Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Authentic New York Deli at Saul's In Berkeley

The minute you walk in the door of Saul’s Restaurant and Deli in Berkeley, CA you will know that you have found authentic New York deli. The décor is simple with a checkerboard floor and black and white photos on the wall.

The deli case is stocked full of whitefish, sable and Nova lox and there is a server wandering around the lobby with a tray loaded with little samples of chopped liver on rye. Tuna on rye is available for those less daring.

The short wait for a table can be a mouthwatering yet torturous experience as people get enormous kosher dills from a self serve barrel in the deli and black and white cookies and hamentashen are sold from the bakery. Where’s that boy with the chopped liver?

Peter a co-owner and host extraordinaire hears our conversation with some people in the lobby about a similar establishment is San Diego. The gauntlet was unknowingly thrown down and an order of potato latkes hit the table minutes after we got there ourselves. “These are from Peter” our server tells us. Crispy golden brown on the outside and moist and delicious inside, these super sized latkes are enough for the whole table. They were served with applesauce and sour cream and they lasted about a minute.

I ordered a bowl of the matzo ball soup to share with my son. The broth was dark and rich and very flavorful. There were two large matzo balls in the soup, they were very tender and fluffy and perfectly seasoned. This is a really large bowl of soup so unless you're a big fresser or sharing it, stick to the cup.

For the main course I ordered a personal favorite; corned beef and chopped liver on rye bread. It came nicely stacked with some coleslaw on the side and every table has a great jar of deli mustard brought over from New York for authenticity. The bread is bakery fresh with a crisp thin crust. This sandwich is the epitome of Deli and was perfectly executed. The warm corned beef is very tender and not salty and the portion is not skimpy.

Other items at the table which I was able to sample were the Lox and cream cheese bagel; served with shaved red onion and plenty of delicious capers, and a Pastrami Reuben on buttery grilled rye; crispy and dripping with thousand Island dressing and tangy sauerkraut. All wonderfully fresh, prepared, and presented perfectly.

If you want to experience authentic Deli but you can’t get to New York, Visit Saul’s, It’s the same!

Saul's Restaurant & Deli
1475 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Perfect Bloody Mary; Twenty Years In The Making!

Big Daddy's bloody Mary mix, James Miller has been a bartender for over 20 years.

James has found that getting a great tasting bloody Mary on a consistent basis is nearly impossible. This led James to formulate his own recipe, which he made at each establishment he worked.

Currently, as a bar owner himself, James makes this mix by the gallons to satisfy the demand of his customers. They come religiously every Sunday (and every other day of the week) for the "Sunday, bloody Sunday" drink special. James takes pride in his great tasting mix and, he hopes you'll agree, this is the best bloody Mary mix you will ever purchase.

Directions to get a perfect Bloody Mary:
Mix one part of your favorite premium vodka to three parts of Big Daddy's Original Recipe Bloody Mary mix. Garnish as desired (celery, lime, olive, pepperoncini) a salted rim adds a touch of flavor and class........ENJOY

Bloody Mary Mix can be enjoyed with or without alcohol and is perfect as a base for gazpacho or as an ingredient in other recipes. Here is a recipe for Bloody Mary Salmon:


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.

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.

It's on Sale Now at a special introductory price!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Review: Scott's Seafood Jack London Square

Scott's Seafood Restaurant was a nice finish to our busy day. The setting is white tablecloth but there is still a casual feel to the dining room with its calming waterfront view. There was a piano player in the lounge that was enjoyable throughout the dining room although he did tend to get a bit loud at times.

There were several of us foodies at the table so I was able to sample a variety of dishes.

The Boston Clam chowder was excellent; rich and buttery yet not too rich for a warm summer night. The Oysters Rockefeller were tasty, however I felt the breadcrumbs were over toasted and there were a lot of shell fragments in the oysters themselves.

Steamed clams were served in a lidded copper pot and were plentiful as a main course. The broth was buttery with the right amount of garlic and seasoning; a real delight.

I ordered from the Salmon Festival menu; Baked Wild King Salmon Saltimboca- Wild Mushroom Risotto, Sage Beurre Blanc. Three nice sized salmon filets were wrapped in prosciutto and laid out on a bed of risotto, it was very tasty and cooked perfectly. There were lots of flavors working together to make this a memorable dish.

I could not personally taste the Fisherman’s stew due to a scallop allergy but I was told by three other foodies that the broth that accompanied this dish was somewhat over lemoned. The Herb crusted Halibut with lemon caper butter was wonderful. The halibut was cooked perfectly and the sauce elevated the complex flavors of the herbs and fish.

The Dungeness Crab Encrusted Swordfish was in my opinion, not well executed. The crab was mixed with an herbed breading; it was bitter and completely overpowered the swordfish. The lemon butter sauce seemed completely lost.

For dessert we ordered the Crème Brulee, Bread Pudding, and an Apple Gratin with vanilla ice cream. The crème brulee was interesting as it was infused with Harvey’s Bristol Cream, The bread pudding and apple gratin was average but clearly homemade so I give A for effort. Unless there is a chef de patisserie in house I find that dessert is usually not a highlight.

Overall a good meal in a beautiful setting and the service was great! If you are not looking to be blown away by your experience Scott’s on Jack London Square is a decent value for seafood.

Scott's Seafood
Oakland, Jack London Square

2 Broadway
Oakland, California 94607
Phone: (510) 444-3456

Friday, July 11, 2008

Review: Bryner's Classic Hot Sauces

This has been a particularly busy year for me so far and as a result I have gotten quite behind in my hot sauce reviews. I figured this was a perfect opportunity to thin the “to be reviewed” shelf by doing a two-for! Today’s review is a pair from Bryner’s Classics; Bryner’s Best & Momma’s Mild. With two at once your gonna have to try’ in keep up now. So here we go!

Initial Impression: First impressions can be deceiving. I have to admit I was not overly impressed by the overall look and feel of these sauces. That is part of the reason this sauce has been sitting on my shelf for so long. While the actual sauce inside the jars looks great the packaging had me constantly reaching for other selections. I guess it’s true; you really do eat with your eyes first. The smudgy, homemade labels were just not enough to make me want this sauce.

Ingredients: “Bryner’s Best”: Carrots, Vinegar, Peppers, Water, Onions Garlic, Sweeteners, Citrus Juices, Salt & Other Spices.“Momma’s Mild”: Carrots, Vinegar, Peppers, Water, Onions, Garlic, Sweeteners, Citrus Juices, Salt & Other Spices.

Interestingly enough both jars contain the exact same ingredients? Huh, that’s odd? The other thing that stands out to me is “Sweeteners”. Is it sugar? Corn syrup, cane juice, agave, Splenda? What is the secret? I’m pretty sure the FDA would insist that there are no mystery ingredients allowed in a product packaged for sale to the public. Anyways, the list is clean and looks good!

Appearance: Aside from the color; both of these sauces have pretty much the same appearance. They are both nice and thick and pile up on the plate when poured. Both sauces are smooth yet a bit pulpy, and neither sauce has any seeds or particles floating around in it. When left to sit a minute in the plate the liquid began to run out from around the edges of the sauce. Be sure to shake this one well before applying.

Aroma: “Momma’s Mild” is just that in the aroma department. It has a vinegary tang up front and if you Hoover on it some more you will pick out some onion and garlic. The “Bryner’s Best” on the other hand wallops your nose with aromatic spices. There is a definite soy and Worcestershire aroma to this sauce yet neither is listed in the ingredients. The garlic stands out a bit more in this flavor. Let’s Eat!

Taste: Momma’s Mild is certainly mild, with only the slightest warmth the sweetness comes to the forefront. Right after the sweetness there is a vinegary tang that hit me so hard I winced. The warmth of the peppers comes through in the finish along with some garlicky tones.

Bryner’s best is a completely different sauce despite the ingredient declaration similarities. The first flavors that rush over your taste buds are a smoky, sweet, steak sauce type of flavor. The sweetness and heat come in together in the center of your tongue and the finish is a long, garlicky flavor.

The Food Test: Moussaka! No, that is not some kind of Middle Eastern curse word. It is a Greek dish made of layers of eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, ground beef, with sauce and Mediterranean spices. As it turns out, Moussaka is a great pallet for these two sauces. I started with a nice blob of each on separate pieces just to try it out. In the end I poured about a quarter of each bottle on my wonderful meal. The Moussaka’s blend of flavors and spices was able to tone down the sweetness of the sauces and the other flavors were able to shine through.

Conclusion: Whether you like it mild and sweet, or on the spicier side; Bryner’s Classics has a flavor that will suit your taste. They grow their own peppers and have been making this sauce for the past twenty years. There are no preservatives or artificial ingredients. If you go to their site at you can even get a pack with each of their flavors for free!

Packaging 1/10 – Homemade, smudged.
Aroma 7/10 – Fresh & Tangy

Appearance 10/10 – Smooth & Sexy
Taste 6/10 – A Bit on the Sweet Side
Heat 5/10 –Momma’s is a 2.

Overall 6/10

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

5 Keys to Success In The Gourmet Food Business.

The Specialty Food business can be a great place to forge out your future. You can take a simple recipe and make a fortune if you play your cards right. There are many success stories that illustrate this exact phenomenon. You would most likely recognize brands like K.C Masterpiece or Soy Vay, but how can you get your family recipe produced and elevated to these heights?

Here are five points to help you succeed and avoid the pitfalls that will squash your momentum:

1. Keep It Simple! If your family recipe has 50 ingredients and has to be simmered for eight hours it is definitely not suitable for a production filling process. Food manufacturing is not like home cooking. A simple formula is the best and will help you produce a clean and consistent product. But don’t give up yet; a food developer can take your complicated family recipe and convert it to a production formula that tastes and looks similar to your treasured family recipe. A good food developer is your best friend in the specialty food business. They will know how to recreate your recipes look, feel, and flavor profile, while keeping the process and production costs into account.

Avoid Niche Products. While it might be a really cool thing to have the hottest hot sauce on the planet, or a ridiculously hilarious racy label; the reality of it is that the food business is a business of volume. A superhot hot sauce might be ok for a tiny portion of the Chile-head population or as a novelty to put on a shelf, or to poison Uncle Creepy’s dinner when he comes to live on your couch for a week. But you will have a hard time making a living on a product that sits in the fridge for years and is used a molecule at a time. Think repeat sales! A marinade or milder pepper sauce that is used in one or two meals will keep the jars flying off the shelves.

Image Is Everything! When it comes to succeeding in a small business image is definitely everything. By being professional in the operations of your business you can appear to be larger than life. When it comes to your product the same rules apply. Hire an artist to design your labels and product packaging. While it seems cool to save a ton of money by creating your own art you will only be hurting yourself in the long run. People need to be drawn to your products and labels that you created in Photoshop and printed on your color laser will do nothing more than have you selling at the local swap meet.

Keep Your Customer In Mind. Customers buy benefits not products. Does your product offer customers any benefits over your competition? Make sure you can offer the best possible version of whatever you are producing. You might be the best tasting or a new variation of an existing product. Maybe you are the least expensive or you are offering an all natural version. Whatever it is, if you don’t think you are the best you should probably rethink your product.

Never, Never, Never Quit! Unless you have just created a revolutionary new product that no one has ever seen and can’t live without, you will not likely have buyers falling at your feet. Keep promoting your product, Keep calling buyers, and keep the excitement going. It takes some time, but once the stubborn buyers hear your messages for a while, and see your brochures over and over; they will invite you in to show your goods. That is your time to shine. One customer at a time, they will become many and you will be looking for my next blog post; “How to survive the pressures of the specialty food business!”


While these tips might not turn you into Paul Newman overnight, they will get you going on the right track. If you are looking into a specialty food business and have little or no experience, any of the points or possible pitfalls listed here could make or break your business. Please feel free to comment on any of the points listed.

Friday, July 04, 2008

KFC Accused of Trademark Infringement.

It has the potential to be a modern day tale of David and Goliath, if not for the fact that David was a hero with the best interests of his people at hand; perhaps more of a Jack and the beanstalk? In any event it is about a giant and a pipsqueak and it plays out like this.

Kentucky Fried chicken enters the market with their Original Recipe in 1940. It was not until 1974 when they toyed with the idea of a new formula and Extra Crispy was introduced. Now more than two decades later The Colonel has introduces an exciting new flavor in their Smoky Chipotle Crispy Chicken. Interestingly, KFC has decided to roll out this flavor for a limited time only despite the public’s craving for spicy chicken.

Yum! Brands in Louisville, KY; the world’s largest purveyor of fried chicken is the owner of the KFC brand with 14,000 locations in fifty states and ninety-eight countries.

Enter one Chuck Evans; in 1993 Chuck filed for a trademark for the descriptive term “Smokey Chipotle” for use as applied to sauces and condiments. The assigned examining attorney reviewed his application and in March of 1994 he was refused the registration of this trademark for the following reason:

RE: Serial Number 74/454518
The assigned examining attorney has reviewed the referenced application and determined the following.
The examining attorney refuses registration on the Principal Register because the proposed mark merely describes the goods. Trademark Act Section 2(e)(1), 15 U.S.C. Section 1052(e)(1); TMEP section 1209 et seq.

A mark is merely descriptive under Trademark Act Section 2(e)(1), 15 U.S.C. 1052(e)(1), if it describes an ingredient, quality, characteristic, function, feature, purpose or use of the relevant goods. In re Gyulay, 820 F.2d 1216, 3 USPQ2d 1009 (Fed. Cir. 1987); In re Bed & Brealçfast Registry, 791 F.2d 157, 229 USPQ 818 (Fed. Cir. 1986); In re MetPath Inc., 223 USPQ 88 (TTAB 1984); In re Bright-Crest, Ltd., 204 USPQ 591 (TTAB 1979); TMEP section 1209.01(b).

In this case, the applicant’s specimens clearly explain that the main ingredient of the applicant’s hot sauce is CHIPOTLE chile peppers which are SMOKEY in flavor because the peppers themselves have been smoked. The words in the applicant’s mark merely describe the goods’ flavor and ingredients.

A response was filed by Chuck Evans’ council where he claims to have had uncontested exclusivity to the term “Smokey Chipotle” for at least five years and he furthermore amended the wording in the indemnification from “condiments” to specifically hot pepper sauces and salsas and no exclusivity to the word Chipotle is afforded. In October the trademark was published in the Official Gazette and apparently no opposition was filed in respect to this publication. Hmmm, I never got my issue of the Official Gazette that week? In Jan of 1995 Mr. Chuck Evans was awarded a trademark for the descriptive term “Smokey Chipotle” to be used as described in the manner above.

Since this historic day where a trademark was knowingly issued against a descriptive term despite the laws stated above that prohibit a trademark to be issued against a descriptive term Mr. Evans has laid out a full-on financial assault on many a small business owner. It is actually a running joke among people in the fiery food industry that Chuck makes more money terrorizing small businesses out of Smokey Chipotle bucks than he makes hocking his Smokey Chipotle wares. You could normally find a page on his website that details all the potential victims of his “cease and desist” letters who would not pay the ransom, however it seems the site has fallen victim to at least 4 Trojans and Google’s Diagnostic services has shut off access through their search engine.

On June 15th through the blogger named Passow, Chuck has declared his intentions to move against the Fried Chicken giant KFC. Chuck is quoted as saying “I knew about this the day the 1st commercials aired since I was watching/listening to the television while cooking Smokey Chipotle salsa-true story.” “Yum! Brands, has totally diluted my trademark with a national/international advertising campaign to the point that the general public will forever associate “smoky chipotle” with KFC just due to sheer advertising muscle (2 spots air on all stations, including cable, seemingly all the time).” Passow goes on to say that Yum! Brands did not respond to an email request for comments.

Now, I’m not a lawyer, but in looking over the United States Trade &Patent Office paperwork I noticed that Chuck’s “trademark” is approved for use as applied to specifically hot pepper sauces and salsas, neither of those being fried chicken. Perhaps if KFC decides to make a hot pepper sauce or salsa they will be sure to avoid that term. Furthermore, the criterion for addressing a trademark infringement is described as being “confusingly similar”. Since Chuck has never held a trademark in the fried chicken business and his products have less than national recognition I would think that the confusion has been avoided.

I would love hear comments from those of you with trademark law knowledge, Consumers, and those of you who would just like to leave a comment.