I have known el Carnicero for five years, but last night was the first time I met him. Sometimes you are not ready for someone to come into your life until you’re ready. Our kids went to pre-school together, but it wasn’t until they got to elementary school that they had their first play date. Of the many things I wasn’t ready opposite sex play dates was one of them. But el Carnicero is not hung up like that.
When I drove through the gates to pick up my son, I could detect a sweet aroma in the air. El Carnicero has diplomatic connections. It was non other than Ramon Alones. Mild for cuban, but not lacking flavor – exotic nuts and herbs with a honey sweetness. This man, a Catalonian Kojak, lives by the unwritten rules. Cohiba is not the only cigar in the world.
Alones in hand, we retired to garden with a bottle from his cellar. He doesn’t drink white wine. But he has it if I want it. I say I don’t. Once in his sanctuary, he regales me with tales from his latest find. A vineyard he frequents in Santa Barbara sold him half a cow. El Carnicero didn’t know the answer to my question as to how long cows last as organic fertilizer machines, nor did he care. All that mattered was the 100 pounds of vacuum packed meat stored in various freezers throughout his house. Rib eye, chuck round, sirloin, he had them all. But the one he was most interested in?
Had I ever had – how do you say as he pointed to his neck, glandular? Glands, really? You can eat that? Yes, there is a way to cook glands. Like his alter TV ego, he pursed his lips, closed his fingers into a tight web, put them to his mouth, and as they exploded from his face I felt the unvarnished truth of the universal symbol for delicioso. The butcher’s kiss.
But with all his expertise, he was still at a loss for what to do with the bovine heart. He’s going to do some research and get back to us.
Two hours after I had come to fetch up my son, the Boss called and inquired about my whereabouts. Fortunately, I had the good sense to have email her a picture of their restaurant capacity espresso machine. She jumped in her car, and immediately drove over. To be continued…