Chilebrown at home

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


It is time to celebrate our birthday/anniversary and we love a good steakhouse. Our barbeque friend Kevin has been shouting praises about Original Joe’s for a while.  Now there are four different Original Joe’s in the Bay Area that I know of. This one is located in downtown San Jose right near the convention center. This Original Joe’s opened in the 60’s and has survived the transformation of downtown San Jose. Downtown San Jose has been revitalized to host many trendy restaurants and nightclubs. The San Jose Sharks ice hockey team plays in the arena right around the corner. Parking Karma was turned off today and we parked in the Convention Center which was a brisk 10 minute walk away.

We entered into a packed restaurant for a Tuesday evening. The server told us it was a 15 minute wait and it was. Original Joe’s has a old time feel to it. The lighting is low and you notice right away the waiters are dressed in dinner jackets. There is counter seating to watch the kitchen do its magic. Wooden table are surrounded by low booths that to me resemble an upscale type coffee house. There is a separate bar area which was also busy with diners and cocktail enthusiasts. The service was quick and efficient. Our waiter did not write anything down when he took our order and that always worries me a little bit. Not to worry because our meal was delivered with accuracy.

Let’s just start with the end of our meal. We enjoyed it. Everything was good and plentiful. The 18 ounce New York strip steak was cooked to medium rare as requested. Ms. Goofy had a huge hub cap of veal parmesan that no way was she going to finish even with my help. The raviolis were soft and pillow like with a ton of sauce. Sure I can nitpick about the salad lettuce leaves not cut to bite size pieces and the steak being under seasoned. Sure I can say the marinara sauce for the ravioli was pedestrian and too plentiful and the mushrooms needed some salt but I won’t. This was an old fashioned meal that may have been stuck in the 60’s era that customers expect and love from Original Joe’s.


We really enjoyed eating at and experiencing Original Joe’s of San Jose. It is nice to experience a feeling and vibration of the past. Original Joe’s is that culinary journey down memory lane.  I am glad this restaurant has survived and there is a reason for it. This was a wonderful way to celebrate our birthday/anniversary.

Sunday, February 25, 2018


I love asparagus, but not at nine dollars a pound. Spring is right around the corner. A good indicator is when the farmers market has locally grown asparagus. The end of February and the beginning of March these luscious spears of spring arrive announcing the warmer weather to come. We visited the Marin Farmers Market this morning and found some of the very first asparagus. To my shock it was priced at nine dollars a pound. It is time to draw the line. Maybe somebody will pay that but not I. We opted for some very sweet shelling peas. They will go perfect with the corned beef we are smoking as I type. Spring is almost here.

P.S. Not done yet but close.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018


We are visiting “Augie’s Montreal Deli during their inaugural opening week. The specialties are smoked brisket, turkey and poutine. Below is some information about Augies from the webstie.. They are located in a former industrial area of West Berkeley California. I only mention this because it is not a place you would casually drive by. Parking Karma worked today because we parked right in front. (See Note below). We walked through the door to a packed house with ice hockey on the television. A menu was on the wall with a counter to order at. The line moved fairly quick and we were cheerfully greeted by the owner Lex.

“Augie’s Montreal Deli is a Canadian family deli specializing in Montreal Smoked Meat (beef) and Montreal Smoked turkey sandwiches, Quebecois poutine (french fries smothered in cheese curds and St. Hubert gravy), home-made Polish dill pickles, and other Canadian comfort food favorites.Montreal smoke (or smoked) meat is a cured beef brisket with the spice of pastrami and the crumbly texture of corned beef. We naturally cure each brisket, hand rub with our traditional spice blend, then smoke them with hard woods and bake for 8 hours. We serve authentic poutine using St Hubert poutine sauce imported from Canada, and real deal squeaky cheese curds from Oakdale California. It’s the way that the good people of La Belle Province (a.k.a. Quebec) intended poutine to be.” (horked from Augies website)

We were there to try the smoked meat. They did offer smoked turkey but we opted for the Montreal beef brisket. Lex told me it is cured and smoked at a co-packer in Redding Ca. with his special recipe. It is steamed and sliced at Augies for meals. We also ordered an order of poutine. This was a first for Ms. Goofy. It does have all her favorite ingredients of cheese, fry’s and gravy. This version had some of the smoked meat added too. We were also told on the cuff that the gravy was from Canada as a comfort element. You know it is “All about the gravy Mang”.

Even though the house was packed we were served right away. The sandwich was large and looked fantastic. I pulled it slightly apart to sample the meat. It was tender and would pass any barbeque judge pull test. The flavor had a pastrami type spices and flavor with just a hint of smoke. The beef flavor was mild and what I liked was it was not overly salty as some cured meats can be. I put my sandwich back together with an added a dollop of spicy mustard. Oh yes, this was a sandwich to sink your teeth into. It was served with a very sour house cured pickle that complimented the rich cured beef. I ate the whole thing and then scooted over to help Ms. Goofy with her poutine.
   The poutine was comfort food to the maximum. The gravy was salty and rich which covered extra crispy fries. The cheese curds do not have a lot of flavor but add a texture element and more fill to this very filling dish. The added bonus was little slices of the Montreal beef. Ms. Goofy loved it as I did. I will admit the gravy put it over the top yummy.

I still had room for a slice of cheesecake. Oh I almost forgot the Canadian chocolate bars they have for sale. My mother originally was from Canada and we would visit relatives up north. As a child, I remembered the Coffee Crisp candy bars more than the relatives. You cannot buy these candy bars here in the states at least on the West Coast. This touch added many bonus points to our meal. This concluded our inaugural visit of Augies and we were full and happy.  We shall return. Leave your money at home because they only accept plastic which is definitely a new one for me.

Note:  There are a dozen spots located right in front of Augies and lots of other parking nearby. The only problem is all this parking is  signed for the various other retail businesses’ with posted warning signs that if you park in this spot and you are not a customer you will be towed. I am not sure how strict they are in enforcement and I care not to find out. I did notice they were removing a couple of these signs as we were leaving so this may not be a problem.

Friday, February 16, 2018


We have found a treasure on Treasure Island. It is the Fine Dining department of the Treasure Island Job Corps. For the sum of thirteen dollars one can dine on a three course meal that looks and tastes like it has jumped off the page of a food magazine. We have dined there before and wanted to share again this fantastic treasure. As Julia Child would say; Bon Appetite!

The students do a great job preparing these meals. Chef Ron the instructor is preparing the future Chefs of the world. I can guarantee we shall return to experience this fine dining venue.. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Silver Springs Ranch is a local farm that raises livestock and sells their products at our local farmers market in Martinez, California. They specialize in grass fed and finished beef so I usually pass by their booth but today was different. They had a signboard that said 'Loaded Potato". We were looking for a side dish and this sounded intriguing. After asking the vendor we found out that it was actually a pork sausage mimicking a 'Loaded Potato". What really sold me was the third ingredient listed in the lower image. That's right; bacon. The vendor said it was really filling because of the potato. Let's give it a try.

I cooked it in a two stage process. I brought a pan of water up to a boil. I then turned off the heat and put the sausage package into the pan and covered. After 30 minutes it was pre-cooked and only needed a browning in a cast iron pan. Ms. Goofy loved this sausage. It was very mild and the potato flavor was very prevalent. It had plenty of gooey cheese which Ms. Goofy loved. I on the other had had my usual question. Where is the bacon? Unless you told me I would not have known bacon was an ingredient. I thought the sausage was okay but a little to bland for my fiery taste buds. I did eat every bite so it was a success in that department. Oh what culinary fun we have.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


We do not know a whole lot about our dinner tonight except our bone in New York Strip steak was raised by Beffa Springs Ranch in Petaluma California. We were at the Santa Rosa Farmers market last weekend which I might add is my kind of farmers market with three different meat purveyors. The vendor did tell me this beautiful one and a quarter pound steak was grass fed and grain finished. The marbling of fat looked fantastic and I had to have it. Let's fire up the grill.

I trimmed away the extra fat from our steak. I love the flavor of beef fat but it does cause flare ups on the grill and we do not want or care for extra char flavor. It seems to be a trend on the television cooking reality show to use the term char instead of burnt. A liberal dousing of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper one hour before cooking was all we needed. Seasoning the meat beforehand allows the spices to penetrate and actually transform the texture and flavor of meat. It is also a good excuse to bring the protein temperature closer to room temperature. A very hot direct heat charcoal fire on cast iron grates cooked this to a perfect medium rare. This was one fantastic steak. We did not know a whole lot about Beffa Springs Ranch except they are a local farmer that raises some good tasting beef.

Monday, February 5, 2018


We used to get excited about the Super Bowl. With no local teams and the addition of politics the football finale was not high on our to do list. I hate to admit we do look forward to the commercials because this is a national platform for corporate America to impress. I decided to go on an organized hike before the game to work up an appetite. This hike was at Mt. Diablo to see the waterfalls that are only running during the winter. The weather has been a little dry so the falls were small but spectacular. This hike was not easy at 6 miles with an elevation gain of 1400 feet. It was so worth it. I did work up an appetite for some Kobe burgers.

Our Kobe burger meat was acquired at our local Wally World. It was on sale and is a huge deal. We even bought several extra packages for the Chilebrown ice cave. This hike prepared me for couch duties during the game. It ended up being an exciting game and we had some fantastic burgers.