Thursday, March 27, 2014

Steak epiphany and a dumpling

A recent visit to Burch ruined me for steak prepared anywhere else. At the Uptown steakhouse our happy crew shared an inexpensive grass-fed hanger and a Zabuton cut from the Wagyu menu. The hanger was amazing. Charred outside and beautiful pink medium rare interior, it was more tender and flavorful than a cheap cut should be allowed. Perfection!

Then we cut into the Zabuton. Gasps all around.

It has been a while since I've had a spiritual food experience, and that steak changed my life. In that first bite every lighter-fluid kissed slab of beast my proud Dad ever placed before me was forgotten. Mid-second bite, this time dipped in bearnaise with a tine of pickled mushroom, I had what might be described as a steak-acid flashback; a primal peek into how life is meant to be lived; a glimpse of smoky char, mouthfeel of silky firm meat, smooth tang of sauce and 'shroom. Wagyu euphoria.

Usually my spiritual food experiences have me reaching for them again and again. I want a repeat! I want a do-over! This weekend when I pull out the grill and light the year's first chimney of charcoal, it won't be steak I throw over the grates. Why bother reaching for the sky when you've already touched heaven?

Thankfully, my friends and I also ordered from Burch's dumpling menu, and while they might not trigger a food epiphany, dumplings are something I can do.

Every nation, every ethnicity, every region, has its own version of dumplings. Although I was raised with some Swedish food traditions, Swedish dumplings, called kroppkakor, were new to me until a few years ago. They are substantial boiled balls of dough, and unlike steak perfection, very much an acquired taste. Read more of my musings on dumplings and an updated recipe for kroppkakor at Called to the Table today.

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