Four more years!
No, I am not referring to an upcoming presidential election. I am referring to Zach and me. March 22nd will mark the 4th anniversary of our 1st date. We were Juniors in college at the University of Florida. We were both a part of Student Upstart Films which was a club started by Sue (of Sube). Our first official date was to go see the movie, V for Vendetta, a movie I had already seen once at the time. The movie was fine but not something I would normally see twice in one week. Our first dinner date was to Outback Steakhouse in Gainesville. We both ordered the "Outback Special" since the love of steak was something we had in common.
Here we are four years later. We have been through so many life experiences together from studying for exams, graduating college, moving across the country, starting jobs, quitting jobs, countless trips, debates and laughs. Everything is better with someone you love by your side. A quiet evening in front of the television is something I look forward to. One thing that has failed to change is our love for steak. Zach has seen my passion for cooking grow over the last few years, but I have never been a master at the grill. He, on the other hand, has perfected the art of grilling. He can make the perfect steak nearly every time, and it never fails to impress me.
For our anniversary this year, we took a trip down to a little town about an hour northeast of San Diego called Descanso. We stayed in a rock cabin in a small neighborhood community near the Cuyamaca Mountains. The cabin was an old cozy space with nothing but mountain country charm.
There was a fireplace, an old wooden checkerboard, a kitchen straight out of the 50's, a creek out back made of freshly-melted snow and a hot-tub on the back patio underneath a gazilion bright stars. Zach became very friendly with out neighbor.
The cabin was about a half hour outside of a small historically rich town called Julian, CA. Julian is famous for its apple pie and its important role in the California Gold Rush in the late 1800s. There is a Wolf Center where you can observe large Alaskan Gray Wolves in a semi-natural habitat. There are antique shops and a small used bookstore on the main street. We ate Bar-b-que and Apple Mountain Berry Pie after a 4 mile loop hike at Stonewall Mountain trail in the Cuyamca Mountains.
The cabin itself was so cozy, we decided to make a nice dinner. Steak seemed like an appropriate anniversary meal. Filet Mignon, grilled shrimp, blue cheese vinaigrette salad and bruschetta were all on the menu. Wouldn't you like to know how to grill the perfect steak?
Here are some tips from Zach:
Set a gas grill on high heat, and let preheat for 7-10 minutes.
While the grill is pre-heating, season the steaks with a little bit of each of the following: balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic powder.
Put steaks on the grill on the high heat.
Press down on the steaks with a long spatula until a small amount of juice drips into the flame; this will make the flame jump, searing the outside of the steak.
If you like an exceptionally seared steak (you know, with that little crisp to the outside like you find in restaurants), pour some beer or whiskey on the grill (the higher the alcoholic content of the beverage you use, the more crisp the outside of the steak will be).
Turn the heat down to medium, close the lid of the grill and allow steaks to cook about 10 minutes (flipping every 3 minutes) for a medium rare steak.
After you remove the steaks from the grill, wait at least 5 minutes before cutting into it.
This should all be followed the next day by a hearty breakfast in the crisp, cool, morning mountain air.
Just stay clear of Alaskan Gray Wolves looking to run off with your meat before you cook it.
Alaskan Gray Wolf crunches a raw chicken leg like it is a pretzel at the California Wolf Center in Julian, CA.