Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I Met the Butcher!

Just emerging from a not quite so foody phase, I'm sitting at my local boîte, enjoying an iced tonic. Bean Sprout is with us, happy in his dog tote; not fully tucked inside, but half in the bag. Heh.
(I swear, if it weren't for Bean Sprout, we would never meet new people. He is a social magnet.)
An unfamiliar couple comes onto the patio of our boîte and spots the cute pooch.
"Oh, come on over and give him a pet," we implore.
The Mister obliges. He's got an intelligent, lined face, and one of those huge brass belt buckles that rodeo winners wear, not only to advertise their prowess, but to lure the "buckle bunnies" ... however it's clear this guy is devoted to his wife, whom he introduces, both to us and the puppy.
The buckle says "Cookin' U.S.A."
I can't resist.
I ask what the buckle is all about.
He tells me it was a television cooking show out of Nashville.
"Were you a contestant?" I ask, stupidly.
"Aw, no," he says. "I was the star."
I'm chatting with Merle Ellis, "The Butcher"!
He tells me he has since worked at Mill Valley Market — most likely in their really decent butcher department — and he lives in toney Tiburon.
We tell him we're wild about charming foodie stories like his... and we love Mill Valley Market... and we're — oh, so pleased to meet him.
And he says, "That's why we're here today" ... gesturing to this modest boîte, this place where I've never had a lousy steak... Where I hope to run into Merle again.


Dagny said...

I can't help but wondering if you would have had the meeting if it hadn't been for Bean Sprout.

sam said...

where are you? or do we have to guess?

Gustad said...

crazy ole bean sprout!

cookiecrumb said...

Dagny: I expect they would have just walked right on by. (I'd better give that doggie his overdue haircut, or his magic will wear off!)

Sam: I was hoping you'd guess, but it's Chalet Basque. (NB: I know very little about anything else on the menu, but it's definitely not haute/modern, and I suspect some of it's even a little frowzy.)

Gustad: He's a useful little feller!

Sam said...

well i got it right then cos that was the place i was thinking of in my head.

i went there once with fred when we first met.

cookiecrumb said...

Yeah, and I think you both hated it a LOT.
We just like the place as our little country hideaway up the road. And a nice steak now and then.

mrs d said...

Obviously, I need to stitch myself up a tote big enough for Platelicker. :-)

Greg said...

So kewl! I bought his first book in 1976.Cutting-up in the Kitchen still sits on my bookshelf.....er I was 2 years old at the time.

cookiecrumb said...

Mrs D: Well, if they don't already manufacture totes that would fit him, you surely don't wanna walk around with something that big hanging off your shoulder. I mean, with a massive animal inside it.

Greg: That is cool. I learned a bit more about Merle from the Pacific Sun food writer, since she (and you) have lived in Marin a little longer than I have. Keep those old books; they're great.

mac said...

I gotta get me one of them buckles. I found a sausage book at a used book sale today and as a bonus the book was loaded with clippings of Ellis' old column. It's good stuff.


cookiecrumb said...

Mac: Awesome find. It really gives a personal glimpse when you find treasures inside a treasure.
Let me know if you find the buckle.