillip and family will be running this java emporium with the help of local bakers for the sweet accompaniments. I personally will be tasting every sweet offered in the name of research. Stop on by and have a cup of coffee. Be sure to say the Mad Meat Genius sent you.

R & R Coffee
2200 Hilltop Mall Rd
 Richmond Ca. 94806

Sunday, December 3, 2017


The women at the Colombo Club have an auxiliary club which celebrated their 80th anniversary with a dinner last night. We were invited to participate in this festive occasion. We were also told raviolis would be on the menu. How could we pass an opportunity to eat one of my favorite foods. The Colombo Club is the largest Italian social club on the West Coast. They have been in existence for almost 100 years. I attend the men's monthly dinner and I am no stranger to the wonderful food they serve. Let's go celebrate the Auxiliary Clubs 80th Anniversary. Mangia Bene.

It is mandatory you bring an appetite to a Colombo Club function. Tonight's menu includes: Antipasto, Ceaser salad, raviolis, prime rib, potatoes, vegetables, dessert, coffee and all the vino you can handle. The dinner is served family style. When your platter is empty of raviolis, you ask your server and more and more and more will be delivered. The dinner begins with cocktails in one of two spacious bars. Some delicious focaccia pizza bread was offered as appetizers. The dinner bell is rung and we go to the large cavernous basement dinning hall.

I am quit sure many a belt buckle was loosened after this feast. If you had any energy left there was the 'George Campi Band" upstairs for after dinning dancing. This ravioli stuffed boys only attempt at dancing was to roll over on the couch to grab the remote. What a night. This was a very tasty celebration.