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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Some of the best tacos ever!

As I do not really like to fly, the majority of the time I go to Virginia for our operations there, I drive cross-country.

Once we make it over Vail Pass and Eisenhower Tunnel (sometimes not an easy feat in the winter, or for that matter, Fall and Spring too!), make it through the Denver metro area, the roads flatten out and we hit the plains, all the way to Topeka and Kansas City. After Missouri, we leave St. Louis and head east on I-64, through the spreading suburbia and eventually back to the open spaces, until we get close to Kentucky.

From Louisville through Lexington, we hit the urban sprawl again, but there is something about Kentucky... Maybe the rolling hills, the horse pastures, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, dunno..

or maybe it is Taco Punk!!



I had read about this place for awhile and then last year, I finally had a chance to stop by and not it is a destination location for me! Check out their menu and you will see why!



The Bar-Beer-Coa was already sold out when I got there and they had run out of the 'Drain Cleaner' Salsa (mental note, change the drive time to get there earlier!) but as usual, I was not disappointed!



This visit I had the Grilled Adobo Chicken Taco and the Chorizo and Potato and added some of their Pineapple Habanero Salsa and then the Hot Salsa Roja.



Yeah, I do love this place!

And as I try to keep my promises, I even kept one of our 'El Diablo' Savory Craft Spreads on ice for them and surprised them with one!


 Next....

A return to Maya Mexican Grill & Tequila Lounge in Richmond, VA!



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Road Food

One of the main reasons I like driving across country rather than flying is the food you can find when you are not at 30,000 ft!

I am headed back to Virginia for the kick-off of the Wine Festival season with our cheesecakes and with the exception of driving over Vail Pass and The Eisenhower Tunnel is some not-nice weather (and we will not talk about Mountain Cowboy's who think that having an all-wheel drive SUV means that the roads will be nicer to them... you know them, you see them having slidden off the road, after passing you, no, we will hold onto that for a whole separate post!), and the wind in eastern Colorado and Western Kansas, it has been a good drive, time for decompression before starting up out east.

Pulled over for the night in Columbia, MO and when I asked the front desk person where some good food was. he told me that if I drive down the road in front of the hotel, I would find some Taco Bells and such.  Yeah.... right...

So, went out and turned here, turned there and as I was about to pull into a small Mexican restaurant to get some tacos, and you all know how much I love me my tacos.. I saw a little shack, Rotten Tooten B-B-Que, with a smoker next to it, in the parking lot of what looks like it used to be a gas station. I still as going to just flip a u-turn to get me my tacos, when I saw on the hand-written sign hanging outside... Burnt Ends!!

I LOVE BURNT ENDS!!!

Pulled up to the place, ordered a Burnt-End Sandwich (with no bun, we are watching our carbs!), talked to the lady there who was also working the smoker, (going to bring her some cheesecakes on my drive back) and got me my burnt ends!!

After getting back to my room, I totally devoured them and sitting back, realized why I love the road!

Rooten Tooten B-B-Que....
Loop 70 Plaza / 1205 North Garth
Columbia, MO 65203
573 214-2003

Next stop.. Taco Punk in Louisville!


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Springtime; Baseball and Festivals




 Ahh, the first vestiges of Spring are here! Finally, we seem to have shaken the cold tendrils of winter.

The apricot trees have sprung their white blossoms, we are starting to see the first buds on the peach trees and baseball is back in full swing!

To many of us who grew up out east, Opening Day of Baseball was the true sign that spring is here, don’t get a lot of fruit trees down on the Jersey Shore, but when the Phillies came home from spring training and major league baseball was again back in Philly… Break out the hot dogs, Cracker Jack and head up to watch a game.

Here in the Grand Valley, we already have the Colorado Rockies on TV and radio, Colorado Mesa University is already in action and all of our local high school teams are in action. If you want to see a game, chances are there is one near you. Our own Grand Junction Rockies home opener is June 20th.

Springtime also brings the beginning of our Fair & Festival season here; Palisade has its inaugural ‘Brews & Cruise’ Festival in Memorial Park on Saturday, May 3rd, The Grand Junction Art & Wine Festival is on May 9th & 10th and Fruita host’s it’s ‘Mike The Headless Chicken Festival on May 16th & 17th. (We will be at the Brews & Cruise Festival as well as the ‘Mike the Headless Chicken Festival!)

So, put away your muck lucks and heavy parka’s, wash the winter off your trucks, grab your kids and/or friends and head out, see some games, take in some of the festivals…

It’s Springtime!

Time for a giveaway!! Email us your favorite thing about Spring here in Western Colorado! We will pick one winner to get… drum roll please.. An ‘IN-N-OUT’ decal!!
Yeah, our ‘Website of the Week is on Baseball Food! From our friends at ‘Sheknowsfood.com) (http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/953637/gourmet-baseball-recipes

Our 'Recipe of The Week' is from that same site, Pulled pork sliders with avocado and caramelized onion

You can know also follow us on Pinterest; Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes and Decadence Cheesecakes Cooking Thoughts... Check them out and let me know what you think!

You can now also follow the adventures of Decadence on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Decadence-Gourmet-Cheesecakes/171538834903 ,on Twitter (www.twitter.com/decadenceGJ) and on Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/circ2000/decadence-cheesecakes-cooking-thoughts/).



Pulled pork sliders with avocado and caramelized onion
(from Sheknowsfood.com)
Serves: 8 (16 sliders) 
Ingredients:
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 ripe, fresh Hass avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 16 small dinner rolls, sliced in half
  • Pulled pork (see make-ahead recipe below)
  • 16 thin slices low-fat Gouda cheese, cut to fit rolls
Directions:
  1. In a small skillet, heat oil over high heat. Add onion and stir, cooking for 6 minutes. Mix in vinegar and salt. Cook and stir an additional 3 minutes. Remove from pan.
  2. Cut each avocado slice in half and toss with lemon juice.
  3. To prepare sliders, top the bottom half of a roll with 1 heaping tablespoon of Pulled Pork, a slice of cheese, several cooked onions and four half slices of avocado. Add the roll top. Repeat process with all sliders.
Pulled pork recipe
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless pork shoulder roast, well trimmed of visible fat
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups apple juice
  • 1/3 cup prepared barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
Instructions:
  1. Up to 5 days before serving, combine paprika, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Lightly sprinkle some of the seasoning on the pork roast. Keep pork roast covered and refrigerated until cook time.
  2. Heat oil in a 2-quart pot with lid over medium-high heat. Place pork roast in pot. Cook pork roast for 3-4 minutes or until browned. Turn and cook an additional 3-4 minutes or until browned; remove from pot.
  3. Add onion and garlic to pot, stir and cook until golden brown. Stir in apple juice and remaining seasonings.
  4. Return pork roast to pot. Bring liquid to a boil; then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cover tightly with lid and cook for 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is very tender. Remove pork roast from pot and let rest for 5-10 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Pour pot juices into a bowl; cover and refrigerate.
  5. Shred pork roast, removing small amounts of fat as needed; cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
  6. On the day the sliders are to be served, remove pot juices from refrigerator and skim off fat. Pour into small pot; bring to a boil. Stir in barbecue sauce and chipotle peppers. Mix in shredded pork meat and heat through. Keep warm until sliders are assembled.
*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.
Note: The Pulled Pork for this recipe also can be prepared utilizing a slow cooker. Prepare Pulled Pork recipe as directed through Step 3. Then, transfer pork to a 4- to 6-quart electric slow cooker. Bring onion, garlic and juice mixture to a boil; reduce heat to a gentle simmer and transfer mixture to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting for 2 1/2-3 hours or until meat is very tender and falling apart. Continue recipe as directed.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Road Trip = Relaxation



Yeah, road trips can be so relaxing!

I had not been back to No. California in a few years and I really was looking forward to this road trip. I needed to relax before I start my ‘commuting’ to Virginia to kick-off our season out there.

Took the back way to SLC, up through Price, Utah and I already was looking forward to my 1st Road Food Stop along I-15, just south of SLC… In-n-Out!! But as I am trying to watch my carbs, I had to deviate from my norm… Ordered an Animal-Style (for you ‘novices’, that’s a burger of your choice with hand-leafed lettuce, tomato, a mustard cooked beef patty; add pickle, extra spread with grilled onions) Double-Double but Protein-Style (wrapped in hand-leafed lettuce instead of a bun), no fries and a diet coke. Hey, gotta watch those carbs! Feeling quite good as I drove off, I headed to I-80 West and the stay-over in Elko, where I found some of the best street taco’s (and you all know how I love me my tacos) I have ever had.

Right down the street from the Red Lion and across from the Stockman/Commercial Hotels/Casino, it a parking lot, I found the Las Brisas Taco Truck. A Chicken Taco, a Carnitas Taco and soda for $5? And they were great! This is the blue truck, there is also a Red Truck, The Taco Truck by the same people, Stop by and you will not be disappointed.

Hit Santa Rosa the next day and you know I had to, went to Johnny Garlic’s for dinner, this was Guy Fieri’s first restaurant and as I had not been there in over 10 years, I was really looking forward to it. I had the Chipotle Shrimp & Hotlinks (Tomatoes, Scallions, Penne Pasta + Chipotle Cream Sauce) and as I am not the hugest seafood fan, they doubled up on my Hot Links, thank you very much! Food was outstanding, maybe a little too much sauce, but oh well!

Headed out to Bodega Bay for a few nights and as the sun set over Bodega Head, I sat outside and realized that, yes!! Relaxation! Found some great tacos at La Bodeguita, Had their ‘Tacos de la Calle’ (three tacos with Carne Asada, Chicken and my third was a Carnitas. $7.50 for all three, I was in Taco Heaven!

I am sitting outside the bar at The Bodega Bay Lodge & Spa, barely seeing the fog banks off in the distance as the sun has set, Channel lights coming on for the late arrivals in the fishing fleet, I see Bodega Head in the darkness, where 30 years ago I used to sit and take pictures of the birds dive-bombing in the water, getting their meals on the bay's bottom.

Getting ready to start the commute between W. CO and Richmond, VA for the season, more food blasts will be coming!

Sitting back in one of the Adirondack Chairs outside of the Fire Pit, (ok, and after a few double Woodford Reserves), let myself lean back, exhale and realize that I can relax out here! 

I have lived many places, but the Northern California coast has always been one of my favorites! 

After a road run up Highway 1 to Fort Bragg, did the wedding the next day and drove back, stopping for more Las Brisas’ Tacos, of course
Yeah, our ‘Website of the Week is on Taco’s! From our friends and BHG.com (http://www.bhg.com/recipes/ethnic-food/mexican/taco-truck-secrets/)

Our 'Recipe of The Week' is one that I gotta try, Thai Chicken Taco’s!


Thai Chicken Tacos
  • Makes: 4 servings, Serving Size: 2 tacos per serving,Yields: 8 tacos
Ingredients
1 lime, halved
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts or tenders, cut into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
16 corn tortillas, heated
1 recipe Cabbage Slaw
Directions
  1. Juice one lime half (about 1 Tbsp.); cut remaining half in wedges. In bowl stir together chicken, cilantro, shallot, garlic, the 1 Tbsp. lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, pepper, and chili sauce. Cover; refrigerate 1 hour. In large skillet cook chicken mixture in hot oil over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked, stirring occasionally.
  2. To serve, layer two tortillas. Top with chicken and Cabbage Slaw. Serve with remaining slaw and lime wedges. Makes 4 (2-taco) servings.
Cabbage Slaw
Ingredients
2 cups shredded napa cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrot (1 medium)
1/2 cup sliced green onions (4)
1/3 cup sliced radishes
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup coarsely chopped peanuts (optional)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
Directions
  1. In a medium bowl combine cabbage, carrot, green onions, radishes, cilantro, and, if desired, peanuts. Add vinegar; toss gently to coat.


Pics from the trip!...


 
Gotta love the open road!

                                                                    Sonoma Coast
                                                                     Dillon Beach
                                                                       Bodega Bay
                                                            Sunset over Bodega Bay
                                                                 Sonoma Coast
                                                                           Tomales
                                                              Bodega Bay Tacos
                                                              Sonoma County Winery
                                                           Johnny Garlic's Santa Rosa
You can know also follow us on Pinterest; Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes and Decadence Cheesecakes Cooking Thoughts... Check them out and let me know what you think!

You can now also follow the adventures of Decadence on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Decadence-Gourmet-Cheesecakes/171538834903 ,on Twitter (www.twitter.com/decadenceGJ) and on Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com/circ2000/decadence-cheesecakes-cooking-thoughts/).