Make it Count
|Me and my mom outside of Whiskey Village|
I am by no means as strict with my diet as most people would assume. I have a few rules that I follow; avoid gluten 99.9% of the time, make sure to get a certain amount of protein a day (especially while training), eat a mess of leafy greens every day, take in a variety of veggies, watch my fruit and sugar intake, limit nuts, avoid processed foods, blah blah blah you’ve heard it all before. What I haven’t really discussed is my theory on cheating. If you’ve read most paleo books they say you can get away with eating clean 85% of the time, especially if you avoid gluten completely. Some ancestral health pro’s go so far as to say that one cheat meal a week no matter what it is, is essential it makes all your happy juices overflow. I follow the zip code rule (don’t do it in your own), make sure to cheat with other people to cancel each other out and most importantly make sure that all my cheats count. Go big or go home people. Why not? If you’re going to screw up weeks of hard work it better be freaking fantastic.
So how do you make it count? One way is to make sure the preparer of your cheat item is a master at his or her craft or at worst the treat is a high quality product. For instance if you’re going to cheat with ice cream why eat the cheep stuff. You can get air and sugar whenever you want. When I eat ice cream I’m locked into Hagen Daz and local artisan delights. Cheating goes far beyond sweets. If you live in Hawaii or are here on vacation I’d also say cheating at a restaurant like Alan Wong’s is another way to make it count. He only uses the best and most sustainable ingredients. Plus, he counts as a master of his craft, look him up. To Mr. Wong’s credit the first time I went to his establishment I pulled the celiac card and the meal still counts as the best I’ve ever had; get the Ribeye and beet salad there both delicious.
All that being said, if you’re ever trapped in Philly, at any point in your life considered yourself a burger whore, and don’t mind your food prepared by an Iron Chef; get yourself to the Whiskey Village order The Whiskey King, an Old fashioned, some duck fat fries, and a side of something picked. I did and I’m a better man for it.
|The King.. and his little sister in the back ground.. my mom’s cheat which I had to finish|
|house pickled beets and carrot|
|Eliza’s choice of cheat. Some wonderful lobster mac and cheese|
Before I get into specifics of the Whiskey King here’s a little back story on the burger whore thing. In my past life, before I went and turned Paleo I sought out and slobbered over all things medium rare, double bacon, and cheesy. To this day a good burger is the one thing I miss on a regular basis. However, now that I’m gluten free and clean eating I almost never eat what most burger experts would consider a real burger; no cheese, bun or ketchup please, oh yeah and is your mustard made with white or apple cider vinegar (sorry it matters). So this year I decided to start a yearly burger quest. I figure once a year I can give myself one complete burger, bun included, but it’s got to be special. Knowing I’d be jumping an ocean (special), not knowing when I’d be back in the city of brotherly love again (very special) and knowing I’d probably only have one shot at having a one of a kind burger experience (double special) I decided to indulge in the best burger Philly had to offer, The Whiskey King.
So what makes the Whiskey King so special? First, let’s talk about the chef. Jose Garces has a beast cook book, over four restaurants in Philly and Chicago, beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America, is a James Beard Award winner, winner of The Next Iron Chef, and owns and operates a big old farm. I could say more but you get the point, the guy knows food. Second, the ingredients that make The King worth a flight across an ocean and continent with a toddler. At its core lies 8 ounces of quality Angus, topped with maple bourbon glazed cipollini, rogue blue cheese, applewood bacon, and foie gras (rich fatty duck livery goodness).
Every bite was awesome. I can’t say much more than that. It might not have beaten Alan Wong’s Ribeye as my best meal ever, but it definitely surpassed a burger I ate at the Pennsylvania State Fair with my Mom and boyfriend at the time George (who by the way is a twitter-holic and someone I’m glad to still be in touch with) when I was somewhere between 13 and a senior in high school. Don’t ask why the fair burger was so good or memorable, I’m not sure. I just remember looking at my mom and George one bite in and saying, “this is the best burger I’ve ever had.” I haven’t had that kind of a reaction to a burger until biting into the Whiskey King. At least now I have a better story with a little more detail… well that is until next year… hopefully.
|look at the goodness dripping on my plate, and my mothers mischievous glare|
|My jaw actually cramped up a little|
Here’s to cheating (with food) and living the good life… sometimes… actually only 0.01% of the time.
P.S. Gluten is still the devil and should almost never ever be eaten.