Chilebrown at home

Monday, August 20, 2018


We are in Susanville California for the 4th Annual Lassen County Barbecue Cookoff. This was the 4th year but our second as attending KCBS judges to this big event at a small town venue. We were excited because the promoters promised this year would be bigger and better than the previous year. It was!!!! We would love to share a few pictures with you.

Twentyseven competitive barbeque team, showed up for this KCBS sanctioned contest. They were hunkered down is a shady grove of the Lassen County fairgrounds. This venue is the perfect place to hold an event. It has an old time feel that delivers a nostalgic fun atmosphere. There is plenty of shade to enjoy the bbq.  We judges were sequestered in an air conditioned building that was perfect in the high 80 degree weather.

There was a car show that highlighted a lot of pride and polished chrome. I particularly liked this model because my parents owned a similar car but I can guarantee it never looked like this.  After strolling the car show one could go into one of the fair buildings to browse local craftsmen wares for sale.

California has been covered with many wildfires this summer season. People are very supportive of all fire personal and responders. This helicopter landed very close to the bbq competitors creating a temporary wind storm. Despite this small inconvenience everyone was happy and proud to welcome this representation.

This was an event to benefit the Lassen Senior Services. This organization is very active in this community delivering meals to seniors. A raffle table was set up and tickets were sold. All proceeds benefited this important organization. I did not win the bbq but I am glad my money went to this cause. Congratulations to ‘Bull Market BBQ’ for winning the Grand Championship. This was a spectacular event and we cannot wait till next year.

Monday, August 13, 2018


Several weeks ago was the Grand Opening of Belcampo Restaurant and Butcher Shop in the scenic Jack London Square of Oakland California. We wanted to wait a couple of weeks to bypass  the opening jitters  to  go try the thirty two dollar, 100 day dry aged, grass fed, beef burger. To you who have not heard of Belcampo they are a successful ‘farm to table’ meat company. They are not only selling you quality grass fed beef but a concept with C.E.O Anya Fernald words; “Our vision is bold; our ambition is to build an alternative meat supply system; real solutions are never simple fixes. Help us put health, taste and transparency first. Help us build a better cleaner world through meat.” She also has been quoted in the New Yorker; “We’re creating a product that is financially non-viable for a lot of people.” We are here to try the hamburger.

This is Jack London Square, so you park in the main parking garage. (Belcampo does not validate). We enter Belcampo to a bright, clean, modern and nice looking restaurant. We can see a small butcher shop in the back and a big bar on the right. This is a modern, urban setting with plenty of man-buns, skinny jeans, beards and hip looking servers and customers. We are seated immediately by the hostess and get menus. I do not see the 100 day aged burger on the menu. My server informs me they are out. We choose to order the 18 dollar 29 dry aged burger and another 12 dollar regular burger. Our server asked us if we wanted fries deep fried in beef tallow fat for an additional three dollars. We ordered both to compare.

Our burgers were cooked and delivered promptly. I ordered my burger medium but the image proves otherwise. It did have good beef flavor. I enjoyed it. This burger had caramelized onions as a topping which added a sweet component that was very desirable. I thought the aging process added a mellowness to the beef I can say that after tasting Ms. Goofy’s burger which had a sharpness and almost a gamy type of flavor. This should have been expected with this grass fed offering. We both enjoyed our burgers.

Both of our plates had a generous helping of fries. Ms. Goofy was supposed to have the beef tallow fried batch. We tried each other’s fries. We both scratched our head because they both tasted the same. Our server came by to check on us and asked us which fry we liked better? Apparently we had both got the regular fries and our server said she would bring us a batch of the tallow fries immediately. They arrived immediately after we had almost finished our burgers. They were limp and not even salted. Oh my!  Well, so much for our three dollar upgrade. 

I am not sure we will return to try the 100 day dry aged burger. We enjoyed our burgers, not the fries. Belcampo Oakland is a clean modern restaurant that is selling not only quality grass fed beef but a new modern concept in the beef industry. This Mad Meat Genius has just not yet jumped on the band wagon.

Friday, August 10, 2018


I love fried sugary treats. Add some bacon and it is a done deal. Alhambra Donut and Deli has bacon maple bars that I could not resist. I am surprised that California has not declared these decadent delights as illegal. Until they do I will eat my fill.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018


Our friend Jim has been telling us how good the Philly Cheese steak sandwiches are at Italian Delite located in Novato, California. We decided to give this local sandwich shop a try.Italian Delite is located in a small strip mall off the beaten path and possibly only accessible by locals or GPS. Novato is unfamiliar territory for this Mad Meat Genius. Parking Karma was turned off today because possibly Jim drove and the popularity of Italian Delite. A short walk and we had arrived.

We were there at the noon hour. The placed was packed. Italian Delite is a small place with possibly a dozen tables. You place your order at the counter and choose you beverage and choice of various flavored potato chips. The menu had various deli type sandwiches available. I noticed chicken wings and spaghetti too. We were there for the Philly Cheese steaks. You had the choice of one half a sandwich or a whole sandwich. Of course I ordered the whole sandwich because of my usual giant appetite. Despite the full restaurant our sandwiches were made immediately.
  I came to the counter to pick up our order. Three baskets on the counter holding three sandwiches cut in half were in front of me. I told the clerk I had ordered a whole and one half (Ms. Goofy has a petite appetite and would only brave one half an order). The clerk said all three baskets are yours. Wow. A whole sandwich in reality is two huge sandwiches. A bottle of vinegar based hot sauce was given with said order. It was time to eat.

There was a lot to like about this sandwich. The bread was fresh and warm. It was soft but sturdy enough to hold its contents. The steak was very thin strips of some sort of beef. It had a very nice beefy flavor. It was hot being freshly fried on the griddle. It did have a toughness that required some chewing. Roasted sliced bell peppers and griddle fried onions all topped with melted provolone (?) cheese all topped the sliced beef. The bread had a mayonnaise layer which was warmed from all the hot ingredients was a nice and familiar touch.

I did finish three sections of my order. I enjoyed it. All the ingredients were fresh and hot. This was a version of Philly Cheese steak that is popular evident by the crowd. The servers were very friendly and quickly prepared our meal. If we lived in the area this would be on our rotation of food hangouts. Thanks Jim for sharing this spot with us.

Note: I apologize for no money shot of the open sandwich. I took one and it turned out blurry. It may          have blurred for my shaking with anticipation of the meal to come.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


Creamed corn, so simple but so satisfying. Sweet corn on the cob is in peak season right now. All the farmers markets, stores and sometimes even my backyard has fresh corn available. I had forgotten how easy this dish  is to make We picked up several ears of corn at our local farmers market and decided to make some creamed corn.

Four tablespoons of butter, 1 cup of milk, 1 tablespoon of flour, salt & pepper and 4 ears of corn (We used 2 yellow and 2 white)  are all the ingredients needed. Cut the kernels from the ears of corn and reserve in a bowl. Take a spoon and scrape the cob to get all the remaining corn starch Whisk the flour into the milk. Melt the butter into a saute pan over medium heat. Add the corn and briefly stir. Add the milk and bring to simmer. Add the salt & pepper to taste. Cook for around 5 minutes or until mixture is thick and creamy. I like the corn to still have a little bite. Now wasn't that easy.

We served our creamed corn with some barbequed steak. This dish is so satisfying. A lot of recipes call for a little sugar to be added to this dish. Our corn was so fresh this was not needed. Sometimes simple is so much better.