A few weeks ago I received and e mail invitation from my friend Neal Fraser about Beefsteak 2011. What the fuck is a “beefsteak” I thought to myself, of course my next thought was , “holy shit this is going to be a kick ass event cause its got 2 words I love in the title “Beef”and “Steak”, there was no way I was gonna miss this. I clicked on the link and learned that I was born about 50 yrs too late as a “Beefsteak” was an event in the 1930’s and 40’s where men would get together, eat steak, drink beer and talk politics…all without the nagging affections of wives or girlfriends…Kinda like the “He man woman haters club” of the Little Rascals episodes…but with steak and beer!
Now if you don’t know who Neal Fraser is, let me inform you. He is one of the most kick ass chef’s I know. He is the owner of Grace and BLD in Los Angeles, he was also a competitor on Iron Chef America and handed Cat Cora a serious beat down in Kitchen Stadium..He is also one of the most down to earth, nicest guys around…no “celebrity chef douche bag” ego, the dude just lets his food speak for him. So without a doubt, that was going to be a kick ass event for serious carnivores…like me! Oh yea, and to top it off, the co host of the event was Matt Selman, the Executive Producer of the Simpsons…and I just happen to have a tattoo of Homer Simpson!
My partner John, his wife Angie, my wife Martha and I dressed in our best and headed to Vibiana in downtown L.A. The hall was amazing, with huge tables running down to the stage that a German style om-papa band was playing. We were given white aprons to wear in the grand tradition of a beefsteak since you are not allowed to use plates, napkins or utensils while you eat.
I ran into Neal and Matt just inside the door, now I had never met Matt before, but the dude is way cool and a big time foodie…hell he was one of the 16 people in America that watched my show when it was on the Food Network. I showed Matt my Homer Simpson tattoo and we talked food, and how we need to get some people and go on a foodie adventure. I knew from the look on Neal’s face that he was proud of the food in the back and he told me it was going to be awesome. I was so excited…kinda like “Flounder” in Animal House…”Boy is this gonna be great” I thought to myself.
We hit the bar and had some killer spiced Pyrat Rum punch and “dirty” Martini’s..The crowd was interesting as well, no “Hollywood” douchebags…only the absolute coolest and down to earth “industry” crowd of any event I have ever been too. People were dressed up for the theme of the party, when I saw John C Reilly walk in with a sweet 30’s style top hat and wicked Tux-Vest combo I was pissed that I only wore a regular black tuxedo.
Neal and Matt worked the huge room of about 300 plus people like it was in intimate dinner party for 20. Talking to everyone, taking the time out to thank people for coming to the event and supporting the L.A. Food Bank. The appetizers were amazing, typical of Neal Fraser. My favorite was a blue cheese puff pastry and a short rib dish, but my wife loved the deep fried olives!
It was time to get down to business, we took our place at one of the long tables and were brought platters of slices steak, a bowl of spiced whole fingerling and blue potatoes all to be dipped on giant bowls of “Au Jus” and sour cream w horse radish. There were no “shy boys”, everyone just grabbed slices of the delectable, perfectly cooked, tender beef. Since there were no plates, napkins or knives and forks, it got a bit messy, but hey that’s what the Apron is for…and in my case, the table cloth! There was a “meat troll” (guy in a strange meat themed old time wrestling suit and top hat) running around to all the tables getting folks to eat…everyone at my table was having a blast except the dude across from my who (I shit you not) was a vegetarian…He had a few potatoes and said he was going out for Sushi afterwards (more meat for me)! There was another plate of shredded meat and bread that I must have eaten 3 lbs of…I was in a full on food coma!
Aziz Ansari (from Parks and Recreation TV show) and his crew were destroying meat next to us having a blast..they definitely made the most of the event, eventually firing up some at cigar’s that were given out to those who wanted. David Koechner (from Anchorman and a ton of other movies) planted a huge kiss on John’s cheek while they were were out drinking…he ended up being one of the nicest, most down to earth guys, just super nice.
We all had a fantastic night, thanks to Neal, Matt, Cort and Eric’s vision of bringing a long lost tradition back to L.A.. These guys know how to throw a party for sure. They are both class act’s..If you get a chance to eat at Grace or BLD, go for it, and tell Neal that I sent you! Matt Selman, you sir, are the lord, it was a pleasure meeting you and can’t wait to hit some foodie adventures soon! I can’t wait till Beefsteak 2012 and this time, I am not going to let John C Reilly out dress me!