July 19, 2007

I think we've gone native

Last night, Jrex called me before he biked home from lab, "Hey, I found a great butcher shop near our house, so I thought of grilling a steak and some fish for you." Now, when I think "butcher shop" I picture a little corner store nestled in the city, gleaming white inside, but a bit sketchy on the outside. I racked my brains to think where they hid the butcher shop. Why hadn't I noticed it before?

When he got home, we drove five minutes down the road and turned into the Stanford mall. Please note: that's not the name of the town. The town that is next to the Stanford campus is Palo Alto. Stanford University has it's own zip code and it's very own mall. On campus. Not just a little student supplies kind of mall, this one has Nordstroms, Macys, Saks, etc. The butcher shop was in a mall. No wonder I had no idea where it was!

Walking toward the shop we were distracted by a farmers market in the plaza between the shops. Before moving to California I didn't really like fruits and vegetables. I've heard that if Sweet and Lo tastes bitter, you have an extra bitter receptor. I HATE the stuff. Which explains why most fruits and veggies have been unpleasant for me, unripe=bitter. For bad or for good, growing edibles in an irrigated desert means they are really good and consistently ripe. I now understand why tomatoes are considered fruit. They are SO good here. We bought some white nectarines and asparagus, thought about getting some pluots (plum/apricot) and bought sweet corn. The heirloom tomatoes were ugly, as usual, but smelled like summer.

Once inside, I asked the butcher if they sold dry-aged steak, he looked miffed, "All our steak is dry-aged." Well, excuuuse me! I guess that explained the prices then. For fish options I got to pick between Chilean sea bass, fresh halibut, swordfish or tilapia. Mmmm....

Back at home, Jrex fired up the best birthday present I've ever given him:

Obviously, it was a completely altruistic gift. He loves grilled steak. I was only thinking of him! The fact that he's grilled at least once a week since receiving it? It's all for his sake. If something gives him pleasure, who am I to deny him? It's ok, you can give me my wife of the year award any time now.

Hey, I DID make the salad. And steamed the asparagus. Those are really hard jobs, you know.


Anonymous said...

YUMMMMMM! I bought my hubby our most recent grill as well, i agree they get such joy out of it, who are we to worry about being the recipients of that joyful behavior!

Rachel said...

Yum! Yes, one thing I love about living in California is the produce. It rocks.

Beloved said...

That's exactly how I felt about fruits and vegetables after moving to Korea. No wonder they eat so many of them--they taste 1,000 times better there!

Happy to see Wild Swans in your library. That book consumed me; I found it so fascinating.

scarp said...

One more reason to find a way to make a visit - I love eating with you guys :)

I considered driving out for about 1/2 a minute - turns out our country is so huge and gas so expensive, that I'd spend as much driving one way as a round trip airfare!

Anonymous said...

Why don't your legions of fans exclaim about your subtle, ironic wit? I found it fascinating.

Inkling said...

Okay. Your cooking posts always get me wanting to get creative in the kitchen. In fact, everytime I pass the rosemary planted along the walkway by the health food store, I remember your post about picking rosemary on your way home.

I just have one crazy request.....my husband and I just bought a grill, though it's a gas one, and not the fun charcoal one. (We have burn ban issues here, so buying gas seemed like a way to use our grill all year, instead of just during the rainy season.) But, we have no idea what we are doing. That steak JRex made looked absolutely divine. Would the two of you be willing to write a post giving us a tutorial on the rudiments of grilling a fabulous steak? I would love that.

Thank you for considering such a zany request. And by all means, keep on writing.

OTRgirl said...

Inkling, I have no idea how to grill anything. Given Jrex's procrastination when it comes to writing, I'm not sure I'll be able to get him to do a guest appearance. We're taking a mini-road trip tomorrow, so maybe I'll have him talk and take notes.

I know that he learned what he knows from The Best Recipe cookbook. That cookbook made it possible for me to do Cornish hens and Creme Brulee perfectly the first time. I highly recommend it.

And 'anonymous'/Dad: I'm not being ironic! I DO deserve the best wife award. Sheesh. Talk about not taking a girl seriously...

Mama Nabi said...

(Beloved, so it's not my imagination that fruit in Korea do taste better? Juicier, somehow... but then Minnesota isn't a fruit haven by any means... corn, maybe)
I must say, the subtle irony found in your wit is simply divine... along with the side dishes I see featured in the picture.
We have the gas-ignite charcoal grill (Weber) and it was a nice compromise. The griller gets his gas and the wife gets that charcoal-grilled taste she likes. Yeah, I also don't do the grilling... just purchasing the grill and eating.