Monday, January 24, 2011

To Filet or Fillet, That Is the Question


One recent cold and snowy evening with no food worth eating to be found in the fridge, we decided to use one of our gift certificates and eat at the most upscale place in town. It is located at the top of a long flight of stairs in the back of a bar on the ground floor and I'm not sure if the change in elevation or the cold air fogging my glasses but when we got to the top and saw the special board, it listed a filet on a puff pastry with choice of potato and a vegetable medley. We were soon seated and after perusing the evening menu from which I've eaten many tasty dishes over the years, my mind returned to the special board and visions of a beautiful fish fillet served on a puff pastry filled my head. So I ordered it and when the waitress asked me how I wanted my filet, it took a few seconds for my head to register what had gone wrong.

I've only had one filet mignon in my entire life and it was outstanding. But it was in the very early post marriage days when we had cash in our pockets, no house, kids, bills, etc and we were out to take the world by the horns. It also set me back a Ulysses S. Grant for two of them. Now I love good food but I have a hard time shelling out 25 to 35% of my weekly grocery bill for one of them especially when all food... well comes out in the end if you know what I mean. I also have pride and that put me in a pickle. Do I back down and change my mind to something more reasonably priced (I'm assuming at this point since I haven't even seen the price for the special) or damn the torpedoes full speed ahead? Medium rare I told the waitress.

It was an outstanding experience and every bite seemed to melt in my mouth. But it still caused me to wince when paying and my bill after the gift card had been deducted still came up to more than I normally cough up for a meal on the town for our family of three. It was a hard price to pay to learn the difference between a filet and a fillet especially for a southeast Iowa third place finisher in the 1988 regional spelling bee.

6 comments:

Vince said...

There are certain food that you are far better off doing at home. Fillet and lobster are but two, for really what the heck do you do with them beyond the simplest of sauces. Lobster sliced in half under the grill then doused in garlic lemon butter. And fillet with a Bearnaise and fries, the latter works even better with a sirloin or rib steak for there is more fat.
I find it's with the cheaper cuts that you will see the Art of the Chief.

R. Sherman said...

I agree with Vince regarding any steak. They're better at home and cheaper by a lot.

Cheers.

TC said...

I'm in agreement with the other two. I prefer steak off the grill at home.

Part of that could be because I grew up on a small beef farm in Wisconsin and I've always believed our own beef tasted better than most stuff I've ever gotten elsewhere.

But the other part I'm sure is the price tag. Even when you buy high-quality meat from a butcher, it's still cheaper to do at home.

But I'm not so great at making fish, so I'd prefer to go out to eat that.

sage said...

Good post, I had to chuckle at the way you poked fun at your mistake. Like the others, I rarely eat beef out, except for a burger (actually, I rarely eat beef, but when I do it's rare).

Murf said...

Ah yes. There are always good stories when the Abbeys are out on the town. ;-)

Bone said...

Only medium-well for me, please. And err on the side of well.

Though I've never had a filet.