Chilebrown at home

Monday, April 29, 2024


  Welcome to Paul’s Fruitcake Corner. Here at the corner we will try fruitcake so you do not have to. Fruitcake is not just limited to the Holiday season. Today I would like to share a very, very special cake. It is an Orange/Kumquat fruitcake inspired by my mother. My mother handed this recipe down to me and I believe it originally came from the “Sunset” magazine. I have used it as a guideline and put in my own twists. When my mother made fruitcakes it was quite the event. It took time to gather the ingredients. She would use quality fruits and nuts. My mother was a teetotaler but she would add alcohol to this very special cake.

  This light (colored) orange/kumquat flavored is a boozy moist treat of a cake. I used almonds, dried pineapple, dried apricots, dates, golden raisins, brown sugar and golden syrup. Fresh kumquats picked from my backyard tree and boiled in simple syrup were used in this recipe. Orange peel and its juice also sang in this choir. The cake was baked in a low heat oven and then thoroughly cooled. At this time in my life, I am a teetotaler too but made an exception for this special cake. I bought a bottle of Grand Marnier. I slowly added copious amounts to this cake. This was the icing on and throughout the cake. It just adds warmth and reinforces the orange flavor.

  The cake sat wrapped for 2 weeks before I cut into it. This gives the alcohol a chance to mellow its harshness and let all the flavors mingle. This cake was moist, sweet with dried fruit, rich and boozy. It has orange/kumquat flavor throughout. The flavor triggered food memories and happy times. I may be biased and am probably tooting my own horn but this is one fine fruitcake. Thanks Mom!

Monday, April 22, 2024


 I have many bbq's and smokers. From the Big Green Egg to my trusty Weber kettle and they all get used during the year. I have to admit my Weber kettle gets most of the use because we love to grill. The kettle can also be used to bake when you use an indirect fire. To build this indirect fire, charcoals are banked in two metal baskets. The stock Weber metal baskets are made of a thin steel that works perfectly fine. The problem is after several years they burn out and need to be replaced. I wanted to get something a little more sturdy. I found a company called the Burn Shop out of Texas.

This is heavy duty steel meant to last. There are two removable and adjustable metal dividing bars in the center. You can make your charcoal containment area smaller or larger. There is plenty of air circulation to keep the charcoals alive. I even believe the thick metal heats up and adds a few more degrees to the cooking chamber. I have only done several cooks with this new tool and it works like a charm.

Monday, April 15, 2024


Ms. Goofy had a birthday that we recently celebrated. We braved the rainy elements and traveled to San Francisco to Osso Steakhouse. This steakhouse is located on top of Nob Hill. You climb the cable car steep streets to area of fancy hotels like the Mark Hopkins, Fairmont and Ritz Carleton. The weather was dismal but that may have been a blessing. We did not experience the usual traffic nightmare and had smooth crossing both way. We also parked in the parking lot of the Masonic Auditorium which is right next door. Tonight we will have a no price disclaimer. The parking and dinner was very expensive. If you want to play, you must pay.

We arrived at our reservation time at 6:00 pm. We were seated immediately. It also was a little strange the restaurant was empty except for us and waitstaff. The waiter did volunteer it was a slow time of year. The restaurant did get more customers as our dinner progressed. Ms. Goofy ordered this cheese bread which she had heard about. This could of been a meal by itself. It was so rich with butter and melted cheese throughout. It was warm sourdough bread that was a good start to the meal.

Ms. Goofy had a bone-in filet and I a bone-in New York. Ms. Goofy loved the most crispy fries with two wonderful dipping sauces. One was a chipotle ailoi and the other ketchup. Everything tasted fine and I could nit-pick a few culinary offenses. Okay, I will. My N.Y. was fine except the cooking was a little uneven. We paid a Kings Ransome for these cuts of beef and have a high expectations. It was medium rare in parts and a little over in others. The cooks also had a light hand in seasoning which also occured in the mushrooms. These are small details that could of made a good dinner great.

This was a fantastic birthday celebration. San Francisco has a well deserved bad reputation these days. Tonight we did not experience them. The stars aligned and we dined on top of Nob Hill in all of the splendor that we enjoy. San Francisco can be a magical town and Osso Steakhouse is a star that we enjoyed


Monday, April 1, 2024


Elena's Mexican Restaurant is newest latest trending new restaurant in San Francisco. It is owned by the Originial Joe's restaurant group. We had to go check it out. This restaurant is located in the West Portal neighborhood. It is far away from the downtown madness and closer to the ocean. It was quiet the drive to get to this location and parking Karma had left me. There are only coveted metered spots that one will be lucky to find. I parked several blocks away in a residental neighborhood and walked in the pouring rain.

We arrived at 12:30 p.m. and had a 45 minute wait. I understand without a reservation the wait time for dinner can be 3 hours. Elena's is a very modern restaurant with the trademark Originial Joe's open kitchen. We were seated at a very small table. There were people to the left of us and the right of us that I could of touched. We were close. Privacy is not an option in this modern establishment.

Our waitress was topnotch. Everybody that worked here was polite and welcoming. It was very crowded and our food did take awhile. Our waitress comped us a dessert for our wait. This was a nice touch. How was the food you ask?

The food was very good. The salsa pictured is a fermented guajillo pepper sauce. It lit up my taste buds with heat and flavor. Ms. Goofy loved her enchilada and my steak was cooked to medium rare to perfection. Was this the best Mexican food ever? No, but the ingredients seemed fresh and attention to detail was appreciated. I do need to mention the price. Our lunch with one beer came out to 120 dollars. 
    Would I return? Probably not. In the Bay Area we have many options for great Mexican food at a fraction of the price. I do think Elana's will do well. The neighborhood the restaurant is located is a tony area of San Francisco. Time will tell.