Game Feast at Munich Haus, Chicopee MA
This was just way way too tempting to pass up on. I drove up to Chicopee through gusts of wind, but fortunately met with no traffic, to meet with several other similarly-minded souls over game meat.
The locale is a way-crowded apparently very popular German dining spot at a good location off of Route I-91. A little more complicated to return to the highway after, but that’s what Eleanor (the GPS unit) is for. Chicopee revels in one-way streets.
In the big banquet room, hundreds of places were set, and chairs were ready. We found each other, our table, and then swooped down on the delectables. There’s now a new link in the blogroll to Go Paleo due to this meeting. While I’m not on the Paleo Plan myself, there’s a lot to like about it. It focuses on real foods, no synthetics, and low carb. We had some good discussions over dinner about it, and food (and exercise) in general. I do like the Paleo approach to exercise: short bursts of intense activity, to mimic hunter/gatherer necessities. (I do this when I shovel snow: Shovel, take breaks, shovel intensely again…)
At the carving station, there were five meats: in the order of best to least best (nothing was bad):
Ostrich. Lean, tender, cuts like butter, and a superb taste overall. To die for. I’ve had ostrich twice before: the first time in New Orleans back in the 90’s, when we were there for a business conference. It was the last night in New Orleans. My compatriots were wanting American grill type food, having had their fill of the unusual Cajun and crawfish and other accompaniments. However, I saw ostrich listed on the door of a restaurant in the French Quarter. I separated from them for this one night, and had the most DELICIOUS steak ever, served prime rib style. And rare. The restaurant refused to serve it beyond medium rare; apparently it turns into really nasty shoe leather at that point. I was perfectly happy to be compliant. The second time I had Ostrich was something I bought from a local supermarket pre-packaged in a marinate. I cooked it, and served it to myself rare. It tasted like salt and plastic. The Ostrich at the Munich House was every bit as good as my New Orleans dinner had been.
Kangaroo. Lean, tender, very similar to a very high quality beef, it also cuts like butter, and goes down smooth. This was my first experience with ‘Roo.
Bear, the second serving. I had two servings here. This serving was apparently from a different cut of the ursine beast; it was very reminiscent of an excellent and flavorful cut of pork. I’d love to know what part of the anatomy.
Venison. I’m well-used to venison; this cut was excellent! Sliced thin, it worked very well.
Buffalo. I’ve had ground buffalo, but this was my first experience with a cut of buffalo. It was indeed very good, and very much like free-range grass-finished beef. Not surprising, since they are related, and since a lot of buffalo has unfortunately crossed with cattle.
Bear, the first serving. Rather more dried out and devoid of flavor than I was hoping. Yes, bear most probably shouldn’t be served rare, but I’m thinking back to Christmas about three years ago, where we acquired some bear meat, and after combining a couple recipes I found on the Internet with ingredients we had on hand, I made sort of a combination bear pot roast/bear stew that shows really well what one can do with this meat. I don’t have the recipe written down (alas) but as I recollect we marinated it overnight in tenderizing tomato sauce, lemon juice, and some good seasonings that would stand up to bear. The bear we simmered away for 3 or 4 hours (I think the latter), adding in onions and whatever else seemed to work. And work, it did. It fell apart on the fork. The backup lamb for just in case ended up being eaten at a different meal. (How many people can state that they partook of bear for Christmas dinner? Probably not many!) At any rate, I’d love to know what cut of the bear imparts that porklike essence as described earlier in this post.
As far as the selections in the chafing dishes:
Game (unspecified) Stew: Chewy and uninteresting.
Bear Sausage: Awesome. Sort of a pepperoni thing going on, though not as hard as pepperoni.
Game (unspecified) Sausage: Breakfast-style links. Not bad, not awesome.
Alligator and Chicken Sausage: Breakfast-style links. Not bad, not awesome.
Rabbit Stew. The legs were great, the breast was dry. Too much starch (for my tastes) in the sauce. Or maybe Paleo sensibilities are infectious…
Alligator Fritters. They were very lightly breaded, and excellently-seasoned, and they along with the Bear Sausages were the highlight of the chafing dishes.
There were some non-meat items, and a full dessert table, but other than the cucumber salad and some water, I stuck with the meat that night. I admit the following day I had no desire for meat at all! (Seafood and veggies, mostly veggies…)
Next post: Striped Bass will be coming to town! Lock, STOCK, Roe, and Cheviche!