About these ads
  • Subscribe For Free!

    Get my monthly email newsletter that includes all recent posts SIGN UP HERE!

    Or Bookmark Bay Area Foodie
  • Upcoming Eats

    Meadowood (Napa)
  • Still Hungry?

    See my 300+ reviews on
    Yelp Bay Area Foodie
    Latest: Lyfe Kitchen (Palo Alto),The Melt (Palo Alto), Patxi's Chicago Pizza (Campbell)
  • $10 OFF COUPON

  • Blog Stats

    • 431,562 hits since Jan 2008
  • Leftovers (Archives)

  • Popular Entrees

  • About Me

    © 2008-2012 Nicole (a.k.a. Bay Area Foodie)
    =

The Cats Restaurant & Tavern


Drum roll…..The Cats is back! To the dismay of many the Cats, a BBQ roadhouse in the hills of Los Gatos, closed without much warning about 4 years ago. The building has been around since the 20’s and has housed many different businesses but the most famous was the restaurant/tavern which opened in 1967. Whenever we went we knew we would see an interesting mix of folks and eat a nice piece of meat. Finally someone has got the BBQ pit burning again.

We arrived just before 5pm because we knew if it was anything like the old Cats if you arrived late you were gonna wait and wait and wait to get a table. When we walked in we were pleased to see the upgrades made but glad they didn’t go overboard and lose the charm that existed prior. If you are going for your first visit you will think nothing has been remodeled but the TVs, bar tables, floor, ceiling, fans, any decor whatsoever is all new. We sat in the bar with our friends and sipped on some micro brews for about 30 minutes until our table was ready. When we were seated we asked our waiter if we could order some appetizers and were told that they are only served in the bar. Weird…yes… especially since they don’t tell you that while you are in the bar…so we went straight to the entrees. Prior to coming I had looked over the menu online and was disappointed to find I couldn’t get a steak for under $32 but thankfully we were given a different more reasonably priced menu. Our table ordered the following…. filet mignon, bbq chicken, pulled pork, cheesecake & chocolate cake.



Everyone was happy with the food and the restaurant maintained its predecessors no fuss presentation style. My steak was a tad overcooked but I let that go since they’d only been open for 6 weeks. The only bummer was that the live music didn’t start until 9pm and we were long gone by then. When we left it was obvious that The Cats was as popular as ever as it was standing room only out in the bar.

Welcome back, Cats!

Tiny kitchen

Note: if you have never been it’s hard to find (especially in the dark)…so get your gps ready. Also, there is limited parking. If you want to avoid the drive The Cats is offering a courtesy shuttle from 5pm-10:30pm on the weekends near the Toll House Hotel (runs every 15 minutes). Check their facebook page for more details.

Rating:

Website: http://thecatsrestaurantandtavern.com/

Cats on Urbanspoon

About these ads

Burgers with Blue Cheese Mayo and Sherry Vidalia Onions


Mmmm Mmmm good. The sherry onions were the best part. Even though summer is no where to be seen in the Bay Area we still BBQ’d in the rain this weekend.

Recipe link
Cooking Light Magazine /June 2011

Long Meadow Ranch Grass-fed Beef Club


Yes, we like meat!

As stated in my Farmstead post we were impressed with the beef served so we decided to join the Long Meadow Ranch grass-fed meat club. There are many advantages to eating grass-fed meat: lower fat & calories plus it’s rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. We signed up in December and received our first shipment in late January. Since we spend so much time in Napa we actually pick up our shipments to save the $30 shipping fee. Each delivery contains 12+ lbs. of meat and is approx. $100. We feel this is a good price for the quality. When I saw our first shipment I thought there was no way 2 people would be able to eat it all but by the time the second batch arrived 3 months later we had consumed everything.

Shipment #1 - frozen & vacuum sealed

I gotta say there is some getting use to eating grass-fed beef. It is super lean and depending on the cut can be chewy and gamey in flavor. My favorites so far have been the stir fry, lamb shanks and the NY steak (pics to come in future posts). They were delicious. Even though we used the stew meat in a slow cooking Texas chili the meat was a little dry and our bbq’d London broil was a bit tough and gamey. Overall we have been very happy with the beef. I will update this post once we have received all four 2011 shipments.

Note: Grass-fed beef cooks much faster than corn/grain fed on the bbq so shorten the cooking time by like 2-4 minutes or you will overcook it!

2011 Shipments:

January, 2011: Winter: “Stews, Soups, and Comfort”
Stew Meat (4lbs)
Lamb Shanks (4lbs)
London Broils (4 London Broils)
April, 2011: Spring: “Family Packs”
Stir Fry Strips (4 lbs)
NY Steaks (6 Steaks)
June, 2011: Summer: “Summer BBQ “
Ground Beef (6 lbs)
Hot Dogs (5 lbs)
Ranch Hand Filets (8 Filets)
October, 2011: Fall: “Holiday Entertaining”
Chateaubriand (4 Chateaubriands)
Petite Tenderloins (4 Petite Tenderloins)

Things we have made:

Texas chili made with our stew meat

London broil just off the BBQ

Join the club here: http://www.longmeadowranch.com/Clubs/Grazier-Membership

**You can also just order beef from their website without joining the club.

Susie Q’s Brand – Santa Maria Style Barbeque Products


Just before the end of 2010 I was lucky to receive a sampling of the Susie Q’s Brand product line including the Santa Maria Valley Style Seasoning, Pinquito Beans and Red Oak barbecue chips – everything needed for a traditional Santa Maria feast. Santa Maria California is well know for its BBQ. I’ve been to Santa Maria once and the only thing people said I had to have was the BBQ, and of course due to circumstances out of my control I was unable, so I was excited to finally try the famed offerings.

The suggested cut of meat for an authentic Santa Maria BBQ is Tri-Tip so that’s what we made. First step was to get the oak chips prepped. I was unsure about using them with our gas grill but the instructions said any grill will do.

Mike then liberally seasoned the beef with the provided mixture and tossed everything on the grill. On to the beans…

The packaging on the Pinquito beans did not mention soaking the beans before preparing – so I didn’t. They bubbled away on the stove top for about 3.5 hours before they were soft and to my liking. The directions said they should be done within 2 so I think I may have done something wrong.

The results: the meat was fantastic. The simple mixture of garlic, salt, pepper and parsley was surprisingly flavorful. No A.1. sauce needed. The oak flavor was mild… I have a feeling the chips would work much better using a proper smoker. This was the first time I’d ever made beans that were not out of a can so I expected them to be like sweet Boston baked beans but they were more like a Texas chili flavor – a little smokey & spicy. Tasty and worth the long wait. Oh, and I stirred in some bacon in the end…why not?

Thank you Susie Q’s Brand for providing us with a genuine Santa Maria meal at home.

the beef

the beans

For more information about this family run Santa Maria Valley business or to get your hands on some of their products visit: http://www.susieqbrand.com/

Grilled Pizza

I’ve read articles about grilling pizza for years. We finally gave it a go. I don’t know if I’ve said it before but pizza may be my favorite food. I can eat it daily. To make life easy we used Trader Joe’s pre-made pizza dough. A 1 pound ball produces one large regular crust pizza with a crispy outside and soft inside or two thin crust pizzas. We had 2 balls one white and one wheat so we tried both sizes. It was much easier to make two small pizza’s… being able to flip raw dough onto the grill without making a mess takes mad skilz.

What we made:
Wheat pizza dough with onions,peppers, shrooms, buffalo mozz and tomato sauce.
White pizza dough with tomato sauce, buffalo mozz, fresh basil, crushed black pepper and sea salt.

Step by Step Instructions

The directions say to brush the raw dough with olive oil before grilling. We used olive oil mixed with crushed garlic cloves to add a little zing.

It was time consuming to make but well worth it. The pizza turned out delicious. Just like those fancy artisanal pizza joints with brick ovens.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

PLANET BARBECUE! Cookbook Review


Steven Raichlen, the Baron of BBQ is back with a new guide to grilling around the world. Raichlen hit the road for his latest cookbook PLANET BARBECUE! visiting 60 countries on six continents to chronicle the practice of live fire grilling. His five year adventure has resulted in a glorious 638 page manual filled with over 300 barbecue recipes from around the globe.

PLANET takes you on a cultural culinary journey without leaving your kitchen… for breakfast indulge in an Argentinean steak & eggs dish called the “Buenos Aires Heart Stopper“, venture over to Belgium for a light lunch of Salmon Glazed with Belgian Cherry Beer, stop by a roadside stand for a snack of Cambodian Coconut-Grilled Corn, enjoy a Serbian Bacon Cheese Pork Roulade for dinner and finish off the night with Azerbaijan Grilled Ice Cream.

Interlaced between recipes are essays revealing Raichlen’s travel tips for each country including must try dishes and restaurants to visit. If that wasn’t enough there are also bios on some of the most famous international grill masters. The book concludes with an in-depth discussion on how to achieve the perfect live fire grilling environment at home including proper equipment and fuel to controlling cooking temps and cleaning.

PLANET takes Barbecue books to a whole new level – it is a cookbook and travel guide all rolled into one.

The first recipe we tried was Filet Mignons with Whisky Mushroom Sauce. See it here

———————————————————–
PLANET BARBECUE!: An Electrifying Journey Around the World’s Barbecue Trail
by Steven Raichlen (Workman, May 2010, $22.95).

Thank you to Workman Publishing for providing me with a review copy of this book.

Buy it here

Other Raichlen books:
The Barbeque Bible (Mike swears by this!)

Filet Mignons with Whisky Mushroom Sauce


The first recipe we decided to prepare from Steven Raichlen’s new BBQ cookbook was Filet Mignons with Whisky Mushroom Sauce a dish from Uraguay. It’s beef wrapped in bacon smothered in a creamy wild mushroom sauce. What’s not to like?

Recipe adapted from PLANET BARBECUE!: An Electrifying Journey Around the World’s Barbecue Trail by S. Raichlen (Workman, May 2010).

Serves 4

Ingredients

Sauce:
12 ounces wild mushrooms (porcini, chantrelle)
2 tbsp (1/4 stick) butter
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 tsp all-purpose flour
1 cup beef stock
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp scotch whisky
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
kosher salt & ground pepper

Steaks:
4 filet mignons (each 1.5 inches thick & 6-8 ounces)
4 slices country style bacon
8 bay leaves (optional)
butcher string

Preparation

Make the sauce:  Trim/clean mushrooms and thinly slice. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until translucent but not brown, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and increase heat to high. Cook until tender stirring often and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, until flour evenly coats the mushrooms, about 1 minute. Stir in beef stock and cream bring to boil, stirring well. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced, 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Add whisky, mustard, lemon zest and stir until blended, about 2 minutes. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Sauce can be prepared up to 1 hour ahead and kept warm.

Prepare the steaks: Wrap a slice of bacon around the side of each filet, sandwiching 2 bay leaves, if using, between the bacon and beef on opposite sides. Tie bacon in place with butcher string. Season top and bottom of steaks with salt & pepper.

Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. To be authentic you’d grill over oak or eucalyptus embers.

When ready to cook, brush and oil grill grate. Arrange filets on the hot grate and grill to taste 4-6 minutes per side for med-rare. Don’t forget to grill the sides to brown the bacon.

Transfer steaks to plate and remove string. Spoon sauce over the top and serve at once.

See my review of the cookbook here

Buy the book here


Pork Tenderloin with Figs and Port Sauce

pork&figs
We got a box of figs in our produce shipment and I had no idea what to do with them. We had never cooked with figs. I ended up winging it because I couldn’t find one recipe that had everything I wanted. First I slathered a pork loin with evoo, salt, pepper and fresh rosemary and thyme. Mike then threw it on the grill and did his thing. Meanwhile, I made a fig sauce using a Martha Stewart recipe I found online (below). I was low on port so I used 1/2 port & 1/2 red wine. It was not overly sweet so I added a little sugar. The sauce came together easily. It was thick, closer to a glaze. I could have thinned it out with some water but I liked the consistency. It was a wonderful complement to the pork.

Recipe link

Bayou Burger

bayouburger
Mike decided to surprise me with a new burger he found in the Great Burgers cookbook by Bob Sloan. Preparing us for our upcoming trip to NOLA he made the Bayou burger which is a lamb/andouille sausage patty packed with cajun flare. This had great flavor and was super juicy. I will warn you that these bad boys stay with you far after the time you eat them (if you know what I mean)…

Ingredients (adapted from Great Burgers- makes 4)
1lb ground lamb
1 andouille sausage (3 ounces) cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 tbsp. chopped garlic
1 egg beaten
2 tsp. cajun seasoning
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried basil
pepper to taste

Mix everything together to make burgers. Cook 5 minutes then flip for 4-5 more minutes. Serve with red onion, lettuce and mayo or creole mustard. We added tomato.

Buy the book

Hey! I’m in the process of planning our New Orleans trip. Any suggestions for food/fun please leave a comment here or send me an email.

Amazing Taste Seasonings

chickencollardgreens

I received a sample box of Amazing Taste Seasoning packs in late December (Thanks Sara!). Mike and I decided to try out the poultry blend first. We’re always looking for easy ways to spice up a chicken breast. The seasonings can be used as a marinade or rub. It was a week night and I was starving so we applied the seasoning to the meat and quickly tossed it on the BBQ. The flavor was nice…kind of a sweet and spicy paprika. What I was most impressed with was the texture it gave the chicken. It was crispy and tasted like it had been baked or lightly fried. A dream come true…fried chicken on the grill without the messy grease!

We served the chicken atop a bed of creamed collard greens. The recipe for the greens was from the Neelys. The happiest couple on the Food Network (overly, if you ask me). It was a tasty union.

amazingtaste amazingchick1

I look forward to trying the many other Amazing Taste varieties. At 99 cents, it’s an inexpensive way to jazz up a meal.

Website: http://www.amazingtaste.com/

Rotisserie Turkey

bbqturkey

butterballturkeyMike and I didn’t have Thanksgiving dinner at home this year which meant no left over turkey. So I decided to have a post Thanskgiving feast at our house yesterday. When I informed Mike of my plans he was not at all excited but when I told him we could BBQ he agreed. I picked up a Butterball Boneless Turkey Roast and Mike threw it on the rotisserie. After two hours and periodic basting with some Bone Suckin’ Sauce (a gift from mom’s trip to North Carolina) it was sweet, tender and juicy. What a super easy way to prepare a bird. Served with a side of Stove Top stuffing (the best 5 minute stuffing in the world) and cranberry sauce it was just like the real thing.

Rotisserie Chicken

Mike bought a big, new, manly grill. It has a Rotisserie… we decided to take it for a spin.

Two hours and two birds later we had this…

Juicy, fall off the bone chicken. That grill was worth every penny!!

Recipes used:
We made one sweet and one savory. Huli Huli Hawaiian glaze and Lemon and Rosemary marinade (Warning: this stuff is potent — Mike’s hands after numerous washes smelled like garlic for 24 hours).

Pork Sliders with Corn Salad

When I saw the special June Grilling issue of Gourmet magazine I was inspired to make the pulled pork sandwich gracing the cover. After I read that it takes 10 hours to prepare I decided to make my own version of a pork slider. Here is my creation:

PORK
Mike’s parents have a no-fail recipe for preparing pork tenderloin on the grill. It comes out perfect every time Mike makes it. First you marinate the meat in equal parts of vermouth, oil and soy. You can drop some fresh thyme leaves in if you have it. Marinate for at least an hour then remove, add salt and pepper and toss on the grill for 10 minutes a side. You may have to adjust the time depending on the size of the loin.

COLESLAW
I did use the recipe from the magazine for the coleslaw. I like my slaw a bit sweeter but other than that it turned out well. It actually tasted better the day after I made it.

Assembly: I took a couple slices of the pork and placed them on a soft roll then topped it with the slaw and a dollop of bbq sauce. Delish!

For a side dish I decided on a roasted corn and tomato salad by Emeril Lagasse. I found this recipe while cruising the Food network website. I r-e-a-l-l-y wanted to love this salad. I mean look at it, it’s gorgeous! Unfortunately, the taste didn’t live up to the beauty. It was bla. Maybe it was because I left out the jalapeno peppers. I didn’t want it to be spicy. :oops:

%d bloggers like this: