The Trenchermen

We eat other people’s food.

Posts Tagged ‘Beef

Steak ‘n Shake (Springfield, MO)

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In the recent surge of food enthusiasm, much attention has been focused on the hamburger, America’s favorite food.  There are those who praise the fat patty, composed of carefully-calibrated mixes of meat, sometimes filled with flavor-adding ingredients.  There are others who prefer a smashed, buttery burger.  In New York, Shake Shack is the genre-defining purveyor in the latter category.  In California (and elsewhere,  now), In-n-Out Burger generally wins.  On our recent trip to Missouri, we tried the Midwest’s leading contender, Steak ‘n Shake.  In my opinion, it’s better than the rest.  (My contacts from Saint Louis agree.)

We visited what I am told is the first Springfield location:  a classic diner format with the word “Takhomasak” (take home a sack?) displayed on an awning out front.  I ordered the Original Double ‘n Cheese, which comes with two patties, American cheese, and a selection of toppings.  The patties are smashed, cooked through, and somewhat flaky.  And very greasy.  But the meat is delicious; it tastes more fresh and buttery than the  grayed-through patties you get in most other fast-food chains.  The toppings included the standard fare — ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo, etc. — and some exquisite others, most notably mustard relish.

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Written by trencherman

September 23, 2010 at 11:58 am

Arthur Bryant’s BBQ (Kansas City, MO)

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We recently traveled to the great tornado-whipped state of Missouri for a wedding, a house-cleaning, and some strenuous and significant family time.  But all of that was in Springfield, a city that I would imagine to be in a different state from Kansas City if the maps didn’t tell me otherwise.  (Actually, that’s kind of a trick, but I digress.)  We flew into Kansas City International Airport, which meant that before driving three-and-a-half long flat hours to Springfield, we were able to stop for some world-class barbeque.  It was tough to choose our spot, but it came down to Oklahoma Joe’s, which Anthony Bourdain called “one of the 13 places to eat before you die,” Jack’s Stack, a chain that Zagat Survey named the “#1 Barbecue House in the Country,” and Arthur Bryant’s, which is, according to Calvin Trillin in 1974, “…possibly the single best restaurant in the world.”  We went with Arthur Bryant’s, because it was most convenient and because I’m a huge Calvin Trillin fan.  (Ed. note:  Trillin spends his summers less than 5 miles from my parents, in Nova Scota.)

As for the food: delicious, but definitely not the best restaurant in the world.  The highlight of the meal was the Beef Sandwich, which was a mountainous stack of fatty smoked brisket piled on pieces of white bread that were clearly overmatched by the meat’s juices.  There were several choices of sauce, all varieties of the classic molasses- and tomato-based sauce Kansas City is known for. The rib tips were fairly charred, but the tender pieces of meat hidden beneath the blackened crusts were smoky and sweet.  We also had a pork sandwich that was decent, but not memorable.

The restaurant itself was charmingly simple.  A big, brick building in a dodgy neighborhood.  The interior walls are unevenly covered in a smattering of local sports images, collages of prominent African-American public figures, and autographed photographs of celebrities and politicians.  Among the most prominent of the latter category were photographs of Jimmy Carter eating with Arthur Bryant himself, as well as a series of images of John McCain and Sarah Palin enjoying a meal with-the-people while campaigning in 2008.  I’d say that speaks to the universal appeal of the place, but who knows.

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Written by trencherman

September 21, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Posted in Restaurants

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Social Paraíso (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

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Here comes another post from the archives (of my brain and Jenny’s BlackBerry). While we were in Buenos Aires for a week in mid-March, we ate.  A lot.  Mostly steak.  There were several notable meals, including lunch at Mark’s in Palermo and dinners at La Cabrera and Cabaña Las Lilas, which made it onto R.W. Apple’s final list of restaurants.  The food was great.  But the one meal that stood out from the rest was a late lunch we ate at a little restaurant called Social Paraíso on a shady — as in, tree-lined — street in Palermo Hollywood. We had walked past the restaurant while winding our way through the leafy neighborhood, and its simple, elegant interior and alluringly nostalgic gold-leaf window sign caught our attention.  It was closed for the day, but we made it in just before they closed for lunch the following day and had a great meal.

The details are below.

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Written by trencherman

July 19, 2010 at 11:11 pm

NYMag Sandwich List #99: Sesame Pancake With Beef, Vanessa’s Dumplings

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And the final post of the day.  Returning once again to the NYMag sandwich list.  On my way home from the gym, famished from my first post-Toronto run, it occurred to me that Vanessa’s Dumplings was only a few steps away from the 3rd Avenue L-train station.  So I checked it out.

I am a big fan of the filled sesame pancake, having discovered it late one night at my local late night spot, M Noodle Shop (which is, by the way, awesome, open until 6 a.m., and very salty).  M Noodle has a sandwich sesame pancake stuffed with pickled vegetables that just knocks me down every time I eat it.  Something about the combination of the grease from the pancake, the sweet from the sesame, and sour from the pickled vegetables just hits all the spots.  Anyway, back to Vanessa’s…

The sandwich is, as NYMag suggests, a kind of variation on the banh mi.  The roast beef, like the cuts that come in pho in cheap vietnamese restaurants, was very thinly-sliced and marbled with chewy, overcooked fat.  But the meat was tasty and the grease and saltiness of the pancake was cut effectively by the cool, crisp vegetables (pickled cucumbers, carrots, cilantro) stuffed into the sandwich.  I actually preferred this to the last banh mi I had (see post from earlier today).  This is a good option, and super cheap (though you have to wonder how this made it onto the NYMag list and other stellar sandwiches like the meatloaf at Rye or the Sage Egg and Cheese at Five Leaves or any of the sandwiches at Hamilton Deli didn’t make it.  But that’s another conversation for another day).

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Written by trencherman

June 23, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Posted in Media, Restaurants

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Korean BBQ (Las Vegas)

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vegas.korean1In Las Vegas for a bachelor party in early August, I was surprised that the food was so good.  We ate most of our meals in the Wynn/Encore complex, which probably had something to do with it.  But, after a weekend of doing what one does in Vegas, two of us had a Sunday afternoon and evening to kill before catching red-eyes back to New York.  Tired of the hyper-oxegynated casino complex, we ventured out onto the streets and decided to get dinner at a Korean restaurant in a shady shopping plaza a few blocks away.  The resrtaurant was called, oddly, “SPORTS WORLD KIMCHI.”   There were silhouettes of athletes all over the front of the building.  Weird.

Inside, however, there was very little of the “sports” theme.  Instead, it was a large space filled with formica tables and plastic chairs, lots of smoke, and crowds of Korean customers.  The meal was actually better — and more expensive — than I expected.  I was worried that I might be left with some gastrointestinal distress on my flight home, but all turned out well.

After the jump, a few more pictures.

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Written by trencherman

September 23, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Posted in Restaurants

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