Beef Ice Cream. For real. No missing punctuation. But before we move on to such radical flavor concepts, I must not skip passed other happenings of my week off the ranch. Following Monday’s Beef Counts meal at Mary’s Place in Seattle, I joined the Bellingham-based Haggen Food and Pharmacy team and ranchers from Whatcom and Skagit counties in their stomping grounds to keep the Beef Counts love flowing.
The crew managed to provide about 1,000 pounds of nutritious beef to Bellingham Food Bank clients. It was another day of beef filling a nutritional void, and filling the hearts of the local cowboys who left the ranch to be a part of Beef Counts. A day well spent.
Because variety is the spice rub of life, it’s only appropriate that Seattle area consumers engaged in Beef Counts in a different, and very delicious way. On April 4, Seattle Weekly’s Voracious Tasting & Food Awards presented by the Washington State Beef Commission at Seattle’s Paramount Theater enabled about 1,200 hungry Seattle foodies to eat and drink themselves into oblivion and philanthropy. Ten percent of the ticket price provided for Beef Counts at Food Lifeline. After all, there’s more than one way to cook a brisket! Figuratively in this case, but also literally.
We served beef to this crowd, too. Teaming up with Painted Hills Natural Beef , we conducted the unscientific “Beef Blind Taste Test”. The brand offers both grain-finished and a grass-finished beef. We challenged tasters to try each bite, and tell us which they preferred before the ranchers – Merton and Glynda Homer of Oregon-based Painted Hills would tell them which was which.
The tasty exercise opens a conversation about beef production, what cattle eat, and demystifies the ranch-to-restaurant process, so to speak. It’s a small Seattle food world after all, so we ran into our friend Chef Thierry Rautureau, and had a great discussion about corn in the cattle diet and his upbringing on a small farm near the Normandy region of France.
Finally, the ice cream. Our friends at Snoqualmie Ice Cream got into the beefy spirit by bringing a custom burger-inspired concoction to the party.
Per their scoopers, the owner handled the project personally, and his wife really dug the final product. The base was a tangy barbecue and Worcestershire sauce inspired lick, with a texture provided by real bits of ground beef. I don’t think they will be adding it to their boutique creamery line up, but it was fun for a taste!
Was that the weirdest taste at the event? Not even. I ate crickets, compliments of Poquitos. And they weren’t even good. Apparently, they are a standard bar snack in parts of Mexico. It makes sense. They were salty like mixed nuts or popcorn, but the bitter-sour-stank taste following the salty is what really makes you run for a beverage. Luckily, our beef booth was positioned right across from Local 360, offering samples from their seasonal beverage menu. I highly recommend Virginie’s Rose Smash.
With that, clearly it was time to head back to the ranch!