something a bit different today (not quite the Monty Python "completely different"),but interesting and perhaps somewhat educational:
The first issue in a new year of most food magazines often contain predictions of what is going to be “hot” or trendy for the coming year. So, my first issue of the Restaurant Hospitality magazine (from the Penton Empire) was no different and they have a little piece on the "Hottest Menu Trends for 2017". It presented a little paragraph on six "trends" they expect to be hot: Ethnic Breakfast Menus - more breakfast tacos and burritos, rice bowls, and Pho; Creative Coffee - higher end coffee is rapidly moving from the independent Barista to global chains like Starbucks, coffee cocktails, lattes served on draft and more “nitro coffee; Updates on Ice Cream - expect savory flavors to permeate the ice cream landscape, Coolhaus serves pastrami ice cream; Housemade Condiments - will infiltrate all areas of the menu, house made mayo, ketchup, hot sauces, etc.; African Flavors - beans and vegetables infused with richly exotic spices; and lastly New Cuts of Meat, which caught my eye. New cuts? huh?
“Creative butchery is resulting in new – and sometimes more economical (it’s a business magazine after all) cuts of beef. In fact, this was the No. 1 trend cited by chefs surveyed by the NRA (Restaurant Assoc..). Expect to see shoulder tender, oyster steak, and Vegas strip steak on the menu as chefs push the boundaries of this center – of – the plate staple…
Well, that’s interesting I thought, The Feeder has not heard of any of those steaks. So I did a little nosing around to find out what they are, and found some interesting stuff on those steaks from various sources:
The Shoulder Tender
“A shoulder tender also called beef shoulder petite tender, beef shoulder tender petite roast, bistro filet, rat or teres major steak is a US cut of beef of the teres major muscle from the blade of the shoulder (chuck)”
Hey, I thought, I’ve seen “teres major steak” somewhere. Sure enough, on the menu of our La Rive Breton, they have carried a “teres major steak” since they opened..So that cut comes from the (lowly) Chuck of the cow
The Oyster Steak
The story on the “Oyster Steak” proved a bit interesting. Turns out it has another name.. and is at the opposite end of the beast in tradtional steak territory..
“This cut is taken from the backbone of the animal, just above the rump. Rarely seen, it's a cut most butchers don't consider worthy of being packaged and marketed. Its other name, spider steak, is in reference to its radiating lines. The steak has a good amount of fat but is pretty tender. Just don't dare to overcook this one as things can get chewy quickly”
One might think that an “oyster” steak would be a hit in SOMD.
The Vegas Strip
And lastly, looking up the “Vegas Strip” was interesting. I never found the origin of it's name other than maybe marketing value. I guess same with the more familier New York Strip. Like the Oyster/Spider steak, the "Vegas" is in the chuck area..
The story of the steak is somewhat odd. Apparently there is some guy named Tony Mata
Antonio (Tony) Mata: is a meat scientist, product development specialist and self-proclaimed meat geek. A native of Mexico, he studied at the University of Arizona where he earned his Ph.D. in agricultural biochemistry and nutrition. Dr. Mata has been involved in adding value to the carcass for most of his professional career.
Apparently he is credited with “discovering” the Flat Iron steak, and lately he was given credit for “inventing” the Las Vegas cut: “Dr. Mata’s butchering procedure, since patented, was to trim the bad from the good and yield a tender cut of meat, he ultimately trademarked as The Vegas Strip Steak” I have a little trouble with somebody patenting a cut of meat or a butchering technique and trademarking the name seems….. something..($$$$)
Despite the (perceived) glory for Dr. Mata "discovering" a steak that had been there as long as there have been beef cattle, there are some dissenting voices:
The "Vegas Strip" has gotten no small amount of attention lately, which I find odd. The new cut is being promoted as the savior of the beef industry, a "cash cow" (haw haw) that will transform the face of American meat-eating. I don't get it. For one thing, it's not new; I was urged by my friends at Creekstone Farms to spread the word about its creation by meat scientist Tony Mata two years ago…. Now, two years, later, it's being presented as some kind of major advance, like the discovery of clay. But basically, it's just a slightly different cut of beef with a flashy name.
Interesting stuff. Now you're educated on the cutting edge (ha ha) of the steak world. You always learn something following bunny, er, cattle trails. Keep your eyes on menus and maybe you can find different from the tiresome, ubiquitous New York Strip or Filet Mignon (and maybe save a few bucks). I'll be trying the Teres Major at La Rive next time..
Reception (not TV)
I was included in a group that went up to Annapolis to represent the Historic St. Mary’s Foundation at a “Legislative Reception” held in the Miller Senate Office Building the State House for the people who control funds that could help the Museum at Historic St. Mary’s City. The museum brought several “interpreters” along which are always a big hit.
And of course the another draw is free food
It was interesting to learn that our old friend of Ken Upton of Ken’s Creative Kitchen, who caters a lot of our Hospital Gala events also did this one. I was surprised and pleased when the bar keep recognized me from our recent Gala. Not sure if that is good or bad.. It was interesting what went on (I mostly listen) in that whole different world. I was talking with a State Senator from an outlying county who actually knew where we were (St. Mary’s County), but we were interrupted by a young man who confided to the good Senator that he was “able to arm twist another two million out of him”. Like I said, a whole different world.. A lot of the attendees were “staffers” who apparently make these type of events a food source. One of our local dignitaries came in with a wake of such people. Although I am not accomplished at "schmoozing" I did have a couple of interesting conversations. And you can bet everybody was