Chilebrown at home

Sunday, October 30, 2022


We attended the U.S. Coast Guard Island Harvest BBQ this last Friday. We were invited as judges but left as happy attendees. This was an event for Coast Guard personnel, family and friends. It really was an event for the children with a bbq contest thrown in for the larger kids. Eight teams, some “Backyard’ and two “Pro” teams competed together. They cooked ribs, tri-tip and mystery meat. (pork belly). I would like to share some images with you.

The kids got to trunk or treat with elaborately decorated candy stations. Yours truly found the homemade dessert station and was told to help myself. I did. The Coast Guard people created two separate haunted houses. One was on an actual Coast Guard Cutter. I had to explore this venue. It was a blast. The ship was decorated with macabre scenes and costumed actors would jump out at you every opportunity. We ascended and descended between the decks/level by a very steep ladder type staircase. It was a work out.

Today was a fun day. The children have a wonderful time. This Mad Meat Genius child probably had the biggest smile of all.

Monday, October 24, 2022



We acted on a tip from a trusted friend. He suggested Trancas Steakhouse located in Napa Ca. He reported it was an 'Old School" meat and potatoes restaurant with a fun bar. He was right.

We arrived on a Friday night at 500pm. The parking lot was full and we had to park on the street. We were concerned about having to wait for a table. Once inside we were pleasantly surprised that there was plenty of open dining tables. The bar was packed with local clientele. It looked like a fun party. We were there to get our steak on.

The menu was fairly standard with the usual American standard dishes. The menu also stated the beef was USDA Choice grade with 21-28 days  aging. I had 14 ounce N.Y. steak and Ms. Goofy the 12 0unce Prime Rib. I want to touch on the dining area's ambiance. It was bright. We had a lamp on our table and a hanging lamp directly above. It did make for easy menu reading but was a little harsh on the eyes.

The service was fine except for the waitress forgot an ordered item. It was not on the bill so no harm no foul. The steaks were good but not great. I have had many steaks in the day and this offering did not impress. Maybe it was the harsh lighting, sparse seasoning, and possibly just the presentation? Trancas Steakhouse is a fun place for the locals to hang out and have a steak afterwards. We are glad to have experienced it once.

Monday, October 17, 2022


The Depot was a restaurant in Napa that served Italian Food family style. They have long since shuttered but the memory lives on. Clemente Cittoni was the cook and had a signature dish called Malfatti. Malfatti is the filling only of a ravioli.(Malfatti is translated from Italian to mean; "poorly made, or mistake'). It is gently simmered and served with a red meat sauce. We have never experienced such a taste, texture and delicious pasta dish that Clemente's created.  Clemente has a cult like following of Malfatti lovers. He did open a to-go only restaurant located in a Napa liquor store. He has recently moved to a new location in Napa called; The Food Mill. Have I mentioned that Clement is 84 years old?

We made the 1/2 hour pilgrimage to The Food Mill. It is a small restaurant (?). I question the restaurant part because they did have a mismatch of tables and a bar but we were the only seated customers. There was a constant ringing of the phone and lots and lots of people came to pick up their order to go. There was no bartender, waitress, silverware or ambiance to be had. Clemente's daughter Joanne took our order at the counter. She was very busy and it might of actually been easier to phone in our order. We ordered our beloved Malfatti. It was served in a to-go foil pan and we had to beg for some paper plates and plastic utensils. Besides the sparse and almost non existent service we relived a taste and memory from the past. Malfatti is something to be experienced. We were happy.


Monday, October 10, 2022

Salume & Focaccia Class

The Ligure Club sponsored a salume and focaccia cooking class. I signed up just to sample all of the homemade meats and bread. Lots of samples and they tend to push the vino if you are so inclined. Ms. Goofy was not going to let me go alone and I am glad she decided to attend. The class is very informal.  They even threw in a pasta course to make sure you left satisfied. Needless to say, we were very full at the end of the day.

Ms. Goofy left the class full and was inspired. The next week she created this very special homemade focaccia. I am in heaven. She has made several other focaccias since then.. I am so happy she attended this cooking class.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022



The "Mercury News" today reports that Black Star Pirate BBQ" will shutter in November. Apparently they have lost the lease on their present location. They had a two year run which seemed to be gaining momentum. I have met and become friends with the owner Tony Carracci. Black Star Pirate BBQ was once quoted as being; " “One part New Orleans, one part old-school Haight-Ashbury.”. I will be sad to see them go. 

Monday, October 3, 2022



We look forward to Pig Jig event held yearly in San Jose California. This is a corporate fund raiser for NepCure Kidney International. This year was not open to the general public but was well attended by donors and guests. This event also happens to host a bbq event which needed judges. We judged tri-tip and ribs with our favorite category of "Anything Goes" Anything Goes is a category that comprises of the teams special culinary creations to impress the judges. It seemed the theme this year was to include booze with every entry. It may or may not have worked because everything is a little fuzzy right now. Please enjoy the images below.