July 15, 2006

house of beef

On the road to Yosemite during our last trip a few years ago, we drove past a mysterious boxy building with no identifying marks except a sign reading "HOUSE OF BEEF." Of course I found this endlessly entertaining. But we didn't have time to stop on that trip, so this time around we were thrilled to discover that the House of Beef was still there, in a slightly less mysterious guise -- it was now identifiably a retail establishment. So on the way back to SF from the park, we stopped to investigate.

You gotta love a place that just leaves a smoker sitting outside on the sidewalk, unattended, with tantalizing smoky meat wafting its enticements to lure passersby.

Turns out it's a whole restaurant, filled with memorabilia and antique tools, where you can get massive portions of marinated tri-tip beef, along with unlimited trips to the salad bar and mediocre pie. The beef is pretty good, though it has that weird salinity that most commercially-marinated meats have (and i don't generally care for), and the french fries were awesome.

There's also a whole gift shop/butcher shop attached to the rear of the place, where you can buy the signature marinated tri-tip and a whole range of other meats. House of Beef will also custom butcher any sort of meat you wish to bring them -- your own cattle, deer you might shoot on your trip to the Sierras, etc. I picked up a couple of ribeyes and some pickled green beans as a hostess present for MissLudmilla and MonkeyBoy, which were reportedly very tasty indeed.

Unfortunately, the House of Beef is located at a slightly confusing spot in the route to Yosemite where you need to make a turn, and we got so distracted by the ineffable mystery of the House of Beef that we missed the turn. However, while driving around (and around and around, it was a little frustrating) the region, we were endlessly amused by the town of Manteca. The idea of a whole town named LARD is just wonderful. Next trip we'll have to stop there for some food.

Posted by foodnerd at July 15, 2006 08:51 PM
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