CHEF SAMBRANO Food Articles Video Recipes




Wednesday, August 23, 2017


In the post I wanted to talk to the man of the house, that dude that loves his wife to the max, and loves his kids to the max, that cool neighbor that will help you fix your leaky roof, if you need a car towed, he has that huge 4x4 with the hitch. That's the guy. To protect the subject, Johnny will not offer his last name, or offer a photo or video of himself. Why? Because he needs to trust me first, I don't know him, just met him, and he doesn't know me of course.

So Johnny works for a construction company, he's in his late thirties, has a wife and three kids, he loves to go fishing when he has a chance, or play softball with the boys during tournament season. Like most locals here in Hawaii, Johnny and his wife's favorite vacation spot is Vegas, even his little kids tag along. So he's a very simple man, but he's so down to earth, I like brother Johnny.

ME: So brother Johnny, do you cookout at your house sometimes?

JOHNNY: (High fives me) Hell yeah!

ME: Like on Sundays, Super Bowls, NewYears?

JOHNNY: Whenever I get a chance bro! Me and my friends from work, my brother, his wife and kids, my in-laws, a few of my neighbors. We kickback, I set up our backyard so we can watch a big screen, sometimes it's movies for the ladies and kids, or sports for whoever. I just want people that visit to relax, and forget their problems, we all have problems, my job on this earth.... is to give light to everyone I meet.

So true.

ME: What's your specialty?

JOHNNY: Me, I don't hunt, but, when my friends bag a wild boar- I smoke em.

ME: What else?

JOHNNY: I love to do baby backs, beef short-ribs, salmon, chicken. But I have to say, it's smoking a huge prime rib before a sporting event, I love that.

ME: That's good stuff bro. So what's your secret to a good smoked prime rib?

JOHNNY: First of all, I have a big grill in the back yard. I'll get some kiawe wood, burn em. Have a lot of hot coals in a steel drum. You need hot coals at the ready, because my smoking takes all day man. Me and the family and friends, having a few, talking story, telling jokes, just taking turns adding hot coals to this thing. You know bro, slow cooking takes time. Like a good lady, it takes time (laughs). Waiting for the best is always the best. Always!

ME: Yeah I agree, sounds like you been smoking meats for awhile.

JOHNNY: Yeah, my dad and uncle always smoked meats and fish like Aku, Ahi, Ono, Marlin.. I'm more a fisherman than hunter. But when we were kids, dad guys would smoke huge pieces of deer, beef, pork. I love smoked meats man.

ME: OK, let's say you have a party next Sunday, pretend it's Super Bowl again, you are hosting, how big a prime rib can you smoke in your backyard?

JOHNNY: (laughs) Me and my wife we head to Costco, buy the biggest one we can get, with the bones as many bones (laughs).

JOHNNY's Directions


1- Bone In 16- 16.5 lbs. 

Mixed herbs+ Hawaiian Style Salt

Couple logs of kiawe wood (dried)

(That's all of the ingredients- the Hawaiian salt is the key, not too much herbs)

Start early in the morning, get the wood burning bright red hot. 

Let the prime rib set out at room temperature (this will make it cook evenly)

Keep a pile of burning coals in a separate grill or flame proof barrel

Remove the grate and put a pile of hot coals on one side of the grill. Place the grate back then place the prime rib bone side down, add smoking chips soaked in water, and into a foil near the flamed coals. Cover grill. 

By having the hot coals away from the meat itself creates slow cooking, and soaked wood chips creates smoke. Apple wood chips, Hickory chips work well for store bought chips.

Johnny says it takes him from 8 am in the morning to 4pm to get a perfect smoked prime rib, and because it's slow cooking, it can go longer, it's all about regulating the heat by adding or subtracting the hot coals.

ME: Johnny so after a long day of drinking beers, talking story, playing cards, how red is the inside of that prime rib?

JOHNY: Bro, it is slightly pink, if someone wants it well done, I'll slice a piece, and put that on the grill and finish it off like that, that's the only way. Most people like prime rib either red, or pink. If you over cook the whole thing, it's a waste.

ME: Yeah some people overcook a prime steak, to me it's a waste, but some people maybe have health issues and can't have less than well done cooked beef, I can respect that.

JOHNNY: Yes, but it's all fun, I love the grill, the smoking of meats, but to tell you the truth, just having the people I cook for enjoy the food-that's all that matters. I love the simple life bro, I don't like complications because life will present all of that stuff no matter how hard we pray. I work hard, and play hard. I'm not a wealthy man in terms of finances, but we more than get by, and I truly thank God for that.

ME: Amen bro. Amen!

© 2017


Yes my friends it is that time of the day again, it is in the 10am hour here in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii. And already I'm messing with our visitors to our paradise. Today's question again will be, "Where are you guys from?" and then I'll ask them, "Hey where's a good steak house where you live in case I visit that city I want a heads up."

Today was perfect, after a few honeymooners walking town, a couple I chatted with was very cool, and they told me that they were from Louisville, Kentucky. (No pics or last names for obvious reasons) Sidney and Elane are staying in Kaanapali, and they were telling me they were on a honeymoon, and just relaxing. So when I got to the point, like where is a good steak house where they lived they offered a few, however on stood out by both newlyweds.

"Pat's Steak House," says Sidney. "They are pricey but the steaks are aged, if you want a big ass steak bro that's where you go." His wife chimed in, "Yeah we always have leftover, I love the steaks, all Prime cuts."

Okay, so I did not want to waste any of their precious vay cay time, I asked them what was their favorite meals their. Sidney who is a pretty good size guy, 6 feet plus, 250 easy, likes a few things on the menu.

- (When freeking hungry) the 24 oz. Porterhouse (Currently according to their website is $57-)
- The Veal Cutlet $29.50
- For dessert Reese's Peanut Butter Pie $8.00

- Cottage Cheese & Fruit (she's not a big eater) $9.00
- Special Salad with Smoked Salmon $17.75
- Lady Filet Mignon (She can't eat all of it when she has salads and drinks) $44.00
- For dessert Key Lime Pie (She eats some of it) $8.00

© 2017

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Today I walked around town, asking people if I could ask them a few foodie questions, but it wasn't a good day in the beginning. People looked at me like I was a weirdo. Either that or they hated the LA Dodgers, I wear the cap all of the time.

So finally I get a bite, usually I want couples in love, you know honeymooners, because I can observe if that marriage is gonna work or not. Just kidding. So I see this dude with a Harley t-shirt on, but he's clean cut, about 5-7, 145 pounds. "Excuse me sir," I say to him. He looks at me and goes, "Yeah buddy what's up?"

Haha, I am going to ask him, where is he from? And then I'll where is the best place to eat beef stew. I figure everyone eats beef stew right?

"Sir, my name is Ron, I'm doing a little interview with people, if you don't mind, I just want to ask you a few simple questions pertaining to food."

He looks at me with a smile, "You a food blogger?"

"Holy shit, you made me man!"

Cutting to the chase, this guy's name is Stephen, nice guy, his wife was at the hotel in Wailea, and he was cruising by himself in Lahaina. So after the intros, I find out that Steph, actually does eat beef stew at a place called Cregeen's Irish Pub, located at 201 S. Main St., Jonesboro, AR 72401

Looks like Cregeens is a clean joint, and easy on the price foods.

Steph tells me that the Guiness Beef Stew $13.00, is pretty good. Made with slow roasted beef, potatoes, diced vegetables, and simmered slowly in their house stock & Guiness. Served with garlic mashed potato.

So the next time you're in Arkansas, head to Cregeen's Irish Pub for some Guiness Beef Stew.

© 2017

Monday, August 21, 2017


Today I had to ask a couple, those lost looking visitors on honeymoon here on Maui, all smiles, in love, crossing the street looking into each other's eyes and nearly getting hit by a cab. Yeah those guys. It's that time again, I ask them where they are from, and where do they like to eat. In this case,  asked them where's a good steakhouse where they are from.

It went down like this, I had a gig in Paia, on the north shore of Maui, a once quiet plantation town, now a bustling tourist mecca, with surf and sun in abundance! So I was done with my gig, I start walking to my rig that was in a parking lot up the street on Baldwin Avenue. I spot this dude with a light blue t-shirt and kaki shorts, and flip flops, he looked like a skinny Danny Bonaduce, with black framed glasses. And holding his hands was a slender woman with shoulder length brown hair, she too wore black framed glasses. I was wearing my wire frame glasses. Like that fucking shit matters right? OK- let's carry on.

"Hey dude, you guys visiting?" I asked.

"Yeah, we are just cruising your island, it's beautiful here," says the dude.

"Cool man, where you guys from?"

"We're from Vermont."

"Oh the east coast, cool bro."

"Yeah long flight, we got in three days ago, we got four more, then we fly to Honolulu for a week, we are staying in Kapolei."

"Alright, that's nice."

The wife smiles and says, "So where's Mama's Fish House?"

"Oh, you gotta drive north about less than a mile, it will be on the left hand side."

"OK, we heard they got awesome fish."

"Yeah, good stuff."

We bull shitted some, then I asked them the ultimate question. "So back home, where's a good steakhouse in Vermont?"

I was thinking that was a dumb question, what if they didn't like steaks?

Then the guy goes, "Raven's Den."

The wife smiles, "Yeah good food."

"OK, Raven's Den- what's so good about this place?" I asked with curiosity written all over my face.

"The food is fresh, it's just good, we aren't like foodies, taking pictures with our phones on everything we eat, we are simple people, kind of boring, but Raven's Den is really good," said the man.

At this point I felt stupid, I didn't introduce myself, so after I did, I find out the guy's name was Phil, and her name was Pam. (No pics or last names for obvious reasons).

So I get out my iPhone 6s, and I dial in on Raven's Den Steakhouse, all three of us are looking at my phone, at this point I'm thinking, "Shit I should get the iPhone 7 Plus, the screens bigger.

Phil is a skinny fuck, but this dude can eat, we are looking at the menu, and if you go to the website you'll see what I mean. He starts pointing at..

"Oh man, that Double Thick Rib Pork Chop is killer! And the St. Louis Style House Smoked Ribs are killer too! It's huge, sometimes we'll share it, or we'll order our own entree and take home the rest, sometimes the dog gets our leftovers."

Hmmm, now my friends, you gotta go to the website and check this shit out!

Pam likes to have the 7 oz. filet mignon, and sometimes she will get the Shrimp Scampi. The dinner menu is simple which I like. I hate restaurants that have too much shit on it, and you get all dizzy you know? So that was it really. I mean, that's all they said. Not much.

However if you look at the site, this place has been written up by the likes of Wine Spectator, that's awesome. It's like if I was a first round draft pick for the LA Rams, and Sports Illustrated did an article on me. Haha.

The prices are pretty good, I mean it would be for a special night out for me kind of place, the prices are in the 20s to high 40s. I want to try the Bison Ribeye, $46.00, char grilled, cooked medium rare, served with Wild Mushroom Demi Glace.

What I did not see is Wagyu on here. However Black Angus will do.

Until next time, tell me where you are from, and where to eat if I go and visit.

Raven's Den Steakhouse and Taproom
1844 Depot St. 
Manchester Center, VT 05255

© 2017

Sunday, August 20, 2017


Enough of recipes! Enough, for the next few blog posts this week, I'm gonna have me some fun, and talk to couples vacaying here on Maui, ask them where they are from, and of course where I should eat if I visit their city. So today's question is, "Where's a good steak house where you live?"

So the couple I met was in Kaanapali on their vaycay, age? Both of them early 40's. Profession? He an attorney, she a salesperson in the construction industry. (No pics or last names to protect identity theft)... Michael and Hannah are first timers to Maui, and can't wait to come back when the humpback whales are in town, that's a few months down the road.

"So guys, where are you from?"

"We are living in Seattle now, but I'm originally from Boston," says Michael. "I'm from Portland, "says Hannah.

"OK, so if I go to Seattle, you'll get me tickets to a Seahawks game?"

"Maybe, you a football fan?"

"I'm a Ram fan since I was little."

Forget that, they hate the rams, but Michael is a big Patriots, Celtics, Bruins, and Red Sox fan, of course he's originally from Bean Town. But they adopted the Seahawks, since living there for over 12 years.

"So guys, where do you go for a night out for good food, like steaks?" I asked.

Without hesitation, Michael says, "El Gaucho, it's a very nice restaurant, kind of classy, not Sizzler's for sure." Sizzler's? Is the chain still around? Well shows his age, because I thought Sizzler's was a cool steak house.

Hannah chimes in, "Yeah, it's a very very nice place to dine if you like seafood and steaks, the food is excellent, and the waitstaff is awesome too."

Michael's suggestion: 

Starters: Tenderloin Diablo I went online to see their menu, and it is sautéed tenderloin tips, cajun cream sauce for $18.00
He also likes the Pancetta Wrapped Jumbo Prawns It is grilled with scallion pesto for $19.00

Soup: Creamy Clam Chowder it is New England style, in a bowl for $12.00

Entree: Filet Medallions Oscar this is 2 4 oz. filets, topped with dungeness crab, asparagus and béarnaise sauce for $74.00 !!!! Yikes! These guys make some cash. :)

Hannah's suggestion: 

Starters: Ahi Tuna Tartare diced and lightly dressed with soy and lemon for $18.00
But she also likes the Fresh Dungeness Crab Cakes lightly sautéed, roasted pepper pesto for $18.00

Salad: Tableside Gaucho Salad shrimp, roquefort for $13.00 Looks like wifey likes cheesy food

Soup: French Onion Soup $11.00

Entree: Diver Sea Scallops & Grilled Prawn Linguine fresh herb, lemon beurre blanc for $38.00

Now I'm listening to them on my iPhone 6s from the recorded file of my interview. Because I meet these subjects outside most of the time, it is not like we are sitting at a computer together. In fact Michael was showing me this restaurant's website on his iPhone 7 plus. So I had to go home and look at the place again. I have friends in Seattle I wonder if any of them frequented El Gaucho?

Both of them are fine diners, they are into wine, and this place has its own sommelier ready to suggest a bottle of wine with their dinners. Wow!

Desserts are craved after a fine dinner, both Michael and Hannah loves the Creme Brûlée classic for $8.00

Well thanks guys, may Seattle win another Super Bowl, and are the Supersonics coming back? Hahaha. Is Grunge Rock coming back? OK stale joke. I make stale jokey. I shut up now!

Here's some pics I ripped from Google hahahaha.

OK, I guess shorts, tank top, and slippers will not work

Classy bartender, more like mixologist?

Supposedly charcoal grilled

Shit guys I'm tired, go look this place up yourselves, I'll do more in depth research on El Gaucho if El Gaucho pays me. Haha! OK Goodnight!

© 2017

Saturday, August 19, 2017


It's time to have fun, never mind recipes, and cooking for a bit here. I went out yesterday and talked to a couple from Los Angeles, and asked them where they go and eat. Off the top of my head I asked them about burgers, where do they go for good burgers. And this couple, John and Tiara told me that they go to eat burgers at THE COUNTER located at 725 West 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90017. It is actually a chain burger restaurant, just check the website.

Anyhow, John and Tiara really likes this place besides the iconic In N Out Burgers, they like this place because you can build your own burger.

John is a big guy, and you can tell he loves food. He played football in high school and small college, ahhh, he's about 33 years old, 6-4, I'd call it 250 on the over scale. I mean, if I had to stock his fridge on a weekly, I'd have to have at least 200 pounds of ribeye. So he tells me, "I like the El Asado Burger." OK, so I went online, and the El Asado Burger according to the website says it is carne asada, lettuce blend, sliced jalapeños, fried tomatillos, jalapeño jack cheese, corn & black bean salsa, whipped avocado on brioche bun. Hold on Big John isn't done, I had my iPhone 6S recorder going on. "Ron, remember you can build your own burger. When I'm _____ing hungry, I'll get an all natural beef 1 pound burger, on Ciabatta for the bun, and get crazy with cheeses, Ill nail some smoked gouda on it, with some Korean Aioli. No veggies, ____ that!" I checked the menu, yep, he can build it like that. Hmm, a pound? Man this dude can eat. "And shoestring fries."

Now Tiara is a burger junkie herself, this is her. "Ron I like to build my favorite burger, I'll start with all natural beef, the 1/3 pounder, on Brioche, with Brie, grilled red onions, cucumbers, and lots of garlic aioli, with shoestring fries." Holy shit, this is a custom burger. Cucumbers? Brie? 

Well, that was that go look at the website, and if you'll be in L.A. anytime soon, check out The Counter Custom Burgers. It looks like they have one in Hawaii. I wish we had one in Lahaina, this looks pretty cool. Well just wanna thank John and Tiara (no last name or pics to protect their privacy).

REALLY? Kuwait?

If you can build this I hope you got a big mouth!

Thanks again to John and Tiara from L.A., my favorite city, and the Dodgers Baby!

© 2017

Friday, August 18, 2017


In this blog post we'll do a very simple stir fry. And I will go easy on you today, because the grumpy old man (me), always talking smack about being old school, well if you know me, I'll always stir fry in a real carbon steel wok. Well, if you don't have one, I'll let you use a non-stick one from Walmart, Ross, or Macy's. I'll go easy on you. For real.

Now ahi, the yellow fin tuna is very mild. And for the stir fry, we do not need to buy sashimi grade cuts of this fish. Or, the prime cuts from the loins. In fact we can use the parts from the belly.



10 oz. of ahi filet, cut into bite size cubes

2 tbsp. cooking oil

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 tsp. minced ginger

1 1/2 tsp. fermented black beans, rinsed under cold water, and patted dry with a paper towel set aside

Sea salt to finish ** At the end of the cooking process, you will sprinkle a little over the plated dish along with minced green onions.

Minced green onions for garnish


1/4 C. dark soy sauce

1/4 C. water

1 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. cornstarch

In a small mixing bowl, mix all ingredients and set aside until ready to put into the hot wok, this will be the last item.


1. Heat up a wok that's about 14" in diameter, heat up the cooking oil over medium high heat, add in the garlic and ginger until aroma is present. If you are using a smaller wok, cook the ahi cubes in batches, like 5oz. at a time so it does not produce steam.

2. If you are using a smaller wok, add in half of the black beans and half of the ahi, stir fry that batch until the fish turns white, if you want it cooked well done, then of course cook it longer. Remove from wok, set in a temporary bowl, and continue with the other half. If you have a larger wok, cook the 10 oz. of ahi in one batch.

3. Once your fish is cooked with the black beans, take the sauce, assuming you've mixed it already, get it ready. Add in all of the cooked fish back into the wok with another 1-2 tbsp. of cooking oil, heat the oil up one medium high heat first. When hot, add in the ahi cubes again, and give it a quick stir several times to bring up the heat on each cube, immediately add in the sauce, gently stir it around the wok, continue to cook until sauce thickens. Remove and then plate it.

4. Add a little salt to finish, not too much, just a light sprinkle. Then garnish with green onions, and serve with hot white or brown rice.

The Yay :) or Nay :( Q&A

Will your spouse love this? Yay

Is it really easy to make? Yay

I can use a nonstick wok? Yay

Can the guy at the fish counter cut this fish into cubes? Yay/Nay

Can I add in rice noodles? Yay

Can I add in Sambal? Yay

Can I add is Sriracha? Yay

Can I cool it off after cooking, and seal freeze it? Yay

Can I not put in the fermented black beans? Yay

It's a Yay Yay dish! :) :) :)

© 2017