Interview With Beau Bonham.

So, I am just going to post this raw. Meaning I am stopping to try to edit myself. This person is one of the strongest pastry and savory Chefs in North County. Also, one of the strongest chocolatiers I have ever met. What he is doing now is impressive.

So, embrace and understand this is what is coming.

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I had a chance to sit down and talk to Chef Beau Bonham. Actually he has kind of moved away from Solely the Chef title and is now more Chef, educator, entrepreneur, and wellness nature advocate. Urban Shaman would not be that far off of a term.

I first met Beau when he was Chef at Petite Madeline Bakery and Bistro in Oceanside, CA. Since them he has become a good friend and a great source of food and restaurant knowledge for me. I followed him through stints with his Truffle trike business ( exactly what it sounds like an ice cream pedal trike selling gourmet hand-made truffles), his stint at Masters Kitchen and Cocktail as Chef de Partie, and now his latest venture, which this interview delves into…….

So, tell me about what’s going on and your new venture the T-House.

The new venture is a social experiment and business with Staceylou Westbrook. ( Staceylou Westbrook is Beau’s partner). So, until now it has been “Chef Beau” and this business and this business and so on. Now Staceylou Westbrook and I have come together to figure out, what does it take to live your life and how do you make that into a business? How do we live our lives and still sustain ourselves?

It is multi faceted, it is based in wellness and healing. Our goal is to provide everything from services to education.

So, what made you decide to focus your life on this aspect of food and physical, mental, and spiritual health?

So, if you think about being a Chef. What I love about being a Chef is being a damn good cook. Well, the higher you get up in the Chef world, the less you get to be a damn good cook. You end up having to be a manager or a babysitter. I found this to be true with a lot of people. A lot of people have shared that sentiment with me.

Maybe the best damn Barista in the world just wants to be a damn good barista, he does not want to own a coffee shop or a chain of coffee shops. So, how can you do what makes you happy without falling into the trap of following the next logical step in order to make money or be sufficient at it? Does that make sence?

Yes, I think that Makes total sence.

…and you can put all of this under what we are trying to do with The T-House

So, why do you think this aspect of food and commerce that you are trying to do has been neglected or forgotten? Is it the pursuit of capitalism? The force feeding of you are only successful or happy if you drive this car or have this house?

Maybe, it’s as simple as not seeing the forest for the trees. Maybe we get caught up in these set of rules, Go to work, cash your paycheck, buy your stuff, and we don’t see the resources that are available to us in our own yard, in our own neighbors, or our own friends. I am actually trying to free up resources.

So, what is an easy way of someone to get involved in this, get started?

There are so many aspects to what we are doing. We want to incorporate an experiential learning project, holding classes on bio-diversity, permaculture. We want to teach people about using whole plants, seed saving, seed fixing, and essential oils. How to make salves and balms, Ozark medicine stuff.

The best way to contact us and see what we are doing is to contact us. Join our email list, or like the the Facebook page. All of this is being done at our personal house. I use my personal email, we are not running a business. We are creating a community of friends. Its chefbeaub@gmail.com if they email me I will add them to one of a few lists depending on what they are interested in. They could be interested in parties, classes, maybe holding classes themselves. Empower people to hold classes themselves and not things they are 100% proficient in but things they want to learn and have a group learning process.

We don’t want to simply provide this information, that is something the internet can do. We want to have it be an experiential learning, where people actually do these things themselves so they can feel the effects and see what its like. That is one aspect. The other aspect is Staceylou provides energy work, healing sessions, and Tarot. She will hold classes on pendulum work, getting touch with your own reality and becoming more aware of yourself.

Another part is we want to have fun. We want to throw parties and grow community. We want to provide nourishment, food, and entertainment. We want to have people get together on a friendly status. Outside of the realm of business. What makes business more legit then that backyard BBQ?  Why aren’t we doing our networking there?

…maybe we are? What if we challenge the model? What if instead of getting bigger to make more money, we go smaller to gain more resources? By finding those resources communally, we free up our money. You may drive 20 minutes to find the best hairdresser in the world and pay this price. There maybe a hairdresser in your community with whom you can trade. I’ll do your nails, you do my hair and that frees up all those resources. There are already apps available to share this information already.

So, I know one of your interests is food as medicine. What are some of the programs and offerings you want to expose people to?

We want to talk about..there is an idea called “wild crafting”, ours is not “Wild Crafting” I guess you would call it “garden Crafting”. It’s about drying out your own teas, the efficacy of tea, how we used to ingest medicinal plants simply by steeping them in boiling water. What a tea tastes like and what that particular plant is purported to do. The difference in different delivery systems such as an alcohol tincture or an infused oil or simply essential oils themselves. What these things can be used for culinary for taste and flavor and how they affect the different systems in your body and how they maybe good or not good for you in particular. Also a thing I call intuitive nutrition. We have a program we can develop with people to help them figure out what is the best thing for their body.

So, one thing I want to talk about. There is the social experiment, that is the free commerce thing. There is Staceylou business which is energy and healing. The third is both social, political, and healing. We are devoted to educating the senior community on the legality and benefits of cannabis. Not just the senior community, but because we have aging parents and grand parents it is a big part of what they are doing right now, reaching out and educating. That is a special program and if someone is interested in that they need to mention that when they contact us, because of laws and other factors.

It’s funny You get the concept, you have seen it you have been to the house. You get what we are doing, you get that there can be 5 different things going on at once.

Yeah, I think it is about getting people involved and getting them out there. That’s why I did this interview as an awareness piece. So, hopefully take advantage and check it out. Because the barter non-commerce aspect, I think, people will kind of have to wrap their head around. I think the open house on March xxx would be a good start.

So, if any of these things interests you I would highly recommend contacting Beau at chefbeaub@gmail.com and checking out the Facebook or their website, which I will link below.

Again it is something you have to personally check out to kind of get it and see if it is for you. It really is an intellectual and physical community based barter or free trade community group. That’s the best I got to sum it up.

The T house

Decoy @ The Lakeside Hotel / Resort ~ San Marcos.

Decoy has a chance to bring great higher end dining to the San Marcos area. It has everything going for it, waterfront location, it is situated next to a 14 million dollar resort that was just voted one of the best in the United States, an experienced Chef with a good track record, and the build out of the restaurant itself, which is nothing but breathtaking in its design and originality.

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Decoy exterior

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Decoy’s bar and lounge area serves as a mood setting pass through into the main dining room. The bar like the restaurant boasts interesting art pieces and accent lighting, I would lose the flat screen TVs though, they are a misplaced element in an otherwise beautiful room. If you’re out for dinner or drinks and just have to know the score of the game be an asshole and just look at your phone.

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Some of the mixed media art pieces that adorn the restaurant. They call for a close inspection to reveal some of their intelligent detail. Like the deer cut out, that uses fishing lures and pieces of fishing rod embedded in the piece.

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The interior as I stated earlier is world-class in detail and execution. It reminded me a lot of Encuentro Guadalupe Restaurant in Baja as far as feel at night-time.

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Encuentro Guadalupe Restaurant, Valle De Guadalupe, Baja

Tangent…I really want to stay in one of their eco-lodges…so cute and the view….

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Ok, back on track…

The menu at Dockside, in my opinion, is perfect in its size, large enough to host a range of dishes without being overwhelming and still providing space for specials or alterations. The wine and specialty cocktail list follow suit in this.

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To start we split a burnt orange negroni as there was going to be wine involved later. My partner in crime thought it needed more Campari as it was shy on the bitter element. The bruleed orange was awesome, though.

Moving into appetizers…

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Strawberry Caprese ~ tomato, baby kale, burrata ice cream, balsamic.

Great combo of flavors, it needed more balsamic though as it sets off the dish and calling the burrata an “Ice cream” is a bit of a stretch.

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Kung Pao Sweetbreads ~ peanut, scallions, sesame, kung pao glaze, cucumber.

I love sweetbreads and order them every time I see them on a menu. These were OK. The dish reminded me a lot of a good version of orange chicken with a little bit of spice. With the exception of a little softer mouth feel the sweetbreads could have been mistaken for poultry.

The mains though shined brightly….

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Bass ~ roasted artichokes, Chinese sausage, braised beans & natural clam broth.

This was a rock star dish. Great product, cooked to perfection all playing off each other.

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Quail ~ fingerling potato salad, duck scotch egg, apple gastrique.

Though on the hot appetizer menu, we ordered this as a second main and it served perfectly in that role.

The addition of the scotch egg was a delight, the quail, and the potatoes were cooked perfectly and had a wonderful flavor. The apple gastrique added a perfect overall sweetness to the dish. A true winner.

The staff was friendly and attentive, and for being a new restaurant overall well-informed. My friend did challenge them a bit by asking a few questions regarding the food and wine. At one point I told our server he was walking into a trap when she asked for advice about a particular wine choice, he handled himself well, though.

Decoy is set up to become a great restaurant, right now it is a very good one. Being in its infancy that is fine and the path to get there is very doable. In my experience, the dishes we had for our mains outshined the appetizers quite a bit. I will definitely be back in the future to see where they land.

Decoy

Lakeside hotel & Resort

1025 La Bonita Dr., San Marcos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flying Pig, Vista ~ 1 Year Anniversary

This Sunday Flying Pig’s Vista location celebrated it’s 1 year anniversary with an outdoor grill blowout.

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The Vista location stemmed out of the huge success of The Flying Pig Pub in Oceanside. That location was one of the forerunners of today’s growing north county culinary scene and still serves a packed house nightly. Last year owner Roddy decided to open the Pig’s second location in an old bank building at 230 South Santa Fe, Vista. The new location was more than double the size of the original and boasted an outdoor patio area absent in the first. He brought over Executive Chef Mario Mosser to oversee the new restaurant and promoted Chef Samantha Parker to run the Oceanside location (smart because she kills it).  With everything in place, the new Flying Pig was once again on the forefront of an expanding new culinary scene.

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Outdoor patio @ Flying Pig Vista

The thing he pulled off with the new location, which is hard to do, is launch a second restaurant off the success of the first that, had a familiarity to it in concept and menu , but at the same time had it’s own identity. A lot of restauranteurs try this and fail or just cookie cutter the original idea.

A good example of this being done successfully would be Mario Batali’s second restaurant Lupa, coming off the heels of the insanely successful Babbo in 1999. you could easily have lunch at the vista Flying Pig head west and enjoy dinner at the Oceanside location and you would not feel like you ate at the same restaurant twice. Unless you doubled down on one of the few menu crossover items, but that would be on you wouldn’t it ?

Anyway, I grabbed the Sprinter to vista and planned to enjoy the culinary festivities.

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People streaming in for the anniversary.

On my way in, I was trying to decide what to get. Do I go for their killer tri-tip or something porkish?

They made the choice easy for me with their anniversary special menu.

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I get to have it all for $20 …sold and done. 🙂

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Lots of meat. I got there at 10 am, Chef Mario had been working the grill since 5am that morning.

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Left to right ~ Tri-tip, pork brisket, and pork loin. Warm potato salad and cole slaw in the back and mashed potatoes underneath. There’s also grilled veg. on there somewhere.

Everything was cooked to perfection. I’m a sucker for Tri-tip and this example was perfect. The Pork brisket was melted in your mouth gorgeous, and the star for me was the Pork loin, brined for 4 days, it was juicy and tender with a slight sweetness to it. The sides held their own as well living up to the brilliance of the meats.

My plate before and after.

Owner Roddy is also a level 2 Sommelier and he paired a great Red blend to accompany my meal a Tre Toscana ~ 80% Sangiovese, 10 % Merlot, and 10% Cabernet. With Roddy’s knowledge, their wine list is worth checking out.

Here is a brief video interview with Chef Mario and Owner Roddy. I asked them about the first year of the Vista Flying Pig and memorable moments.

 

 

hope you got out to celebrate with them. If not they are there producing great food 7 days a week. Go check them out.

Flying Pig Pub and Kitchen

230 South Santa Fe Ave., Vista

Today was also the annual “Rod Run” in downtown Vista, with over 400 classic cars on display. I walked around and took pics of some of my favorites.

 

Still no Hemi Cuda’s though:(

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The Dream Car

 

 

Chef Interview ~ Annel & Drew’s Kitchen

I can not say enough about these guys. I think it comes across in the answers.  Very talented and dedicated Chefs.

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Describe the style of food  you prepare at Annel and Drew’s.

New American.  Annel is from Mexico city and Drew is from upstate NY.  We both have worked all over and with different types of food.  We meet each other in the middle.

What led to your decision to start a catering / Farmer’s Market Stand in North County.

Loved to cook and always wanted to own our own business.  We love working outdoors and directly with the community.  We have a passion for food and have lots of amazing ingredients at our disposal here in San Diego.  Being in a kitchen can be  a little confining at times, so we like to break out and change up the scenery a bit.

What have been some of the challenges and rewards of operating in North County.

Challenges:  Not too many.  People are sometimes skeptical about finding this quality of food on the street level.  Some locations that we’ve gone don’t always work out well for the business.

Rewards:  Seeing the same people coming back every week over and over saying how good the food is, bringing friends and family.  People are becoming more aware of what they are eating and putting into their bodies and where it comes from.

What are your plans moving forward over the next couple of years.

We want to keep serving the community, build relationships with farmers, teach people about holistic health through nutrition and lifestyle.  Reach out to kids with garden programs and teach them how to cook what they are growing.

Are there other Chefs or trends in North County that inspire you.

Drew worked for Carl Schroeder at Market Restaurant in Del Mar briefly, which was a huge inspiration as far as learning about great food, drive and constantly challenging ourselves.  We love going to solace and flying pig and are happy to see so many new eateries/breweries/pubs opening up in north county with the focus on farm to table as well as locality.

Biggest learning experience as a Chef / Owner. 

Nothing in life is easy and just when you think things are easy, reality slaps you in the face.  Definitely love what you do and it will never feel like work and always plan ahead in every aspect of your business but be prepared for those plans to have to change at the drop of a dime.

Best and worst thing about running a Food Business/ Kitchen.

Best is definitely building relationships within the community and seeing people come back every week for several years, watching their kids grow up.  It’s a great feeling.  Worst is the long hours and rough physical labor but we live for the positive aspects.  Late nights and early mornings and changing schedules.  It’s also challenging to find hard working people with a passion for food to help us.

Favorite dish or ingredient to make / use? Least favorite?

Annel loves cooking with chilies.  Drew loves cooking with garlic and fresh herbs.  We don’t necessarily have favorite dishes to make, but we love to make new dishes keep people excited about coming back.  In the end, our favorite ingredient is love and positive energy.  Least favorite ingredients would be anything fresh that comes from really far away especially pesticide laden foods.

Biggest Misconception about being a Food Business owner. Biggest truth.

Misconception:  People think you make lots of money just because you are busy.  This business is not about making money or becoming rich…It’s about having passion.

 

 

Looking back on the year, what were some of your biggest challenges and what were the biggest changes for the business.

Biggest challenges of past year:  looking for consistency from our vendors in the products that we buy and finding the right people to work for us that share the same goals and passions.  Using non-GMO ingredients is a challenge since most of what you find out there contains some sort of GMO’s and it is a lot more expensive to use non-GMO anything.  We’ve managed to cut that stuff out and our costs have risen considerably, but we haven’t raised prices.

 

 

How do you balance being a Chef / Owner and having a life outside the business.

We have to be strict with ourselves and that is a huge challenge.  When you own a business, it requires all of your attention and you never really clock out since there are always things to do.  We have to be strict and say “ok, we are not doing anything work related from this time to this time”  and schedule time for ourselves or fun activities.  Also, we are a couple and are partners in every aspect of our lives.  We work well together and most of time know what the other is thinking or going to do, but have to separate work from personal lives. 

Parting  words, thoughts, insights….

This is a hard business but very rewarding.  We are all about the food.  You can find food on every corner, but finding something good can be hard.  That’s another reason why we do what we do.  Creativity, love and attention to detail, consistency and passion must always come through for this business and any business.  Relationships are important between your suppliers, customers and anyone you come in contact with.

More parting words:

We really go out of our way handpicking and searching out the best ingredients we can find…We spend long hours in the kitchen to deliver the best product we can and we pride ourselves on this.  We make everything from scratch and don’t open up bottles or cans to make our dishes.

Also, we are now at Stone in Oceanside every Friday evening.

Just as a post note..This was the best shrimp I have eaten….I don’t care if you believe me it is just the truth.

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Chef Interview with Beau Bonham of The Truffle Trike

Chef Beau Bonham ~ Truffle Trike

Chef Beau Bonham runs The Truffle Trike, an elegant wood and metal trike that can be seen at restaurants and events throughout North County selling Beau’s custom gourmet truffles. I had the chance to ask Beau some questions about being a Chef and operating a food business in North County. He provided some great heartfelt answers.

 

 

 

 

 

Describe your style as a Chef in a few sentences.  

I believe that knowing where your food comes from, and a healthy respect for the process of preparation can go a long way in our overall appreciation. New trends and flavor combinations are fun and exciting, but we seem to be constantly chasing the shock factor and trying to push the envelope of culinary experience, while possibly losing sight of the joy in simplicity. One thing I learned in culinary school was that before using any machines, taking any short-cuts, or expanding on existing ideas, we needed to be able to produce the desired product according to traditional methods in order to better understand it’s development. I have embraced that, and consider myself a bit of a traditionalist. There is a certain nuance that comes with doing things by hand. It is indeed that secret ingredient, that love that our grandparents spoke of, that makes our food so special. It allows for our true enjoyment, as well as bodily and soulful nourishment.

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Where The Chefs Eat Part 1 – Karina’s Ceviche & Oysters Oceanside

This post is part of a series where I talk to local Chefs and ask “where do you like to eat on your down time? Any place any price point; where do you go?

First up was Chef Mark Millwood of TBG BBQ who sent me to Karina’s Ceviche and Oysters in Oceanside

Karina's Oceanside Now

Karina’s Oceanside Now

Karina’s is a local San Diego family run chain of six restaurants that started providing fresh, traditional Mexican seafood nearly 30 years ago.

Karina’s in Oceanside stands in what was, all through my childhood, an old school Jack In The Box

My meal choice was as follows

Karina's Ceviche, Octopus and Shrimp Tacos
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Karina’s Traditional shrimp ceviche. Chopped shrimp, cucumbers, avocado,and cilantro in a spicy Serrano sauce.

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Grilled Octopus and Shrimp Tacos, Baja style with a chili glaze.

Everything was fresh, made to order and excellent. I can see why Chef Mark loves this place. Simple, delicious food, executed perfectly.

If you want great food…ask a chef.

That Boy Good’s Chef / Owner Mark Millwood on Food and Running a Restaurant in North County

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We recently caught up with Mark Millwood Chef and Co-owner of That Boy Good BBQ in Oceanside. TBG just celebrated its one year anniversary in August and business is better than ever. You can view mark’s bio here

That Boy Good 207 N. Coast Hwy Oceanside, Ca 92054
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