Which Store Has the Best Meat? Costco is Prime

Image via Wikipedia

Strolling casually through the meat isle at Costco the other day...a favorite and very soothing pastime of mine, I was taken by some new blue meat trays.  Based on the layout, I knew the blue trays were in the rib eye and New York Strip neighborhood.  What could that be I questioned on the approach.

As I vectored around a few inexperienced costco'ites...my eyes focused on the steak.  Hark! This red meat has more fattylicious marbling than normal!  And then it happened...my eyes connected with the label.


After picking my lower jaw off the floor, I began inspecting the delicious striated flesh and an inner monologue started riffing.

Wow...I can't believe Costco has USDA PRIME beef!  It's not even that much more expensive than CHOICE HERE.  Man I better buy a lot so they keep it up (is that a potsticker sample I smell)...I better ask the butcher if they sell the whole pieces of PRIME BEEF so I can cut it myself into delicious "chocolate cake" sized portions and save money per LB to boot.

I discovered through cool old butcher dude that they didn't even know it was coming in and that he "hopes restaurants buy it" so sales go through the roof.  Agreed.

So get this, they had PRIME TOP SIRLOIN too!  Top sirloin is one of my favorite cuts.  It's more flavorful than many and if quality top sirloin is cut, seasoned (a whole 'nutha topic), and cooked properly...it's the number one value/experience in beef.  Ready for the hook...it was only $2.95/lb.  You'll pay $4.99 for crap elsewhere.  Yes there's a little work in cutting the entire piece into delicious steaks...but I'll do a video tutorial if you need one.

Remember, if you eat meat...don't skimp when you don't have to.  A 16 oz PRIME top sirloin at a fine restaurant is at least $22.  A Prime New York Strip or Rib eye of similar size...$32+.  If you're in the know like I am (now you are for reading)...you'll be able to rock the house for a fraction of the price and treat your guests to the best of the best bovine beauties for bottom buck. 

So please run down to Costco and grab your PRIME beef if you're in Des Moines.  If your Costco doesn't have it yet...tell them "Doug from Des Moines says bring in PRIME".

Want to have the most amazing seasoning you've ever had on beef?  Try the UltimateSteakSeasoning that I've been perfecting my whole life.  This seasoning turn vegetarians in salivating carniverous beef loving "dip bread in the juice" 'ers.   I promise :)

Until we eat again.

Unreal Bacon BBQ dream log. U pickin' up my baconvibe?

@ryantow pointed me to this unreal bacon BBQ roll log super taste explosion recipe.  I'm going to try this...pretty much today.

The pictures made me salivate and begin thinking of new workouts that will compensate for this.


The Greatest Breakthrough in Science since Fermentation?

The cis-isomer of resveratrolImage via Wikipedia


Apparently, some deft scientists have created yeast strains that produce resveratrol in beer, that lovely chemical in red wine that's supposed to be very good for you and extend your life.  Here's a quote from this article from Discovery via MSNBC.com:

BioBeer, as it's called, has three genes spliced into special brewer's yeast that produce resveratrol, the chemical in red wine that is thought to protect against diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's and other age-related conditions

This is proof that good things do come to those who wait and that science will ultimately determine the only way to live to 300 is to drink beer, coffee, and smoke cigarettes.....if given enough time and grants.

Mobile Slaughterhouse...I bet this guy is great at parties

There's a nice little piece in the WSJ that I couldn't pass up on a guy who operates a mobile slaughterhouse.  Yes, no need to transport the hogs to the place where they become slabs of soon to be rendered pork fat.  He'll come to you!

This quote kind of says it all doesn't it?

In a flash, Mr. Soler stunned the animal with a bolt gun, then cut its throat and hoisted it into the trailer with a winch. He stripped off the hide, and Mr. Donaldson inspected the pig's organs to ensure it was healthy. Within an hour, the hog's carcass was hanging in the locker.

So dad, I think I've found a great new business for you.  Bring it on!

Do I smell bacon?  Honeyyyyyyyyyyy!

My Review of Django Des Moines: Our New French Restaurant

I visited Django, located on 10th Street next door to the Hotel Fort Des Moines this past Friday night with our good friends who share the same love of finding new and exciting fare in our beautiful city.  Django is self described as:

Django is a comfortable, brasserie-style restaurant offering everything you love about French cuisine without the attitude. The restaurant features classic French dishes such as Steak Frites and Duck Cassoulet, as well as fresh salads and juicy hamburgers made with house-ground beef.

Vibe and First Impressions
We entered and indicated that we were early for our 7PM reservation and that we'd be in the bar.  The front desk was being run by a couple young ladies that mostly looked down.  Greetings were neutral and unimpressive.  There was no Maitre de in charge.  This was especially odd considering Django has been open for only about 1 week and first impressions leave lasting marks.  We had a drink at the bar and found the bar help to be courteous and attentive.  The main portion of the restaurant is loud, vibrant, and more conducive to festive dinners of celebration vs. formal affairs.  If you're looking for a quiet dinner for two you may want to seek other options unless there are quieter rooms off the main floor we didn't see.  The decor is classy and trendy.  The crowd is best described as "the typical crowd you see at Centro".  A mix of the blue blazer crowd with the Tommy Bahama + Birkenstockers...with martinis acting as the binder. There were some families present too.

We ordered the Fromage and Charcuterie plate (cheese and cold cuts) served with figs, nuts, fruit and bread.  One of the three cheeses in the daily offering was missing and we inquired which one it was and asked why.  Our server didn't know which it was nor why and casually stated that, "Maybe we just ran out." Ran out of what we're still not sure since knowing only for certain which cheese was the sheep's milk (hard not to know this pungent-earthy-gamey type).  We ordered a white Bordeaux to go along with the plate.  The server did produce notes when trying to help me find the right pairing but ultimately had little to offer in this area.  We had the crab/lobster cakes and the mussels as well.  Crab cakes were too dry for me and the seafood inside was a bit more pulverized than "lumped".  The mussels were quite good and their sauce used leeks and a heavy dose of cream to please our pallets.


I ordered the 12oz prime top sirloin steak medium.  I always ask the server if the chefs are known for being "over or under" on their interpretation of medium.  She didn't know but reassured me that "they don't overdo them here".  This knowledge may evolve over time. The medium was a couple ticks toward medium well but tasty.  At $14, the plate came with some heavily salted euro style shoestring fries.  Tasty but salt phobics will do good to ask for "light or no salt" if you're going to indulge.  Others in my group had salmon, braised short ribs, and the seared ahi tuna.  All were satisfied with their dishes but no raving praise.  None of us had the plentiful raw seafood offerings which are the centerpiece of the bar area.  Oysters galore grace the bar and shuckers are busy.  I wish I liked raw oysters more but they don't fire my rockets. 

I'd give the service satisfactory marks.  For this type of upscale place, I'd give it a C+.  I expect more from place where dinner for 4 with drinks is easily $200+.  Most disappointing is the lack of a management presence.  This may have happened later in the evening but during our time, no one from management elicited feedback, inquired about our experience, etc. Maybe I expect too much from a new offering or maybe I just have knack for what excellent service and relationship building might look like in a new high end restaurant, vying for my dollars in a relatively crowded marketplace for fine dining.

I can attribute server lack of depth in understanding the finer points of the food/beverage offerings to newness.  However I have trouble understanding the lack of a strong front desk presence and the placement of novice hostesses in such a position of prominence.  I'm just one of those service oriented guys (like most of my readers and my demographic) that has trouble letting go of that instant when my expectations were not met.  That initial experience set the bar for me and I kept looking for that redeeming moment that didn't come. Management should absolutely be trolling and gathering feedback at this stage in the game.  Perhaps they do that on Saturdays.

I will not surrender...I will go back.  Django absolutely deserves another chance.  Their menu is exciting and unique in town and their beer offerings are something special.  They will have to ratchet up the experience meter a few notches however to remain a viable option for me. 

If you've gone there, please share your experience in the comments.  If not, please go and let me know what you think. 

Insulin Resistance - Do you have trouble losing weight?

I have a good friend in Alabama who shared with me that he was really having a difficult time since he:

  1. Was eating a very low calorie diet of perhaps 1500 cals per day.
  2. Was exercising like a mad dog (really he'd always done that and used to run marathons, etc.)
  3. Was gaining weight and could barely maintain 215lbs on a sub-6 foot frame. (some might say pocket sized frame...but I digress :)
  4. Had decreased energy and felt exhausted constantly for the last 15 years.

He'd gone from svelte runner to middle aged expanse while busting his butt.  Very depressing.  This situation wore him out by Christmas of 2007.  He was mentally and physically at the breaking point.

He looked inside himself and did some consultation with the big guy upstairs and hit the web hard for some help.  Ultimately, he began diving into the topic of INSULIN RESISTANCE.  He compared the "20 blood test markers for this condition" against his own blood work.  Bam.  20 of 20. 

He's now following a low glycemic index diet (just like a diabetic would) and here are the results in his own words and pictures.  I know MANY people who suffer the "eat right most of the time and workout a lot but can't lose weight" syndrome.  I hope they look toward this example and keep after the answers.  Talk to your doctor and if he/she won't help you understand this...then find a community online. 

I think we discount the affect food has on our entire being.  We aren't meant to take in all of the processed sugars and crap that prepared food has in it. Good luck and comments welcome.  In his own words:

Bottom line, I can't process starches. When I ate a piece of broiled fish on rice, it was not 'good' like I thought, but killing me slowly. I cut out all starches, and as much sugar as possible. No potatoes, rice, pasta, or bread. Seems I was trying to burn 2500 cals a day, taking in 1500, but all the starches went to fat and my body was struggling to find enough fuel from the rest of the food to function. Which meant I was tired, lethargic, and constantly sleepy because my metabolism was trying to shut down.

Since Jan 10th, I've lost 35 lbs. My energy level shot through the roof, and I'm running well enough to do the half-marathon in 8 days.

I share this, because I suffered for 15 years without any answers. I'd have given a lot if someone had given me a clue, pointer, anything to get me in the right direction. Just in case you run across someone you know with a similar problem, I'm sharing with you.

Nice work buddy and good luck in the marathon!



Tunamole Guacafish

I think I've discovered the ultimate meal to encourage recovery of muscles and joints.  I call it tunamole guacafish.

Use quality albacore tuna.  I used Costco's of course since it seems to exceed all other national brands.  Prepare your chopped up add-ins the way you like them:  onions, pickles, etc.

Now...instead of using mayo, grab a very ripe avocado.  Today I used the Haas variety.  Mash up 1/2 avocado with the mix, the tuna, and whatever spices you like.

Slather that deliciousness on a couple of slices of whole grain bread or a whole grain wrap...and bada bing, you have a Tuna-mole Guaca-fish sandwich. 

Save the mayo for the rest of the world.  Use nature's fat to reduce saturated/processed foods in your diet and be happy.

The Ultimate Bloody Mary Recipe

I'm pretty sure that this post will rise to the top of my popularity charts...since it's only practical things about electronics, food, and booze that seem to catch the fever out there for me.  Why fight it?

Here's a loose interpretation of the recipe I've taken from Tom B. and modified to my liking.  I think you'll like it too.  Please accept my loosely defined amounts because I like my drink to be different EVERY time!


  1. Shaker
  2. Good Vodka
  3. V8 Juice (or substitute BEEFAMATO) or combine the two.
  4. 1 jar some variety of dill pickle spears (try different varieties for different effects)
  5. celery salt
  6. hot sauce (Tapatio Mexican hot sauce is a fav...but I remember that drink for a day afterward so anything you like will work here)
  7. 1 Lime
  8. 1 Bottle Worcester sauce
  9. Pepper
  10. Some kind of salt or glass rimming media.  There's a good one at Cost Plus specifically designed for rimming the glasses of bloody mary's.
  11. Green Olives
  12. Either dried oregano or an "Italian spice" bottle.  I have a cheap one from target.
  13. Lawry's seasoned salt.

The blend

  1. Fill shaker with ice
  2. Pour in more vodka than you think you should
  3. Now (secret ingredient), pour in a smidgen of the juice from the pickle jar...maybe a splash or maybe 1/5 the amount of vodka you poured.  Play around.  This makes it yummy.
  4. Dash(es) of Wor-chester-shir-shire sauce
  5. Dash(es) of hot sauce
  6. Dash(es) of celery salt
  7. Grind some pepper in
  8. Add some Lawry's seasoned salt for good measure.
  9. Dash(es) of oregano or other dried spice leaves.
  10. Fill to top of shaker with V8 or whatever tomato based liquid you've chosen.

The presentation

  1. Take slice of lime and rim the iced glass (use 16oz beer glass if you can)
  2. Dip glass in salt or custom rim mixture
  3. Put a pickle spear in the glass
  4. Fill glass with ice
  5. Shake the shaker like crazy
  6. Pour in the goodness
  7. Add a couple olives and squeeze the lime wedge into the glass
  8. Taste and top with additional spices if required

The serve

  1. Put a straw in the glass and hand it to your friend along with an icy cold bottle of Budweiser.
  2. Say, "Here's your steak in a cup...enjoy" then sit back and watch.
  3. Be sure to eat the pickle.  It will have absorbed a ton of goodness by the end of your drink.

Welcome to flavor country friends.  You're welcome.

Stay Tuned For Beefy Goodness

I'm preparing to shoot an instructional video for you carnivores out there.  My dad is a master meat cutter...has been forever.  He's been coaching me on the fine art of dissecting the large chunks of meat that arrive from the processing plant.  These are the large plastic bags you see at Costco for example.  They have a much lower price per pound because they've not been trimmed and no labor has been expended to make them pretty for you. 

This is supplementing my few years of training during high school when I worked at the local butcher shop.

I'm going to show you how to purchase those massive chunks and cut your own darn purddy steaks to your own thickness.  Nothing at the store is satisfactory for me.  I'm into the 1.75 inch and up thickness so I can get a good char and leave the inside just barely past medium rare (medium rare +).  We're going to to begin with Top Sirloin...and then we'll move into the whole loin where you get your prime rib roast (or rib eye steaks) and see where that takes us.

You game?  Here come 'da beef.  Let the beef council create a beefscape outta this!

Absinthe...the Green Fairy is Legal Again

Oscar Wilde described drinking absinthe as such: "After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world."


I've been a huge fan of absinthe for years...in that I've followed its mystique, read articles about its narcotic and hallucenogenic affects, and wondered if the main herbal ingredient in this elixir, Thujone...derived from the wormwood plant really can make you crazy if you drink enough.  Until now I'd have never known without bootlegging it from some country where they don't particularly care if you go insane.

However, cooler and more herbally infused heads have prevailed and absinthe...the real deal is now legal here in the US.

Here's a great primer on the subject with a full tutorial on drinking this forbidden elixir.  If you like Pernod or black licorice in general..you may like this stuff. 

If you show up at my house with a green fog around you and you're speaking in tongues....come on in and I'll interview you (just bring the bottle so I can try it).

(Local tip:  They have this at HyVee)