Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Last Steak I Will Eat For A Long Time

Okay, there was another thing I was thrilled about when I was assigned this trip. Another chance to eat at Cattleman's. But it almost didn't happen.

The visit itself (yes, I actually do work during visits) was supposed to be a milk run. And, for the most part, it was. Lots of "hurry up and wait", and we didn't start real processing until late afternoon. There was a glitch with my company's software, but it turned out to be a simple switch setting that caused the problem. We lost about 40 minutes figuring it out. Then came time to transfer the output file from our system to another vendor's system. It didn't go. Phone calls are placed and voice mails left. Tweak a setting. Still no go. Third try. No luck. My workout window was gone and I was beginning to wonder if my dinner plans were going with it. Finally, at 7 p.m., the file went through, and I was out of there.

Ten minutes later I was pulling in the parking lot at Cattleman's. The lot was full of an eclectic mix of vehicles - big, burly Ford and Chevy pickup trucks parked amidst urbane BMWs and Mercedes. The place was very busy for a Monday, and more than a few heads were topped with cowboy hats (not because they were fashionable, but because that's all these gentlemen have ever worn). Even so, I was seated right away. The decor was retro '50s, including a 20 foot wide lighted mural along the back wall showing a herd of beef cattle and two ranchers in business attire and cowboy hats sitting on horses. It was western all the way. The menu was short and sweet; after all, you're not there for the seafood. I placed an order for the Strip Sirloin, cooked medium, baked potato and broccoli and cheese. Right away I could feel the saliva starting to release from my glands (calling Dr. Pavlov). All the dinner salad did was help pass the time waiting for my prize. The dressing was pretty good, though. One thing I liked was how they served toasted bread chips instead of croutons, because we all know how frustrating it is trying to spear croutons with a fork.

And then, not even ten minutes later, it came. Sitting in your typical metal and wood steak plate, bathing in its own juices, a baked potato (no foil!) and a sprig of parsley the only garnish. Hey, this is about meat, not presentation. If you want presentation, go to Spago. A nice touch was when the server asked me to cut my meat and check it to make sure it was done to my satisfaction. So I did. The knife pierced the perfectly seared meat almost without applying any pressure. Juices still flowed from the cut, but there it was, delightfully pink, almost cheating to medium rare. I knew this was going to be something. I made quick work of the broccoli and cheese; it was merely a supporting player. I then turned to the steak. The first bite cut like butter. And as that tender morsel hit my tongue, I was transported away to a place of such gastronomic delight that few ever get a chance to visit. I was in heaven.

The texture was the finest I've ever experienced. Even the smallest pressure of chewing was enough to break the fibers. I looked at the potato, sitting there forlornly, and decided to get that out of the way. And even though I rushed through the sides, I took my sweet time with the steak. Each piece, cut small to just cover the taste buds as I chewed them, and to prolong the experience for as long as possible. There was a sensation of pleasure exceeded by only by those experienced during activities that guarantee the propagation of our species.

The only problem with this gastronomic ecstasy was that the steak got relentlessly smaller. As I reached the last cube of this delicacy, I cut smaller and smaller, but alas, it was soon over. I swear I felt a tear come to my eye in both happiness and sadness. I wiped my mouth with my napkin, leaned back, and savored the moment. I had just completed the best steak dinner ever. After I paid my bill and set out to the parking lot, I glanced at my watch. All told, this interlude took just 45 minutes, but it will take much, much longer to forget this experience. At least until the next time I travel to Oklahoma City.

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4 astute observations :

  1. Lisa said...

    Oh you evil, evil man! I just ate dinner, but now I am madly craving mouth is watering. I love the way you describe the event--for good food IS an event--and that you enjoyed it so much. Yum...

  2. Nancy Dancehall said...

    Hi there! I just popped on over from Lisa's site, and I'm glad I did. You've got me drooling. I love a guy who can describe food like that. Nice writing!

  3. Nancy Dancehall said...

    P.S. You're a very good photographer, too!

  4. richmanwisco said...

    Thanks very much Lisa and Nancy, I hope both of you visit frequently.