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Saucy Joe's mobile sharpening

While it may not be a completely solid test, if I see electric grinding wheels of any kind, I run the other way. Too much steel is ground away, too many horrible mistakes can be had with such mechanical devices. I do it myself, it's actually kinda easy. But when i don't have the time or forethought, I visit Eric Weiss at the Berkeley Farmer's Market on Saturday morning. He's located at 2 other markets throughout the month, this is the only one I know of and can give a lead to.

Eric does have instructional classes where you can learn to sharpen your own carbon or stainless steel knives. As him about it this coming Saturday morning and see what the deal is.

xo, Biggles

Albany: Bistro 1491 opens in the Walker Pie Shop location

This is absolutely wonderful news! I haven't been able to go out for food much this year, did notice that Walker's finally closed its doors. Am so very glad something like this showed up and will make a special trip in to visit. Yay!

Biggles

Fairfield’s West Coast BBQ Championships

That's odd, really? No tasting? Funny, I got 6 pieces of chicken, 6 ribs, 6 slices of tritip and 4 slices of brisket. Oh wait, I was judging !!! The contestants can't serve the general public unless the health department has inspected and passed their NSF approved kitchens. Oh well.

There were 60 of us, all seated facing one direction, biting & judging. Usually there were 1 to 2 worthy pieces per 6 served. I too was a little amazed at the use of bottled sauces, oh well. It was a great day, with really great people, enjoyed it immensely.

Thank you to Ben Lobenstein (the promoter) for the invite to judge and thank you to the fine people at KCBS for their hard work in making the day as good as it could be.

Biggles

Goodness, gracious great bowls of grits ... and white gravy chicken-fried steak at Sukie's Country Kitchen, San Pablo

I only had 1 of the Oriental Platters quite a few years ago and it wasn't enough to go back for.

I read the "still available" sign each time and giggle to myself, still available. Heck, maybe next time I'll try it and let you know. Mebbe tomorrow?

Biggles

Goodness, gracious great bowls of grits ... and white gravy chicken-fried steak at Sukie's Country Kitchen, San Pablo

Ya know, it's funny you mention the club. I get that pretty much each time now. I have changed the fries to potato salad (can cover in 3 different kinds of hot sauce). The salad changes from time to time, and it doesn't seem like it comes from a tub. Ahhh, good times.

Biggles

Goodness, gracious great bowls of grits ... and white gravy chicken-fried steak at Sukie's Country Kitchen, San Pablo

Yeah !!! That took a few years, eh?

Sukies has been through some changes lately, and am not quite sure exactly what the scoop is. Our favorite waitress of all time has been removed, but they're all real waitresses. For the most part, no nits. I think the kitchen has been worked on because the food is being prepared better, more care.

Big D and I usually go about once a week, but it's been less lately due to being busy. Go for the dish that RW recommends, oh yes.

xo, Biggles

Best Breakfast place in Eastbay

I've only eaten at Bette's probably a half dozen times, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. Better than Bette's? I wouldn't say that, no. As good? Could very well be depending upon what you order. Better than Log Cabin? Absolutely. I drive from Richmond to Sunnyside quite frequently and bypass everything in between.

Speaking of breakfasts, I just got back from Millie's Kitchen in Lafayette, darned good as well. But once again, I was served a plain omelet, sliced up with a spatula. Sunnyside's scrambled eggs totally kicked their behind.

SCRAMBLED EGGS ARE NOT OMELETS !!!

Biggles

Best Breakfast place in Eastbay

I read through a few threads here, and while I usually miss the obvious, nobody has mentioned Sunnyside in Albany, on Solano across from Safeway. I haven't been back to the log cabin since, easy choice. I've eaten through a lot of their menus and specials, always a treat. It's one of the rare times I can get scrambled eggs all juicy, glistenny & nice. I can't say how many times I've ordered scrambled eggs and been served a plain omelet.

I haven't had any of their coffee though, so can't say anything about that. I've found their homefries to be somewhat too abundant and a little rich. Lunches have been good too, plus they take plastic. Service? Always cheerful, prompt and refill my water glass. And when I said always, I meant it. Even better than Sukie's Country Kitchen.

Cheers

Richmond: Santo salchicha Mexicano … or holy hot dog, Mexican-style

From what Omar of Joya de Ceren tells me, the pinkish crema is El Salvadorean Crema, a little spicy. El Salvador rules!

Richmond: Grand re-opening Taqueria Las Americas - Pollo campero

Washoo talkin' 'bout Willis? I been using The Chip Method since ... 1984. It's my standard of whether the place is going to be worth a pinch of, you know what.

They were very good, thin corn chips, but cold. The lard or oil congealed in my mowf. I'm going to mention it, he asked me to.

I haven't tried the tortillas, yet. Man, the burritos I received from those people early last year were world class rigs. Not only were the ingredients perfectly done, but the cool parts were cool, the hot were hot. And, the flour tortilla was put on the grill, NOT the steamer. No steamer was used, it was like Burrito Pr0n.

But as with many establishments, the product was different each time. i got about 70% satisfaction and it was GREAT. I have no idea what they're up to now. It's a tough market in this area.

Biggles

Richmond: Grand re-opening Taqueria Las Americas - Pollo campero

Thank you! I come and go in waves.

I nearly went back to Pit Boss today, maybe soon.

Did you catch the photo of the chicken? Very cool stuff.

Biggles

Richmond: Grand re-opening Taqueria Las Americas - Pollo campero

Yeah, what you said and I thought for SURE I saw the plantanos on the menu. How could they not have it?

I couldn't wait any longer and since I've been home this week looking after a sick boy, decided to head out and try the Pollo Campero.

It's good! I did notice they cook it off earlier in the day, the chicken the cook dropped in to the oil was already browned. So, I figure it's going to be a bit on the greasy side.

On the way home the smells I was getting reminded me of my mother's pan fried chicken (really good, caramelly brown smells). Ya know, the chicken was 'juicy' but in a good way, the flavors were excellent and definately had more going for it than the boxed faire. It was pully aparty and I was down to bone in a few bites. Would I drive across cities to have it? I dunno, but I will be going back without question.

Biggles

Pit Boss BBQ revisited...

Maybe so, but it's all I have.

Just got back Americas with a load of Pollo Campero!

Biggles

Pit Boss BBQ revisited...

Well, DER. My smoker.

To be more direct, not really. I love chicken dearly and it can be so fussy when introduced to the smoker. It doesn't have the fat content for the low & slow, plus it doesn't keep well in the warming trays. Kinda like sausage, gets all funky and wrinkled quite quickly. It's just too much trouble when compared to pork shoulder and beef brisket. These items can be rubbed, marinated and tossed in to the smoker with ease. Keep after the fire and you're golden.

E&J's has given me the best so far, University location.

Biggles

Pit Boss BBQ revisited...

Yeah, those were the ribs. I tried so hard, each time I went to enjoy the food. It's close to my home and my work, I'll try again this summer maybe.

There was more smoke flavor in my morning orange juice than in my food.

The catfish, however, was absolutely perfect in every way. The chicken? Cool to the touch, no real flavors (smoke or otherwise) and I think the 'sauce' was watered down ketchup. Got my cornbread though!

Biggles

Pit Boss BBQ revisited...

Yeah, I dunno. I've only been 3 times, tried mid day to later afternoon. While the sides have varied in quality like a 3 legged meandering koala, there's one thing that has absolutely stayed exactly the same each time. Absolutely no smoke flavor in the meat, any meat. My last visit i opted for the pulled pork/ribs and the pulled pork was akin to eating a fresh cotton mop head. Reminiscent of Jones' BBQ in El Sob, sigh.

Oh man, just had a flashback to that dinner. The ribs were a mooshy pile of "bits", only 1 thing in there that remotely resembled a pork rib. It was really weird, like pork rib stew. And that's the meal where they forgot my cornbread, feh. Tthe beans were actually cool to the touch, creepy. That picture was taken after digging through my rib gumbo searching for something to eat.

Biggles

Richmond - La Bamba – Beyond pupusas ... cream of shrimp soup & fried corn tamales

Alrighty then, I stopped by today and ordered up a dumb regular carne asada burrito. I was in a hurry and wasn't going to have time to enjoy my meal. The burrito came out in about 10 minutes, that was fine. I have to say though that must have been one of the top 5 regular burritos I've ever had. The salsa was very fresh and crisp in texture and flavor. The dice were all neat squares. The blend of the rice, beans, meat & salsa was perfect for each. The meat was juicy and had a nice gravy along with. Plus the tortilla must have been wrapped by a steam roller cause the sucker was tight and held firm all the way to the bottom. And what was waiting at the bottom? Just a bit of the burrito liquor, that's what. It made the last bite a real treat.

How to improve? Grill the tortilla first. But other than that it was a solid performer and I'd get another. Good stuff.

Biggles

Richmond - La Bamba – Beyond pupusas ... cream of shrimp soup & fried corn tamales

Hey,

I have had a handful of their dinner plates (my favorite to order at any restaurant). For the most part they've been on solid ground and I LOVE their rice & beans. Flavorful, juicy and not too darned salty or flavorless.

The reason I don't go there anymore is the delivery time. This is over 3 years, I haven't been in a year. Maybe recently the times have improved. I've eaten there since maybe 1991.

The late plates are: 2 carnitas tacos, nothing else. These took 35 minutes with 5 people cooking, on many visits. 1 carne asada taco was 35 minutes. 2 dinner plates on 3 occasions, over 45 minutes with about the same in the kitchen. My lunch guest and I just sit back and watch how hard everyone is chopping, grilling and taking care of business. Yet, so little comes out.

Is it time to go back? Can they deliver 1 taco in less than 30 minutes? I'm more than willing to try again, the food is that good.

Biggles

“Fatted Calf” Review...

I've been to their kitchen a few times, but haven't seen the direct jerky production and don't know about the specific wood. I can tell you I now own their previous smoker, a J&R Little Red Smokehouse. The smoker's inards smell divine. This is the one he started the bacon production on.
They don't have the time at the moment for tours and their kitchen is about the size of a gnat. The speed and agility those people work at is amazing. There's no room for anyone that isn't directly involved with cooking. The rumor is they've secured a store front at some high-end mall in Napa somewheres. So, I believe they'll be moving their kitchen up there. And THAT would be the place to ask for a tour sometime in 2007.

Biggles

Richmond: The El Tazumal connection - Joya de Ceren – Sopa de chipilin & garrobo pupusas

Hey,

OH !!! Yeah I wondered in there a month ago while on my morning walkies. The grocery store still needed some work, but everyone was VERY happy and glad to talk about anything. I bought some of the chorizo with the husk tie downs. A wonderful thing. That whole strip of SP avenue from Clinton to McBryde is chocked full of great groceries and places to eat. Many times the groceries have prepared foods as well. Well, okay I think they all do.

Biggles

Albany - Al's Big Burger – Fried clam bits better than Red Lobster or Long John Silver

Man, I have to say the stretch along SP avenue there between McBryde and Solano (plus a little further) is an absolute dream come true for the area. There's no less than 3 Mexican groceries and a Halal market I still haven't made it in to.

OH OH OH. Hey, I've been watching and that coffee roaster is still being worked on. Catahulu? I think it's across the street from El Tucan. The the old Merry Maids building. In fact, the owner of Merry Maids is the owner and main roaster guy. I don't believe he has much experience, he's been in to talk to James at Blue Bottle. Cross yer fangers, we'll have a coffee roaster to add !!!

Biggles

“Fatted Calf” Review...

Hey,

Just wanted to pop in. Nope, no liquid smoke. It is a heavily smoked product though, just the way Biggles likes it.

As far as getting knowledgable staff to run the stall, they do for a large percentage of the time. However, sometimes they have an emergency or someone can't make it to work. So, they email someone such as myself to help out for a day. I've never received pay for working the stall, I do it for fun and enjoy the company of friends. I feel I do the best I can and have a great time.

Biggles

Albany - Al's Big Burger – Fried clam bits better than Red Lobster or Long John Silver

Hey,

Do you know if Pup Hut does the fried clams? I cain't remember.

Biggles

Fatted Calf Smoked Pork Chops Redux

Hey,

It's really easy to cook pork chops too long. Even those thick ones from FC.
The last time I got their chops I pan seared with a lard smeared cast iron pan for 2 minutes a side. Installed in to a preheated 400 degree oven until an internal temp of 138, pull let rest for 10 min.
I've found using the oven is a much safer way to insure juicy pork. Plus you get to make a pan sauce.
Did you try the lamb brochettes this week?

Biggles

Hot posts change or bug?

Until recently, hot posts was cleared only if clicking on ‘Mark as Read’

Now the list is cleared a day after it is last viewed.

Sep 25, 2006
DrBiggles in Site Talk

San Pablo - La Loma #11 – tacos w/tortillas pressed to order, nuts & dried fruit with chili, different beer, hot sauce, canned butter etc.

Dang, that's down there alrighty. I used to have a butcher and grocery store that was back up Rd 20 there. Man, they had the best hot links. But that butcher retired too, many moons ago.
This trip sounds good enough for the hot sauce alone! Thanky.

Biggles

East Bay - Fat Daddy's BBQ?

I solved my problem by doing the turkey in the oven and smoking the Fatted Calf stuffed duck!

East Bay - Fat Daddy's BBQ?

Oh poo. The only problem with having a smoked turkey for the holidays is that you don't get gravy out of it. I simply cannot live without muh gravies.

Biggles

How I became addicted to Fatted Calf bacon...

Hey,

It used to be Niman, this I know. But Taylor is a wily butcher and likes to play. If you're a fan of bacon, you must at least try it once. Variety is the spice of life!

I found Dittmer's a solid performer, but it's never been outstanding. And the last 2 pounds I bought a few months ago was mostly fat. Belly bacon can vary an awful lot so I don't hold it against them.

Biggles

Fresh New Mexican Green Chiles at Raley's

Hmm, well, yeah. Unless you're familiar with a braind, you gotta check. TOSS. Ah well, we've done far worse.

It's chile time and many grocery stores will now be carrying great fresh chile peppers. I've got a few friends that drive to the central valley each year for their 50lb sacks. One of which has spent the week at his smoker with such a sack.

Have you been to the local Mexican groceries between McBryde and Solano semi-lately? I went last week and was exceptionally pleased with the higher quality produce and meat selections. The one at the corner of McBryde has some premarinated things that look quite tasty. At the time I was there the new Halal market was closed for a 30 minute break, sigh. I wanted to see if they had fresh goat.

Biggles