Thursday, April 14, 2005

Tail Wagyu Dawg

So now we have come....even in the the $50 steak. It is becoming pandemic. Sightings reported at Pebble Beach....probably Peppoli at Spanish Bay. Also at The Whaling Station, of John Pisto fame. (The last time I mentioned John Pisto in print....a positive restaurant review, even.... I got a death threat). Is completely unread blogspace the same as doomed-to-failure coffee table magazines?

I had a career as a restaurant reviewer for a magazine whose name I cannot recall. My term ended with a review of the Ryan Ranch Rotisserie or some such. The new publisher sent me there, hoping for ad revenue. Despite the fact that I am utterly recognizable I had a psychedelically awful experience: the staff ran in circles, obviously completely coked out, even at lunch; my calamari steak was still frozen.....but the breading was nice. The hostess/manager was bleeding from her nostrils....ever so. I think the quote the editor objected to was: ''Watching the staff at the Ryan Ranch Rotisserie is like watching a monkey fuck a football......The establishment's temporary popularity is proof-positive that Salinas produce brokers will crawl through broken glass for Tanqueray and Tonic.''

Anyway, in an earlier, less combative mood I wrote about John Pisto and his nephew, Domenic. Domenic had tired of fishing in Alaska and being the namesake and 1% partner in Domenico's on the Wharf in Monterey. He wanted more action, John didn't Domenic took his salmon/tuna money and opened across the Wharf.....Cafe Fina, named after Grandma...who could object? Well, John.....He actually picketed. Personally. I wrote a nice article, with fotos....lots of genuine respect: first all California wine list in the state, first mesquite grill in ICBM range; gave the genealogy of all his former chefs and their new successes. Didn't matter....still got the phone call. ''Better look under your car with a BIG fuckin' mirror, wise guy...'' It seems that the foto editor did the layout such that John's picture was opposite Domenic's.....and when the magazine was closed, John's face was on Dom's crotch. (And you thought the people who played Beatles albums backwards were odd!).......The heat only turned off when print-addled tourists and locals showed up at John's store with copies of my article.

Now John has a $50 steak. And the Running Iron has a $36 Surf and Turf....I cannot bear to look. Frozen Aussie Rock Lobster tail and ........ Maybe they could afford to filter their fry oil now.

In New York, a $50 steak is a $50 steak. Ooops, maybe not. Turns out that all those Kobe steaks, Wagyu steaks, Matsuzaka steaks, and Mishima steaks you have been shelling out for in a lust ridden state....(what else could be the incentive?) are not actually from Japan. Imports are TOTALLY forbidden from the Nippon state. Yes, folks...they have mad cow, too. There is no legal Japanese beef in America. Snake River Farms has a Matsuzaka STYLE beef everyone buys. the Wisconsin prosciutto is even in the same solar system as real prosciutto. And the Wagyu comes from Texas. Oh, perfect.

How stupid are: 1) our clients....are they like the Salinas produce guys....awash in a sea of Gilbey's and Gordon's.....desparate to belong to the Tanqueray club...or just trying to get laid.....and now it takes Veuve Cliquot Orange and a $50 steak?; or 2) we restaurateurs...... have we become so arrogant that we assume an infinite supply of dumbshit produce brokers to fill the tables, and engage in an ever more desparate search for ever more obscure ingredients to impress them so they can.....get laid?..... Whatever happened to the Viagra olive for the martini? Simpler.

It would be nice if the ingredients were authentic. Back in college, when erudition could be bought, and the budget was low....I used to buy Riojas to impress. Marques de Murrieta and Marques de Riscal. The bottles had an impressive brass net around them, and an even more impressive date: 1954, or 1949. I think the rules in Spain in those days allowed the cellarmasters to decide which classic vintage the current crop REMINDED them of, and therefore label it. And Jessica Simpson is Jean Harlow. Well, kind of....or, mostly.....

Spain has changed. We........

Irony of ironies: I am attaching as a separate post our supplier letter. Foolishly, as the Food Whore has pointed out to me at the Cachagua Store we wear our opinions and politics on our sleeve, and name names, and you can figure out where I am and come and throw rocks......Anyway, we refuse to buy product from Red States.....or even Red Counties, in the case of California.

Our one exception is Creekstone Farms in Kansas. These poor bastards are Republicans and own a beef operation. They want to sell to Japan. We hold a competitive advantage on land and labor costs over Japan, so why not? Well, the Japanese HATE the idea of BSE and want to be assured that NONE of the beef they buy has it. Creekstone is close to a KU research station, and came up with the bright idea of an academic/business partnership to test every steer, sell to Japan, provide jobs, education, and more campaign funds for GWB. Total additonal cost for the testing: THREE CENTS PER POUND. Creekstone is being SUED by the Department of Agriculture to cease and desist these anti-American practices. In other words, they are making everyone else look bad......and maybe they DIDN'T fork over to GWB's campaign...we could ask Tom Delay. (If this seems insane on the face of it, realize that we produce billions of pounds of beef, and multiply that by .03) You see, the Shrub's Secy of Agriculture was from Chicken People in Modesto...the Reddest of all counties, so she was all over this deal on George's behalf. So now.......Japan has BSE, so we will not buy their beef for a hundred dollars a pound; we have BSE, so they will not buy our beef; the guys at the restaurants are PRETENDING to buy Japanese beef at a hundred dollars a pound from guys who refuse to pay three cents a pound to open their markets to.......Oh shit, I quit. No, wait...there are consumers who are PAYING for pretend steaks from pretend guys who buy from pretend guys who won't..........Never mind

Now.....can I buy some jamon iberico from Basque country while you pricks fight it out?


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