Talking delivery driver through directions to my house: -20
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On a Saturday afternoon as beautiful as last weekend's, I often find myself torn between two opposing forces: the allure of the grill, stoked by the smoke and barbecue smells from around the neighborhood, and the siren call of the afternoon nap.
Lounging around my backyard, idly watching smoke rise from my neighbors' yard, I couldn't be sure whether they had already fired up the Weber, or were in the midst of some exacting bee-keeping task. (Anyone who wears a bee suit out in public has got to know their stuff, but since I moved here I've imagined every possible way their supposedly docile honeybees might escape, zero in on some gap in my roof, and make me their Macaulay in a slo-motion onslaught of stingers. Where's my puffer?)
I woke up from the usual nightmare realizing I'd been out for hours on the backyard bench, with the neighborhood now smelling like one big grill pit--all meat, smoke and hickory. Two realizations hit me: now that it was well into late afternoon, there was no way I'd be grilling tonight; and I really had spent the last few hours being eaten alive, but by mosquitoes, not bees.
With my heart set on a cookout and my legs covered in welts, there was one thing left to do: head inside and dial for steak.
I found Texan Steak on Yelp, and while the Google street view doesn't show any storefront with that name, the phone number worked fine. Without a menu online, I took my lead from other commenters and ordered a ribeye (9, 12 or 16 ounces were my choices; I took the mid-sized, medium-rare) with a baked potato and salad.
The phone call went smoothly, and the guy on the line was patient while I asked him about my options. He promised a 45-minute delivery.
I flipped on the hockey game, tried to ignore the urge to scratch my mosquito-fodder legs raw, and appreciated the thought that I was about to get some serious revenge on the animal kingdom. No matter how much of me was now flying around in bellies of local insects, three-quarters of a pound of beef were sure to tip the scales back in my favor.
Well before the steak was due at my door, I got a phone call from the delivery guy -- "I have your steak," he told me. "I take Gaston, or what?"
I scribbled a few notes in my scorebook--points off, driver, for even making this call--and tried to explain I had no way of knowing where he was at that moment. He tried describing storefronts he was passing, and I knew he was starting just a few blocks away from my house. Eventually I mapped his drive on my computer and talked him through the drive to my door--still 10 minutes ahead of schedule.
With the Rangers and Penguins tied at a goal apiece, I opened the delivery bag and reassembled it all into something more presentable. The steak was expertly wrapped in foil, juicy inside but without any leaks. The baked potato was wrapped in foil too, and very hot. A buttermilk roll joined them, unwrapped, in the large Styrofoam box.
A smaller, burger-sized Styrofoam clamshell was full of torn lettuce and cabbage, a tomato slice and--I counted--12 carrot shreds. Toppings for the steak, potato and salad came separately, in packets and small plastic containers.
These guys have mastered the packaging aspect of steak delivery, even if it took a little teamwork to get the meat from start to finish. The meat itself was cooked spot-on medium-rare, and but was far from the finest cut I've ever had, nor as rewarding as cooking it outside myself. If Papa John's delivered steaks, this is about what I'd expect to get.
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Still, it satisfied my summer afternoon craving without getting in the way of a nap. Best of all, I'd cut the mosquitoes out of the equation, and got to enjoy the meal safe in knowing that tonight, the food chain ends right here.
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