Friday, November 6, 2015

Scratch Bar to Reopen!

Several years ago, I got a call from a chef's mother. Yep, she wanted to know about grills. Later, I discovered that the chef in question was Quinn Hatfield. At the time, he was running Hatfield's, but I believe he was wanting to reinvent himself. Eventually, he bought two grills. I was surprised that Quinn also asked to be a facebook friend. Later, I got a facebook messenger request from Phillip Frankland Lee, who knew Quinn, and wanted me to contact him about grills.

After a lot of hashing around, we finally came up with a design, but Phillip and his business partner wanted to meet me face to face. (This really worried me, because I'm a chubby, bearded guy, raised in the country, but with engineering degrees, and Phillip is a radically cool, tattooed chef from the city.) Anyway, Phillip, came down, and we sat at my computer, turning a 3 D rendering of his grill around and around, tweaking the grill to get it right.

We came up with this:

This is the Sketchup Pro design of the grill for Phillip Frankland Lee's new restaurant Scratch Bar Encino.

Well, this is what the grill actually looks like, installed:

I haven't been able to talk to Phillip since he assembled the grill, but it appears that he likes it, based on the wording on his picture! One thing about Phillip Frankland Lee, it seems every time I see a picture of him, he is wrestling with a tied up fish!
Now, I'm coming to California in May. I want to see Scratch Bar, but I want a Peanut Butter and Jelly from the Gaderene Swine. I am intrigued.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Gator on the Grill

I make a lot of grills for chefs, but sometimes the customer is not a chef, and he does an extremely credible job. Here is an example.

First, subdue one alligator. Please, do not skip this step, otherwise, the gator will bite the grillmaster, jump of the grill, and wreck your party. 'Splain to the gator that you are above the food chain, and that he is dinner. This is an 84" Wide Santa Maria Grill with an Argentine Grill Grate and a Smoker Box.

Stuff the gator with andouille sausage and wrap him in woven strips of bacon. Secure with wooden skewers.

Cover the gator with a big steel box to keep the heat in, and use a small, small fire. Remember that, at best, a gator tastes like chicken, but overcook him, and he will taste like your shoe.

Roast gator with a large quantity of garlic heads, and garnish with a nice gourd in his mouth.

Serve to a delighted crowd.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Case Study: My Outdoor Kitchen

My family and I moved to Georgetown, TX in September of 2014. We found a nice little house across the street from a 400 year old oak tree that Chisholm used to park cattle under back in the day.

Here's the front view of the house:
Here's the back view of the house:
Here's the 400 year old oak tree:

Here's what I decided to do:

The walls and roof are up in this shot:

I couldn't get the whole house into the previous picture. Note the temporary interlocking aerated concrete blocks in the foreground that I used for a firebox while planning my kitchen:

Here's a long view of the kitchen:

The sink and cutout for the wok range:

The Argentine Grill kit in a Santa Maria Style Firebox and a cut down version of our Restaurant Smoker. Instead of 13 briskets, I can only do 8:

A 97" X 33" steel table, made of 3/8" steel plate, which I have since lined with split firebrick. This fire table can hold a Uruguayan grill kit (54"X27") plus a chapa, and I can trade it out for a whole hog rotisserie whenever I get the urge:

I am almost finished with this project. Note that the wok range is sitting in a corner of the kitchen, and the propane tank on the smoker. I ran into a snag with natural gas, and the busy plumbers in Texas, along with the requirement that natural gas plumbing requires a permit and inspection. Now I know how my customers feel when they are trying to complete an outdoor kitchen, and some snag or other delays them.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Touching Up A NorCal Ovenworks Grill

Our Argentine Grills are painted with the best paint we can find, but due to excessive government regulation, we cannot ship paint to a customer, even by Fedex Ground. HOWEVER, when you need to touch up the paint, YOU can order small quantities from several places, and these registered "hazardous shippers" can ship small quantities of paint to you.

The paint, in we use, in spray can form is AW Perkins 90AW 1400ºF Stove Paint Spray - Black, and it is available from several places. I am listing several of them because one supplier or another may run low on stock, from time to time.

Supplier 1:

Supplier 2:

Now, a few words about surface preparation........

Degrease the area that needs painted, TSP and water is probably the best way. Then, rough up the area to be painted with some sand paper, so that the steel is shiny. Again. make sure the surface is absolutely clean, and spray the paint lightly. Apply a second coat rather than applying a thick coat. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lunchtime at NorCal Ovenworks Inc.

I have been living in Georgetown, Texas for a while now, and my wife and daughter discovered a Pizza Restaurant and Beer Garden at the edge of Old Georgetown, TX. This is their list of beers on tap:

Beers on tap at 600 Degrees Pizza and Beer Garden in Georgetown, TX
Beers on tap at 600 Degrees, Pizza and Beer Garden in Georgetown, TX
It is my intention to have lunch at 600 Degrees weekly, and while there, I intend to have a slice of pizza (1/6 of a 24" pizza) with an interesting topping. The slice of pizza will be washed down with 10 oz. (my lunchtime limit) of beer. I hope to document my impression of each beer on the list.

April 4, 2015 Saturday Lunch, just before weekend shopping. I ordered a slice of anchovie pizza and a 10 oz. glass of 512 Cream Stout, a local Austin beer. The beer was soft, with a slight sweetness and a light taste of hoppy bitterness. No molasses taste in this stout! Michelle had a gluten free pizza ans a glass of Strongbow Cider.

April 8th, 2015 Wednesday Lunch. I ordered a slice of anchovie pizza and a 10 oz. glass of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Stout. Another soft stout, this one with a touch of molasses sweetness, and a lack of bitterness. I resolved to try another topping on my pizza next time.

April 12th, 2015, Sunday lunch with my wife.  I ordered a slice of pizza with sausage topping and a 512 Black IPA. The IPA was full bodied with massive bitter, and I wondered if I liked it, but unlike the two Stouts I was able to sip and savor before the pizza arived, and after, the 512 Black IPA was gone in a heartbeat, leaving me shaking an empty glass and mourning. Michelle had the "Royal" gluten free pizza. An Udi's crust, topped with hamburger, red onion, bacon, and cheddar cheese, this pizza tasted so much like a bacon cheeseburger that I applauded! Boo hiss on the sausage on my pizza. It was ok, but nothing compared to anchovies. I told them I will be bringing an egg with me next time. Maybe I can have an anchovy and egg pizza slice?

April 19th, 2015, Sunday lunch with my wife. I ordered the Bluebonnet Brewery's Cream Ale and a Royale pizza slice which is a cheesburger pizza, hamburger, bacon, Tillamook cheddar, and red onions are the toppings. Time for some more pictures.

Tatooed pizziolas. Note since we are in Texas, EVERYONE has a beard. While it might seem strange or second rate to have pizza slices made, topped with the desired topping, and then reheated, the reality is that the crust gains crispy texture when twice baked.
Bluebonnet Brewery Cream Ale
Royale Cheeseburger Pizza

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Another Argentine Grill Kit Installation

Gabriel, of Fort Worth, Texas called and asked for an Argentine Grill Kit with side brasero for his outdoor kitchen. The grill is in a slightly non-standard size. I just got his pictures today, and wanted to congratulate Gabriel on his new outdoor grill island. Nice job!

Argentine Grill Kit with Side Brasero and Emberguard installation closeup
Close-up, the masonry firebox and backsplash/windguard of this Argentine Grill Kit with Side Brasero and Emberguard looks nice!

Outdoor kitchen with Argentine Grill Kit in Texas
Stepping back, the masonry firebox and backsplash/windguard of this Argentine Grill Kit with Side Brasero and Emberguard with enough countertop space to actually cook on, and the final touch, rustic wooden doors make this outdoor kitchen installation a standout!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

NorCal Ovenworks makes Argentine Exhibition Grill Kit for Last Man Standing Set

A restaurant in Chicago sent me a picture of an Argentine grill kit, and asked if we could make one in black steel, as the one he had in stainless steel had some design issues, and did not work. I agreed, and drew one up for him, it looked similar to the SS grill, except MORE MASCULINE! 3 days later, I got a call from Patrick Lees, the set designer of  Last Man Standing (a TV show starring Tim Allen), who sent me a picture nearly identical to what the restaurant in Chicago had asked for. The question was, can you make something like this, but in black steel. The answer was, yes, but the design is a little different. In addition, he needed to have room for some special effects, as this grill is installed on a TV set, not in a home or restaurant. I sent him the drawings meant for Chicago, we talked about some modifications, and he said he needed to get approval for the quote. He called me back on Monday, gave me a credit card, and two weeks later, we delivered the grill to Studio City, CA.

Argentine Grill for Last Man Standing Set
The Argentine Grill Kit is installed in a brick hearth, with a beautiful hood above it.

Wood Fired Exhibition Grill for Tim Allen Show
Note that this Wood Fired Gill is split, and has front facing wheels.

NorCal Grill Kit in Exhibition Kitchen
Here's the Restaurant for Last Man Standing. NorCal Grill Kit is shown in Exhibition Kitchen.