27 December 2009

Best Christmas Ever

Last year I was watching The Game of Death with Valerie and I mentioned how cool it would be to own Bruce's famous yellow Jumpsuit. She was paying attention.

I have the best wife ever!
Love you, Val!
"Where's the Doctor?!?"
"Red Pepper."
"Red Pepper Restaurant?"

23 November 2009

The Fattest Week!

This is not going to be a good week for my waistline. I have to work on Thursday but they are providing a huge free Thanksgiving feast at work for FREE! I will be bringing a pecan pie (my new favorite!) and a lemon meringue pie. Then on Friday we are having our own Thanksgiving at the Fillmore house. At least 3 more pies. Then Saturday is the BYU Utah game. I'm the only guy I know who has DirecTV so lots of people will be coming over. I bought 3 racks of ribs, 3 bags of chips with cheese dip and salsa as well as 4 six packs of IBS Rootbeer. I'm also encouraging everyone to bring some food as well. If I don't gain 5 pounds this week it will be because I've died of a heart attack.

BTW go to The Holy War Blog to weigh in on this week's game!

29 October 2009

Halloween, The Musical!

Hurray! The 2009 Halloween album is finally complete! Well, almost anyway. Still working on the cd booklet. Hope you enjoy the above cd cover and the pic at the very bottom which is going to be our back with the play list. Haven't added that yet. But the music is done and here for your pleasure. Click to listen or right click to download. Enjoy your very own Halloween 2009 cd (curses! It makes you sign up for an Adrive account. Well it is free. I'll do my best to find another option)! Hats off to Jon for fine song selection and what will certainly be a quality cd booklet!

1. Heads Will Roll - The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
2. Mr Smiley - Mustard Plug
3. Eaten bu the Monster of Love - Sparks
4. Thirteen - Johnny Cash
5. Of Wolf and Man - Metallica
6. Werewolf Vs. Zombie - Oingo Boingo and Nellie McKay Feat Jon Madsen
7. Monster in the Parasol - Queens of the Stoneage
8. Shanty for Arethusa - The Decemberists
9. Burying the Bunny - Shriekback
10. The Twilight Zone - Golden Earing
11. Storm Coming - Gnarls Barkley
12. Satin in a Coffin - Modest Mouse
13. Rocking Horse - The Dead Weather
14. Sickness Taking Over - Pankow
15. Shadows on Your Side - Duran Duran
16. Every Last Breath You Take - The Police Feat NosfeRoytu
17. Les Velos Pour Deux
18. Re: Your Brains - Jonathan Coulton
19. Complainted d'VN Mate - The Avett Brothers

As you can tell we went with the zombie theme. We were afraid that by next year zombies would be so last year.
Happy Halloween!

28 October 2009

I Lost!

I feel just like this kid. In fact, no only did I lose, I only got 1 3rd place vote! What happened? It was delicious! Seriously! I'm not just saying that! It was much better than my winning chili last year. Here are some possibilities:

1: Not sweet enough. My chili last year used a bottle of bbq sauce as stock. The winner this year tasted really really sweet. Baked beans level of sweetness.

2: Mine was too spicy. There were a lot of peppers in this chili. In fact it was difficult to tough it out in the kitchen whil chopping up the peppers. Lots of coughing and eye watering. I thought it was mild enough. You know? Just tingly lips spicy! Never underestimate the wussiness of the female judges!

3: I used no beans. At the last second I decided to keep them out. I didn't want to alter the already winning taste I already had going (I discovered in an earlier chili that one can of black beans has a VERY strong flavor influence). Plus this year I learned that real chili has NO BEANS! I'm serious! I was shocked to learn it myself but check it out here at the ICS (International Chili Society) official website! So my chili was the only real chili there! Sigh. I think I may have lost some serious points because my chili didn't look "chili" enough.

2 more quick possibilities. There was a big table of chili for the judges and a small one off to the side because there were too many chilis. Mine was on the side table. My bowl didn't look like it was well sampled. Maybe poor placement? Maybe, but the 2nd place chili was on my table. Also, mine was the only chili that didn't use ground beef. Instead I used cubes of chuck which, after cooking for 3+ hours just dissolved in your mouth! That should have HELPED, right?

Anyway, if you can offer any words of solace and none of gloatiness or criticism it would be appreciated.

Also, try this recipe and Judge for yourself if it rocks or not. Trust me, it rocks, hard!

Texas Style Chili

Prep Time:
25 min
Inactive Prep Time:
hr min
Cook Time:
2 hr 30 min
6 to 8 servings

• 1/4 cup rendered bacon grease or vegetable oil
• 3 pound tri-tip or boneless sirloin or chuck roast, cubed
• 1 large white onion, chopped
• 3 large jalapeno or serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
• 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
• 5 New Mexican green or red chiles, roasted, stemmed, seeded and chopped
• 6 tablespoons chili powder
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
• 1 (12-ounce) bottle Lone Star or Shiner Bock beer (I used O'douls, a non-alcoholic brew but there are other substitutes)
• 2 ounces tequila (I omitted this. Didn't feel comfy buying tequila!)
• 3 chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped (hard to find. I used a pailla pepper and chipotle chili powder)
• 4 to 5 cups beef stock
• 1/4 cup to 6 tablespooons masa harina
• Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, garnish (omitted. I hate cilantro)
• Finely chopped white onions, garnish (omitted. Trust me, there is enough onion in this recipe already)
• Sour cream, garnish
I also added pure maple syrup to taste for a sweetener.

*NOTE: When working with chile peppers, always wear rubber gloves and be careful not to touch your eyes or skin. Wash all utensils and cutting surfaces well with hot, soapy water before proceeding.
In a large heavy pot (such as a cast iron Dutch oven), heat the fat or oil over high heat. Add the meat and sear, stirring, until no longer pink. Lower the heat to medium-high. Add the onions, jalapenos, garlic, chiles, and chili powder, and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions are wilted and start to color, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the beer and tequila and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan. Add the chipotles and adobo sauce and 4 cups of the stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender, 2 to 3 hours, adding the remaining cup of stock as needed if the chili becomes too dry or thick. When the meat is tender and the chili is ready, add the masa harina 1 teaspoon at a time to thicken to desired consistency, stirring well and cooking after the addition of each before adding more.
Remove from the heat and correct the seasoning, to taste. Skim any fat from the surface.
Ladle into bowls and garnish each with cilantro, chopped onions, and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with hot cornbread.

23 September 2009

Chili Time

It's Chili Cookoff time at the Halawa Ward here in Hawaii! Last year I whined and whined until we held the First Annual Chili Cookoff. Well it was a smashing hit so we are doing it again. Also, I won! Read about it here! So it's time to defend the title. Now as I've been looking around for a good recipe I discovered that real chili (according to Texas rules) has no beans, tomatoes or onions. So I found a recipe and made it and it was kind of glorified sloppy joe topping except not as sweet. It had a good bold flavor but I missed the texture. So I decided to see what my friend Bobby Flay has to say about Chili. I tried his Black Bean Chili. There was a snag when one of his big ingredients was beer. Thank heaven's for O'Douls! Anyway, it was much better than the Texas chili I tried out. I've got about 4 or 5 more recipes I want to try out. Either way, on Oct 23rd it's going to be a delicious night to remember!

29 May 2009

Farewell Truman

Truman Madsen, my favorite employer and family friend, has passed away. You can read his obituary here. When I returned from my mission I took my turn as one of the Fillmore boys who had the immeasurable honor of working for Truman as a secretary, transcribing his correspondence and some writings. In this brief time I learned an enormous amount from his wit and wisdom.He once made a comment in a letter to a friend that I will remember forever. He said "Faith is trusting what your spirit already knows."
When I was engaged to be married he spoke with me and my wife and shared with us knowledge that he had uncovered regarding my personal relationship with Joseph Smith. Indeed it is from Truman that my love and admiration of the Prophet Joseph first began to grow. I believe that Truman must be in the Prophet's company right now. Where else would he be? Thank you Truman and God be with your family.

24 May 2009

Food Storage Rocks!

So my younger brother Jake is currently working for a company that sells high quality food storage. It's good stuff and it has an amazing shelf lfe. Right now val and I have been just rotating groceries which means every few months or so we find expired food that we have to throw away. It's like throwing away money except it smells worse. Click here for the readypak website. Anyway, here's the info on the stuff and also some infoif you'd be interested in selling it yourself.

If you know of anyone who is interested in food storage, please email readypaksales@gmail.com for a free sample. Easy, affordable, nutritious gourmet meals. See for yourself, the quality, taste, and shelf life are the difference. For every 5 people that your refer who buy a year supply, we will give you personally a 6 month supply of food storage absolutely FREE!!!!Readypak Emergency Preparedness Food Storage♦30-Year Shelf-Life♦Quick + Easy Preparation♦Group Discount♦Retains Nutritional Value♦Vitamin + Mineral Fortified♦Great Tasting Menu♦Truly Affordable♦Convenient Mylar PouchesReadypak is expanding and currently hiring across the U.S. If you refer a sales employee to us, after they make their first year supply sale, you will personally receive $100! If you are interested in applying full or part-time, please email readypaksales@gmail.com. Spread the word and contact Jake 801-602-3708 for more info on this limited time offer.

18 May 2009

At Least My Dad Likes Me

My dad came to visit me here in Monterey last weekend. We had a super good time and now I'm going to chronicle it for you in pictures and in words. Because I'm not afraid of words. On Friday I picked him up at the Monterey airport. He almost missed his flight from SF. It's a long story but suffice it to say it was expected. I'm pretty sure getting on a plane as late as possible is a favorite game of Bill's. Like playing chicken with the departure gate.
Anyway, we first went and ate ginormous burgers at R.G. Burgers. I got the Black and Bleu and he got the Bleu Cheese Burger. We also each got a shake. It was enough fuel for the whole weekend. We immediately dragged our burger filled bodies over to the Bayonet Golf Course. It was cold and foggy. Very interesting playing in fog. It was a very beautiful but very challenging course.
Afterward we went to Lugano's Swiss Bistro in Carmel and got the fondue, which was mediocre. I shoulda gone with the giant plate of sausages.

The next day we went whale watching. While taking a picture of my thumb a few dolphins rudely entered the frame. There were hundreds of dolphins! Here are a few more. How do they move so fast without moving? Also, did you know that identical twins DO NOT have identical DNA? I didn't know that. Now, we never saw a whale. They tried so hard that we missed our Black Horse tee time. But I did get a rain check so I can go try and see a whale again. Note to self: Dramamine!

So we played Bayonet again and the weather was beautiful! This hole was memorable for me. Look real hard and you can see the tee box. I am taking this picture from where my drive landed. I was very proud. It went pretty far (I outdrove Bill on this one) and right in the middle of the fairway!
This was my best shot of the day. I am taking the pic from in front of the tee box. You are looking at the green in the distance. On my drive I hit the freaking pin! The ball did not go in but rolled a few feet away. I flubbed the birdie and settled for a par. But I HIT THE PIN!
That night we ate ate the Monterey Fish House with some friends of my Dad's, the Cummings. I got Chipino and Bill got the Swordfish pasta. We expressed that we were going to try each other's dishes so they brought each of us a plate/bowl of each. It was a lot of food and very tasty. Then I made the mistake of ordering the creme brulee. Very bland and the top was actually a wee bit burnt. Harumph!
We then went to Angels and Demons. It was better than The DaVinci Code (just like the books!). I don't know what else I can say.

The next day we got all religious and went to church. Afterward we went to Compagno's for sandwiches. They were enormous. We also asked for a slice of cake and I swear we got a 1/4 of the cake. It was all very tasty and healthy.

Anyway, thanks for coming to visit dad. Can't wait to see you in Hawaii!

11 May 2009

My (Temporary) Homecoming

On May 1st I decided to go home to Hawaii and surprise Val and the kids. So when I got to the door I called Val to make sure she was home. She was. Then I told her I was going to send her a picture. So I took a picture of our front door and sent it to her. Here's the picture.

So I got all excited and I sat on the bench waiting for Val to run to the door. Nothing happened. SoI waited for a few minutes and still nothing. So I knocked on the door and Jon answered. He just said "Oh hello," like I'd just come back from the store. I told him to be quiet and I snuck in the kitchen and surprised my wife. Lots of screaming ensued. Anyway, she said she was washing dishes so didn't plan on looking at the picture till she was done. Oh well. It was a good idea.

Anyway, we promptly went to Stone Cold and got some Cookie Mintster all around. The next day we spent hours just hnitting up our favorite spots on the island (but not until after Val participated in a Primary activity. There's dedication for ya!), Matsumotos, Sharks Cove for snrokeling, Ted's Bakery and then we had dinner at Teddy's Bigger Burgers where I enjoyed the Jala burger (a 7 oz burger with jalapeno poppers on top!). So we went home and watched Twilight together (my kid's new favorite movie, go figure). It was a wonderful weekend and hopefully it was a very productive weekend (maybe more on that later). Now I'm back in California and all I have to console myself with is lots of good food.

27 April 2009

Can't Pronounce it but it Eats Well! Dining at Aubergine

This week was amazing for eating out. I was nervous because this place is pricey and it suggested that I wear a jacket. Well all I had was a suit and I found at Sardine Factory I was the only one in a suit. Happily most men at Aubergine wore at least blazers and many wore suits. This is the outside of the hotel. Very nice.

So I was the first one patron to arrive for the night. This room is the entire restaurant. Very cozy. What was cool is the Maitre'd knew my name before I said anything. I guess I was the only one that night with a 1 person reservation. Anyway, I thought it was cool. Before long plenty of diners filled the room. Then in walked the Chef.
Cristophe Grosjean is the Executive Chef here. It is always comforting to see the Chef actually there. So I was inspired to get the 8-course Chef's Tasting Menu which means: 1-The Chef had carte blanche to pick my courses as he saw fit and 2-all my courses were not just overseen but cooked personally by Chef Grosjean. That's a serious bonus. Before we get to the food let me say that the service was amazing. I had a server for my water, a server that made sure I never ran out of bread and my main server who wore white gloves. That was kinda neat. Now none of the help was in tux but they all dressed very fine. I think it really enhanced the atmosphere. Also, the help seemed to know a lot of the patrons personally. I don't know who can afford to eat at a place like this on a regular enough basis to ask about the Maitre'd's children but I'd like to be that person. On to the food!
This was my veggie plate. Dipping sauce was good. Not my favorite veggies. I don't even know what most of the vegetables were but they were radishy.
This was my Amuse Bouche. I think that translates to "yummy corn mush." OK so it's meant to jump start your taste buds before your first course arrives. Mission accomplished!

I know what you're thinking. Roy once again has no idea what his dishes are called. Wrong! I got them to print me my menu! So you're about to get all the details! So the above 1st course is Watercress and Sweetneck Oyster with la ratte potato, creme fraiche, and California osetra caviar on seaweed butter brioche. That's a lot of fancy words. Anyway, I'm not the biggest fan of oysters and caviar is too salty/fishy for me. When i slapped it on the bread it was pretty OK. I'm sure for oyster fans it was pretty good. Anyway, it looked pretty!
2nd Course was the Fennel & Crab with rouille, tarragon and dungeness crab bisque. I've been dying for crab so this was perfect. This was the most delicious thing I put in my mouth that night! The crab dissolved in my mouth but I could have drunk a gallon of the broth. Thank you Cristophe!
It's like the Chef was reading my mind. 3rd Course was the Artichoke and Halibut with "pata negra" ham (the thin slice you see that could be used for a water filter!), manilla clam, and paprika. So halibut is my favorite fish. It has such a great flavor. Even the artichoke was good (read: I don't like artichoke). It was very tender. It just melted on my tongue.
Course the 4th! This is my Potato and Duck with a potato and truffle ravioli, wild spring onions, "vinaigrette d'abat," and foie gras. This duck was much better than the duck I had at Pacific's Edge (which was also good). Delicious sauce, delicious ravioli. The potato slices on top: I can't tell if they were really sliced and fired or just potato chips. Either way it worked.
5th Course and the 2nd best of the night. This was the Mustard and Veal with morel, crushed potato, and shallots. Those morels (I think they are a type of mushroom) were amazing and the veal was so darn good! Very tender and the sauce was radical. By the way, I don't know why my red meat pictures always turn out so dark.
OK so 6th Course was my cheese plate with a raisin bread. I was told to eat from left to right. I had four cheese with respectively pistachios, macadamias, grape slices and goo. Pretty darn good. I now love grapes and cheese. Who knew?
This is my 7th Course and my first dessert course. It is a Citrus and Yogurt with blood orange coulis, meringue, tangerine sorbet and yogurt panna cotta. Mmm. I call it a parfait! It was really good and the panna cotta was like finding a little cookie treasure in my dessert! Mmm mmm!
Final Course was Raspberry and Chocolate with a dark chocolate tart, raspberries and white chocolate ice cream. This was also very good. Not as good as the dessert I had a Pacific's Edge (read below! Now!) but it was darn good. I appreciate my chocolate a little bitter especially with fruit and it was just right.
And here is my "while you pay for a meal that cost the same as a cheap roundtrip ticket" treat. Cookies, chocolate and marshmallows. All were good but I was leary of the marshmallows. I thought it would be like popping a staypuft in my mouth but they were really soft and coated in some sort of lemon powdered sugar. It was really good. have I said that before? Well it's always really true. Now let's talk about the overall experience. This was the second best meal of my life. The food I ate at Chef Mavro's last year in Hawaii was just a little better. The filet and scallops I ate at Mavro's are the 2 best pieces of food ever to enter my mouth. But this meal was very comparable. What set this place apart is how it felt so refined and yet not uptight. It was absolutely delightful. This could set it apart as the best dining experience of my life. Thank you Chef Grosjean! I wish I could afford to come back!
Oh! This is when I went to Willy's Smokehouse and pigged out on appetizers during $4 appetizer night. I was stuffed and it only put me out $15. Fine choice.

19 April 2009

Eating on the Edge of a Loose Noodle!

This very weekend I ate at Pacific's Edge at the Highlands Inn in Carmel. I have been looking forward to this for a while. Chef Ayer's restaurant is the recipient of a 15 toque review from Gayot (my restaurant guide of choice) and consistently is in the top 10 U.S. Restaurants with a View list every year. I wasn't against the window but the view was spectacular. Now on to the food.
Let me start out by saying that as the sun faded my poor phone camera was inadequate. Sorry. However, I had plenty of light for my grilled prawns! This was the start of my 4-course (I eventually turned it into 5) meal. The grilling brought out a really nice unexpected flavor. And the presentation was nice. Look! They're friends! Hey! No spooning!
OK so the second course was a grilled duck breast on top of a rutabaga puree. Look at the cute little quail egg on top! The flavor was good, not amazing and one of my slices of duck wasn't as tender as I had hoped but the rest was pretty darn good.

Stupid candle light! Anyway, the dark glob above was my lamb on an I have no idea what kind of sauce (I guess I should take notes). But it was very tender and very tasty. I love lamb! A lot!
This was my dessert course. A Strawberry and Rhubarb Crisp with Mascarpone and some sorbet. Oh my freaking gadget that was one of the tastiest things I've ever consumed. It kinda looked like a graham cracker sandwich but it was very light and super tasty.
However I was still a bit hungry (I wish they offered a 5 course meal).
So I added the creme brulee. Creme brulee is always good and especially with fresh fruit. So Pacific's Edge was a very enjoyable experience. The view was fantastic and the food pretty good. It was a bit noisy but it's a lot of people in a small place so what can you do. Plus they have a live singer doing Rat Pack-ish music and that's always good.
Now as for Saturday I went to the Loose Noodle. OK I had soup, Spaghetti and Meatballs and Dessert for $23. And the spaghetti was freaking awesome. I could be talked into going back in a heartbeat. Plus it looks so pretty! No I did not lick the carrot garnish off.
Instead I got some carrot cake. Probably my favorite kind of cake and they did a good job. What else can I say? I continue to enjoy eating well in one of the best dining areas of the country. Next week I'm looking forward to a little place called Aubergine. So stay tuned!

The Extremely Haunted Winchester Mystery House

This weekend I went with John Snow (Val's brother) to the Winchester Mystery House! I've wanted to do this for a long time. Some say it's the most haunted place on earth except really that's just me. But some people swear it's haunted. Our guide said he'd never seen anything but maybe he just only believes in science.

This is the extremely huanted Gingerbread representation of the Winchester Mystery House. In fact it is so haunted it would be deadly to eat it (or because it's 19 years old).

This is the extremely haunted staircase that leads to nowhere. Pretty weird.

This is the extremely haunted bedroom where Mrs. Winchester died. Probably while being haunted.

This is the extremely haunted front door where President Teddy Roosevelt was told to go away. He probably haunts it.

This is the extremely huanted front staircase where I hope someone once got murdered. They didn't say as much but it's just perfect for it. I mean look at it! And I love the lamp.

The extremely haunted organ where ghosts may or may not play scary music.

The extremely haunted door that leads to nowhere. Mrs. Winchester killed scores of unwanted visitors by asking them to see themselves out late at night through this door. Except not really.

Shot of the house from the extremely haunted (but gorgeous) gardens. OK so I didn't see any ghosts but only because they hurried us through this toor so fast you would think the guides had laxatives for lunch. The place is really cool both inside and out. So go, right now! If you dare...

I Know What Roys Like...Roys Like Food!

Two weeks ago (I'm sorry I'm behind!), I ate with my brother-in-law John Snow at the Montrio Bistro in Monterey. It has been voted the favorite restaurant in the city by readers of the local paper for several years in a row so we had to check it out. Above you see the interior. Rather groovy I thought but if you look at the ceiling you'll notice that it has what I think are supposed to be clouds but they really look like pealed potatoes. Well what can you do?
We started with Sunchoke Soup and some calamari. I had no idea what sunchoke was. I thought it was pretty good but sunchoke turned out not to be my choke of choice.

I love halibut! This was pretty good. I liked it better than the sturgeon I had a few weeks ago at Passionfish but maybe just because I like halibut so much. It was very fresh and the honey mustard was a good sauce choice.
We decided for dessert to get their "dessert bites," kind of a sampler platter of everything. Starting at the top left and moving clockwise we have the Lemon Raspberry Tart (John's favorite), the Salted Caramel Cheesecake, Carrot Cake with Ice Cream and Creme Brulee. I loved all of them. I think my favorite might have been the salted caramel cheesecake! I would go back just for the desserts.

The next day I was in Socal visiting my family so we had to go to the Saugus Cafe where James Dean had his last meal. I hope his Biscuits and Gravy weren't luke cold like mine. They would have been so yummy warm! Anyway, it didn't warrant a picture.

But the Cherry Pie did! Everytime I go to a dinner I think of Agent Cooper and I feel obligated to get some cherry pie. It was a good choice. This was a good weekend of dinning highlighted by desserts galore!