Cattle Call L.L.C. and Bates Nut Farm. Recognizing Awesomeness!

VC Music Fest 2015

My second volunteer attendance and host to the green room for 7 bands during this festival has proven itself to be one of the greatest opportunities for music lovers and musicians alike. The Valley Center Music Festival features a sanctioned Kansas City Style BBQ competition with nearly 50 competitors, a very large (~ 100 or so sellers) open garage sale, two stages of international and national recording artists playing original tunes across many genre.

A brief pause in the melee is just long enough to recognize the awesomeness of Mr. Jimmie Cline. Jimmie began Cattle Call L.L.C. a couple of years ago when I first met him. Jimmie has turned his passion into awesomeness if you’re talking about an entertainer. Jimmie produces shows and promotes bands from across the globe . . . but he does it Jimmie’s way.

Jimmie believes in his entertainers. Jimmie promotes and produces shows for really great performers that artistically display and perform songs that are soon-to-be hits. NO! some of them already are performing on Sirius Radio and on stages alongside of greats . . . like Sugarland and Michelle Malone. Performers to the international stage such as Red Raucous and Sarah Petite. You may not immediately know these names, but look behind the scenes. Some of Jimmie’s artist perform on albums for some of the worlds most recognized artists. So when Jimmie throws a show, you have to pay attention and stick around . . . the next performer is just as good as the last. Top performers with top acts!

Jimmie does his thing with the performers as if they were his own family. Jimmie says, “I create a performing atmosphere by taking care of the artists” . . . and that translates to great performances that keep that fans and followers to be just that . . . fans and followers . . . forever.

Cattle Call L.L.C. was started from a desire to bring the best artists to the stage locally in an atmosphere that party’s and rocks in an acoustically robust atmosphere. Jimmie likes music and Jimmie likes the performers. Jimmie has made close relationships with many of them because the performers believe in Jimmie’s idea of taking care of family . . . taking care of his musical family.

I had the pleasure of meeting these artists and being their personal chef for the day as they made their way to and from the two stages this year. Last year we had three stages going, sometimes simultaneously overlapping and had the music going until 9pm or so. I think it was more on the “or so” since the bands were having fun, they don’t like to stop. Sound ordnances preclude them from playing too late. This year we quit rather early as the final performer “The Moves” took to the stage with their Americana “Jamgrass Acoustic Music”, described as a cross between The Grateful Dead and Phish. I think they have a lot of genres going into their sound, an upbeat collaboration of acoustics and vocals that will keep you dancing. And they did just that. I hated for them to finish because they were true to their audience.

Other bands in this festival included Britain’s rockabilly Red Raucous, the complex riffs of the Liquorsmiths, full shredding rock and roll from The Sumbucks and the heroing pitch-perfect yodels from Alice Wallace. All of Jimmie’s performers have extensive resumes and acts. These are the kind of musicians that make being a producer worth the job. That’s why Jimmie does so well. He gives his performers something to sing about.

 Today’s Valley Center Music Festival started the night before as both Jimmie and I stayed up for many hours talking and setting up equipment, tables and chairs. We talked with some of the competition BBQ teams that often times have someone keeping an eye on their team’s competition foods for the next days event. Jimmie was scrambling that night to get a stage that was promised but not delivered. Come to find out he should have stuck with one of his friends instead of electing to go with another less expensive contract to keep within the budget.

Jimmie and I were awake again the next morning as the slow-cooked smokins filled the morning air. But we had better get a move on because the night before had not produced the much-needed stage for the performers. That was to be the main stage where the multiple-award-winning Valley Center High School Jazz Band was to perform beginning at noon. In the mean time sound engineers and beer garden jockeys needed to get things settled for the big show. A crazy day, but so worth it. Both years events have proven themselves to be of the best performances I have ever witnessed. Something about lesser known bands and what those bands wouldn’t do for Jimmie.

I started my day by making my signature Sea-Monster Ceviche since it needed a good two hours to cook. I also treated the artists to turkey-Sausage sandwiches with Argentine Chimmichurri, a skewered Rosemary and Garlic Leg of Lamb and my signature Terriyaki Chicken Skewers with grilled slices of pineapple for desert. All of this was grilled using the native California Oak. The smell and tastes were dynamic. I was even complimented by the BBQ event’s host hailing my Lamb as divine, not overcooked and full of flavors. He also asked me what my secret was for my Terriyaki sauce. Hell, I can’t share everything. The performers really liked the touch of class my food brought to the event. As I met each performer I would introduce myself by saying, “Hi, my name is Johnny, and I’ll be your personal Chef today”. Immediately recognizing that I didn’t provide any vegan or vegetarian, I felt as though I had let the performers down. I guess I was trying too hard to serve something other than regular BBQ foods that were abundant from the competition. We also didn’t provide any sodas. Just water, beer, wine and spirits. I had overlooked many of the obvious.

We learned a lot from this years event as we hope to be given the opportunity to do it and more again next year.

Jimmie has been doing more and more with his events and we hope to provide the hospitality the great artists deserve. If they are treated well, they’ll come back to play for us agin. That’s Jimmie’s philosophy.


Very Baja 250 . . . San Felipe, BC


A recent escape from the drama found my very bestest friend and her husband taking their usual retreat to San Felipe in Baja California, Mexico.

Yes, if you haven’t yet figured it out I have a very close friend that I’ve known for sometime. She and I were Chiefs in the Navy together and used to commute together . . . albeit, she always had to drive. “Gotta go”, she’d say as I would get whisked away from work at the hint of another home furnishing outlet. Think I cared?

Her home in San Felipe is as beautifully decorated as her home now only 4 miles away from where I live now.

She became my wife’s sanctity that weekend as my friend quickly agreed to a one-and-a-half hour quick escape decision to multiple cocktails, some tacos and cheap beers. We hadn’t been there in over 25 years. We found absolutely nothing we remembered or recognized. But what an absolutely relaxing and soul searching getaway that was. Anchored, of course, by some great people.

We visited an area called El Dorado Ranch. El Dorado offers this website: What we found was a wonderful opportunity just 5 or so hours from San Diego. El Dorado Ranch hails itself as “San Felipe’s Premier Real Estate and Vacation Development . . . San Felipe’s best kept secret”. El Dorado Ranch is just a shot or a single beer trip into the Melecon (boardwalk) area of San Felipe where numerous restaurants and street vendors will peddle at you their wares with the look of “give me your money”. Yeah I think we may have gotten out cheap. Hot and dry everywhere . . . but not too hot. Absolutely gorgeous.  Very Baja, if you are from the Sothern California area, and you have possibly been south of the boarder as a youth, you know what I’m sayin’.

We entered through Mexicali and headed down the 5 (BC) which has been widened, raised, smoothed, straightened and given an emergency shoulder along the side of the travel lanes. But, don’t exceed that emergency 8-foot territory or you’re going over and possibly staying there for a while. In other words . . . stay in your lane.

Once we began to notice the gulf waters off to the left of us as we traveled more south each hour, we could see the blinking red light atop a communication’s tower off in the distance indicating our accent on the well illuminated (10pm) fishing village. Just before we approached those lights in the distance, we made a turn off into the gated community of El Dorado Ranch, with more guards and gates then I’ve ever seen, on many entrances to different areas of the Ranch on each side of the 5 (BC).

san-felipeWe were treated to a wonderful home in that area, beautifully adorned with several of those home furnishing trip’s treasures I help to discover. We slept with the window open and the A/C on as electrical rates are very inexpensive; plus he says he’s gotta run it. Water was cheap too at the Ranch but had to be carted in to fill a tank on the property. No biggie as long as you’re used to a simulated RV type of water system that fluctuates as pressure increases or decreases in the supply tank. It was all good although feeling the need to conserve is just one of those things.

We never cooked at the house because there was just too much booze, beer and drinking water . . . and we’re in Mexico baby; let’s get some tacos! Unfortunately, the restaurant quality that we were treated to was clearly not of the same caliber that I would have expected . . . but then again, maybe my expectations were clearly confused. Although we did have some decent food, most of it was just tourist comfort foods; tacos, chilis, fries, BBQ, clams, fish and other deep fried stuff, possibly just deep fried differently . . . if there is such a thing.

We were treated to some Italian food hailed as being the best in town. Although there were some minor merits of El Padrino, there really was nothing that stood out. As a matter of fact, although there were better fried flavors from some of the other joints we ate at while visiting, my Johnny’s Signature Chimichurri Knots blazed his garlic buns. Something about the garlic he uses. Looks like Costco is somewhere nearby. It was very comfortably tourist foods and service but the place was busy. I hail it as similar to an experience in Cancun I had previously wrote about. The big portions were a plus.

Just another adventure that may prove to be a regular. Only a short trip will have us there again. Stay tuned!


Holiday Ham . . . revisited.

quinoaWell, it’s just about time to make sure everything has been cleared from the freezer, like the ol’ holiday ham.

Found a bag of holiday sandwich ham already sliced. Cut it again to make 1/2 inch strips.

Been craving Bok Choy and bought some this past weekend. Also bought some brown quinoa. Made the quinoa last night, so that just needed to be heated in the microwave for about a minute. I cut the Bok Choy into 1/2 inch strips as well and pre-sautéed quickly in the pan (about 3 minutes) with some salt and pepper, removed from the pan, then set aside.

Take those ham strips and toss them in the already heated pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Heat that ham up thoroughly, then toss everything including the quinoa back in the pan to combine. My son came up with the pineapple.

We took canned pineapple rings and cut them into quarters. Tossed them in along with a 1/2 cup of Johnny’s secret teriyaki sauce. Combined everything fully then removed from the heat.

Posto-Facto. I threw some fresh basil as a garnish and it really took the whole thing to a different level.

I got the “Wow” factor tonight.


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