Valentine’s Day 2014

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, the day of love and romance, one of the greatest days ever invented for restaurants, flower shops and chocolate companies. I have always had a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s Day, as a business man I appreciate the extra revenue that holiday’s like this bring in. However, in general I think it is rather silly that we pick one day of the year to celebrate and show appreciation to our loved ones. So, I’m going to use this moment to talk about a different kind of love, the love you give/receive through siblings, and parents, close friends and long time co-workers. The kind of relationships that know no boundaries or borders, the people in your life that comes to your aid at a moments notice, and vice versa. You know the ones; you call them when your car battery is dead, when you need help moving, or when you need someone to have dinner with on a Friday night. The ones you call when you have a crappy day, and the same ones you call when you have an awesome day. The ones that know way too much about you and you know way too much about them. These are the relationships that most of us take for granted. They are the first to see our irritation and the last to hear “I love you”. So, I’d like us to take a moment to think of these people in our lives and remember how fleeting life is and how scary it is when something happens to them.

Have you all heard of Logan Henry? Probably not: the news is not using his name since he is a minor, but he was the Broken Arrow teen that was hit by a car a few weeks ago. Logan was running with his cross country team when he was struck by a vehicle and severely injured. Logan’s dad just happens to be an old friend of mine so I have dropped by the hospital a couple of times with Chimi’s food to offer the family support and sustenance. Logan has just recently “woken” up so there was a week or so of uncertainty for his family. Seeing his family during this time is when I was really struck with thoughts of how we take those that are closest to us for granted and ways to change this. So, I am going to spend this year (and hopefully many more) showing the people that I love that they are meaningful and important. Here’s to putting my phone away during dinners and conversations, to taking time away from the restaurants to cultivate important relationships, and most importantly; to having fun and making memories. At the end of the day, I want to be able to say that I did everything I could to spend quality and meaningful time with the people that I am close to. I challenge you all to do the same; life is too short to live with regrets.

I also would like to use this time to ask you all to pray for the Henry family: for strength for Logan as he heals, and courage for his family as they help him through this difficult time.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s day filled with food, flowers, and chocolates!!

Brandon

Going Back to Cali…

palm-treesI recently made a trip back to California, it has been a few years since I’d been back, so I was especially excited to go and catch up with some family and friends. I did have a few things I wanted to accomplish while I was there outside of the normal visiting, eating etc. I had three new recipes that I wanted to test out on some of these folks.

The first was a family sausage recipe that I recently made out of beef and pork. This recipe has been handed down through my family for a hundred years and my Uncle Jerome in California is the current “keeper” of the recipe. I would give you the specifics of the recipe but I would be disowned from the family if that got out. I wanted to get Jerome’s approval on the few adjustments that I had made to the original recipe. He ended up loving the adjustments to the recipe- I will definitely be making it this way again.

The second was a hot pepper sauce that I have been making for the restaurants. This is an original recipe of mine that I have been perfecting for months. It is a spin off of Cholula or Tapatio sauce, it is quite popular in the restaurant and I wanted to see how it faired with California folk who are used to a more authentic Mexican cuisine.

Third, was a seasoning salt recipe that I have been working to perfect. I made both Shrimp Tacos and Carne Asada Tacos with this seasoning salt and it was enjoyed immensely on both items.

While I was there I also wanted to visit as many of my favorite restaurants as possible. Chef Goro from Nanasans was at the top of my list. One of the first blogs I wrote was about Chef Goro, and I continue to believe that he sets the standard of excellence in sushi restaurants in California. It was a pleasure to dine with him once again and I look forward to going back.

All in all, it was successful trip, everyone loved all the food I brought/cooked and I was able to visit with almost everyone I intended to. It was a blessing to be able to escape the frigid temperatures of Oklahoma and spend a week at my cousin Daena’s home enjoying the warmth and sunshine of Southern California.

Caldo de Pescado

Chimi’s owner Brandon Fischer shares his devotion to tasting and creating great food.

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Have you ever been to float the Illinois River in Tahlequah?  If you are from Northeastern Oklahoma I can guarantee that you have at least twice in your life, it is a rite of passage in the area of the world; and my brother, dad and I have continued to make an annual voyage to the River to hang with the youth of today and enjoy some sun and water.  We went on this voyage last weekend and had a great time.  I love to camp-the food, the beer, the food, nature, the food, the River, the food.  You get the picture.

We had many wonderful things to eat while we were camping this year, so I won’t go into them all but I would like to talk about one particularly delicious dish that I did not even make.   One morning while I was cooking chorizo for breakfast I noticed that our neighbors ( who were Hispanic) were eyeballing my chorizo. They were probably thinking that a white boy like me couldn’t possibly know how to make homemade chorizo-so, of course I had to prove the wrong.  After breakfast I took them the remaining chorizo and invited them to try it at their convenience and let me know what they thought. Long story short they of course loved the chorizo but the point is, they returned my container filled with the most delicious Caldo de Pescado (Fish Soup) that I have every tasted.  Fresh fish that was perfectly seasoned, vegetables cooked to perfection, and the broth was indescribable.  It was a very strange and pleasant surprise to receive this traditional Mexican dish while camping in Tahlequah, Oklahoma but I enjoyed it immensely. In fact, I encourage anyone that would like me to try a dish that they are especially proud of, go ahead and bring it to me.  I love food and I love to try new things, it would be an honor to test any one of your dishes.

 

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Bobcat Stew

Chimi’s owner Brandon Fischer shares his devotion to tasting and creating great food.

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Summer is my favorite time of year, I just love the excessive heat and the long days that lead to later dinners and the ability to create new and different things with that extra time.  I have eaten many excellent dishes this summer, however I concocted two dished that are both different and delicious that I thought you might be interested in hearing about.

Soft Shelled Crab Tacos are one of those items.  They are so simple yet so delicious to eat; crunchy, flavorful, and fun to eat.  Here is the recipe; I encourage you to try them at home.

1. Soft Shelled Crab dipped in beer batter and fried until golden brown.

2. put crab in a flour tortilla

3. Top with shredded cabbage and pico de gallo

4. Finish it with Chimi’s chili anco cream sauce

5. EAT!!-  You will not be disappointed.

The second item I’d like to share with you is a little different.  I must explain first that us folks here in Oklahoma believe that if you have to shoot an animal; it’s best to try and eat it.  That if we must take a life, let it not be in waste.  For example; when you shoot a deer to control the population, you don’t leave it on the side of the road, you use all the meat you can and make the best possible dishes that you can with it.  With that being said I had a friend that recently had to kill a bobcat.  I know, I know, a BOBCAT surely he’s not going to eat a bobcat!!! Well, I did….. And it was really good!!  I encourage you to be open-minded while I share this recipe with you.

Bobcat Stew

1. Fresh bobcat

2. Smoke for a couple of hours with hickory wood

3. Remove Meat from bones and dice

4. Sauté onion, carrots and celery

5. Add bobcat (high heat for 10 more minutes)

6. Add 2 cups of red wine and cook 10 more minutes

7. Transfer to a cock pot on low heat and add diced tomatoes.

8. Cook for 5 hours and add diced potatoes and cook until tender

9.  Salt and Pepper to taste

10. Enjoy

I hope this is not offensive to anyone; I did not go out in search of bobcat meat. It was something that came to me and I thought…Why not?  Life is an adventure, and food is a huge part of life—Why not be adventurous with your food!

 

Delicious, spicy … a great salsa!

Chimi’s owner Brandon Fischer shares his devotion to tasting and creating great food.

Habanero

Do you ever go somewhere and request a hot salsa and receive a salsa that is so spicy that the only thing that you taste is heat?

It ruins the flavor of the food because it overrides all the surrounding flavors; here at Chimi’s I believe we have resolved this issue.  I have developed a Habanero Salsa that is delicious, spicy (but not too spicy), and compliments the flavor of almost any food you eat it with.

 

Here are few examples of ways I have seen it eaten:

 

1. A salsa, with chips

2. A Salad dressing

3. A dip for vegetable

4. On top of on Avocado

5. Top and enchilada with it, instead of red sauce

6. Topping for any taco, burrito etc.

7.  add it to a casserole to spice it up

8. add it to any tomato sauce to spice up your pasta

9. add it to a Bloody Mary

 

Basically you can put it on any food and it will be delicious, these are just a few ways that I have actually seen people use this salsa. It would be a great addition to any Fourth of July picnic, so come on by this week and pick up a pint of our Habanera salsa—You will not be disappointed.

 

Celebrate tradition!

Diablo DashLOGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chimi’s owner Brandon Fischer shares his devotion to tasting and creating great food.

June has finally arrived!  Here at Chimi’s we have been planning, organizing, brain storming,  and all in all getting ready to party down for our 30 year anniversary bash on June 15!  I am very excited about this anniversary, 30 years in small business is HUGE and 30 years in a small restaurant is really HUGE.

We have done many things this year to prepare for our anniversary,  a revitalization of mind, body and spirit, if you will.  We have re-painted the interiors of all the stores, redecorated the patios, re-structured the employee manual, tweaked and changed recipes to focus more on fresh, new flavors and directed the Front of House employees  to focus more on family fun.

A new logo and mascot have been introduced with Señor and Señora Chimi’s. We have new menus that include light items and gluten free options. Last fall we held a drink contest, contestants entered their original drink recipe and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce assisted us by judging the drinks.  Whoever had the most votes got their drink in our new drink menu, it was a ton of fun and we are very happy with the look and variety of our much awaited drink menu.

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I have spoken with many customers about our anniversary and the changes in the stores.  I have been surprised and touched at how many people have been coming here for the whole 30 years, not only that but how many people brought their kids in when they were little now they are here with their grandkids.  Chimi’s is a family tradition for many Tulsa families and we are proud to have been there to witness al the special events in their lives.

Last but not least, I would like to shamelessly plug our Anniversary celebration on June 15th.  This is going to be an AWESOME event. We will start at 8 am with the Diablo Dash, proceeds will benefit “The Little Lighthouse”. The Little Lighthouse provides services to disabled kids and their families.  They work strictly on donation and do not charge a dime to the families that are lucky enough to be involved.  My younger sister Zoe was there when she was young and it made a huge impact on her and our family.  I sincerely hope that you all will come out and help support the great organization.  After the race we have a full day of fun events, including food eating contests, dunk tanks, dancing, and plenty of activities for the kids.  So, mark your calendars for June 15,I hope to see you there and please feel free to find me and let me know what you think of our changes.

LLH

 

Celebrate! Cinco de Mayo with authentic Mexican food (and then, run a little, and then, drink and eat again)

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Chimi’s owner Brandon Fischer shares his devotion to tasting and creating great food.

 

Chimi’s is typically known as a “Tex-Mex” restaurant, but as a food lover, it was important to me to include authentic Mexican dishes.

As I worked on revamping the menu, adding and/or changing some staple Mexican recipes was a fun and tasty process.

The end result is something I would be proud to defend in front of any Mexican grandmother!

I encourage you to stop by this 5 de Mayo, to try Chimi’s top 5 choices of authentic Mexican dishes:

 

Tacos

Carne Asada Tacos

Carnitas

Street Tacos

Chile Verde

Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail

 

By the way, I cannot help but take this opportunity to truly celebrate 5 de Mayo, by sharing the true history about this fun festival.

Cinco de Mayo is not just a good excuse to drink margaritas and eat Mexican food; it has a historical significance.  It is a common misconception that the 5th of May is Mexican Independence day.   That is simply not true, Cinco de Mayo celebrates The Day of the Battle of Puebla, and it commemorates the Mexican’s army’s unlikely victory over French forces on May 5, 1862.   This victory came to symbolize unity and pride and helped establish a much- needed sense of national unity and patriotism. This is something any American can identify with!

Mexicans in California during the American Civil War were the first to celebrate in the United States, and I am certainly glad that they did.  Cinco de Mayo is a great way to help celebrate unity and pride, in ANY country; it is also a fantastic reason to drink Margaritas and eat at Chimi’s Mexican Food!

Since we are in the mood to CELEBRATE!, Chimi’s has another celebration coming up. Our 30 year anniversary is this year and we are planning a HUGE party!!

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June 15, we will start with a 5k run called the “Diablo Dash”, participants are strongly encouraged to wear their Devil gear.

We will continue all day with dunk tanks, eating contests, face painting, DJ’s, and many other family-friendly activities.  There are not a lot of restaurants in town that have been around for this long, and I truly hope that each and every one of you will come out to Chimi’s on 15th and Peoria and help us celebrate. Proceeds will be donated to a local non-profit organization yet to be determined, in honor of my younger sister, Miracle Zoe Fischer.

 

CELEBRATE TRADITION!

 

Brandon Fischer

 

 

 

 

Michael, a Chimi´s Classic

Chimi’s owner Brandon Fischer shares his devotion to tasting and creating great food.

When you think of owning a restaurant the thoughts that usually come to mind involve numbers, recipes, food cost, and profit.  However, probably the most important thing to running a successful restaurant is the people.  I am very proud to have not just one or two, but many employees that have worked for Chimi’s Mexican Food for 15+ years.  I would like to tell you about one of these employees today.

The Cherry Street location has a specific employee that has worked for Chimi’s for 23 years and never missed a day. If you are around Cherry Street, then you probably know him, you might see him waiting for the bus, taking out the trash, or sweeping the parking lot. Michael is absolutely one of the kindest, most hard working people that I know.

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I asked Michael today how he came to work at Chimi’s and here is the story that I got. He and a friend were driving around one day looking for a job, they had gone to about ten other places when they passed Chimi’s and noticed a help wanted sign, so they decided to apply.  The manager hired them both on the spot and the rest is history.  Michael has worked at three different locations for this company and always shows up with a positive attitude and a “yay” for anyone that will listen.  He gets here at nine every morning to sweep and mop the floors before the restaurant opens; then, he takes chips and salsa to the customers and busses tables.

I wondered what instills the kind of loyalty to a company that you can work for 23 years and never miss a day.   Michael says it very simply, “I love my Chimi’s, they gave me a chance when no one else would and I appreciate the opportunity to prove that I can be a good and loyal employee.”…  I love it.

There are a lot of people is this world, some of them good and some of them not so good.  I hope each and every one of you is lucky enough to know someone like Michael Harper. His simple kindness and generosity knows no bounds. His ability to come in every single day with a positive attitude is humbling. I only wish that we could all do the same.

I did not own Chimi’s when he was hired, so I can not take credit on being the person that gave him that well deserved chance, but I am certainly glad that it happened.

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People that work in the restaurants are the ones that make or break it.  They are the ones that are talking to the customers and selling your product.  They are the ones telling their friends to come eat and the ones promoting special events.  I appreciate everyone that makes a difference in the stores and I am happy to have them represent me and my product.

With that being said, you all come into Cherry street  Chimi’s and say “Hi” to Michael.  You can’t miss him; he will be the tall guy that greets you with chips and salsa.

Can you handle the Diablo?

Chimi’s owner Brandon Fischer shares his devotion to tasting and creating great food.

This is the question that I like to ask my guests when they come and dine with us at Chimi’s Mexican Restaurant.  The answers usually vary from “No spice at all, thanks,” to “The spicier the better!”  It is to the people in the latter category that I direct this edition of the blog.

Habanero

 

I like it spicy, (although my heartburn does not) and my taste buds truly believe that some spice with Mexican food enhances the flavor and makes it unique.  Chimi’s has several different degrees of spicy or not so spicy salsa.  Our signature salsa is the Fresca. It is a mixture of diced tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, and it’s kind of like a saucier pico de gallo.  We serve this with the chips on the table alongside our Picante salsa.  I like to refer to the Picante as a medium spice level; you throw some jalapeños and it adds just enough heat to make you notice.  At the highest level of our regular salsas we have “Dad’s” – spicier than the Picante, but not enough to need a fire extinguisher!  OK – bear with me, I do have a point.  IF you like it really spicy I recommend requesting your food “Diablo” style!

Hot Peppers

“Diablo” (which means devil in Español) is a mixture of our extra spicy Dad’s salsa and the sauce we use with our shredded beef.  The mixture contains jalapenos, habaneros, Chile de arbols, and even a little crushed red pepper. You can prepare any of our items with Diablo sauce and if you like some heat to your food you will LOVE this addition.  It has that perfect combination of spice and flavor.  Sometimes when you make a spicy salsa all you can taste is HOT, but by mixing these two salsas together, you really get the spice alongside the great taste.

This year we are celebrating our 30th anniversary.   Many festivities are in the works to celebrate this momentous occasion, but the one I am looking most forward to is our 1st annual 5k Diablo Dash and Outdoor Fiesta, June 15.

Like the Diablo sauce, the Dash and Fiesta will be celebrating the past, present, and future, and is a mixture of old flavors combined with new ideas.

Brandon Fischer

From the O.C. to the OK

Chimi’s owner Brandon Fischer shares his devotion to tasting and creating great food.

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You all may know that I once lived in Orange County, California.  What a great place to live!  While living in California I went to many Sushi restaurants and had the opportunity to try many, many different items.  One of my favorite sushi restaurants that I came across is called Nanasan; Chef Goro there is truly a genius with sushi and I enjoyed everything that he made.  He made a menu item called a Shrimp Boat and this week I made my own version of it at my house.  I thought I would share this with you and maybe some of you would like to try and make it.

 

gorro

 

I started with sushi rice. Now sometimes I make this myself but in the essence of time I simply bought some from a local restaurant.  My brother is the manager there, so he doesn’t mind if I purchase only rice from him.  I then cook shrimp, ice it and split it open.  Place the rice underneath the shrimp and place a raw quail yolk on top of the shrimp.   Take some smelt row (fish eggs) place those carefully on top, add a little bit of ponzu chili sauce, green onions, and several dashes of Tabasco sauce.  The ponzu sauce is simply a rice wine vinegar with squeezed lemons, soy sauce, and a chili sauce that I got from the Japanese market.

 

I know this isn’t Mexican food but I thought you all might enjoy an insight into what I cook at home on any given Wednesday night.  I truly have a passion for all foods and had a great time preparing this for my sister last night.  Feel free to comment with any questions you may have about the dish and I will try and answer them.