Tuesday, May 23, 2006

herbivores beware

I just got back from a dinner at Zingerman's Roadhouse (if you live within driving distance - I figure 4 or 5 hours - you must partake in somepart of the Zingerman's empire at some point, but I digress) where they hosted Bill Niman, founder of Niman Ranch. He's got a new cookbook, which I previewed and it was FABulous. The first 2/3 of it is text about his mission, farmers, and about the livestock that they raise. The latter part is filled with recipes from establishments that use beef, pork or lamb under the Niman label. A very creative way to fill the book. Interesting to know the chefs who use this top quality meat.

Overall impression of the tasting menu was that it was wonderfully executed as usual. What stands out most, however, is the salad "Beef short ribs with watercress and local strawberries". My mother and I weren't really expecting beef even on our salads, but this was the most outstanding short rib I have ever tasted especially and possibly as a result of the fact that I have never tasted one that has been only seared. When I make short ribs, however infrequently it may be, although I start with a sear, I always braise them. These were only browned while the inside was left rare. And let me explain that the center of the meat tasted like pudding, not in a disgusting way, but in an almost sexy smoothness. The marbling in these bites was partially melted into the beef, and wow, I can't even explain how good this was. Couldn't get enough of the flavor and the combination. This "salad" was a mixture of tastes that I would not have put together on my own.

If you have a few minutes, please take the time to check out their website, and heck, order some to see how wonderful their product is.

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