Ben Frank's in Redwood City

Many say it's hard to get a good hot dog in the Bay Area. Though they are right, there are a few places around that got what I'm craving in a hot dog. Other than tasty toppings, I need that snap and bite in my dog. Even though I'm bias to the ultimate taste and bite of my Uncle's hot dog at his stand in El Dorado County,  this unusual shaped shack next to the railroad track has what I need. Ben Franks has been serving up decent dogs to Redwood City locals for years. Definitely satisfies my caving every once in a while!

Ben Frank's- 491 El Camino Real Redwood City corner of Whipple Ave.

Photos courtesy of Richard Park Photography


Cast Iron Cooking Memories

Recently I was lucky enough to receive a cast iron skillet. Unfortunately it was because a relative passed, but I decided to turn this into something positive.

I put this old skillet back to work! I'm very familiar with cast iron because my grandmother cooked exclusively with it. Hers was passed down, well seasoned, and everything that was cooked in it tasted better. She taught me the proper way to care for cast iron so it will last more than a lifetime.

One of my favorite food memories from childhood was waking up to the smell of bacon frying. That could mean only one thing at my grandma's house: biscuits and gravy!!! Of all the foods I've eaten, from all over the world, this basic food is my very favorite. Our particular family recipe has been passed down for many generations, and if you couldn't master the gravy you would never live it down. The actual recipe has never been written down; it has to be shown and taught to you by your mother, as in my grandmothers case or by your grandmother as in my case (she had no daughters).

The first meal I prepared in my brother's old cast iron skillet was biscuits and gravy. This time it came out exactly the way it's suppose to, just like my grandma's. I'm sure it was the cast iron skillet.

So if you're looking to purchase new cookware, don't rule out cast iron. While it may take a little extra care to maintain, its versatility is endless. It goes from stove top to oven with ease and is as non-stick as the best Teflon as it becomes more seasoned. For those of you who don't want to take the time to season it, pre-seasoned skillets are available.

And who knows? After you've used it for years it can be given to your offspring, along with all the cooking memories that go with it.


Peter Petrie Egg Separator

For some people this ceramic beauty may never grace their kitchen counters. But for me, this is the most gruesome kitchen tool around, and I love it! This device is pretty straight forward. Simply crack an egg into the separator, tilt it forward over a bowl, and the whites will ooze out of the nostrils. Happy egg separating!


In-N-Out Burger Vs. Five Guys Burgers and Fries


Five Guys

Pro's of In-N-Out Burger:
Fresh ingredients
Fresh cut fries
Cheaper menu items ($2.25 for single, $3.25 for comparable burger)
Open until 1:30AM on Weekends
Thousand Island Sauce (if you care for it)

Con's of In-N-Out Burger:
Not too many topping choices
Smaller size overall burger

Pro's of Five Guys:
Fresh ingredients
Fresh cut fries cooked in peanut oil
Good size single patty burger
Unlimited burger combinations (endless toppings)
Cajun fries/ free peanuts

Con's of Five Guys:
Closed at 10 PM
Not too many locations yet

Overall consensus:
To me both burgers are delicious, but there are two major differences.
#1- Five guys have all these amazing toppings. But in the same sense you can over do it with everything. In-N-Out has their secret menu, but it's really not that special.
#2- If you are on a budget, or crave a tasty burger past 10 PM, go for In-N-Out. Until Five Guys is respectfully spread out across main roads and freeway exits in California, their access is limited. 
Five Guys
Photos courtesy of Richard Park Photography
I would like to know your opinion on these burger joints! Please share!


Pitman Farms Visit- Mary's Air-Chilled Chickens

 I had the pleasure of visiting a couple amazing chicken farms and a poultry processing plant in April down in Fresno County. The Pitman family oversees the farms and runs all operations at the processing plant. This family is truly dedicated to the quality of the poultry they produce. They now have the largest air-chilled chicken facility on the Westcoast. If you are not familiar with the term "air-chilled" you should be! (Air-chilled chicken link) This term is relatively new to most Americans. The European Union has made this a mandatory process 15 years ago, while the US has barely scratched the surface of transitioning to this. I don't want to get into detail of the standard water-chilled systems we use in the US, but they are gross!

Whole Foods Market partnered with the Global Animal Partnership to better animal welfare practices. They developed a 5-step rating system to determine how chicken, cattle, and pigs are raised. With this system you are able to see how the animals were raised before you make your meal purchase.

If you would like to know more about this 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system here is the link:
5-Step Animal Welfare Ratings

These are some pictures of the living conditions of a step 3 chickens

These are some pictures of the living conditions of a step 5 chickens (Rhode Island Red Chickens)

 7 day old baby chickens

 Pitman Farms Processing Plant
From the air chilled process to the beginning of butcher processing.

 So the next time you eat chicken for dinner, think about the quality of life the chicken had and the process it went through to reach your plate? Do they meet your standards?