Friday, July 11, 2008

Big Thank You to Jose at the New Times food blog...

On Wed, Jul 2, 2008 at 7:30 PM, Jose D. Duran wrote:Hey, Just wanted to let you know the Miami New Times and Broward-Palm Beach New Times have just launched Short Order, a South Florida food blog. New Times restaurant critics Lee Klein (Miami) and Gail Shepherd (Broward-Palm Beach), along with several other staff writers and freelancers, will be posting news, reviews and everything related to South Florida dining. Feel free to link to our blog at http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/shortorder or http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/shortorder.
Regards,Jose D. DuranWeb Editorjose.duran@miaminewtimes.comMiami New Times2800 Biscayne Blvd. Ste. 100Miami, FL 33137Tel. 305-571-7640Fax 305-571-7678


Hi Jose-I forgot to thank you for your heads-up. Nothing personal, to you or Klein, but if you read Klein's piece today, I think you will get an idea as to why I loathe his column. There are so many innaccuracies that I had to laugh. I hope you understand that I don't criticize out of malice-just out of the undying belief that food writing should be held to the same high standards as every other kind of writing. The entire paragraph on 'flat' steak was hilariously rife with errors.

"The big hit in both categories are the grilled meats, ranging in cut from skirt to New York strip to filet mignon to a pair of thick, succulent double lamb chops, and in price from $18 to $24 (the chops). We particularly enjoyed a plush Reubensian plank of "flat meat," even if our waiter couldn't explain what it was when we ordered it. A manager visited shortly afterward with a description and the helpful info that Argentines call the steak vacio — at which point we knew what to expect. This cut is part flank, part hangar, and lots of fat tissue, which contributes to a crunchy exterior and chewy, juicy flesh. Bartolome's flat meat was just that, as well as imbued with deep beefy flavor."

I challenge you to do a simple google/wikipedia search on terms like vacio (with so many Argentinians living and cooking in Miami, how could one not know this?), FLAP steak, flank steak, and, of course, 'hangar' steak. If someone made this many errors anywhere else in the paper...Well, perhaps your credo for Cheap Eats, "no research required", has been taken up by the rest of the paper. Maybe an educated guess is all that's really required anymore. Educated guess. Yeah.

Anyway, thanks again for the heads-up. I have a feeling I'll be 'linking' to you guys an awful lot...
Cheers,
Danny

Edited to add...

15 comments:

gail said...

Danny where's the error? Are you deliberately misreading this? He's describing the waiter's mangled attempt to say 'thin steak" or "flap steak." Once the manager tells LK it's vacio, he says, "we knew what to expect." And then correctly identifies vacio as flap and hanger. I can't see how a google search would have helped this, he's just describing what happened at the restaurant. Seriously, your eyes must be clouded with venom; you can't even read straight anymore. Accuracy, man, accuracy. Somebody needs to proof read your posts for you.

30 Dogs 30 Days said...

Accuracy. Exactly, Gail. I didn't think I'd have to spell it out, but let me give it a try.
(1) 'Flap' steak was never mentioned, nor was 'flat' put in quotes the three times it is mentioned. And where does your use of 'thin steak' come from? Perhaps you are reading a different review? Or maybe Lee whispered that stuff into your ear? There is a cut called a "flat iron" steak; if the waiter was mangling 'flap', maybe Mr. Klein should have explained that, by mentioning 'flap'. He did not.
(2) Flap meat, or flap steak, is not the same as 'flank' steak-an error even you repeated (again, as you like to say, accuracy). It is a cut of flank...
(3) 'Hangar' is not 'hanger'-may seem like a misspelling to some, or nit-picking, but a 'hanger' (or onglet) steak is so named beacause it 'hangs'; thus hanger. If the reviewer uses 'hangar', I have to call into question his or her knowledge. Of course, I will admit that we can all use a little proofreading sometimes. Even the adorable Gail Sheperd.
(4) A steak can't be "part flank and part hanger"; the flank steak comes from the flank of a cow, the hanger from the plate.

30 Dogs 30 Days said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanger_steak

30 Dogs 30 Days said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flap_steak

30 Dogs 30 Days said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flank_steak

gail said...

"Vacio is one of the more popular cuts of meat that can be found on the menus of even the tiniest parrilla restaurant. This cut is part of what is known as the flank steak in English, although it often also contains what is known as hanger steak"

******

Flap steak, also known as 'Flap meat' (IMPS/NAMP 185A, UNECE 2203) and 'Ranchera', 'Falda interna', or 'Bife grande de vacĂ­o' in Spanish, comes from a flank cut of beef, and is generally a very thin steak. In French this region is sometimes called 'bavette', which means 'thin steak' (literally 'bib'), BUT IS OFTEN APPLIED TO OTHER FLANK STEAKS.

My understanding is that Argentines call this "thin steak"; thus, I figured the waiter had mistranslated as "flat steak." But I didn't read the whole review, just what you posted. And BTW, I've never met Lee Klein, so it's unlikely he'd be "whispering in my ear."

30 Dogs 30 Days said...

"But I didn't read the whole review, just what you posted."
Jeez Gail I love ya but please read Lee's reviews. It's the most fun you can have without laughing...

30 Dogs 30 Days said...

Also kind of funny, Gail, that as a 'James Beard Award for Journalism' nominee, you neglected to even read the Klein review I was critiquing before jumping all over me. I guess the "no research required" ethos is pretty prevalent over there; up to the point where you guys don't even read...EACH OTHER! Cheers!

gail said...

Wow Danny you're just a master of the logical fallacy! You must have been snoozing through Freshman Comp. Otherwise you might have learned how to identify and avoid irrelevant tangents ("red herrings") when making a persuasive argument.

So let's stick with the issue at hand: vacio is part flank, part hanger, as served in Argentina. The term "flap" is often applied to flank steaks. Thus, there was no error in the graph that you posted from LK's review. The fact that "flat" WAS in quotation marks indicates that either it was 1) written that way on the menu, or 2) a quote from the waiter. So your whole rant about flat/flank/hanger/vacio, while entertaining, was in fact completely INACCURATE. Still, I'll call my butcher today and run this by him. Clearly anybody attempting to have a logical discussion with you needs a referee.

30 Dogs 30 Days said...

GShep-I'm sure your 'butcher' will be horrified.

30 Dogs 30 Days said...

And it appears you not only didn't read Klein's review, you also did not read my post.

30 Dogs 30 Days said...

Or your own comments, either! You are a trip, mary jane!

30 Dogs 30 Days said...

Oh, and Shep, be careful with that "I'm going to ask my butcher" shit; actual research could get you fired!

Alex said...

Not to interrupt the lovefest, but everybody is wrong about "vacio".

- Is neither flap nor hanger. Those cuts (yes, they are ofte cut together) are called matahambre.

- What you have to remember is that Argentinian butchers cut the meat for "asado" (grilling) differently. Ribs, for example, are cut across the bones, not along the lenght of the ribs (Those are called "tiras").

- Vacio is a long, narrow cut located after the ribs and before the rear quarter. In your diagram it would be what's called bottom sirloin (but coming up a little higher).

- There is a "thin steak" in Argentina. It's "bife angosto" or "bife de chorizo angosto". Imagine you were to cut the tenderloin off the ribs. You'll have a cylindrical cut, tapering towards the rear of the cow. That's "bife de chorizo". Now split that cut in half longitudinally. The front, wider part is called bife ancho. The rear part if bife angosto ("thin steak").

I got this from my "Manual del parrillero", bought by a bona fide Argentinian friends in a Buenos Aires bookstore. You can also check with the nice folks at La Estancia Or check this site for more info (it's in Spanish).

http://www.parrillaelgaucho.com/interior.asp?es=Cortes%20de%20carne&idioma=

gail said...

Here's the contentious paragraph: "vacio — at which point we knew what to expect. This cut is part flank, part hangar, and lots of fat tissue, which contributes to a crunchy exterior and chewy, juicy flesh."

I read this to my butcher, Steve Walker at Torchio's Finer Meats in Boynton and this is what he said:

Well, that's certainly not a cut you'd find easily, like in Publix or at most butchers. But yes, it's a cut that's physically possible, since the flank and hanger are connected. You might find it at a Central American butcher."

Can we get some other opinions here? Any of those 20,000 presschops readers want to jump in here and clarify?