Review of: The Mark

When my wife and I were trying to think of someplace to celebrate our 23rd anniversary, we were kind of at a loss.   We usually go to either Sorella’s Italian restaurant or to Steak and Grape, which I did a review of on this site a couple years ago.

Being at a loss, I decided to let my readers help make the decision on my Facebook site and make this a community effort.

There were several opinions and many came to me in the form of private messages about going to this place or that place or what was wrong with one of the places that one of the other people mentioned.  But in the end, the decision was clear.  We were going to The Mark.

The Mark was new to us, until we started looking for a place to celebrate, we had never even heard of it, let alone knew that it had been in Bakersfield for two years now and had a very good following.  So to many of you, this review may be old news, but I still felt compelled to write it.

We made reservations, which I highly recommend if you are going on a Saturday night, as we did.  When we arrived, we were greeted with a style and feel that immediately made us both think that this is not someplace typical of Bakersfield.

Because we were early, we waited in the bar for them to seat us, which was not long, maybe about ten minutes.  When we were seated, the waiter led us to the seat, then pulled the table out to let us into the booth.  Our waiter, Billie, was exceptional.  Never at any point did we feel like he was “just doing the job” or “going through the motions.”  He seemed genuinely happy to help us and everyone else that we watched him attend to.

The food was like nothing we had had before.  I had the Porcini Crusted Ribeye and my wife had the Pistachio Crusted Colorado Lamb Chops.  Both of us agreed that the flavor and the presentation were beyond our expectations. The flavor of the ribeye was beyond anything I can describe and her lamb chops were some of the best I have ever had, and I am not typically a lamb chop fan.


Porchini Crusted Ribeye

Porchini Crusted Ribeye

Pistachio Crusted Colorado Lamb Chops

Pistachio Crusted Colorado Lamb Chops


The Mark
1623 19th Street
Bakersfield, Ca. 93301
Click here for their web site



The Mark
Very upscale, stylish and modern.
Fantastic... everyone there was great.
Seating, Wait Time and
No wait time, as we had reservations. We did see several people come in for immediate seating and were put on the waiting list. Once I did hear the Hostess tell someone it was about an hour and a half wait, without a reservation. So for the weekends or events, I recommend reservations. Only problem with the location is parking. Downtown Bakersfield needs to fix the parking problem and while this is not the fault of The Mark, I feel I need to take part of a point off.
Read above... there is really not much more I can say about it that I have not already said.
Pricy... Our meals were about $40 each and the drinks set us back another $30. This is a place were if you have worry about what you are going to spend, you might not belong here. But the value for what you spend is worth every penny!
If you have a celebration, want to impress the loved ones, want to set the gold standard on your first day, or just want to go to a really nice bar, this is the place. And ask for Billie... but I am sure all the wait staff are great.
Posted in Fine Dining, Restaurants | Leave a comment

Reviews coming soon

I am going to work on getting back into this, so please watch out for the following reviews:

The Mark – Fine dining in Bakersfield, Ca.

The Kabob House – Mediterranean food on the cheap.


And more…

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Review of – “Estefan Kitchen”

As a Jew… I am always looking for new cookbooks that allow me to experiment with cooking in a manner that allows me to cook within the confines of my faith.

Let me tell you that this is not one of those books.

I have not always been a Jew that practices keeping a Kosher kitchen, but over the last few years this has become something that both my wife and I have tried to do.  It has not been easy and I will certainly not tell you that our kitchen is 100% Kosher.   But we do the best we can with what we have.   So all that being said, let’s talk about this book!

About five years ago my Mother-in-Law bought me this book because she knew that I liked to cook, and more to the point, I liked to cook Latin food.  Which is all fine and dandy until you realize that I am a white boy from Taft, California.

From the moment I got this book, I was interested in every recipe in it, and I started slow, with the simple ones and moved to the more complex ones as time went on.

I do not consider myself to be a novice cook, by any means.   I have cooked for as few and my wife and myself and for as many as almost a hundred.   I know the inside of a kitchen better than most men I know and even better than many women.  A fact that my wife has not contended in the 20+ years we have been married.   But I do like to take new things slow, and so that is what I did with this book.

But you know what???   I did not have to.   Gloria and Emilio have done a fantastic job of putting together a book that ALMOST anyone can sit, read and be able to make a great meal in no time.   This does not say anything bad about the book, quite the opposite.  It tells you that they know how to teach and teach well.

When you pick up this book and read through it, you not only get a feel for the food and how to make it, but you also get a personal message from the authors about what that meal meant to them and their family.   So there is more to the recipe than just the process, but also a little history.

As I went through this book, and as you can see in the picture, I found several things that became my favorites.   Here is a short list of the ones that stand out:

  • Chicharrones de Pescado – Page 33 (Instead of grouper, I used Tilapia)
  • Ensalada de Aguacate – Page 43 – (add a touch of “mojo” to this to kick it up a notch.)
  • Potaje de Frijoles Colorados – Page 59 (remove the pork chorizo and replace with caseless beef sausage to make it as Kosher as possible.)
  • Fricase de Pollo – Page 109 (This is comfort food at it’s ultimate.)
  • Mojo Criollo – Page 159 (this is a “Garlic Sauce” that is used in many dishes in this book.  Make it first.  My Father-in-law eats this just as it is.)
  • Sangria – Page 227 (Sangria… need I say more?)

I was told, once, that with some people, food is not just something you sit and eat.  It is a part of a culture that you participate in through eating.  And in reading this small, yet full, book… that is exactly what happens.

Normally there is a chart with my review in stars, but I cannot really see how I can do that here.  There is so much about this book that is good that doing that might detract from something.   So I will simply close with.


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Sorry for the long absence… I will be working on updating this site soon.

Really, I have no excuse.   I have just been so busy with life that this kinda faded from the priority list.   I will be working on it more over the next few weeks.


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Review of Steak & Grape

For Valentines Day this year, I decided to take my wife someplace different.  Someplace that we had not already been to so many times that we have the wait-staff’s names memorized.  Someplace a little more upscale.

Steak & Grape was not someplace that was suggested to us by anyone and prior to eating there, I only knew about it from driving by on the way to and from the grocery store that we frequent.  It always seemed busy and very inviting, so we decided to take a chance on it.

Walking into Steak & Grape, the first thing that catches your attention is the warmth.  This is certainly not a place where you might find the younger crowd in, standing at the bar shooting Jaggers.  You walk down a short corridor which makes up part of their wine wall and are greeted by the Host/Hostess.

We had no problem getting seated, but we had also made reservations, something I would suggest doing if you plan on visiting during a day like Valentine’s Day.  On our way to the table, the next thing that stands out is the atmosphere.  Steak & Grape is warm and inviting, the seats are set up with the perfect distance from others to allow privacy but not make you feel like you have been alienated.  The pictures on the wall and the lighting complement the facility perfectly.

The wait-staff is very competent and knows how to take care of each guest.  At no point did I feel that I was ignored or forgotten by our waitress.  In general, all the wait-staff, and other people working the floor, appeared to be generally happy.  Not the “Canned” happy you might expect from people that just go through the motion, but happy like people that seem to enjoy their jobs.  This is important to me, because that kind of attitude is infectious.

During our dinner, we were greeting by a gentlemen identifying himself as the manager.  A pleasant person named “Vinnie”, I think… there was a little noise at the time and I may have misheard him.  But he wanted to check on us and see how things were going.  This was, and always is, appreciated.  Not only is it good for the employees to see their manager cares enough to walk the floor, but it also makes the patrons feel good.

The meal was spectacular.  We ordered a 20 ounce Porterhouse to share.  The meal came with the steak, veggies and a baked potato.  They even brought us a second plate to help us share.  But I was concerned about the steak itself.  My past experience with places in which I have ordered a Porterhouse has been plagued with problems.  They always seem to be unevenly cooked or overcooked altogether.

Our steak came out EXACTLY as we requested it… PERFECT.  If fact, we almost did not even need to use a knife to cut the meat, it was so tender.  The seasoning was just right as well… there was no need to add salt, pepper or sauce.  Again… this is something I had not been able to say since the last time I went to Jocko’s Steak House, in in Nipomo, Ca.  This is a fact we felt compelled to tell the manager of Steak & Grape when next he passed by.

This does not happen often, and I am sure that people out there will argue with me on some point or another, but from our experience here, can find nothing to complain about.  Overall, our experience was perfect.

Here are the details:

Steak & Grape

4420 Coffee Road  •  Bakersfield, CA 93312


At Coffee and Hageman Roads in the Von’s Shopping Center

Steak & Grape
Warm, Inviting, Clean and makes you feel like you want to be there.
Great... From our Waitress to the Bartender, nothing disappointing
Seating and Wait
No wait time, as we had reservations. There did not appear to be a lot of people waiting, and the place was packed, so I would suggest making reservations if you want to be sure of getting a party seated, but it might not be needed. The place has plenty of seating and you do no feel like you are packed in like sardines.
Again... Great... The food came sooner than I expected for the number of people there and it was cooked perfectly.
This is not someplace you should expect to go and get a steak on the cheap, but you certainly get what you pay for, and then some, so you are not wasting money.
If you are in Bakersfield and looking for a great steakhouse with an upscale feel, then one word... GO. The food and staff are worth the visit.

Posted in Featured Articles, Fine Dining | 4 Comments

Review of UGlu


In keeping with my foray into the “As Seen on TV” world, I decided to write about my experiences with UGlu.  A product that purports itself to have the “Strength of Super Glue, The convenience of tape.”


My reasons for buying this product were not to review it.  I had a specific need to mount power strips onto some furniture at work.  I could not drill into the furniture and I was not permitted to do anything that might mar it, so super glue was out of the question, as was placing screws to permanently mount the power strips.  So I remembered that the local Rite Aid had this product and I gave it a go.

My first experiences were great.  I used a few of the small squares to mount two small routers, which had a habit of sliding off, to a table.  That was two months ago and they have not budged yet.  But the thing to remember there is that they are resting their weight on the UGlu pads.

I then used the small squares, again, to stop my whiteboard from moving.  It only being held at the top by three screws meant that the bottom had a tendency to bounce when I was writing or when the door slammed… or when someone closed the bathroom door, which is conveniently located next to my shop at work.  With this, I needed to stack four of the squares on top of one another, but again… they have held to this day.

My next project was the previously mentioned power strips that I needed to mount.  For this I used the larger squares and placed two on each strip.  Understanding how these things can go, I was careful to clean the back of each strip and the area of the table to which they would be attached, with a cleaner that would leave no residue, yet break up any oil or dirt.   After letting it dry, I took the other side of the protective tape off and pressed it firmly to the spot.  Held it there for about 30 seconds and then let go.  I gave it a little touch and it felt solid.

The next morning I came in to find that out of the eight strips I mounted, only three were still in place.  Yes…  the other five were still connected to the UGlu pad, but were on the floor.  With a thin string of the UGlu pad trailing from them and connecting to the place on the table that they were placed.  When I tested the other three, thinking that I might have at least scored a win with those, it only took the slightest touch to cause them to fall off in a slow-motion fashion as the UGlu pad turned into a long power-strip bungee-jump.

Back at home, I gave them one last test.  I decided to see if they would work to hold my small speakers to the top of an entertainment center. These speakers are not big and weigh maybe six ounces on the outside.  Again, I cleaned the points that the UGlu pads would touch and mounted the speakers.

The next day, while watching a train-wreck of a movie called Skyline, I jumped when one of the speakers fell over.  It did not break or anything, but it was enough to cause me to go check the other speaker.  Sure enough, when I barely touched it, the speaker fell over.

In closing… this is not a BAD product.  There are somethings that it has use for.  I would not use it to mend a shoe, or fix your broken aileron on your Piper Cub.  But for minor items that require no real weight load, they are great.


Performs as
It does OK. 'Strong as Super Glue', not so much. Convenient as Tape, yeah, I will give it that.
Ease of
Very easy to use, no doubt there.
Clean-up and
Comes off anything with little difficulty, no residue or staining. Sometimes it comes off things you really wish it would stay adhered to. You may, also, want to take care if you use this on anything that might peel, though.
Yeah... I would buy this product again. It was not the end-all be-all that I was hoping for, but it certainly has a place in my toolbox.


Posted in Featured Articles, Home Care, Household Goods | Leave a comment

Review of the Magic Bullet’s The Baby Bullet – Baby Food Maker

I am not the kind of person to sit and dole out good money for crappy products.  Further, I will rarely watch an infomercial or commercial and not take it apart, looking for the obvious flaws and errors.  I am a very skeptical person and rarely fall victim to the wily tricks of the late night televangelists of merchandise.

All that being said, this product… the Baby Bullet… intrigued me.  While watching the show that I would normally make fun of, this commercial really could not have been more straight-forward.  The information seemed solid and the product, which is really nothing more than a modified version of the Magic Bullet, by the same company, really seemed to be the real deal.  So I took the hook, but not right away.

First I Googled it… the mantra of all shoppers these days.  Googling has taken the place of telling someone that you are going to research something.  So I looked at reviews, looked at examples.  Tried to find negative reports about this product so that I could find some, any, reason NOT to give it a whirl.  And while there was some negativity out there, I could not find enough to offset my decision to purchase this device.

The next step was finding one.  I refuse to buy anything on TV from them directly.  I want to buy it somewhere that if the thing malfunctions and burrows through my counter top, I can go into a store and yell at someone person to person.  OK… I know, I would not really yell at them, but I would share my dilemma with them and maybe show them pictures of my counter, a picture of a one-legged dog with bandaids, and my child in a wheelchair.  But I would not yell at them.

Luckily we found one at Bed Bath and Beyond here in Bakersfield.  Better yet, they had it for the incredible price of $59.99, which was $20 less than they were advertising on the infomercial, and I did not have to pay freight.


That night we fired it up.  I made sweet potatoes, yams, carrots and squash.  All of these turned out exactly like the book and the infomercial showed.  I was impressed so far, but the big test was yet to come.  Any one can puree veggies.  So the next night, being that our pediatrician advised us that we could start feeding our son meat, we made pureed Chicken and Lamb.  As you can see in these two pictures, they are pretty much mush.  Again, just as we were led to believe in the commercial.

So…  In all I am very pleased with this little device.  It works, for us, exactly as they advertised it.  In fact, I am so pleased with this, that I will be buying one of the Magic Bullet kits for my house as well.  I will forgive them the stupid commercial with the smoking lady, the mom, the yuppy and such.  The product appears to be great in spite of their poor advertising.


Update:  Last weekend I bit the “bullet” and purchased the “Magic Bullet”.  Stay tuned for my review of that.




The Baby Bullet
Performs as
Yep... as you can see in the pictures above, it pretty much does as well as they show on TV.
Ease of
Only caveat I could find was that you need to make sure to steam your veggies or meat pretty good for it to not put a heavy load on the motor.
There were a few things that just would not come out in the dishwasher and needed to be hand washed. Also I noticed that things like sweet potatoes and carrots left a noticeable orange tint that needed a little work to get out. Still, I cannot complain.
I would suggest that anyone that is serious about making their own baby food buy this. You will not be disappointed and it will certainly save you money. So overall I would give it a...
Posted in Appliances, Featured Articles, Small Appliances | Leave a comment