Chilebrown at home

Wednesday, September 18, 2019


The Chilebrown ice cave was getting low on beef. I have a new connection for quality beef at Golden Gate Meat Company. They are wholesalers and retailers that supply some of the finest restaurants in the Bay Area stocked with quality beef. I have acess to the wholesale division and gave them a call. They had some USDA Prime New York strip from Revier Cattle Company. They are based in Minnesota and raise the Black Angus breed. They raise their cattle on a diet which includes plenty of corn. This is what we crave
I bought the whole loin strip. It was brought home, cut up,proportioned for future meals and put in seal-a-meal bags and sealed . Of course we had to sample our beefy purchase. The grill was fired up to the smoking hot temperature. They were cooked to a perfect medium rare. This is exactly what the doctor ordered. Corn fed bliss is all I can say. The Chilebrown ice cave is stocked again. 

Sunday, September 15, 2019


We experienced a mini heat wave here in the Bay Area. How do we cope with this temporary furnace of discomfort? We go to a hot sauce festival in Auburn. It will be hot literally. Yesterday we attended the Pepper Festival and Hot Sauce Expo. On our way we made a quick stop at the local farmers market.

The local farmers market was quit crowded. It was nice to see a lot of local farmers and all the fresh produce of the season. Some of you know I manage a farmers market but I never tire of visiting others to catch up on prices and see the local offerings.

The pepper festival was held at the local fairgrounds. Auburn has an old time fairground venue that is a step back in time. I saw a sign posted for the demolition derby and even though we could not attend it brought a smile to my face. .The festival was set up with the hot sauce vendors in an exhibition hall and assorted fair exhibits out on the midway.

This festival had a music stage set up for a lineup of entertainment. In the evening a pepper eating contest was scheduled. The outside vendors were a handful of typical festival attendees. You could win a free trip to Europe but if you sign up be prepared for a ton of phone calls. I did spy a food truck selling bbq but today I was on a mission for hot sauce.

It was time to browse the hot sauce exhibition hall. I had a strategy. I would make a lap of the various hot sauce vendors and sample sauces to return and purchase my favorites. As some of you know after a couple of hits of hot sauce your taste buds can become dull and maybe even on fire. It still was fun to meet the sellers and hear their spicy sales pitch.

We have returned home and the heat has subsided. I brought back a bag of hot sauce. I even found a mini pie to take home. It was the perfect way to beat the heat. I love local farmers markets. Auburn put on a fun little festival which was pepper themed. Mother nature must have listened to our whining because we are returning to our mild Bay Area weather.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


The history of Carolina Gold Plantation Rice goes back to 1800’s and the way the story goes it was known as the ‘Golden Seed” and used as payment in Charleston for ship repairs. This ship was from Madagascar. It became the primary rice crop in the United States grown on plantations all the way up to the Civil War. After the war the rice was cross bred with other strains of rice for easier harvesting. In the 80’s the true strain of Carolina Gold has been revived and grown as a heirloom variety. I have heard about this variety and always wanted to give this rice a try. Here we go.

I bought this rice mail order and received it the next day. The price was just under 20 dollars for two pounds delivered. It comes in a colorful yellow cloth sack. There are no surprises here, it looks like rice. I looked for cooking suggestions and the only thing I found was 1 part rice to two parts water. I cooked a cup of rice with two cups of water with a pinch of salt. I let it simmer for 15 minutes on a very low heat. I took it off the heat and let it sit covered for another 10 minutes. The lid was removed and I fluffed the rice with a fork. When the lid was removed a nutty rice like aroma wafted throughout the kitchen.

The rice was served with bbq chicken wings, salsa, avocado, and a savory cream cheese roll. The rice had great texture with good kernel separation. How did it taste? I would like to tell you it had a nutty taste with floral quality being the best rice ever. It was and it was not. Yes it did have the nuttiness and floral qualities but you know….it is just rice. Carolina Gold Rice is a wonderful variety of rice. It has a great back story and supporting the preservation of heirloom food is something I support. I am glad to have given this a try………………………….Thanks Aaron for the heads up.

Sunday, September 8, 2019


There is a new kid on the block and her name is Sherry's. She is a new breakfast & lunch spot that has opened up in Pinole California. They have been open for over six months but we have heard good things about this breakfast spot. We wanted to give it a try because like all good things the crowds will follow. We were the first people there on a Sunday morning at 8:00am. It is a good thing too because by the time we left the place was packed. Sherry's is a small place that is sparsely decorated but has a homey type feel. The service was fantastic, maybe because we were the first but it seemed genuine and we have heard rave reviews from our friends.

The menu has the typical breakfast and lunch type items. Ms. Goofy is partial to her chicken fried steak. I had the steak & eggs and biscuit with a side of gravy. They asked how I wanted the steak cooked but it was so thin it really did not matter. It tasted fine. The gravy was full of sausage to cover my freshly baked biscuit. Yummy!. Ms. Goofy said her chicken fried steak was fantastic and wanted to return to try other menu items.

I brought a bottle of Breakfast Blend Hot Sauce from home that I had won in a contest from the maker Patter Farms. It promised bacon like flavors. My expectations were low but I was pleasantly surprised. It did have a smoky flavor and had a heat level that warmed my soul gently. It was a good blend for breakfast. We will return to Sherry's to sample more menu items. I believe this place will become even more popular. The two items we tried satisfied and had us craving for more.

Monday, August 26, 2019


The Great White Hunter made a brief appearance coming out of hibernation to go on a Meat Adventure.We have our usual meat haunts to stalk up our ice chests There is a farm stand near Angleo's Meats and I asked the GWH to pull over to take a look. It was a nice stand which grew all its produce right on the property. What caught my eye was an old fashioned grain grinder. The sign said "Grind Your Own Polenta Corn". They also had red corn kernels to be ground. I was hooked.

I had to ask instructions against my manlyman code and it was very simple to use. You turn it on, feed the hopper and remove ground grain from lower drawer. I also asked the clerk the type/variety of the red corn. Her answer of 'Red Corn'  was a little disappointing because there are hundreds of varieties of corn. The flour that emerged from the grinder was a course red corn flour that immediately made me think of corn bread. The sign said Polenta but cornbread is more in my wheelhouse. This will work.

I used one cup of the red corn flour and mixed it with the all-purpose flour. This will make the cornbread a little lighter. I also cooked the cornbread on a kettle covered grill because it has been hot around these parts. This was a standard corn bread recipe but I added bacon and fresh corn too. You know I had to add the bacon. It turned out fantastic. The red corn flour did not have a pronounced corn flavor but it did have a nice added texture. It had a nuanced corn flavored reinforced with the fresh corn to make a wonderful bread.
   It was nice to hang out with the Great White Hunter. He has gone back into hibernation. It was fun to grind my own corn flour. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


I do like pie. We were on our way home and the Redding Farmers Market was a welcome pit/pie stop. This is a small farmers market with several local farmers. This women bakes home made pies and breads. They are mini pies. So many flavors made choosing the crumb apple a hard decision. In hindsight I should of bought several other flavors like peach, pecan and rhubarb. I do like pie.

Sunday, August 18, 2019


This weekend we were at a very fun event in Susanville California. I believe the pictures will tell the story about all the fun we had. See you soon.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019


'My father would probably turn over in his grave if he knew I paid ten dollars for a cup of ‘Joe’. I did pay 10 dollars at an elite ‘Starbucks Reserve Bar” coffee house for a single cup of coffee. These are not the same stores that you see on every other corner but a special house that serves their premium Starbucks Reserve brand coffee; In their words; “Starbucks Reserve is a selection of the rarest, most extraordinary coffees Starbucks has to offer. It’s where we push our own boundaries of craft, developing a unique roast for each individual lot before experimenting with coffee as an art form”. I do like a good cup of coffee so let’s give it a try.
    There are only three Bay Area locations of the Starbucks Reserve Bar and we are in the tony town of Danville California. I almost drove by because the recognizable logo and familiar Starbucks features were not visible from the front of the building. I walked into a warm, comfortable, modern setting. The first thing I saw was the “Siphon” machine. This was going to be a new coffee experience.

Starbucks has a line-up of coffee beans that is trademarked “Starbucks Reserve” These are beans that are rare, roasted daily, small farmed and with limited availability. The menu has different ways of brewing these said beans. There is a ‘pour over’, and the signature ‘Clover’ machine which is a type of industrial ‘French Press” This store also has a unique way of brewing called the ‘Siphon”. I ordered, by the recommendation of the clerk, a cup of Malawi Sable Farms. (Subtle citrus with hints of cedar and ginger accents). This was going to be made by my own personal barista in the Siphon machine. Oh and by the way it was ten dollars for a cup.

My own private barista was named Ferdinand (I just made this name up to protect the baristas identity). He started this intriguing journey by pouring me a glass of sparkling water to clear my palate. I had a front row seat directly in front of the siphon machine. This contraption consists of a unique glass beaker with an upper and lower compartments held over a heat source. The heat source heats the water to 120 degrees. The lower beaker is then closed so that the heat creates a suction vacuum to bring the water to a second chamber on top of the beaker. Ferdinand then poured freshly ground Malawi coffee beans into the hot water. He stirred the mixture, not once, not twice but three times in a 90 second time period to let the coffee steep to perfection. The brewed coffee was released back to the bottom chamber through a filter.

Ferdinand poured the coffee into a silver serving vessel, put it on a wooden serving tray and confidently walked around the corner and presented it to me in grand fashion. He also gave me a miniature coffee mug to savor and smell the aroma. Let me tell you this was one smooth cup of coffee. It did have citrus, hints of cedar and ginger but what I really liked about it was the lack of bitterness. This process removes all bitter compounds.

My ten dollar cup of coffee was an act of edible performance art. It was a very good tasting and possibly one of the finest cups I have ever had. It was mesmerizing watching Ferdinand go through the Siphon process. I enjoyed having my own personal barista. For a couple of minutes I was King of the coffee house. I did enjoy my 10 dollar cup of coffee. Sorry Dad.