Sunday, August 30, 2009

I Left My Heart Santa Maria

Literally – it exploded from all the barbecued beef I ate, and had to be replaced. Michele and I just got back from an incredible weekend in the Santa Maria Valley. The weather was hot, but beautiful. The food was amazing, and the people we met could not have been nicer.

I'm only back in San Francisco for one day before heading down to LA for my big shoot with the creative geniuses at Brand New Entertainment. I don't have time to post them yet, but I filmed three great recipes, and took tons of pictures I can't wait to share!

We stayed at the Historic Santa Maria Inn where I filmed Chef Alex Araizaga making a very unique salmon recipe featuring a sauce using the area's famous strawberries.

We also had the great pleasure of watching Paul and Susan Righetti make a traditional Santa Maria Barbecued tri tip meal, complete with pinquito beans, grilled garlic bread, and a wonderful salsa.

Susan's family runs the venerable Far Western Tavern, one of the best known S
anta Maria-style barbecue restaurants in the area, and she also sells a complete line of local artisan products on her website, Susie Q’s Brand.

Not only did we get treated to an amazing lunch, but she let me film her making the beans and salsa, and Paul will be starring in a video recipe showing the "real" way to do a Santa Maria tri tip.

It was an amazing afternoon! As if that wasn't enough, later in the evening we were able to dine at the Far Western Tavern. We had such a wonderful meal, including an unforgettable plate of barbecued
sweetbreads served with cocktail sauce.

We also got to have dinner at the world famous Hitching Post, where Michele and I enjoyed one of the best steak dinners of our lives. I had a 15-oz top sirloin that was so juicy, so flavorful, and so uniquely flavored by the intoxicating scent of the red oak fire that it defies description.

I'd like to offer a very special thank you to Christopher Weir who set the trip up, and was a perfect host. Christopher works with the Santa Maria Visitors Bureau and they could not have had a better representative. When we arrived at the Santa Maria Inn there was a gift basket with local wine, fresh strawberries, and a welcome letter from the Mayor!

Like I said, when I get back from LA, I will post the videos and more photos/info from this very special trip to California's beautiful central coast. Stay tuned!


Nishant said...

Hi Chef John, this doesn't have anything to do with the post...I was wondering what your opinion is on induction heating elements?

For instance, if I were to grill a steak using a cast iron grilling plate on an induction heating element, how well would it work compared with traditional heating elements?

Chef John said...

Sorry, but I've never worked with a induction heating element. Not sure how they work... you better google!

Pyrofish said...

I eagerly await your tri-tip experience. There's a festival I go to every August where everyone is responsible for one meal during the week to feed everyone. One of the guys is from Cali, and always has the best tri-tip marinated and grilled. My butcher knows of the cut, but I have not pursued it yet. After this year's round of it, and now your post, I may have to pursue it locally.

Which is even more reason to pursue the a local farmer I just found out is doing organic grass fed beef. I haven't visited him yet, but I look forward to getting some good meat from him soon.

John said...

That steak really looks good!

John Dicus said...

We live near Santa Maria! We're really glad you enjoyed your trip through the Central Coast.
Next time through, you should consider stopping in at Jocko's in Nipomo, one town north of Santa Maria. They along with the Hitching Post and Far western which you've already visited form the 'trifecta' of Central Coast Dinng... along with McClintocks, AJ Spurs, Pea-Soup Anderson's and a few others!

Anonymous said...

I am glad you stayed in Santa Maria (sorry about the heat...not usually that hot). You ate at the best steak house in the country. They are our family's favorite place to celebrate or just go eat. The atmosphere make you fell like you are family. Been eating there all my life.

Thanks for visiting.

Leah French Gonzalez

kriste said...

if you liked the hitching post you should try the barbq2you they have now. tastes incredible and you can get it delivered to your home. what will the post think of next? brilliant!

Anonymous said...

So are you going to retool your tri tip vid or show a video of preparation of the tri-tip you just ate during your most recent Santa Maria trip? Sounds like you might have picked up a good tip or two worth sharing.

Chef John said...

yes, i will be! stay tuned

Unknown said...

Very Nice in deed, the dishes looks so good.. it just made me so hungry..You should feature your services/products on the Santa-maria community, classifieds section.

Anonymous said...

So are you going to deliver on your promise to retool the tri-tip vid based on this latest trip to Santa Maria before the BBQ season ends? Forcing us to wait until Spring would be pure torture. It's Oct 1, the backyard trees are dropping leaves and turning the heater on is now a morning necessity. Puhleeeez.

Chef John said...

you read my mind. That will be the next clip up.