A brief update:
After Herman's seat belt extender could not be found, the Mrs., daughter, mother-in-law and yours truly all piled in to Melanie tonight and headed up to the "high country", Rancho Cucamonga. The Mrs. wanted 'Q, and while Joey's is five minutes away, she does not care for Joey's (unless she is really hungry and desperate for 'Q). So Gerald's it was.
Gerald's place was about the same as it was when we visited last year, except there were a hell of a lot more photos on the wall. The only other difference was that he now has a fountain dispenser instead of canned sodas - the bad news with that is that it does not dispense strawberry soda.
Between the four of us we had a rib plate with potato salad, greens and corn bread on the side. A full slab of ribs, a pound of brisket and large sides of macaroni and cheese and steamed cabbage. One sweet potato pie, one peach cobbler, one lemon cake; one chocolate cake.
I think Gerald might have tinkered with his sauce since our last visit, and in my opinion, it is better now. Either that or it's just a difference in the batch. Last time he seemed to have some spices in it that just did not work for me. This time I did not detect those flavors. The sauce seems to be tomato based and has absolutely no kick. It is kind of thick and it you are not careful it will really mask the flavor of the meat.
The ribs were meaty and had that pink 'Q tinge and did not taste of smoke - which is OK. I know Gerald smokes his meats with a variety of fruitwoods and appreciated that the meats did not have that overpowering smokiness that can be found in some other 'Q joints' product. The ribs were tender and flavorful and the Mrs. and I scarfed the rack.
Gerald chops his brisket. So it is served chopped on the plate with a big dollop of sauce slathered on top of the chopped up bits of meat. I much prefer my brisket sliced thick. I like the mouth feel of putting a chunk of meat in my mouth that I have sliced off of a thick slice of brisket. Part of enjoying brisket is the sensory pleasure of biting down and chewing on a nice thick slice of meat. I also feel that by chopping the meat, its degree if tenderness, or possible lack of tenderness is completely masked (in other words the meat is "cheated"). I don't want my brisket tenderized by being chopped in to little pieces, I want to experience tender beef that is intact as nice thick slices - that is the real test of outstanding brisket. So as a brisket entree, Gerald's brisket does not do it for me, however, his brisket would probably be more tolerable to me if it were in a bun, maybe with some decent coleslaw on top of it.
The macaroni and cheese did not taste like it came out of a blue box or from a frozen food container, but, thank goodness, like it was homemade. The Mrs. thoroughly enjoyed it and I thought it was pretty good, basic mac and cheese. The cabbage was tasty (i.e. cabbagey).
The lemon cake had a funny initial taste, it conjured up in my mind "artificial flavoring", or more accurately, "petro-chemical industrial complex". The Mrs. liked it though - I know, I know, I try to educate her palate, but you have to understand, at her core, she is still a Der Weinerschnitzel person.
The chocolate cake was devil's food with white icing that possibly was cream cheese based. I thought the chocolate cake was pretty good, still had moisture in it, although the icing seemed a little thin. The mother-in-law, who has probably been baking sweet potato pies for 65 years, was not impressed with the sweet potato pie. The daughter enjoyed her cobbler, even though they were out of vanilla ice cream. To me, the cobbler just looked like a container of soggy cardboard.
Please don't get me wrong. You can get some decent ribs here, some of the sides are very homey, and the atmosphere is friendly - and it beats the hell out of the plethora of chains you will find in Rancho C.
See the link below for the address.
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