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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

On Location: Eating Cow in Cow-lifornia

Ah, we meat again, readers...

I spent the past week in the Los Angeles/Santa Barbara area, acting as best man in my friends' (N and D) wedding. This particular friend (N) is every bit as carnivorous and gloriously gluttonous as I am, so his bachelor party required that we put some serious Fat Knight stank on it. This is the tale of our weekend.

I arrived at LAX Thursday afternoon. N's in-laws-to-be graciously provided us with a totally bitchin' beach condo in Carpinteria, about two hours north of the airport. One of the other groomsmen rented a car for the weekend, which was supposed to be an Impala, but turned out to be a Crown Victoria. We cruised up the PCH in our cop-mobile, saluting suspicious traffic-mates and getting to know each other. 

Pure. Gluttonous. Genius.
In Carpinteria on Friday afternoon, the bachelor party commenced. First we headed over to a burger joint known as The Spot. This place is quite literally a shack with a patio, but what a glorious shack it was. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I'd get to utter the order "Double Cheeseburger, add pastrami, add bacon." The resulting mound of meat and joy made me cry one single, salty tear of burning carnivorous passion, which turned out to be the perfect condiment. The burger was thick and meaty, the bacon was substantial, and the pastrami... oh the pastrami. The cook threw it on the grill before putting it on the burger. Pure. Gluttonous. Genius.

Next we hit up a brewery tour at the Island Brewing Company. I had arranged the tour a couple weeks in advance with the owner, Paul, and he met us there at around 2:30. The place was already filled to seating capacity, and he said by 5, folks likely wouldn't be able to move around much. It's no wonder why, the beers were excellent and the prices were low. $4-$6 depending on size. Also, there were some really interesting beers in stock, such as an IPA aged 18 months in bourbon casks, or their super-hoppy Night Sail, an amazing combination of dark malty goodness and ultra-floral Zythos blend hops. The unanimous winner of the lot was the Jubilee Ale - a perfectly balanced red ale with smoky, caramel maltiness and a big, strong finish. We drank many beers.

Next, we decided to walk around town for a bit, hitting some bars, etc. Eventually we met up with our final groomsman partner, NS (you may know him from HIS food blog, which I may or may not link to the right). It was dinner time, and since we had gone to the source for our beer, it seemed only fitting that we should go to the source for our dinner. The Palm is a local spot in Carpenteria where you can order a variety of meaty treats, but there's a catch: they bring them to you raw. Cold, in fact. Straight out of the fridge. Now, before you freak out and call the health department, the fun of this place is that you get to grill your own steak (or fish, if you're a skinny knight). They've got a double sided grill installed in one wall of the restaurant, plus a salad bar (meh) and all you can eat baked potatoes and baked beans. The fact of the matter here is that I can't very accurately review a restaurant where you cook your own food, since when I go there, it's a top-tier steakhouse, and when you go there it's the Sizzler. 

How many baritones does it take to grill a steak?
What I can speak to is the experience. We had a fantastic time standing around, grilling nice cuts of meat and eating like cavemen. 

The details of the rest of Friday night have been omitted to protect the innocence of those involved.

Saturday, we had another lunch experience. If you know anyone from California, you've surely heard about In-N-Out Burger, and how all other burgers are essentially piles of organic vegan gluten-free horseshit in comparison. Here's the scoop:

Animal Style
In-N-Out is definitely delicious. The fact that you can potentially order an 8x8 (eight patties, eight pieces of cheese) had the Fat Knight's taste buds doing backflips. The real thing you need to know about this place is that there's a secret menu/ordering procedure (except the service is way more polite than the Soup Nazi). If you ever make it to one of these fine establishments, make sure to say the words "Animal Style" in reference to your burger. This includes several condimental improvements, but the most vital difference is the mustard-grilled patty. The cook puts the patty on the grill, then, before the flip, throws down some mustard on the top side, then flipping it to cook all that mustardy goodness directly into your cowchunk. If you're wondering, this is the correct decision.

There were several more meaty treats this weekend, mostly from the catering staff at the wedding site, and one excellent burger from the father of the bride last night (who is trying his damnedest to replicate a Terry's Turf Club burger, and getting quite close). 

Remember, folks, if it didn't die, it's a side!

The Fat Knight

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