Curiously, my unexpected brush with the high life continues.
Just a couple of weeks removed from having smoked my one and only Cuban cigar ever, I was recently treated to a fist-sized portion of Chateaubriand from the Angus Barn in Raleigh (a place which just might qualify as one of the best steak joints on the planet).
How does this happen?
It all goes through my wife, Kim.
One afternoon last week, my wife and about a dozen of her cohorts (no spouses or significant others) from where she works made a business trip to Raleigh to celebrate the opening of their new branch office there. Hors d'oeuvres were consumed, champagne was fluted, hands were shaken, backs were slapped and best wishes were offered.
Thus primed, the group was taken to the Angus Barn about an hour or so later. Kim, who has eaten Alaskan King Crab in Prince William Sound, lobster in New England and barbecue in Lexington, has never been to the Angus Barn (see here), so she figured she was in for a treat.
But here's the thing: she's on a self-imposed diet. She's done very well with it, too, having lost nearly 20 pounds in the last couple of months. She looks great.
So how was she going to negotiate a once-in-a-lifetime meal without derailing from her diet? Peck at a salad? Drink only water? Embargo the diet for a day?
She placed her order, selecting the 14-ounce Chateaubriand, medium well, a twice-baked potato (Kim never met a potato she didn't like), French onion soup, a square cut of homemade bread and a glass of wine. She did not order dessert.
When the meal was served, she cut off a corner of the steak and took a few delicious bites. She tasted the tater and savored the soup, but didn't go much beyond that.
"I felt guilty," she told me later, "because you weren't there to enjoy it with me. And I didn't want to spoil my diet."
So she took the rest of the meal home in a to-go box. To share.
Now the rest of the picture comes into focus.
The next day, when I got home from work, about six ounces of world-class Chateaubriand (does that translate to "House Brand" in the way that Pinot Noir suggests "Peanut of the Night?"), some bread and twice-baked potato were waiting for me.
Oh my gosh.
I have it in my mind that years ago, when I was working at The Dispatch, we were treated to the Angus Barn to celebrate our annual cache of press awards. You'd think I'd remember, but maybe I'm just projecting a memory that never was. I don't know. I just don't recall.
At any rate, the meal actually traveled well 24 hours later. The reheated steak was awesome. We savored each bite. It was Christmas come early.
We figured we were the only people in Lexington eating Chateaubriand that night.
If only I had had a Cuban cigar...