If you were to look for parallels across history to compare with the next 600 words you are about to read, upon reflection I’ve come up with one: Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
Yes, the magnitude of what I’m about to say is indeed that huge.
Because a kajillion score and seven years ago, God put upon this earth the cow, and smiled down from on high and said, “Let’s barbecue, y’all,” assuming of course God was Southern born and raised.
My dream came true recently in Atlanta, in a restaurant alongside kith and kin, where I ate all the steak I ever wanted in the world. It was served to me by a smiling goucho (that’s Brazilian for cowboy) carrying a sword.
Let me repeat.
I had steak.
On a SWORD!
At 56 years of age, I cried like the inner eight year old child I am that finally got his beloved new bike on Christmas morning.
All-you-can-eat steak? This is my Christmas morning.
“How much steak can I eat?” I asked Guillermo, our server as he explained the finer nuances of dining a Fogo De Choa, a 4.5 star Brazilian steakhouse located in the Buckhead restaurant district on Piedmont Road in Atlanta.
Guillermo just smiled and said, almost like Ricardo Montalban, “My friend, you can eat all the steak you want.”
I nearly jumped to my feet with glee, “Oh how? Oh how?”
Guillermo displayed my coaster badge for all to see, “When you want meat, simply flip the coaster over so that the green side is showing upward.”
The rules were this simple: Green means go. Red means stop.
“You are now invited to sample our vast salad bar full of standard Brazilian fare.”
I grabbed the two-sided coaster and slapped it down on the table green-side up while slipping on my safety goggles.
“Guillermo, my friend, I did not come here to sup on greenery. I came here to embrace my place on this earth as a carnivore. So please, I want a dead animal on my plate and I want it now.”
I lowered the goggles, “I’m going in.”
They brought out Parmeasean roasted pork loin and chicken first and I waved it away.
“Nay, a thousand times nay, I want steak!”
And then I saw the next goucho in line, approaching with a smile.
He had steak.
On a SWORD!
For the next two-and-a-half hours we ate. My family can run an all-you-can-eat buffet out of business we eat so much.
We are the only family that cut a funeral short because we had to get to the Olive Garden to eat by 11:30 a.m. if we wanted to do Skyline Chili by five.
“Step on it preacher,” I whispered in his ear and slipped him a fiver. “If we want five-ways and Coneys by five, we need to be munching on salad and breadsticks in twenty minutes. Let’s wrap this up.”
I should add they served us filet mignon... wrapped in bacon... on a SWORD!
I would be remiss if I didn’t say the reason we had all gathereed was for the occasion of my daughter’s 28th birthday.
My son-in-law asked the question on everyone’s minds, “How much steak do you think we ate?”
Guillermo was passing by, “Three pounds,” he offered.
We did the math.
Three ounces per portion. We counted 18 to 20 steaks at three ounces per portion, equaling 48 ounces.
Three pounds of steak. For fifty bucks. Worth every penny.