Chilebrown at home

Thursday, October 18, 2018


We love to go on Meat Adventures. We also have our favorite stops to stock up on some of the best meat products in our area. It is also fun to visit with our good friend Angelo who runs and owns Angelos' Meats. Today was no exception in the treats department. We hung out with Angelo while he was preparing some smoked sausage. Angelo  shared some of his great mustard with some freshly made sausage.Angelo then broke out some of the best biscotti ever. It just something about his home made rendition that is special. This has just the right amount of crunch, tender inside. and sweetness. Sometimes biscotti has the possibility to crack teeth but not Angelo's  It does not get any better than this. We said goodbye to Angelo with bacon, mustard and biscotti to go.

It was then off to Willowside Meat Market. They specialize in aged USDA beef. You should of seen the smile on my face when I saw a sweet 3 pound Porterhouse with my name on it. Our cart was filled with Porterhouse, New York, sirloin, hamburger and pork chops. Today was a good day for a Meat Adventure. 

Monday, October 15, 2018


Everybody deserves a second chance. It also helps when your Sunday special is one of our favorites;beef ribs. We went to a show at the local theater and afterwards stopped on by Slow Hand BBQ of Martinez California. Parking Karma was present but we did not get the prime spot right in front like the classic car pictured above. We were right across the street though. Downtown Martinez on a Sunday afternoon is pretty vacant. In fact this is a challenge for any restaurant in this downtown area.

We walked into Slow Hand around 4:30 pm and the first question I asked was do you have any beef ribs? I had to ask because this is a Sunday only special. They did and we ordered a couple. We had a couple of choices for sides. Ms. Goofy loves her mac & cheese and I know the Cole slaw is a winner here. We also opted for German Potato Salad and just for kicks a key lime pie for dessert. We, well maybe I was very hungry.

Technically these are beef short ribs but 'Boy O Boy" are they meaty, beaty, big and bouncy. They are falling off the bone tender. Yes, they are falling off the bone and I do not care. I love them. In fact I will repeat; I love them. The  flavor is full of yummy luscious corn fed mouthwatering lip smacking beef amazement. Ms. Goofy tasted garlic in the rub which had crusted the exterior of the rib. They are rich with beef love (fat) and I may be paying for it later but I ate it all. The German potato salad was warm with real bacon and a mild vinegar tang. This help cut the richness of the beef ribs. The Parker House style rolls still were a miss and I am not sure why they are included with this great meal. 

The key lime pie was said to be home made. The whipped cream was not. It still was a very fine end to a fabulous bbq beef rib dinner. We returned to Slow Hand BBQ with reservations from our last visit. I am glad we returned. I would highly recommend the Sunday beef ribs. I may not be a fan of some of the other menu offerings but will be totally happy and satisfied with some more beef ribs.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


The term lodestar has been popping up in the news and the late night talk shows lately. To be honest I am just not familiar with the definition until now. A lodestar is; one that serves as an inspiration, model, or guide. (Merriam Webster). Lodestar is also the name of an olive oil company located in Oroville California. We found this company by chance; in fact we were just driving by and saw a sign and took a chance. Sometimes your best food finds happen just by good luck.

We pulled up a narrow driveway and proceed to the tasting room. The grounds had the feel of a California winery but instead of grape vines there were olive trees.  This was a beautiful area and put one in a tranquil state of mind. The beautiful tasting room was open and we were ready to sample some olive oil. All of Lodestars oil are available to sample. This is a family run establishment and we met the owner; Jamie Johansson.

We sampled olive oils flavored with lemon and garlic. We tried several vintages and grades of oil. Our favorite was the Extra Virgin Late Harvest. The prices were very reasonable compared to some other boutique olive oils. I bought several bottles and even some extra to give as gifts.

We are back home and have been using the Extra Virgin Late Harvest. It has almost a vibrant fruit like flavor. It is very smooth and rich. This is oil that should be used as a finishing oil to preserve its delicate flavor. It goes great in salads or just over some fresh bread. I am sure it would be great for cooking over heat but I want to preserve its great flavor. Lodestar California Olive Oil was found by chance but what a find. We definitely are new fans and will return.

Lodestar Farms
3719 Foothill Blvd
Oroville, CA 95966

Sunday, October 7, 2018


I collect Buck pocket knives. I also try to limit my collection to the model Buck 110 but sometimes you stray from your objective. Today I have acquired a set of vintage steak knives made in the U.S.A. in the late 70's by Buck knives. They are titled The Royalty Line Custom Cutlery Model 206. They are beautiful and I just had to share them with you.

This set is used but you would be hard pressed to find any wear. They are in pristine condition. The craftsmanship is remarkable. Each knife is handcrafted of 440C steel. The edge is serrated and the base is razor sharp. The handle fits perfectly in your hand. These are works of culinary art.

I debated if I should use them. Some collectors would roll their eyes about using them and risking damage. My Bro & Sister In Law came over for dinner, we cooked tri-tip and I broke the Royalty Line out for a test run. They worked like a charm. They are razor sharp and cut with ease. I promise you that the instant dinner was done I washed them, gently dried and put them back in their pretty presentation box.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018


Have you ever made homemade bread? Today is not specific recipe for bread but an adventure about the process of creating you own freshly milled grain bread. Our friend Larry at Big Dudes Ramblings had a grain mill that he was not using and offered it to his readers. I jumped at the opportunity and he sent it to me gratis. It took me several weeks to finally put it to use but Wow am I glad I did.

Bread is made with flour usually from wheat grains. To make flour you need wheat berries. This is the whole grain which has not been milled. Wheat berries are found at health food stores and here in the Bay Area we have a plethora of these kinds of stores. I found red wheat berries and white wheat berries which have different flavors and textures. Today we are using the white wheat berries that when freshly milled will have bran, germ, and endosperm all included in the final product. Commercially milled flour has the bran and endosperm removed which gives it less nutritional value and its pure white color.

This grain mill attaches to a Kitchen Aide mixer. Here is a tip that may save you a disaster in the kitchen. Make sure that you tighten said attachment otherwise you will be sweeping the floor of wheat berries. These berries were catapulted because not securing the mill will cause it to revolve. Luckily Ms. Goofy was not present and did not see my mistake and hopefully she does not read this. Once everything is secure you pour whole wheat berries into the hopper, turn on the machine and catch flour below in a bowl. There is a knob to determine the coarseness of your flour. I had it all the way to the finest end and it seemed to work fantastically.

The end product flour is a little course because it does have the bran, germ, and endosperm.  I decided to add some commercially milled white bread flour to make this bread more desirable to our liking. You can use the flour as it is but will make very course texture bread. The best part about making bread is the smells and aromas. The aroma of the freshly milled flour is fragrant. The yeast proofing has another comforting familiar smell. The act of kneading the bread has a therapeutic like quality. It is a hands on tactile experience. The finale is the smell of freshly baking bread that will have you drooling with anticipation.

Thankyou Larry for your generous gift that will be put to use often the coming winter months. This mill adds another level to creating some of the best bread ever. Freshly milled grains are healthier than commercially made flour products. The act of making bread is so rewarding. Your sinuses, tummy and health benefits will thank you. I think I will make a sandwich

Monday, October 1, 2018


Our puppy Rocky has been growing by leaps and bounds. He is a fluffy big bouncy fun handful. He has finally received his final puppy shots and now is able to come off the porch and run with the big dogs.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


    We have on the plate; Captain Thom's Slappin' Fat Bacon Flavored Ketchup. Wow, that was a mouthful. This product caught my eye on the grocery shelf and I could not pass it by. Will it deliver bacon flavor or will it be another bacon novelty that has enticed my purchase? We tried this product on a burger and a couple of dogs. Hold on to your hats because we are trying Captain Thoms Slappin' Fat Bacon Flavored Ketchup.
   Against my better judgment I read the ingredient list. Natural Bacon flavoring was listed and I will just assume this this has something to do with real bonafide bacon. Ketchup was the main ingredient in listed in this concoction. The top was removed to reveal a nice smoky possibly bacon aroma. The prominent flavor was ketchup this was no surprise. It did have a pleasant smoky/bacon like flavor. You know what this is pretty darn good. I tried this on a spoon and it had a pleasant bacon after taste with a luscious mouthfeel. I may be in love. Captain Thom's Slappin' Fat Bacon Flavored Ketchup is the real deal in my book. I have to say I am a little shocked.

Sunday, September 23, 2018


Willow Glen California is our location for sampling and scoring ribs, chicken and tri-tip meats today. How do we do it? Why are we so lucky? It is a beautiful day and these question sometimes cross my mind.We are dedicated to our, I like to think of it as our calling, passion of bbq judging. After all these contests we still take the act of critiquing and then scoring bbq very serious. You can be serious and still have a lot of fun and enjoyment and that is exactly what we did at the BBQ In The Glen.

BBQ In The Glen was sponsored by the group; Willow Glen Business Association dedicated to promoting local business and the neighborhood. Their mission statement is as follows; The 3rd Annual Willow Glen BBQ in the Glen is a community event featuring amateur and professional BBQ teams competing for pride and prizes. The community gets the opportunity to sample the finished product, while enjoying an afternoon of music, kids' court, beer and wine.

It is always fun to meet and socialize with our barbeque friends. We saw and met new judges and competitors this day. This contest brought out the local competitors that might not normaly competet in the sanctioned KCBS events. The competitors were classified as amateurs and professionals. The public purchased tickets and were treated to some fantastic bbq from both classifications of competitors.

The weather was perfect with a slight breeze and the thermometer hovering in the high 70's. Summer has quickly passed us by. The same holds true for our bbq season. We possibly have one more contest next week depending on what our 'Tour Director", Ms. Goofy decides. We had a lot of fun today. The public in Willow Glen, evident by the smiles and bbq sauce on their face had a blast too. So long for now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Slow Hand BBQ has opened a second location in Martinez California. Martinez is in our backyard and we were excited to sample this new bbq restaurant. The location has housed numerous bbq joints over the years. Downtown Martinez can be challenging for a restaurant because after the court house closes the town shuts down. A small disclaimer will be added today. We are returning from a weekend of championship barbeque and we have nothing but high hopes for this restaurant. We are entering Slow Hand BBQ with an open mind and hungry palette.

The interior has not really changed from the previous owner. The wall decorations are a little different. There is a huge wall menu and you place your order at the counter. We learned fast from our order taker there are no deviations from this posted menu. I like to get a sampler or at least several different meats to get a feel for the place. Well our order taker would not do that. There is no such thing as a sampler or 2 meat dinner. He did point out we could order the one meat platter and buy other meats by the pound.  Fair enough. I ordered the brisket dinner with two ribs. Nope, I was corrected. I could only order four ribs. I did as instructed and this lesson was learned. Ribs, brisket and side of slaw for me and tri-tip sandwich with mac&cheese for Ms. Goofy. We also started out with two bacon wrapped cheese stuffed jalapenos.

Our meal was delivered promptly on a paper lined cafeteria tray. We started with our bacon wrapped jalapenos. They were tasty and rich. They also had a texture as they had been sitting in a hot box for a very long time; limp. Ms. Goofy’s  trip tip sandwich was a very generous proportion of grey looking meat. The grey appearance was deceiving because it was tender and had good beef flavor. Ms. Goofy really enjoyed her thick and creamy side of Mac & Cheese.

The ribs and brisket were cooked properly. They both were tender and had good smoke. The problem with my ribs was the dry rub was very pedestrian. A good bbq rub is supposed to enhance and compliment the meat. This rub was very forgetful. The brisket was on the dry side. There were two tomato based house made sauces to revive these bland meat offerings. The very thin fluid sauces were a disappointment and could have been labeled bland and blander.  This platter was served with two stale parker house type rolls that was not consumed.

There was a highlight to my meal and that was the Cole-Slaw. It was not a traditional mayonnaise based but was alive and vibrant with the perfect vinegar seasoning. Shredded cabbage with sweet peppers really refreshed from my mediocre meat offerings.

We want to love Slow Hand BBQ because it is so close to our abode. There were hits and misses today that makes it hard to give it a thumbs up. We have not given up on this restaurant. We are going to return on a Sunday when they serves giant beef ribs and will be sure to not deviate from the posted menu.. The verdict is open till after our return.

Sunday, September 16, 2018


The bbq season is winding down. Hot Q's & Cold Brews is our second to last contest for the year and our final KCBS sanctioned event. Feather Falls Casino rolled out the red carpet for this event. We could not of had a better time visiting with our bbq friends and judging some of the finest competition bbq in the nation. It also was an added bonus that I walked away from the casino with more money than I came in with. 

This event gave the public plenty of opportunities to sample championship bbq. The beer drinkers in the crowd were treated to micro-beers brewed on the premise in the casinos very own microbrewery. While enjoying beer and bbq a band had everyone tapping their feet. 

Forty three teams competed today. The weather could not of been nicer. The thermometer hovered in the low 80's. The grounds had that special bbq aroma to entice everyone nearby. I had finished judging and still got hungry by the wonderful bbq smells. I do have to mention the booth selling cheesecake. I will also admit that I purchased a whole cake with lemon and lemon curd. I am weak.

I tell you we had so much fun. A day full of judging, brews and music. The added bonus of adult gambling games in he casino made this day perfect. The day wound down and around 5;30 the award ceremonies commenced. Several of our friends took the coveted 'Walk" (Taking the Walk, is when you go to the stage to get your trophies and prizes).

In conclusion, here is an image of my personal friend Chris P Bacon. Congratulations to all the teams that competed. A special shout out to the team "Burnin and Lootin" for winning the Grand Championship. I am also giving myself a little pat on the back for winning at the tables. So long for now.

Thursday, September 6, 2018


With a title of 5 Meat Feast how could this Mad Meat Genius resist? Sometimes you just do not feel like cooking. The television ads work because every time Little Caesar's runs their promotion a little dribble of drool forms at my gullible meat loving lips. The price is only nine dollars. How can they sell a pizza pie so low? We slash I give into temptation and brave the 5 Meat Feast.

We called the order in, picked it up and returned all with in 15 minutes. The pizza was hot. It looked just like the T.V. ads. I have to admit it tasted pretty good. Maybe I do not want to know how they can sell these pies for nine dollars.