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Emeril’s Orlando Solo Mission – Happy Anniversary

Hard to believe it’s been a year since my wife and I celebrated our marriage with a Steak at the Bull and Bear in New York City’s Waldorf Astoria. But I couldn’t be  happier! So while in Orlando for our 1 year anniversary, we decided to have dinner at Emeril’s at Universal City Walk.

Emeril’s menu isn’t all that long but it certainly is unique with Emeril’s creole touches. On this particular evening the special included a tasting menu. While 2 of the items held no interest for me, the 3rd had me wild eyed and excited; “Black Pepper Crusted Australian Kobe Rib Eye with Hudson Valley Foie Gras Calvados Mousse, Smashed Red Bliss Potatoes, Grilled Artichokes and Red Wine Bordelaise Sauce.” There are so many flavors there that by the time you get to the end, you have forgotten what you started with. I asked our very accommodating server if it would be possible to order it as a stand-alone entrée. Fortunately me, the restaurant was happy to oblige.

Ribeye wouldn’t be my first cut of choice but there was no denying the need to try this steak. I purposely stopped and took a breath before tasting my first bite, otherwise there would’ve been no slowing me down and I would’ve inhaled the thing instantly. With each bite, so many different flavors went rushing across my taste buds. The beef itself was slightly gamey tasting, which I am a huge fan of, but with slightly peppered taste. It wasn’t all that salty but certainly had a flavor like I have not tasted before. Foie Gras Mousse was slightly sweet but quite succulent. The Bordelaise Sauce was fantastic and when mixed with the Grilled Artichokes and potatoes, made so that every bite of the dish tasted different from the one prior. It was a carnival of flavors.

Eating steak as often as I do, the change of pace was welcome and there is no question, I savored this piece of beef. I will say though, that the intensity and mixture of tastes would not be something I would regularly order. A simple steak, cooked in its own juices with a little salt and pepper is hard to beat. But, as a little switcheroo, this was worth it. Being a very talented and successful cook, I am sure Emeril knows that and probably why this was the special!

I ordered my standard black sambucca and espresso to end the meal. Just when I thought the taste sensation was over,  I took a sip and was blown out of my seat. Hands down, this was THE BEST espresso I have ever had. Bold, rich, dark and bursting with the strongest tasting bean, quite possibly, known to man. It was so good in fact, that I pulled a move I never go for, I got a second.

A uniquely fantastic meal with a uniquely fantastic woman. I couldn’t be any luckier. Happy anniversary Cara!

4 out of 5 knives


Big Apple BBQ Block Party / Old Homestead – Solo Mission

This weekend in NYC was the infamous Big Apple BBQ Block Party. Held once a year in New York City’s Madison Square Park, the event hosts a dozen or more BBQ masters from around the country serving up their specialties.

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With so many to choose from and lines as long a 90 minutes, especially for the Salt Lick, from Driftwood, TX, the event offers up a “VIP” skip the line option for $100. If you aren’t into the investment you can  get their early to beat out some of the crowd. If you aren’t made of money bags and are a late riser, you can go our route; put a few people in line for the Salt Lick and send others to wait in the shorter lines and bring it back to those in the Salt Lick line.

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Each BBQ location brings their own cooking method, 1 or 2 of their signature dishes and their pit master. It’s quite and event, even for a city like this. We got there around 1 pm and instantly get in line for some of Michael Rodriguez’s Salt Lick.

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While we waited, Chuck and Molly ran out and got us some brisket from Fairfield, CT based Wilson’s Barbeque. The brisket was really good, especially the burnt ends. Some of the cuts were a little fatty and the sauce was a little too heavy on the tomato for me but overall pretty good. It just made me want the Salt Lick Brisket even more.

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The Salt Lick line reached from their tent all the way around the park and past the line for Blue Smoke. The restaurant from Robert Callagahn is located exactly 1 block from where the Block Party happens so even though the line was very short and their ribs looked great, we opted not to get any.

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While still in the enormous line for the Salt Lick, Chuck and Cara ran off to get us some baby ribs from Rack and Soul. Normally I wouldn’t suggest getting in line for something located in NYC but the line seemed short and baby back ribs sounded like a great idea. Let me tell you and moreover, let me tell pit master Charles Gabriel, they were the best damn ribs I have ever eaten in my life! The sauce was so sweet that it made the perfectly cooked ribs taste like peppered candy. I couldn’t get them in my mouth fast enough!!

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Just as we were polishing off 4 orders of Rack and Soul ribs, the bad news came down the line. Even though we were only about 15-20 people away from being served at the Salt Lick, they had run out of brisket. What is a Steak Club 7 member supposed to do? Stand in line and get some of the tasty Salt Lick sausage! I had them hold the coleslaw and added extra of the mustard base Salt Lick sauce. Good, God almighty, they make some damn fine sausage.

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That was it. I couldn’t eat anymore. Nona, Cara, Tina and Aaron all said the same. Chuck and Molly on the other hand, went back for some more ribs at Rack and Soul. Can you say MVPs? While we’re dolling out the awards, how about “Mom of the Year,” or “Best Use of a Stroller” for this lady?

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We met up with some other friends for a few afternoon beers and baseball. A few hours later and someone made a dangerous suggestion; let’s go get the bacon at Old Homestead. A few drinks in and one quick visit to www.opentable.com and we were on our way to bacon!

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The plan was for each of us to get a slice of bacon, a cocktail and that was it. Of course as soon as host Michael D. Florea sat us at our seat in the newly refurbished 1st floor dining room, the plan instantly changed. Molly and Chuck both got a slice of Kobe bacon and a Classic Homestead Burger while Rob, Kris, Cara and I split a burger and a porter house for 2. Now if you know anything about the SC7 (or our sister site Burger Conquest) you know that the Old Homestead is ranked #1 on both sites. If you don’t know us that well, it’s right there at the top of the page. How the hell am I supposed to go in there and not order a burger or a steak, let alone both? Clearly I can’t!

We started off with an appetizer of the Chef’s Special Bread Preparation; garlic bread in a Parmesan sauce. We ripped through 2 of those suckers as the hunger built in our stomachs for more meat. Along with the bread came the prized Kobe Bacon Slab. It is the best and biggest piece of bacon any where in the world. If you haven’t had one, get your behind to the Homestead with out delay! Admittedly, mine was cooked slightly less than I prefer but it was still darn tootin and don’t think I didn’t dip it in the Parmesan cheese!!

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The steak came out and it was still sizzling. I couldn’t wait to sink my toofusess into it’s juicy fillet and sirloin sides! The burger sat high on it’s plate with a wooden steak to keep it together. Once the burger was divided into 4 parts, the destruction began. Even though both the steak and the burger (much like the bacon) were just a tad undercooked, they were still amazing. You just aren’t going to find better than this! The meat at Old Homestead is bursting with flavor and with it’s own unique taste.

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Add in a side of broccoli sauteed in garlic, creamed spinach and their amazing pot of mac and cheese, and you have one super deluxe food feast. I’d love to tell you that I feel like more of a man after eating BBQ all day and beef all night, but I actually feel like I might need to go on an all grapes diet for a month.

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However, I regret nothing!!! At least what I am telling myself in the gym

Tell em Rob!

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Big Apple BBQ + Old Homestead:
4.5 out of 5 knives


Sing It Loud, It’s Steak Night!

That’s right J.D. and Turk …. It’s Steak Night!!

The SC7 is very excited for their first outing in 2009. Peter Luger’s here we come!!

You know you love bacon!

I advise all bacon lovers to click this link.

This is not spam (it’s bacon)!

Free yourself from web 2.0 and try web B.O!

– SC7

Arthur’s Tavern – Breaking the rules

It’s important to establish rules or boundaries with anything in life. Having a rules, allows for a plan and with no plan, there is no attack. With no attack, there is no victory. Just like anything else, Steak Club 7 has rules and one of them is that you must order steak on an official SC7 outing.

And that’s why sometimes, we go off on solo missions, because rules were made to be broken!

I gathered a few friends and took them to Arthur’s Tavern in Hoboken, NJ. This “old-fashioned neighborhood tavern” is a steakhouse that is rumored not only to be haunted, but also to have the best burger in Hudson County. Hence, going to a steak house to eat a burger.

One of Arthur’s greatest qualities is bigger size for a lower price. Check out the wedge with crumbled blue cheese and the diet coke. That’s he-man sized!

While most of us opted for a salad, Timmytats dove right into what looked like the most amazing bowl of french onion soup I have ever seen. He confirmed that it tasted as good as it looked.

Once the burger arrived, my first reaction colored me un-impressed. Yeah it looks big and its cooked right but it’s appearance was not dressed to impress. When I saw Timmytats’ bacon covered burger, I thought maybe I had chosen the wrong menu option.

However, everything changed once I cut in half and realized that a 6’3″, 225LB man like myself did not have hands big enough to wrap around this ground meat sandwich of lore, things started to look up. My medium rare burger with cheddar was more than any man should handle!

One bite was all it took to confirm, this was definitely the best burger in Hudson County and I’ll be damned if it’s not better than anything I have had in New York City. It was big, meaty, juicy, cooked just right with cheddar, lettuce and on a fresh kaiser roll. Truly, truly delicious and I couldn’t stop until all 10 juicy ounces had gone into my mouth.

ALL THIS FOR $6.25!??!?! Color me impressed Arthur’s! YOU WIN.

Great atmosphere, great service, great price, great burger and definitely get the Arthur’s Famous Potatoes but be sure to ask for them well done.

It feels wrong to judge this on the SC7 knife scale, so I’ll go with 4 out of 5 spatulas.

NYC Cheeesteak Crawl

SC7 sends out mad props to Jason Santa Maria for organizing a “cheesesteak” crawl of Manhattan. We collectively submit our vote for Carl’s Steaks. They’re the best in town.



Who needs ambience?

Who needs ambience?

Good luck Jason, please tell Carl’s we said hello.