Tag Archives: Japan

Steak, Potatoes, and Corn


I’ve got one.  What did the sushi say to the bee?  Wa-sa-bi?

 I hate to use a word like hate for something I hate because hate is such a strong word, but I HATE sushi.  I hate the smell of it, I hate the look of it, I hate the fact that it’s not cooked, and I hate the fact that it’s fish.  And before you say, “You shouldn’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it,” I have.  Once.  Almost puked.

I did have a remarkable meal at a sushi bar once though.  It was at a strip club in Reno.  The sushi was rumored to be the best in town, so I agreed to go because the girls wanted sushi and I could get a STEAK.  While I’m sitting at the bar eating this one-inch thick perfectly cooked Porter House, my wife and friends sitting on my left being served raw fish wrapped in rice, a completely naked, blonde, five-foot four, dancer sits in the bar stool next to me on my right and strikes up a conversation.  Best steak I ever had.  You should have seen the looks I was getting from the sushi-eater on my left.

Why do I remember this on March 28th, 2012?  Well…you got me.  I have no idea, except I saw the “joke” and that led to thinking about the hating of sushi, and that lead to the best steak I ever had.  Well, it really wasn’t, but it was memorable.

Which now makes me remember the famous “Dream Steak For Four” in Bosler, Wyoming.  Clearly on the list of one of the best steaks I have ever eaten.  As I remember it, after the University of Wyoming home games, a great many fans would head north 20 miles to a small town called Bosler.  Bosler isn’t very big, and is known more as a speed trap, probably the only revenue source other than sales tax from dream steaks during football season.  I got a speeding ticket there once on my birthday.  The officer said, “Happy Birthday” and wrote me a ticket.  I had to pay the ticket right then, or wait until Monday when the JP got back from fishing, if I wanted to contest it. Wait in jail.  Needless to say, I paid it.  It was $75.  You go from a 55 mph speed limit, up a hill and curve to the right where the speed limit drops to 35.  I was going 41 when I hit the top of the hill.  The cop hides behind the curve, in case you’re ever up that way.

 So, for a reasonable price – and I don’t know how much that was because I didn’t pay for it – you got a four-pound rib-eye cooked to the group’s accord, all the salad you could eat, all the baked potatoes and ranch beans you wanted, and a bottomless basket of rolls.  You would cut your piece of steak off the huge steaming piece of beef delivered to your table, which had probably been butchered and aged right out back.  All I remember is, it was fantastic.  Don’t rush off to Bosler to try it though.  I’m pretty sure the restaurant is not there anymore.  This was back in the early seventies.

The Famous New York Strip. No I didn't take this picture at McMahon's

If I have to pick the best steak I have ever eaten, I would have to say the New York Strip I had in Scottsdale, Arizona, at “McMahon’s.”  This almost two-inch mouth-watering delicacy could be cut with a butter knife.  It literally melted in your mouth.  After every bite I would hum in ecstasy.  I remember the steak right now.  I can see myself basking in the soft light, surrounded by etched glass, and Tiffany lamps savoring every bite.  I’m right there at the table, embarrassing my companions with the “ummming” because we had come from a wine tasting party and I was still tasting during dinner.  Funny how I don’t remember the ride home, but I remember that steak.

You can probably tell that my favorite meal is of the simple, steak, potatoes, and corn menu.  My mother would ask me almost every year what I wanted for a birthday dinner and I would always say, “Steak, mashed potatoes, and corn.”  I really didn’t like baked potatoes then, back in the day, but I would replace the mashed potatoes with a baked potato slopped with butter, sour cream, chives, bacon and cheese, any day now.  That’s what you call a “loaded” baked potato, right?  Loaded with high cholesterol.

“Don’t you want to try something else?” she would ask.  Bless her heart, and her limited budget, she always made me flank steak, mashed potatoes and corn every year.  The last time she made it for me was on graduation night, and I never had a steak dinner at her house again that I can remember, although I’m sure I did.  I don’t see flank steak in the store anymore, but it’s the same cut as a London Broil, right?  You slice the steak in thin angled pieces.

All this talk about food – except for the shushi –  is making me hungry.  I’m pretty sure I don’t have any steak in my freezer either.  I’m more than pretty sure, in fact, I’m positive.  Steak is completely out of my food budget currently.  At $5 to $8 a pound, or more depending on the cut, I’m forced into the ground-up type of beef.  I have some of that in the freezer.  Maybe I can shape it into a T-Bone.  There is a 22 oz. “Cowboy Steak” at Michael Jordan’s restaurant that costs $1,500.  I’ll bet that’s go0oo—d!  WTF.

I always heard that steak was very expensive in Japan.  According to my research, although Japan exports beef, it would cost you around $110 for a steak dinner in Tokyo, give or take a few dollars based on the current exchange rate.  You would think that if you raise cattle in Japan, it’s not like there is a shortage of beef.  Kind of like buying gas in Houston, Texas.  Why is gas so expensive in a place surrounded by oil refineries?  Los Angeles, same question.

Here’s another question I have.  Why are a lot of cuts of beef named after New York or restaurants in New York?  There aren’t any cows out there.  Cattle are in the West.  Reminds me of that Pace commercial…  


 

(Sushi photo credit Flickr Creative Commons by lotusutol.  You didn’t think I took it did you?)

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The Battle of Pearl Harbor


I couldn’t be a World War II history “fanatic” and not make some mention of the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7th, 1941.  “…a date,” proclaimed President Franklin Roosevelt, “which will live in infamy…”  One-hundred and twenty survivors of that attack on the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor are there today to honor the 2,403 soldiers, sailors, Marines and civilians that were killed on that day.

A lot has been made over the years about the bumbling surrounding the official notification of the attack by Japanese diplomats in Washington.  The attack was a complete surprise…or was it?  Not being a World War II “Scholar,” I would still lean toward the idea that the diplomats had no real intention of notifying officials in Washington.  “Operation Z,” as it was known by in planning, had to be a complete surprise attack to work.  The Japanese were trying to buy time.  Time to build more ships.  Time to get more oil supplies from their conquest of the Dutch East Indies and Malaya.  More time by killing the morale of the American people to fight a war so far away from home, and the possibility of war in two hemispheres.  As we know, that latter part failed.

President Roosevelt addressed a joint session on December 8th at 12:30 p.m.  The address was live on radio.   From the President’s speech…”It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned for many days or even weeks ago.  During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.”

Whether it was a “complete surprise” or not, it turned into the perfect “card” for a president that was desperately trying to get isolationist America into the war.  And by all historical accounts, it was a good thing for the world.  If the Japanese, for their own interests, had not attacked Pearl Harbor and the napping US Fleet there, the US probably would have gone years, if at all, before full-scale involvement in the war in Europe.  The majority opinion of the American people was that the war was over there, not over here.  Secure our borders and wait for the Gerrys to try and invade us.  The President signed the Declaration of War against Japan at 4:00 in the afternoon on December 8th.  The only dissenting vote to that declaration was Jeanette Rankin, a pacifist Representative in the House from Montana.

Most importantly, the ramping up of the military and change-over to war production in the United States, clearly brought us out of the worst depression in our economic history.  It wasn’t the alphabet socialist programs of FDR, but World War II that made that happen.  And it changed the world in more ways than we imagine.  Our world, the way we lived and worked in America.  The home front.

So I always take a moment on December 7th to remember those that died in the attack, including the 55 Japanese that perished, and how that incident woke the American people to the danger they faced to their freedom and democracy from outside.  Yeah, it was a different time, I guess, but it sounds really familiar.

“I speak the will of the Congress and the American people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will see to it that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.”  –President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

 

 

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