Without question for me, today was going to be a zero day. I need it to rehydrate all the way, give my battered feet a break, and try to catch up this blog.
I spent most of the day outside behind the motel with my fellow thru hiking comrades. We had breakfast together, then just hung out and took care of loose odds and ends.
It is my birthday month, so my family and girlfriend sent me a couple packages with goodies inside. From my immediate and extended family I got my new shoes, lots of mountain house meals (my favorite), snacks, some birthday cash, cards, and other odds and ends.
From the girlfriend I got two beautifully smashed up miniature cakes (one vanilla and one chocolate); they were both delicious despite the shipping damage of being tossed around through the mail. More mountain house, buffalo Jerky, a heartfelt card, as well as some other things that only have meaning to the two of us. It was a wonderful surprise on all accounts, and more than I could have hoped to receive out here. Thank you all of you! It means so much that you haven’t forgotten about the resident family black sheep who’s never home!
Late in the afternoon Funny Bone, Sonic, and Mongo decided to head back to trail and hike out. I paid for a room and invited Puma, Stomper, and Red Bass to join if they wanted. It would have been super crowded with four, so only Puma and Stomper decided to sleep on the floor.
Before any sleeping was to be done, we had to get dinner. There are only two restaurants in town, and we’d already been to one of them. The other was supposedly a steakhouse called “Peat’s” on the other side of town. The four of us walked down there around 4pm.
As we approached Peat’s, we noticed the building was completely run down, falling apart, and every window was boarded up. First impression was that Peat’s was closed down and nobody had gotten the memo. Boy were we wrong.
We walked around to the far side and went in; total turn around. The inside was clean, modern, and inviting with the look of a bar/steakhouse. Not only was it a steakhouse, but if you ordered a steak, then you had to cook it yourself. This was a dream come true! They gave you no guidance whatsoever. They brought out your meat on a platter, then let you have at it. If you ruined it, that was your fault.
They had a huge grill in the center of the bar that several people could cook on at a time, as well as a huge selection of different rubs, spices, marinades, and sauces for your meats.
There was a time in my life when I cooked steak almost every single day. I’m not even exaggerating. When I was an athletic trainer, I would buy six to seven pounds of steak every week and grill out every night. It was what I wanted, so it’s what I cooked. Meat and vegetables. Every. Single. Day.
I went with the 16 ounce boneless ribeye. I scored it a few times on each side, then doused it in Worcestershire sauce. Then I lightly dusted it with garlic powder and some Brazilian steakhouse seasoning. I set it on the hottest part of the grill, then scraped two huge slabs of butter (which was supposed to be for my baked potato) onto the uncooked side. Then I waited…
I don’t flip flop meat around when I cook it, and I don’t press on it – letting the fatty juices escape. I set it down once and let that side cook, then flip it once, and that’s it! A steak should only be touched twice. Once when you set it down, and again when you flip it. The next time you touch it, you better be putting it on your plate. And don’t forget to put more slabs of butter on the already cooked side and maybe moisten it back up with some more Worcestershire sauce.
Sorry I’m going into so much detail about this, but I’m crazy about food and I love to cook, and I love talking about food, and I love talking about cooking food, and talking about eating food, and food, food, food. I’d fly overseas just to get the authentic food experience I want. FOOD!
So I’m very particular about how I cook my own steak. I like it very charred on the outside, and very rare on the inside. The combination of charred and red meat along with juicy semi liquefied marbled fat that’s been exposed to a hot flame…unparalleled. In order to get my steak like this, I need high heat, as well as flames licking the meat. This steak came out perfect!
I mixed some finely diced horseradish with sour cream and dipped my steak in it…”Mwah!”
When I’m home, I do it slightly different, but on the road, I have to work with the ingredients available to me. At home, once my steak is cooked I have a specific, yet simple process for it afterwards. I spread goat cheese across the top of the entire steak, then for every piece of meat I cut off, I cut an equally sized piece of avocado (which is already peeled and standing by on my plate) and eat them together. Charred meat, juicy red meat, juicy fat, bitter goat cheese, and cool avocado…it doesn’t get any better (to me). If all else is unavailable, then I dip my steak in Dukes Mayonnaise. I’m a dipper.
So basically this was the greatest trail town food experience of my thru hiking career. Maybe second greatest. The window seat on the 17th floor buffet at Hera’s Casino in Lake Tahoe with a view of the entire city and lake after a long 22 mile day of fasting…still haunts my wildest food dreams, in a good way.