Man am I glad the Holidays are finally over. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Holidays season because to me, it is about being around people you love and usually in tandem with great food and wine (and usually followed with unwelcome extra pounds).
January usually follows for most folks with New Year resolutions that are in most cases about eating healthier, exercising more, losing weight, counting your calories, being nicer etc…
I have to admit, when I used to live overseas, being Vegetarian or Vegan was something I never heard of (no offense to all of my Vegan and Vegetarian friends). Whether it is for health reasons, or by choice, I do admire people that fit in that category. Speaking for myself, I know for a fact that I could never be in the V category. As a matter of fact, if my doctor called me up today after my yearly physical, and told me: Aida: as of today, you can no longer eat any kind of meat or you will die. My response would be: Off me NOW. This will just never happen as I love meat too much. It might sound offensive to some, knowing that I am truly an animal lover, but yeah, I love me some good steaks (and duck fat).
Which brings me to today’s topic. I usually do not blog about chain restaurants because there is usually nothing unique about it (it’s kind of an Oxymoron I know).
Many many years ago (and we are talking about maybe 9 to 10 years), my husband took me to Capital Grille downtown Baltimore (https://www.thecapitalgrille.com/pages/locations/?id=8023). I was introduced for the first time to a 22 ounces dry aged Delmonico Steak.
Let me start of by giving you a little background: I was born and raised in Lyon, France. Lyon is a city in East Central France, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon was historically known as an important area for the production of silk, but in modern times has developed a reputation as the capital of gastronomy in France. As a matter of fact, Paul Bocuse is a highly recognized French Chef based in Lyon who is famous for the high quality of his restaurants and his innovative approaches to cuisine (I have one of his recipe book that I shamelessly stole (with her knowledge) from my friend Linda). The reason why I am telling you all this is because you would think that, after being raised in that kind of environment, it is doubtful that a chain steak place could wow me: WRONG! A medium rare dry aged Delmonico Steak coming out of the Capital Grille kitchen is THE BEST STEAK I EVER HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
Now maybe, it was a one time thing. Maybe there is no way this steak can be that good all the time. Well wrong again. My husband and I have been going back there consistently over all these years (went there again last Saturday), and it is still by far, THE BEST STEAK I EVER HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
Here is something even more fascinating: How many of you know what is involved in the dry aging process of meat??Please read this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beef_aging. I always wondered, wouldn’t the meat go bad after that many days???? well wrong, it is apparently all about the temperature, and I have had the great pleasure to see the process first hand this past Saturday at The Capital Grille.
During our dinner, we had the pleasure to have a nice talk with Jamie Heffron, who is the Manager of this fine establishment.
I told Jamie how amazed I was to have such an excellent meal every time I went there, and that I was fascinated by the whole dry aging process. About 2 weeks ago, Sherry showed me a video that she had recorded about Barefoot Contessa while she was on vacation to Napa Valley, and visited Tyler Florence, who shared with her his Porterhouse Steak recipe (dry aged of course) cooked in a 1200 degrees broiler and bathed in a bath of clarified butter, sage, thyme and garlic mixture. I shared what I saw that day with Jamie, and he proceeds to tell me, oh! we have a 1800 degrees broiler here, and a whole room with dry aged meat, would you like to see how we do it??? Helloooooooooooo? Have we met?? Are blueberries blue??? Do you tell Noah about a flood (I just learned that expression from my husband! been wanting to use it for a while 🙂 ).
On my feet I was! Let’s go! Jamie introduced me to Matthew Jaffe, Executive Chef Partner there and was going to take Sean and I for a tour!!!!!!
Matthew explained to me how the dry aging process works, and took me to their 39 degrees meat room :). Now I must say, it kind of looks disgusting when you look at it that way, there is nothing appetizing about the way that meat looks, but let me say it again just in case you didn’t pick up on that: BEST STEAK I EVER HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
Please allow me to share with you the pictures I took from that room:
They have their personal butcher that comes in 5 days a week! Can you imagine owning a 1800 degrees broiler?????????????????? Man I would love to be able to cook just one time in their kitchen, which brings me to the next story: Sean sold my cooking abilities to them with such conviction that I might just be allowed to cook my famous prosciutto lamb for Jamie and Matthew to taste. Now wouldn’t that be freaking awesome, to be able to cook for the Manager and the Executive Chef of The Capital Grille??? Stay tuned on that…..I will let you all know if that ever happens.
Now, I had to introduce my partner in crime to this place, since it is after all, THE BEST STEAK I EVER HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
I have been telling Sherry about it for a while now as she has never been there. I just simply told her that it was THE BEST STEAK I EVER HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE and she knows that I am a food snob.
One night, I just kidnapped her and I took her there (she didn’t complain trust me). We had a fantastic 2005 Margaux (Chateau D’Anglude), Lawrence was our server (he was great), and Sherry was introduced for the first time to the famous 22 ounces Dry Aged Delmonico:
Well there. She asked me if I would think that it would be inappropriate for her to have her way with the bone in such a fine establishment, I simply responded that I would personally be offended if she didn’t. The picture speaks for itself. Sherry my friend, I am proud of you!
So to summarize, I just wanted to make sure that you all got my point: BEST STEAK I EVER HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
BE HEALTHY, AND STAY HUNGRY!! (and go have a Delmonico!)
HAPPY NEW YEAR!