Decadence & Guilt

In celebration of the closing on our house yesterday afternoon, my wife and I had a decidedly decadent celebratory dinner at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, a longtime favorite place for celebrations.  We went to the original, the only one we’ve ever visited.  It did not disappoint. When I suggested the place, my wife (who is ever frugal and a bargain hunter of exceptional talent) quickly discovered that we could get a free appetizer worth up to $19 simply by signing up for their e-club (which is, I am sure, a means to use my email box as a means of seducing me to return).

I started with a drink, an Old Fashioned, which was OK but not something I’d order again. My wife, who very rarely breaks the doctor’s rules, ordered a glass of house malbec. We selected tuna tartare as the free appetizer, which we shared. It was a delightful mix of finely diced raw tuna, capers, and just a bit of sprouts…tiny things, maybe chia,,,served ib toast points.  It was superb.

My wife selected Del’s Salad and I went for my old favorite: heirloom beefsteak tomatoes and sliced onions, awash in a spectacular bleu cheese dressing.

For the main course, we selected only beef, no sides.  My wife ordered one of the specials of the evening, a trio of 4-ounce filets, each prepared differently and cooked medium, which is her preference.  One was Oscar style, with lump crabmeat topped with bernaise; one was seared with a bourbon & pepper glaze; and one was…something else that I can’t remember. All were exquisite.  My main course was a monstrous prime porterhouse, cooked rare; it was extraordinarily good.  The glass of house malbec I ordered with the meal complemented it perfectly (I tasted my wife’s wine…that taste convinced me to get one of my own).

When the waiter brought the check, I looked quickly at the bottom line; I was stunned and shocked and delighted to see that it was far, far less than I had expected!  But a quick scan of the itemized list revealed that it did not include the liquor.  I called him back to say I would happily pay the check as presented, but thought he might want to add the liquor to the total.  He smiled and said, “Oh!” and rushed away to get a replacement; it was more in line with what I expected.

There was far too much beef for one meal, so both of us got to-go boxes and brought the bounty home with us. This morning’s breakfast will include scrambled eggs with a side of some remarkably good slices of beef!

Though I truly enjoyed last night, I would not make a habit of visiting such places even if I were independently wealthy with not a financial care in the world.  The very high prices on the menu (and Del Frisco’s is by no means the most expensive place around) emphasize and underscore the adoration of wealth.  The atmosphere, though quite nice, is testament to the worship of material wealth.  I would tire of such stuff very quickly; one occasional dose is quite enough for me.  More than that and I would begin to rebel at the conspicuous disregard for how utterly ridiculous it is to spend so much on a meal.  That is to say, such places are for me ONLY places for special celebrations.  Regular visits would tend to isolate the visitors from the real world.

And so I end this effusive appreciation of our meal at Del Frisco’s with an acknowledgement that dining there is a very guilty pleasure, one that underscores the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. I hope Del Frisco’s is very generous with charities; it most certainly should be.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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