Monday, December 01, 2008

Closed Napa Food & Wine Center To ReOpen.

Six months after California wine pioneer Robert Mondavi's death, the not-for-profit Copia wine and food center he founded filed for bankruptcy on Monday while it seeks to restructure and stay afloat.

The center, located in California's Napa Valley, said its decision to restructure through a Chapter 11 filing will provide an additional six months to achieve long-term sustainability.

In the filing, Copia estimated its outstanding liabilities at between $50 million and $100 million. Recent news reports put its debt at $78 million.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Black Friday Sale In Great Taste!

RoJo's Gourmet Foods is rolling out Black Friday specials with great taste. Make the foodie, home cook, tailgater, or anyone excited about their gourmet gift this year. No standing in long lines, no worries about returns. Everyone loves to get a gourmet gift! So save yourself from the turkey and stuffing induced coma by hopping on your computer and doing a little holiday shopping from the comfort of your home.

Dave's Gourmet Original Insanity Hot Sauce

List Price: $7.49
Our Price: $6.95
Sale Price: $4.25
You Save $3.24!

Your S'more 4-Pack, All-In-One Indoor S'more. 4-3.5oz, Individually

List Price: $14.25
Our Price: $11.95
Sale Price: $10.95
You Save $3.30!

Dave's Gourmet Spicy Twelve Pack Miniature Hot Sauce Collection

List Price: $23.95
Our Price: $21.95
Sale Price: $18.95
You Save $5.00!

Tony Tah's Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing & Marinade

List Price: $6.29
Our Price: $5.95
Sale Price: $4.25
You Save $2.04!

And many more items on sale! Plus every order gets a FREE hot sauce added and at $89 worth of qualifying merchandise we will pick up the cost to ship it to you by FedEx ground or home!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Wan Ja Shan Gourmet Dumpling Sauce

The folks at Wan Ja Shan have been reading The Last Bite and were enjoying it so much they decided to send us a box of sauces that they make to test out on our review team.

Today we have reached into that box and pulled out their Dumpling Sauce, and what better way to use than on dumplings! I just happen to have some Chinese dumpling in the freezer waiting for just such an occasion.

Wan Ja Shan's natural brewing method captures the essence of ancient Oriental tradition using scientific, modern-day technology. After special heat-treating, crushing, mixing and culturing, their wheat and soybeans are combined in a salt water brine solution. Then they are stored in 25,000 gallon storage tanks for a six-month aging period before being pressed, pasteurized, tested, refined and bottled. Wan Ja Shan soy sauce is NATURALLY BREWED from the basic ingredients of soybean, wheat, salt and water. This wonderful soy sauce is the base for the dumpling sauce we are sampling today.

Wan Ja Shan recommendsto use this as a dipping sauce for dumplings and all dim-sum dishes to bring out that authentic Chinese taste. In addition, Wan Ja Shan Dumpling Sauce also serves as an all-purpose seasoning for marinating and stir-frying meats and vegetables.

The first thing that struck me was the wonderful rich aroma of this sauce, it immediately made me hungry as it wafted it's wonderfully tangy, toasty scent.

I always taste every sauce by itself before applying it to food. This allows me to taste the delicate nuances one might miss when paired with food. This dumpling sauce was actually quite complex and full of tasty layers of flavor.

The initial flavor is of the tangy vinegar and saltiness of the soy. It is then smoothed over by the toasty, nutty sesame oil. There is a slight sweetness and garlicky notes in the ever so light zestiness that finishes the flavor profile of this sauce. The brew of the soy comes through nicely but never overpowers the balance of this sauce.

We really enjoyed sampling the dumpling sauce from Wan Ja Shan. It definitely elevated our dumplings to a higher level.

Cibo; Italian For Mediocre and Expensive.

It was seven PM on a Friday night and we were hungry. After making the drive through the ubiquitous no parking available district in Palo Alto we decided to head up to El Camino and find a nice place to enjoy dinner. We came across Cibo Restaurant and Bar. It was everything we were looking for, we thought, as we approached the parking spot in their own lot.

When you enter the lobby you see one of the three seating areas, this is where the confusion begins. The first seating area is mostly diner style booths, past that was room with tables that appeared to be closed and to the right; by the bar was the area which we were lead. This room had a little style with white table cloths and semi-dimmed lighting; so far so good.

Open menu, scratch head? It was really hard to tell what is going on here? The appetizer section had mix of Middle Eastern items and bar food. I felt like I needed to relax a minute from my day before wrapping my head around this menu so I turned to the wine list. Unfortunately the wine list lacked any creativity and read like the bottom shelf of the wine section at your local grocery store. By this time our server had been to the table twice and seemed as confused as we were.

We ordered the “Earth & Surf “, a calamari appetizer that turned out to be an over battered calamari with bell pepper and onion dish. I clearly remember reading the line “lightly battered”; it was served with a flavored mayo for dipping. The whole thing was served on some rough chopped romaine that quickly soaked up the grease from the dish and became dark, limp and un-appetizing.

Our entrees arrived in good time; however we quickly discovered that this was due to the lack of cooking time applied to the meals. I ordered the lamb chops and my dining companion ordered the prime Angus rib eye steak. We both ordered our meat prepared medium rare. While the steak was close to medium rare; cooked mostly on one side and seared on the other, the lamb chops were a wobbly bloody mess and had to be returned. We decided to share the steak while the lamb was being redone.

This $32.95 Angus Prime Rib Eye was disappointing to say the least. I have had better steaks at Sizzler. If that steak was actually prime Angus beef I’m a monkey’s uncle. It was tough as leather and had no flavor, there was no marbling and it lacked any recognizable characteristics of a rib eye cut. The rest of the food on the plate was the quality I would expect get at my local family eatery.

The lamb was back and this time it was prepare medium rare. I found the meat to be tasty and the gravy like sauce had a nice red wine flavor that paired well with the rosemary marinade of the lamb. The potatoes were sticky and overworked and my veggies seemed to be the original ones from my returned plate that have been re-sautéed and somewhat scorched, it was all under seasoned and bland.

When the waiter had returned with the lamb we inquired as to a verification of the cut of steak, admittedly he was unsure and charged us for the less expensive NY cut. Either way I would not expect that you are getting any prime Angus beef at Cibo.
We skipped coffee and dessert and hastened our departure as we had truly had enough of this painfully mediocre eatery.

3398 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 494-2426
Get directions

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Europe Embraces Deviant Fruits and Veg.

BRUSSELS (AFP) — EU nations on Wednesday gave the green light Monday for bent cucumbers and other 'wonky' fruit and vegetables to be sold in supermarkets and elsewhere, as part of a drive to cut red tape.

"This is a happy day indeed for the curvy cucumber and the knobbly carrot, and other amusingly shaped fruits and vegetables," said European Commission spokesman Michael Mann.

"Rules governing the size and shape of fruit and vegetables will be consigned to history", the commission said in a statement.

In all, marketing standards for 26 fruits and vegetables are being scrapped, paving the way for the return to shopping trolleys of forked carrots, onions that are less than two thirds covered with skin and the bent cucumbers among other deviant vegetables.

The rules had been derided as "bonkers" by the likes of major British supermarket chain Sainsbury's, while major agricultural nations such as France have argued that scrapping the restrictions will lead to a fall in prices and thereby hit farmers.

"This marks a new dawn for the curvy cucumber and the knobbly carrot," said EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Recipe: Monica's Cuban Sandwich Wrap

The Cuban sandwich is a wonderful combination of flavors and textures. For this version we use a commercially available bread wrap. The pork filling is slow roasted and by using a Crockpot, a perfect result it easily achieved. Pork recipe follows below.

1 FlatOut bread wrap
2 pcs Ham, thick sliced
8oz. Pork, shredded (slow roasted)
2 pcs Cheese, Colby Jack sliced
1 lg. Dill Pickle, Sliced
1 tablespoon Roasted Garlic & Red Chile Mustard
1 teaspoon Mayonaise
1 teaspoon butter, softened

Butter one side of FlatOut bread wrap. Place butter side down in a skillet or grille pan. Place the cheese on one half of the bread wrap. While the cheese is beginning to melt sear the ham slices in the pan and place on top of the melting cheese. Spread spicy mustard on the ham and spread out 6 to 8 ounces of roasted pork over the mustard. Sliced dill pickles go on top of the roasted pork. Spread the mayo on the opposite half of the bread wrap and fold over. Transfer to a cutting board and slice the sandwich in half.

Serve with some tortilla chips, black bean dip, and plenty of hot sauce.


3 Onions
1 Pork shoulder
Hawaiian red salt
Fresh cracked black pepper

Peel and half three onions. Place onions cut side down in Crockpot. Clean and pat dry pork shoulder. Season liberally with Hawaiian red salt and fresh cracked pepper. Place seasoned pork shoulder on onion halves. Cover with lid and set to cook for 12 hours on high. DO NOT add any liquid. This should be a slow cooker that reaches a max temp of about 275 degrees. For the last three hours prop the lid up so that the accumulated liquid can reduce. You should be left with very little liquid at end of cooking.

The pork should be fork tender and the onions should be dark brown and completely caramelized. Using two large forks shred up the pork and onion together making sure they are well mixed.

Besides the Cuban sandwich, this pulled pork can be used as an ingredient in many dishes. The very simplistic seasoning allows it to take on the flavors of any dish without adding an uncharacteristic element. It works well in tacos, carnitas, BBQ pork sandwiches, and more!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Review: Dragon’s Breath, MOJO Citrus Juice Hot Sauce

It’s been a while since I have conducted a product review and looking at my shelf of awaiting items I figured tonight was as good a night as any to get one more done.

Initial Impression: This looks like your typical hot sauce, and while I can’t say that any one thing jumps out at me and says “I’m special, eat me”, there is also nothing fundamentally wrong with the first glance of this hot sauce.

Ingredients: Habanero, Serrano and Red Peppers, Carrots, Onions, Garlic, Citrus Juice, Spices, and Salt. This ingredient list checks out A-OK with me. All natural, no preservatives, and peppers are the first ingredient in this list, what more could you want?

Appearance: A nice looking, reddish sauce with bits of black pepper and chili pepper skin. MOJO Hot Sauce has a thick appearance that coats the inside of the bottle so I was a little surprised to see that under the cap is one of those little plastic orifice restrictors. Getting this nice thick sauce out of the bottle was a pain with the plastic doohickey in place. Pull it off and throw it out.

Aroma: Ohh yeah. This is a really great smelling sauce. When I first uncap the bottle and take a healthy snort I get the aroma of toasted cumin and chili powder. The next to hit your nose is garlic and some smoky elements. It makes my mouth water.

Taste: The very first flavor to hit me is a citrus tang. I initially thought vinegar, but there is none in the ingredient list. Further tasting leads me to think lime juice. The sudden heat of the Habanero and Serrano chilies come next. The heat is short lived and does not ever actually get to a nice searing hot level. This is a medium heat at best, but this is a nice heat level for this sauce and it feels well balanced.

The Food Test: This sauce paired perfectly with tonight’s meal! Since the label says it works well with Caribbean dishes I figured the Cuban Sandwich Wraps we made would be a match made in heaven. All I can say is YES; the sauce IS a perfect match! The richness of the pork is cut by the acidity of the citrus juice in the sauce and the flavor of the spices elevates this sandwich. The MOJO Sauce could use a bit more heat as a good amount of it is lost to the food. I used a quarter of the bottle on my sandwich.

Conclusion: Thick and tangy this hot sauce is a pleasure to eat. It doesn’t have a pile of heat but it’s enough for a regular dose of flavor so you can splash it on liberally without hurting yourself. I think I’ll bring this sauce to our local Cuban restaurant to test drive it some more.

Packaging 7/10 – Typical Hot Sauce
Aroma 9/10 – Fragrant and Enticing
Appearance 9/10 – Thick with Bits
Taste 9/10 – Tangy, Complex & Spicy
Heat 6/10 –Medium, Short Lived

Overall 8/10

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Serbian Chef is Nuts for Balls!

With the credit crunch kicking in, shoppers will be relieved to hear a cost-effective alternative to steak is now available for creating classic meat dishes.

The Testicle Cookbook: Cooking With Balls has been hailed as the world's first testicle recipe collection and includes testicle pizza, battered testicles and barbecued testicles with giblets.

And if counting the pennies isn't enough of a reason to indulge in the delicacy, testicles are also renowned for their libido-boosting properties.

Rich in testosterone, they are believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac in countries such as Serbia and China.

The e-book, available for download from the Internet, comes with handy video guides showing the author, Ljubomir Erovic, peeling the skin off testicles and slicing them up into bite-size chunks.

Several different animals, including stallions, ostriches, bulls, pigs and turkeys, get the Erovic treatment.

Read More....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Night Dinner: Chicken and Dumplings

Now that the winter months are here the nights get quite chilly and the evening meal plan turns to the steamy hot comfort foods that warm your cockles. Chicken and dumpling is just such a meal. Hot steamy chicken soup; loaded with aromatic vegetables, chicken, and tender, fluffy drop dumplings.

The Last Bite Network member, Monilicious provided us with her recipe for this hearty winter fare.

*chicken broth
(I made a rich chicken stock from scratch. To save time you can use your favorite chicken broth).
*2 ribs celery, chopped
*1 large onion, chopped
*2 large carrots, chopped
*1 chicken breast
* salt & pepper to taste
*1 teaspoon olive oil

* 1 cup flour, sifted
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
* 1/4 cup milk


Cook chicken breast in broth at a slow simmer until done. Remove chicken breast from pot; set aside. When cool enough to handle, remove skin from breast, then remove meat from bones and shred into bite-size pieces; discard skin and bones. Strain broth into a large bowl and discard any remaining chicken pieces and bones.

Sauté chopped vegetables in olive oil until they begin to sweat. Return strained broth to pot. Continue to cook vegetables until tender. Return cooked chicken to pot and continue to simmer.

Combine all dry dumpling ingredients in a bowl. Cut in butter. Add chopped parsley. Mix in milk and egg with a fork; mixture should be moist and fluffy. Do not over mix. Drop into simmering soup by forkful.

These Are Not Your Mother's Cupcakes!

Remember the days when you were a kid; you get home from school and find the whole house filled with the intoxicating perfume of fresh baked goodies. Cupcakes to be more specific!

In the early 19th century, before muffin tins were widely available, the cakes were often baked in individual pottery cups, ramekins, or molds and took their name from the cups they were baked in.

Clearly the cupcakes of today have evolved into a gourmet version of your childhood favorite. It makes sense that America would be enamored with these tiny little cakes; they’re part tasty little oven baked treat and part heartwarming childhood memory.

Our curiosity got the best of us and we decided to test out the two more well known cupcake boutiques in the area; Sprinkles Cupcakes and Kara’s Cupcakes. The Sprinkles Cupcakes we visited is located at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, California. Kara’s Cupcakes was only a short drive away, also in Palo Alto, at the Town and Country Plaza.

We purchased several cupcakes at each location, however in order to keep this review balanced, we will focus only on the flavor we found to be our favorite at each location.

At Sprinkles we sampled the Dark Chocolate, Red Velvet, Orange, and Chocolate Marshmallow. Our selection from Kara’s comprised of Chocolate Velvet, Kara’s Karrot, Banana Caramel, and Chocolate Caramel Fleur de Sel. This was a very close contest for best from each location, and while choosing was incredibly difficult my unwavering bias for chocolate will almost always prevail.

The Sprinkles Cupcakes favorite was their Chocolate Marshmallow cupcake, described by Sprinkles as; Belgian dark chocolate cake and marshmallow cream filling with bittersweet chocolate ganache. This is an impressive looking cupcake with a shiny dark chocolate ganache topping and marked with an uber modern candy dot. Beneath the rich, bittersweet chocolate ganache is a fluffy, sweet, marshmallow filling; surrounded by moist dark chocolate cake. Cutting into this cupcake releases a mouthwatering brownie like aroma. The bittersweet flavor of the ganache and cake is nicely balanced by the sweetness of the fluffy white filling. While Sprinkles call this a marshmallow filling, to me it was more reminiscent of the creamy white center of a Hostess Ding Dong. The dot that marks the top makes for a stunning presentation but detracts from the eating experience as it is very crunchy and has no flavor element to contribute. Overall a satisfying cupcake, however, I felt there was an absence of complexity in the flavor profile.

Our favorite from Kara’s Cupcakes was their Chocolate Caramel Fleur de Sel. Kara’s description is a chocolate cupcake with caramel filling, ganache frosting and fleur de sel. Visually, this is a spectacular cupcake. The contrasts of the elements combine to make a particularly intriguing statement. Dark chocolate cake is topped with a large rosette of creamy dark chocolate ganache frosting. From beneath the frosting oozes the rich buttery caramel filling. In the center of the ganache is a sprinkling of Fleur de Sel; delicate crystals of French sea salt. As it turns out this cupcake tastes as spectacular as it looks. The cake, the foundation of this delight is moist, soft, and complex. Flavors of bittersweet dark cocoa and vanilla are prominent while the caramel filling’s sweetness plays off the sharper tones. The ganache is super creamy, almost buttery, and not to sweet. There is an espresso note in the frosting and when the fleur de sel hits your tongue it brings out the toasty, nutty, flavors in the caramel filling.

Overall, the consensus was that while both of these cupcake boutiques had superb examples of excellence in their craft, the Kara’s Cupcake product was the favorable of the two. Sprinkles has a more contemporary look that makes you feel that this is something new and exciting, while Kara’s has a more traditional appeal. When you get down to tasting we felt that Kara’s Cupcakes excels in the areas of flavor, moist cake, frosting mouth feel, and design.

No matter which cupcake bakery you find yourself in, we’re sure you will agree that a freshly baked cupcake will always put a smile on your face and bring back some childhood memories.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Launch Of A Gourmet Food Social Network

A social network for foodies? That’s what “The Last Bite Gourmet Food Network” is all about; people with a similar interests getting together on line to discuss issues, share recipes or techniques, or just read articles related to a subject that they are all passionate about.

While the giants like Facebook and Myspace dominate the social networking world Innuendo Enterprises LLC has created The Last Bite to offer a place where foodies can avoid the distraction of being “poked” or having 1500 friend requests to deny. We don’t have a Mafia or Texas Hold’em, and so far there is only one profile image of a scantily dressed person and he seems to be connected to a gas grill.

With no aspirations to become a social networking giant we will continue to develop and enhance The Last Bite to suit the need of our community. There is currently a forum where members can join in on an active discussion or start one of their own. There is a photo slideshow section where members can upload relevant images of interest; restaurants, products, or FoodPorn. The Blog sections of the site are currently being fed by three blogs; the original Last Bite Blog, The Smoky Chipotle with its 100% chipotle content, and The LABIT Report with its restaurant review and ratings data. Events pertaining to gourmet food are listed in the Events segment of the site, and there is a Chat area for real time live discussion and general interaction.

Each member of The Last Bite is allocated a member page that can be modified and personalized with their own blogs, photos, discussions, comments and even areas to promote their own sites, webstores, add widgets and links, RSS feeds, or anything relevant to the community.

This online foodie community is in its infancy and there are many future plans for expansion and enhancement as the needs arise.

Check out the buzz at The Last Bite Gourmet Food Network at

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sunday Night Dinner: Braciole

Every Sunday night we try to make a special dinner and spend the last quiet time of the week together as a family, enjoying good food and good company.

Last weeks recipe for Braciole comes from FoodTV's Alton Brown
. It was great as written but feel free to put your own spin on things and let us know how it came out!


* 3 cups tomato sauce
* 1 1/4 cups flavored croutons
* 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
* 2 eggs
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
* 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
* 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
* 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
* 1 clove garlic
* 1 pound flank steak, pounded to 1/4-inch thick
* Olive oil, for brushing
* Salt and pepper
* Vegetable oil, for searing


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the tomato sauce in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and place in the oven to heat.

In a the bowl of a food processor mix the croutons, cheese, eggs, herbs and garlic until it forms a paste.

Brush the pounded flank steak with the olive oil and season generously with the salt and pepper. Spread the filling evenly over the meat. Roll tightly and tie with butcher's twine.

In a large saute pan heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and sear all sides of the rolled meat. Remove from the pan.

Add to the hot tomato sauce, cover with a tin foil tent so that the foil is not touching the meat. Braise for 35 minutes or, up to 3 hours.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

S'mores; Not Just For Camping Anymore!

My good friend and fellow chef Ken Alary of Russian River Fine Foods has really outdone himself this time. It’s not that this is a revelation of culinary ingenuity; rules were not rewritten, and the cooking world has not been turned upside-down. But you have to admit this is an awesome idea that no one, until now, has put together.

Everything awesome about the smore; or “s’more” is translated to this quick and simple, easy to use package called the "your s'more". No mess, no fuss and it is every bit as good as the original version.

What you get is a graham cracker crust, filled with a layer of semi-sweet chocolate, and topped with a generous dollop of creamy marshmallow. This is wrapped in a single serving cello pack and is ready to be ripped opened and popped into the oven or even toaster oven for about three minute. Every bite of this nostalgic treat reminds me of days spent camping with the family or at the fire pit in the backyard on a warm summer evening; the warm graham cracker, the molten semi-sweet chocolate, and the perfectly toasted, gooey marshmallow topping. Now you can enjoy this iconic treat anytime, rain or shine.

What you won’t get with this version is the black charred flaming ball of molten lava that falls off your stick into your lap as you try to blow it out. You might also miss the way the graham cracker breaks and the chocolate spurt out of the side and down the front of your shirt. I especially felt a void when I thought about the sticky globs of ant summoning goo that was left all over the table, yard, and grill, and how I won’t need to clean up that mess tonight!

Everyone loves s’mores, especially kids. This tasty treat definitely makes it to my highly recommended list. Try one for yourself; you’ll be hooked!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Foodbuzz Publisher Community Launches.


San Francisco – October 13, 2008: Foodbuzz, Inc., officially inaugurates its food blogger community with more than 1,000 blog partners, a global food blogging event and an online platform that captures the real-people, real-time power of food publishing in every corner of the world. At launch, the Foodbuzz community ranks as one of the top-10 Internet destinations for food and dining (Quantcast), with bloggers based in 45 countries and 863 cities serving up daily food content.

“Food bloggers are at the forefront of reality publishing and the dramatic growth of new media has redefined how food enthusiasts access tasty content,” said Doug Collister, Executive Vice President of Foodbuzz, Inc. “Food bloggers are the new breed of local food experts and at any minute of the day, Foodbuzz is there to help capture the immediacy of their hands-on experiences, be it a memorable restaurant meal, a trip to the farmers market, or a special home-cooked meal.”

Foodbuzz is the only online community with content created exclusively by food bloggers and rated by foodies. The site offers more than 20,000 pieces of new food and dining content weekly, including recipes, photos, blog posts, videos and restaurant reviews. Members decide the “tastiness” of each piece of content by voting and “buzz” the most popular posts to the top of the daily menu of submissions. Foodbuzz currently logs over 13 million monthly page views and over three million monthly unique visitors.

“Our goal is to be the number-one online source of quality food and dining content by promoting the talent, enthusiasm and knowledge of food bloggers around the globe,” said Ben Dehan, founder and CEO of Foodbuzz, Inc.

The Foodbuzz blogger community is growing at a rate of 40 percent per month driven by strong growth in existing partner blogs and the addition of over 100 new blogs per month. “The Web site is like the stock of a great soup. The Web site provides the base or backbone for bloggers to interact as a community, contribute content, and have that content buzzed by their peers,” said Mr. Dehan.

Global Blogging Event

Demonstrating the talent and scope of the Foodbuzz community, 24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs offered online food enthusiasts an international, virtual street festival of food and diversity. The new feature showcased blog posts from 24 Foodbuzz partner bloggers chronicling events occurring around the globe during a 24 hour period and included:

· Mid-Autumn Festival Banquest (New York, NY)

· The "Found on Foodbuzz" 24-Item Tasting Menu (San Francisco, CA)

· Aussie BBQ Bonanza – Celebrating Diversity (Sydney, Australia)

· The Four Corners of Carolina BBQ Road Trip (Charleston, SC)

· Criminal Tastes – An Illegal Supper (Crested Butte, CO)

· From Matambre to Empanadas: An Argentine Dinner (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

· A Sweet Trompe l’oeil (Seattle, WA)

“24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs” captures the quality and unique local perspective of our food bloggers and shared it with the world,” said Ryan Stern, Director of the Foodbuzz Publisher Community. “It illustrates exactly what the future of food publishing is all about – real food, experienced by real people, shared real-time.”

About Foodbuzz, Inc.

Based in San Francisco, Foodbuzz, Inc., launched its beta Web site,, in 2007. In less than a year, and its community of over 1,000 exclusive partner food blogs have grown into an extended online property that reaches more than three million users.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Recipe: Bloody Mary Salmon

I bet you thought that Bloody Mary's were only for drinking! This recipe is so easy and is ready in no time at all. You can leave out the vodka for a family meal, or add it in to make it a bit more exciting :


1 cup Big Daddy's Bloody Mary Mix
2 ounces vodka(optional)
Large splash olive oil
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 salmon fillets, 6 oz each

In a shallow pan heat olive oil . Saute celery until it starts to sweat. Push the celery aside and add the salmon to the pan.

Add the Bloody Mary Mix and bring to a gentle simmer. Add in the vodka at this time.

Cover with a tight fitting lid and let salmon poach in the liquid for about 10-12 minutes, until it is just cooked through.

To serve plate the salmon and spoon the sauteed celery and sauce over the salmon.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Review: Blue Rock BBQ

When you think about great BBQ you most likely envision the south; places like Memphis, Tennessee, and Alabama. But would you ever include San Jose as a city known for great barbecue? Blue Rock BBQ is the brainchild of Owen and Marie Jobson, and they are trying to change that. They have collected time tested family owned recipes and techniques from all of those classic barbecue regions and housed them all in a small but well appointed restaurant in San Jose.

Their menu is a celebration of flavors, aromas, and good times with family and friends, says Jobson. It reflects their motto, "Barbecue without Borders" in that it includes many US regions of barbecue as well as a few countries, like Cuba, Morocco, and Indonesia.

Starting with the menu item most exotic to this area, Alabama-style Chicken; smoked at high temperature then dunked in a white barbecue sauce. The leg-thigh portion was incredibly fall off the bone tender. The skin was nicely seasoned and drizzled with a red sauce as well. If the term “dunked in a white barbecue sauce” leads you to believe this will be a saucy mess, you are misled. This is about the most perfect piece of barbecue chicken I have tasted to date.

The Tennessee Pulled Pork was true to form. First pulled and them chopped the texture was tender and juicy with just the right amount of seasoning. Restraint with the sauce ladle is definitely a lesson taught well at the Blue Rock BBQ, and this dish is no exception. With just a drizzle of sauce to enhance the meat every bit was well balanced. For those of you who like the sauce flowing from the plate there is a squeeze bottle of sweet, tangy and ever so slightly spicy sauce on every table for your slathering pleasure.

Baby Back Ribs it seems are the litmus test for a great barbecue joint in California. Our order came sans sauce per our request. Dry rubbed, tender and moist, these ribs had a nice bark on the outside and were easily peeled clean from the bone with just the right amount of pull from your teeth. The flavors in the rub were complex but not complicated and enhanced the flavor of the ribs enough to be eaten as is, but also melded perfectly with the addition of the table sauce.

What would barbecue be without the sides? Blue Rock BBQ’s potato salad is a must have. Made of red skin potatoes and dressed lightly in a mayo based dressing the addition of crispy bacon elevates these potatoes to new heights. I mean come on, it has bacon!

When you order coleslaw there are two main varieties you will find; vinegar based or mayo based slaw. The slaw at Blue Rock BBQ is like a marriage of the two, tangy and snappy, yet lightly creamy. I found it to be a delightful change to the usually disappointing side, I’m a fan.

We also tried the Mac and Cheese and the BBQ beans. While I found the beans a bit sweet for my taste my dining companion was instantly taken back to her childhood days, and the BBQ beans served at a family barbecue in Kentucky. We’ll say they are authentic Southern cooking. The mac and cheese was a nice surprise, built from rigatoni with layers of creamy sauce and a cheesy topping. Definitely not your garden variety elbow mac n’ cheese and we appreciate that!

Since Jobson confirmed that all his desserts were made in house we felt obligated to work through the fullness and test out his baking skills. The pecan pie, house made from Jobson’s grandmother’s recipe was pure enjoyment. A crisp but tender crust filled with a rich and sweet, sticky custard and topped with pecan halves. The rich and nutty flavor is the perfect ending to a Southern BBQ.

Blue Rock BBQ is conveniently located in the Hacienda Gardens Shopping Center, near the intersection of Meridian and Foxworthy Avenues. You can easily access Blue Rock BBQ from the Willow Glen, Cambrian, Campbell, and Almaden Valley areas of San Jose. Ample parking is available in front of the restaurant.

3001 Meridian Avenue Phone: (408) 978-2583 (978-BLUE)
San Jose, California 95124

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Night Dinner: Schweinshaxe

Across the USA the tradition of Sunday Dinner is well known. The day that families reconnect and come together for a special meal.

Today I cooked our Sunday dinner and I wanted to make sure it would be something special, something that the others in my home had not had the opportunity to enjoy until today. This hearty Bavarian meal is usually served with sauerkraut and potatoes or dumpling(spaetzle). Our dinner sides consisted of braised cabbage and a mock roasted garlic mash potato that uses cauliflower in place of the starchy tuber.

Serves: 2-3 hungry Bavarians

1 lg carrot, diced
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 leek, chopped
2 stalk celery, diced
1 meaty pork shank
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
salt to taste
ground cumin to taste

1. Place the carrot, onion, leek, celery, and pork shank into a large stockpot. Add the peppercorns, and season with salt to taste. Add enough water to the pot to cover the vegetables. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 hours, or until everything is tender. Remove the shank from the water, and drain. Reserve vegetables and cooking liquid.

2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F ( 220 degrees C). Melt the butter in an enamel coated cast iron baking dish or pan. Place the drained pork shank, cooked vegetables, and 2 cups of the cooking liquid into the pan. Dust lightly with cumin.

3. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven. Serve with potato or dumplings, and sauerkraut . While the pork shank is roasting; strain the reserved cooking liquid and reduce to a dark rich sauce. Serve as an accompanying sauce.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta

This is the time of year for the best heirloom tomatoes around. We brought back a ton from Carmel. Many people have submitted recipes to us but we really liked this simple way to enjoy the freshness of the tomatoes.

1 green heirloom tomato, sliced thin
1 red heirloom tomato, sliced thin
1 yellow heirloom tomato, sliced thin
4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
3 cloves marinated garlic, shaved
2 balsamic marinated shallots, sliced
6-8 slices of french bread
1 clove of garlic, cut in half for rubbing

Brush both sides of the french bread with olive oil and toast. Rub both sides of toasted bread with the garlic. Place one piece of cheese on the bread, then place one slice of each color of tomato onto the cheese. Place the shaved marinated garlic on the tomatoes and add the marinated shallot slices on top. Magnifico!

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"The Last Bite". If we choose your recipe for posting you might find a gourmet treat is on it's way to your mailbox!

Friday, September 19, 2008

For The True Chipotle Fanatic!

With so much chipotle content I decided to split off the blog and create "The Smoky Chipotle". Dedicated to everything chipotle; The Smoky Chipotle will present products, reviews, recipes, and restaurants that glorify the wonderfully pungent smoky chipotle pepper.

Click over to The Smoky Chipotle for the best chipotle content on the net. While you are there share some of your smokin' hot chipotle stuff with all the other chipotle enthusiast. Whether it's the pepper, the restaurant, a product, or a recipe, we want to hear what you have to say!

See you at The Smoky Chipotle

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

2008 Carmel Heirloom TomatoFest® Report

The 17th annual NatureSweet Carmel TomatoFest® was in all its glory this past Sunday at the spectacular countryside setting of Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel, California.

It all started seventeen years ago as a small get together, Gary Ibsen hosted this tasting event in his backyard for his family and a few of his chef friends for the purpose of celebrating his tomato harvest. Since then this event has grown into an annual fundraiser that attracts chefs, wineries, tomato growers and three thousand tomato lovers from across the United States.

This year’s TomatoFest® was a wondrous feast of delights that included; an unforgettable display of more than 350 heirloom tomato varieties from around the world for the tasting; exceptionally delicious and innovative tomato dishes created by 60 of America's top chefs; a tasting of more than 100 premium wines; an amazing "Salsa Showcase" tasting of 100, commercially available, tomato salsas; the pleasures of an old-fashioned country BBQ; an "International Olive Oil Tasting;" celebrity chef and gardening demonstrations; a tasting of great tomato-related specialty foods; sales of hard-to-find fresh heirloom tomatoes and heirloom tomato seeds; live music and dancing under Carmel Valley's oak covered hillsides.

Ticket price might seem to be a bit steep, starting at $95, however they did included all food, wines and activities. Children under 12, with parent, were admitted free. The net proceeds benefit several youth charities. Thus far the Carmel TomatoFest® has donated more than $210,000.00 to local, regional and national charities to benefit children.

Innuendo Enterprises LLC attended this festival to participate in the country store section featuring Dave’s Gourmet’s line of Organic heirloom Pasta Sauces. The newest flavor in this fabulous line is the Heirloom Spicy Marinara. These sauces were available at the Dave’s Gourmet booth for tasting and purchase.

Founded and operated by Gary Ibsen in 1991, the TomatoFest® has revitalized the appreciation and desire for true heirloom tomatoes over the years. Ibsen’s belief in sustainable farming and organic seed saving has inspired him to develop and grow heirloom tomato varieties for more than 30 years. For the 2008 season, he is currently growing more than 600 varieties of certified organic heirloom tomatoes from seeds originally sourced from family farms around the world. Ibsen’s hands-on production and harvest techniques ensure the highest quality product from harvest to table. For more information visit or call 1-800-965-4827.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Extreme Heat at the Great Divide

Baboon Ass Brand GONE RABID Hot Sauce has made it to new heights; 10,759 feet to be exact. Thanks to Bill Duke of our insane simian has now officially traveled farther than we have. Come to think of it This fiery monkey can be found in Germany, The UK, Canada, Australia, and Israel. Someday I would like to visit all the places that the extreme beast has been.

If you have a picture of any Baboon Ass Brand product anywhere cool, and we mean anywhere, send it to and we will post it. When we get a bunch, we'll figure where to send some great gourmet sauces. Will you be the one to get our gourmet gift?

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Call For Products; We're Looking For A Few Good Sauces!

Are you a gourmet food or specialty sauce maker? Are you located in Northern California? Are you interested in having your products placed in online and Bay Area Stores?

Innuendo Enterprises LLC is looking for some great new products to add to their current offerings. Your products; should they be approved for placement in our network will be presented to our ever growing list of retail clients. Your product will automatically be placed online with their retail affiliate and may also qualify to be offered to over 40 million shoppers a day on .

The criteria are as follows:

*Your product must be a shelf stable gourmet or specialty food item.

*Your product should be professionally packed in a FDA approved processing facility.

*You must have a professional label which includes ingredient declaration and nutritional facts.

*You should provide a price list of your submitted items which includes both wholesale and distributor price and your suggested list price.

*Your product should be made and stocked in Northern California.

*You acknowledge that any materials that you submit will be done at your own expense and regardless of the outcome your samples and/or materials will not be returned to you.

*All decisions are at the sole discretion of Innuendo Enterprises LLC and its officers.

We are particularly interested in expanding our Rubs and Spices, Salsa, dressings, olives and pickles, wing sauce, and condiments offerings.

If you would like to submit your specialty food items please contact us at INNUENDO CONTACT FORM and provide us with some details of your products.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Is "Everything" Truly Better With Bacon?

It makes me proud to see that creativity is alive and well in Santa Cruz California. At Marini's candy shop at the
Boardwalk amusement park you'll find the ultimate treat; chocolate-coated bacon.“It was kind of a joke to begin with,
" said the owner, Joseph Marini III.

Here are three little words that might give the staunchest snacker pause: Chocolate-covered bacon.
It sounds so wrong. But it tastes just right, says Joseph Marini III, a fourth-generation candy maker who is selling the bacon bonbons at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk seaside amusement park.
“It's not just for breakfast any more,” he says with a grin.

It's hard to tell exactly where the dream of candy-coated breakfast meats started, but for Marini, the inspiration was a trip with some ski buddies a while back.
“One guy came up with, 'Who doesn't love bacon? Who doesn't love chocolate? Let's marry them together.'”

So Marini gave it a shot and after some trial and error — crispness is key, he says, noting that chewy bacon plus chocolate is undelicious — he came up with a product.
“It was kind of a joke to begin with,” he says. “We brought it down to the boardwalk and put it in a case just to see if people would react, and they reacted.”

Take boardwalk visitor Nathan Lopez, who on a recent foggy morning had a quizzical look on his face as he began eating a sample at Marini's at the Beach. But he finished with a smile.
“Interesting combination,” was the verdict. “I didn't think it would be very good but once I tried it; it was good.”

Of course, chocolate-coated bacon is just the latest incarnation of the wackier-the-better fair food philosophy.
Fair food has been shaking up the snack scene for some time, says Ron Whiting, of Whiting's Foods, whose family has been selling food at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk for decades.
“Years ago, I think food tended to be more traditional and less fun,” he says. Then came the corn dog and the era of quick and on-a-stick. “We all talk about the next corn dog,” he says.
Fry, fry again is a persistent theme. Current popular snacks include deep-fried Twinkies and Oreos.

Page, who admits to eating "more than my fair share of fried dough," notes that gourmet chefs have taken to putting food — just about any food — on a stick, coming up with some posh Popsicles. Meanwhile, there's the foie gras-cotton candy matchup, not a stretch flavor-wise since foie gras usually is paired with something sweet, but certainly visually arresting.
“It's the melding of both these worlds, the high end and the low end,” said Page.

Never underestimate the appeal of battered-is-better.

source: Associated Press

Friday, August 08, 2008

Recipe: Classic Barbecued Chicken Simplified

This recipe is an All American Classic. We like to use drumsticks, but you can use your favorite part of the chicken or even a whole bird, cut up for the grill!

I can't think of an easier way to impress your friends and family without having to slave in the kitchen. You can serve this with some grilled corn or baked potatoes done right alongside on your outdoor cooker.


1 pkg Chicken Drumsticks(legs)
BBQ Rub or Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Jar BBQ Sauce any flavor

Wash thoroughly and pat dry chicken pieces. Season chicken with BBQ rub or salt and pepper. Grill chicken on a medium flame until it reaches and internal temperature of 160 degrees. Brush on your favorite BBQ sauce and continue to cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175 degrees. Brush on more sauce during this process to achieve a nice sticky coating.

Visit the recipe archive at by clicking the Easy Gourmet Recipes link

Send In a recipe using one of the products purchased from RoJo's Gourmet. If your recipe is chosen we will post it for all to read. You will also receive a gift from RoJo's Gourmet Foods if your recipe is selected. Thank you all in advance for your great recipes.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sauce Maker Interview: Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce

I received an email from Al at County Bob’s All Purpose Sauce Company. He explained that they had seen “The Last Bite” and wondered if we would be interested it trying their fine All Purpose Sauce. Seeing as though Country Bob’s is not available in California I was all over that like a tornado on a trailer park.

Country Bob’s is a small company from Centralia, Illinois. One man’s passion for cooking resulted in their original sauce recipe. They formed a corporation and the business exploded. They credit their great success to God and have appointed Christ their CEO. While the CEO was not available for this interview; co-founder Al Malekovic was happy to answer our question:

Q: How did you come to found a gourmet sauce business?
A: Country Bob Edson created the All Purpose Sauce in 1968. He owned a filling station and all the local guys would come around and he would make lunch. He loved to BBQ and he would fix different meats and feed them. He could not find a sauce that suited him so he created Country Bobs All Purpose Sauce.

Q: How long have you been in business?
A: Country Bob was making it to sell locally and in 1982 the four of us Bob, Terry his son, Al Malekovic Terry’s father-in-law and Reed Malekovic, Al’s son created Country Bob Inc. and started on our way. This answers the next question, Al’s wife Eileen, runs the office, also a son-in-law and two grandsons. We have a total of 14 employees.

Q: Do you have business partners? Is it a family business? etc.
A: Didn’t you read the last answer? (us, not their answer)

Q: What kinds of challenges are involved in having a gourmet sauce company, and how do you surmount them?
A: The main challenge was getting people to taste it. We use to do a lot of demos, but due to the high cost we have about quit. Cost has went from $35 a day to about $150 a day, but now we give a lot of coupons for free bottles of Country Bobs away. Mainly over the internet!

Q: Do you use a co-packer? How did you find a good one, and how do you work with them to make sure the product comes out the way you intended?
A: We pack our own and also for several other small companies. We are now making our plastic bottles.

Q: What’s the best thing about your job?
A: Meeting all the great people and see how they react to Country Bobs. Working with our family and way the Lord has blessed us.

Q: What’s the worst thing about your job?
A: Getting told NO!

Q: What was your first sauce?
A: Do you still offer it for sale? Country Bobs All Purpose Sauce was our first and still is!

Q: How do you go about developing a gourmet sauce?
A: We do it ourselves; in fact, we are working on a marinade and two new BBQ sauces.

Q: How do you taste and evaluate gourmet sauce?
A: Our employees help with the taste and we see what the market place is needing.

Q: How has your company evolved over the years? (if applicable)
A: Because of the increased number of chains and the Broker system dissolving; we now use the internet to get people to taste Country Bobs. We send out a coupon for a free bottle if the people register on our web site. We are on a bunch of search engines that give free stuff away. Also we started blogging a couple of months ago and our hits on our web site have doubled. We are redoing our web site to make it more person friendly.

Q: Do you use any unusual ingredients that people might be surprised at? (No Answer)

Q: Do you have a favorite sauce? What do you like about it?
A: Our All Purpose!!

Q: Aside from your own, do you have a favorite commercially available gourmet sauce?
A: NO!

Q: What’s the best way to use your sauce?
A: You name it! From marinating, dipping, steak, BBQ, and the vast ways to cook with it. (you should see our cookbook).

Q: What’s the strangest way you’ve heard of someone using your sauce?
A: Ice Cream

Q: What do you want people to know about your sauce?
A: If they will taste it they will buy it.

Q: What is next for your company?
A: Gourmet BBQ sauces

Q: What trends do you see happening in the specialty food industry in the next several years?
A: Shelf space being a premium and the cost of doing business rising.

Q: Where can we buy your products?
A: Web site, call us, Amazon, most Kroger and Wal-Mart Super Centers, Albertsons, and other independent stores. Country Bobs is sold mostly in the Midwest and the South.

We truly enjoyed the sample of Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce and you can get your
FREE bottle by simply signing up for their newsletter. Some restrictions apply, see their site for details:

Look for part two where we use Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce in a recipe from the Country Bob's website!