CHEF SAMBRANO Food Articles Video Recipes




Friday, May 12, 2017


Last week we took a trek to baseball Mecca west coast, that's right my friends Los Angeles, California. My buddies turned me on to this trip, and was well worth the stupid flight from Maui to L.A., really worth it. The whole trip lasted 2 whole days haha. 

Don't want to bore anyone reading this so I'll cut to the chase. Our buddy Mikey lives in Los Angeles, and has a friend that knows one of the owners of Philippe, the French Dip sandwich dive that was in operation since 1908. However I understand that there's another restaurant that claims the same thing, a place called Cole's. But that's for another day, this blog is about being a Dodger fan, and what you gotta do before you hit that beautiful stadium in Chavez Ravine. "We gotta go get some French Dip sandwiches at Philippe's." That's my buddy Ron Buzzy talking. "This place is epic man!" OK Ron, let's do this.

From our Ritz Carlton hotel down the street at 900 Olympic Boulevard, we head north towards China Town and check out Philippe the Original, 1001 N Alameda St. When we get there the place was already buzzing with Dodger fans all decked out in blue t-shirts, or jerseys of their favorite player from days gone by, to today. I wore my grey #22 Kershaw jersey, Mikey wore his #42 Jackie Robinson, Ron Buzzy wore a Dodger's golf shirt, everyone had an LA cap on, c'mon man!

We sampled the Lamb French dip, as well as the Beef French dip, complete with slaw, and potato salad, and that bottle of hot mustard, iconic. So the story goes, long time ago, some cop came into the shop for a sandwich, and the chef making it accidentally dropped the sandwich in some ju, well, the cop was angry but he ate it anyway, and guess what? He loved it, hence the French Dip was born. Well so they say, because another place in L.A. claims they invented the French Dip, a place called Cole's. Don't know that, and remember I am not a historian, I just have fun and tell you foodies what I did.

I did not have time to interview anyone, the place was busy crazy! All I have to say is the food was great, thanks to Mikey setting us up, and Salvador the manager on duty took good care of us, and the beers are less expensive at Philippe the Original. Expect to pay $15.00 for a mug of brew at the Ravine.

I loved both the Lamb an Beef French dips, the ju was delicious, I just soaked the sandwich in it, trying to replicate that cop's sandwich from years gone by. It was an old school feel which I totally dig to the max!

Buzzy & Kohl having fun
Potato Salad, Slaw, Pickles and Pickled Eggs
Mikey's hands ready to maul 
Meat piled on right!
Oh Yeah!
Manager on duty Salvador on left
Helpful crew member clowning around
Friendly crew members always smiling!
Time for the game!
Yee Ha! Vin Scully Avenue baby!
All smiles man! Bring on the Giants!
Historic Dodger Stadium opened about 4 years before I was born
Epic the Southern California evening
A view from our seats RF Baseline Club 38-3
We gave Hunter Pence shit all night haha!
Doyer Dog, all night long man! Cool!
The night went into extra innings, the Giants won on Vin's night
But that's ok, we all had a great time!

So my thoughts on this trip? Epic, totally awesome because of great buddies, a super first class hotel experience at the Ritz Carlton down the road, the delicious (Ono), French dips at Philippe the Original, man life can't get better than this right? I love food, I love baseball, man I wanna get a job at Philippe's and work at Dodger Stadium too, now that would be freekin heaven!

© 2017

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Chinese cooking is very easy, that's why I love it, to cook it and eat it. Out of all the Asian cuisines including Pacific Islander cuisine, or my rooted Filipino style, if I had only one style to cook and eat, it would be Chinese. Seriously, I love it. That's why when some couple hires me to cook for them, it's always my cleaver, my cutting board, my wok, and a saucepan on the side, and a few mixing bowls. And since I am touching on the spicy side of Chinese cooking, or the Schezwan style, I figure let's do a chicken stir fry.

Ingredients (2 servings)

8 oz. (1/2 lb.) of cubed chicken breast
1 tbsp. Sesame oil
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. White pepper
1/2 cup cooking sherry wine, or Shaoxing Rice Wine
1 tbsp. Cornstarch
* In a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl, add in the cubed chicken (room temperature), then sprinkle the sesame oil, and mix. Then sprinkle the salt and white pepper, and mix. Then pour in the Sherry wine, or Shaoxing rice wine, and mix. Lastly add in the cornstarch and mix well to coat. Then set aside

1/2 tsp. Grated ginger
1/2 tsp. Minced garlic
1/2 tsp. Minced green onion
2 tbsp. Rice vinegar
1/2 tsp. Sesame oil
1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1 tsp. Raw sugar
1 tsp. Chili garlic sauce
* In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients and mix well, set aside.

In a hot wok heat up 1 tbsp. Of vegetable oil, when hot, add in the chicken cubes and stir fry until the pieces become browned and crisped on the exterior. Once comleted in about 3 minutes or so, add in the sauce, and cook until thickened slightly. The cornstarch from the chicken will help the sauce thicken. 

Garnish with sliced green onions, and you're good to go.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

PRIME SANDWICHES In China Town Honolulu Hawaii

China Town Honolulu, a hustle and bustle part of the island with lots of history. Walk the streets, and turn of the century architecture surrounds you. The heat of the streets gives you a sense of something, maybe it's that inner you that says, "I feel like I'm back in time here, the buildings look old, there really isn't a lot of modernization going on."

As you walk by mostly Asian marts, eateries, and kitchen supply shops, you will notice however that there are other shops not conducive to the Asian fare. OK China Town is well-Chinese, we see a lot of Chinese entrepreneurs here, also Vietnamese, Japanese.. that kind of rhymes. But pizza? Or should I say sandwiches? OK I'll say it, there's a killer sandwich shop located at 1120 Maunakea St. #186 called PRIME SANDWICHES. What is Prime Sandwiches? Here's the good thing, my good friend that I've known for over 30 years Peter Pao is the owner of this little sandwich heaven, according to Peter his sandwiches are unique. Open over eight months or so, Prime delivers the unconventional. 

"If you want conventional, go to Subway," says Peter, very confident in what he does, always. Ever since I've known him, he was always a doer, if he says he'll do something, guess what, he's going to do it, and not half ass. He'll do it full blast the way he envisions it. "Look at the menu Ron, what do you notice?" Hmmm, well, I look. And I say, "Looks like you have prime rib as the root of all your creations." Peter looks at me, "You got it, that's why I named it Prime. I've been doing prime rib for decades, I know the science behind cooking this thing." I must also add, that Peter has sold restaurant equipment to restaurants and professional chefs for well-decades. Peter sold professional knives, pots and pans, you name it. In fact, I still have a 10" serrated blade he sold me well-over 20 years ago.

"I not only do I do prime rib, but pork belly, all slow roasted in an Alto Shaam cook and hold oven, low heat for 18 hours." Wow! "The prime rib comes out perfect, not dried, the pork belly gets a crisp skin, and juicy inside. It's all about quality and execution, the Alto Shaam cook and hold ovens are perfect, we utilize two of these." According to Peter, the Alto Shaams, will hold the meats without ruining it. The units comes with vents that you can control to help with moisture.

"This area has lots of foot traffic, but we could always use more business since we are just open for lunch. On the weekends we got breakfast, I'm working on a waffle creation." Knowing Peter, that waffle creation will be unique. "We have an ingredient, it's not a liquid that you might think it should be, but it's a slice." A slice, now get this, it is a slice of gravy. "It's dehydrated, we slice it, and just think of a slice of American cheese, that's it." Man that's creative. "And we don't use mayonnaise, we use guacamole instead. It's not that I want to serve healthy, just think, guacamole is tasty, it's creamy, it's perfect for a sandwich. We have a bottle of mayo in the refrigerator, but haven't used it yet."

And what else? "We got adobo flavored chips if you want with your sandwich." Hmm, never heard of it before, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, I can dig it. In fact, vinegar chips, sour cream and green onions chips, all good.

Call them at 808-536-8462

Prime Rib Seasoned 

Slow Roasted Pork Belly
Chef Gary holding a creative sandwich
Video of Peter Serving Samples

Prime Rib Rueben for St. Patty's Day

Chef Gary Slicing Prime Rib

Video of Peter Serving Sample Sandwiches

Thursday, March 9, 2017


Hello my friends, it's been a while. In this series of blogs coming up, we will delve in, and learn together the Chinese Szechwan style of cooking. The style of cooking is influenced by its surroundings, if you look at the map below, right above the yellow Yunnan province, it is on the southern edge of the continent. 

Not too many foodies are aware of the different styles of cooking that comes from China. Most westerners are familiar with the Cantonese style that was exported out of Hong Kong and made its way to the states. The more light fare, tasty, lightly salted, not spicy at all stir fries and soups. However the Szechwan style is much more pronounced, with more than a hint of garlic, ginger and Szechwan peppercorns that gives most wok fries more heat than the average Canton foodie can bare.

If you like spicy foods like hot Mexican, I believe you'll enjoy Szechwan style Chinese. One of the most famous dishes from this region is the Kung Pao Chicken. However the protein can vary, it could easily be Kung Pao Tofu, or Kung Pao Pork, you smell the coffee?

Some people say, "Ron when I go to my local Chinese dive in town, all the food taste the same, there's a million stuff on the menu, but it's basically the same thing, sweet and sour this, garlic this, same taste." And I agree to some extent. You must remember, the same can be said for all styles of various national cooking. For instance I grew up in a Filipino home, and we use lots of ginger, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, and fish sauce. So basically I can claim, most of our dishes are well.. kind of taste familiar And don't forget, Italian foods, they use basically the same herbs, but from different regions in Italy if you study the foods, you can make a various menu, with all similar cooking techniques, but different degrees of flavors, it depends on the chef/cook.

I've seen many cooks do Kung Pao Chicken differently, from deep frying chicken pieces that was marinated in chili oil and soy sauce, and then covered with a spicy chicken broth that was thickened with a slurry of corn starch and water, and the heat came from red chilies and Szechwan peppercorns. Some cooks went to great lengths to sweeten the hot broth, making it sweet/hot. Chefs and cooks are artists right? I can make it, but you may not like it, you'll eat it, but it wouldn't be the same as if your favorite chef in a real Szechwan dive did it, or for that matter someone's Chinese aunty, man those ladies are the best!

So let's go over the ingredients you'll need to make some spicy hot Szechwan style in your home.

Remember to keep it simple, don't get crazy.

Soy Sauce- use your favorite brand, don't use soy sauce that is too salty, you want to adjust any salt towards the end of the cooking process. In Hawaii I use only one brand believe it or not, it's Aloha Shoyu, for everything from dips, marinades, and of course stir fries. Yamasa brand is good as well.

Chili Bean Sauce/Paste- Lee Kum Kee brand is popular in many western markets, it's a combination of fermented beans, garlic and salt. Adding this to a simple stir fry gives it some depth.

Sichuan Pepper- it has a numbing sensation, almost like going to a dentist and getting novocaine on your tongue. 

Xiaoxing Cooking Wine- if you can't get this Chinese staple made from fermented rice, use a cooking sherry wine instead. If all possible try getting the Chinese ingredients to make your wok experience as authentic as possible.

Black Vinegar- is well-black. It is a Chinese inky black vinegar that's aged. If you can't get this, try using an aged balsamic vinegar instead.

Chili Oil- If you feel like being a prep cook, make your own chili oil. Or buy one at your local market. You can use a Mexican oil also.

Chili Paste- I use the Sambal Oelek, it's a hot paste with garlic in it, if you want to jack up heat in a Kung Pao, just add this into your wok! LOL. Or use a Sriracha.

Other Items of interest-
- dried or fresh rice noodles
- long dried rice noodles
- wood ears
- dried shiitake mushrooms
- canned mushrooms
- canned water chestnuts
- canned low sodium beef, vegetable, chicken broths
- fresh scallions
- sweet round onions
- fresh black pepper corns
- hot mustard powder
- safflower oil
- peanut oil
- sesame oil
- arrow root or cornstarch
- brown sugar
- sea salt
- canned bamboo

* If you can have these on hand, you'll do ok, so until the next blog on Szechwan cooking, next blog, let's make some dishes. Have a good one guys, keep it Yay Yay!

© 2017

Thursday, January 26, 2017



For those in the know, beef tripe is from the cow's stomach, it is the muscular part. It looks like honeycomb, it's white because it is bleached and blanched before it comes to market, the product is very tough, forget chewy at this point, it is just tough period! So how do you cook tripe? My Filipino background, and watching my parents cook it, it stuck with me, and I haven't made this any other way except with these following ingredients.

2 lbs. of honeycomb tripe
2 large tomatoes diced
3 cloves of smashed garlic
2 inches of fresh ginger peeled and smashed.
2 large cans of low sodium tomato sauce
2 large cans of water (from tomato sauce)
2 bay leaves
1/4 or more of patis (fish sauce)
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

The trick is to boil the tripe in water until for about 20 minutes, ridding some of the scum, then drain the water, then add in diced tomatoes, garlic, ginger, tomato sauce, water, bay leaves, fish sauce, vinegar, and simmer for about 2 hours, or until it is for tender. (Or close to it). Adjust seasonings, serve hot with white rice.


© 2017

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Spicy Eggplant, Chinese style, Sichuan style, hot with heat, spice and lots of love! 

This dish is simple to make, not quite as good as my late brother Chef Harold's but I think in time, it'll be closer. It was edible for sure, as family members did eat it all. The trick in this dish, is that you need to cook the eggplant first, and you need to fry it for the real flavor, I mean if you baked it to soften, nah, it would not work. So you would need to slice the eggplant (large round), into squares about an inch and half square, and you need to slice slits into them so it soaks up the frying oil better, it will cook faster. Then once done, take that cooked eggplant slices and put it on the side on some paper towels to drain the oil.

Next is making the sauce. I'll tell you what I used.

I used, canned chicken broth low sodium, hoisin sauce, chopped jalapeƱo peppers, ginger garlic mixed, sugar, and soy sauce, and a cornstarch slurry to thicken. That's all I'm going to tell you, now it's up to you on how you want it made. Haha! Let me know how it turned out at your test kitchen.



Sushi, the ultimate. Seasoned white rice, with rice vinegar, mirin, kombu, brilliant! Absolutely fantastic. Stretched medium size shrimp, cleaned, shelled, and battered in tempura batter, and fried, seasoned with salt and pepper. Cucumber slices, sesame seeds toasted. So good. And then all rolled into an inside out foodie love affair. Oh yeah I forgot, poached asparagus too. Lemons for garnish, and topped with Kum Kee's Sriracha Mayonnaise. Hmmm so good. And you don't need to be a master sushi roller, shit, just have fun rolling it. If it's loose, who gives a _________!

I rolled about 5 of these guys, and it sold out at our house, so shit I must be doing something right eh? Cool baby! And just think, in about 10 weeks, it's MLB time again! Yee Ha, is the DODGERS going all the way this year? Ahhhhh......who cares!