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taking HUGE step, REALLY need help from fellow hounders...

ok, so i've been a vegetarian for 21 years. the mere thought of eating anything that lives on land has turned my stomach since i was 14 years old. even the smell of any sort of meat being cooked [poultry, pork, beef, you name it] always makes me gag.

anyway, about 10 days ago i had to switch to a gluten-free diet for health reasons. doc told me he had a feeling that as my body adjusted to the new regimen and began to heal, i'd actually WANT to start eating meat again...i told him he was suffering from delusions of grandeur.

well, it looks like i just may have to eat my words.


i woke up yesterday craving red meat like nobody's business. i thought it was just some weird subconscious reaction to what he had said [i.e. the power of suggestion], and suspected it might go away as quickly as it came.

not quite.

it's ESCALATING as the days pass, and i'm now obsessed with satisfying this craving.

but if i'm actually going to do this, i want to do it right. i know getting into 'cut' anytime in the next month is pretty much out of the question [and i don't necessarily want to drop that kind of money on it just yet...i'm still afraid one bite might send me running for a bucket].

so where to go? what to order? i think i'm specifically craving a burger, which sucks, because with this gluten-free situation i can't eat the bun! would it still be worth it? do i go to the counter & order one in a bowl? get the famed father's office burger & take it off the bun? try the california burger @ houston's that everyone raves about? the kobe-style burger @ boa?

or am i better off just getting a steak? if so, which cut? ribeye? new york strip? filet? and where?


thanks :)

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  1. Do yourself a favour and go easy on it -- your stomach will rebel if you jam fourteen ounces of beef down it after 21 years without. Go to a yakiniku place (I live in OC, so my recommendation would be Tsuruhashi in Fountain Valley, but other Hounds can chime in with LA recommendations) and get some wagyu beef -- the portion is quite small but you will leave feeling very, very sated -- after probably 4-6 ounces of wagyu beef I was full through breakfast the next day.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      lol i'll definitely 2nd yakiniku. haven't been to tsuruhashi, but if you're anwhere near west LA, hit up manpuku. exquisite beef tongue shio (hope the thought of that doesn't put you off) and yea i think the smaller, bite-sized portions of deliciousness might be less of a shock to the system.

      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        I agree with going slow at first. Maybe a steak salad with a lean cut of steak -- flank steak. I would ask for med to well done so that it is not red. I had it at Park Avve. in Stanton. Now it may not be on their menu but when I ask they do make it. I also had it at Auntie Em’s Kitchen. Still, I would check with the Dr. If that works without a problem then comes a pound of bacon at home.

        Park Ave.
        11200 Beach Blvd.
        Stanton, CA

        Auntie Em’s Kitchen
        4616 Eagle Rock Blvd.
        Los Angeles, CA 90041
        (323) 255-0800
        mon-fri 8am to 7pm & sat-sun 8am to 4pm

      2. It seems like it would be reasonable to take things slowly -- the body would probably freak out if it had to digest a big NY strip steak. Hell, I'm a meat-eater and my body doesn't always take too kindly to a huge steak, given how rarely I eat one.

        So, given that, what about going for shabu shabu? You could go to Sawtelle and eat at Mizu 212. You'll get vegetables and meat (and no gluten). The beef is high quality, as are the vegetables. And you're in control of the cooking, so you can eat as much or as little as you like.

        1. Well, I agree with everyone's suggestions to take it slow. I went through a few year period where I didn't eat any red meat, back in the 1980's, but my first meat cravings were for pork, specifically carnitas. Anyway, as someone who's been having to low carb since mid-April, for medical reasons, I can highly recommend the burger at Bandera (Wilshire/Barrington) without the bun. It's extremely satisfying, but it might be too rich for your first foray.

          1. If you do go for a burger go to 26 Beach in Venice, they have angus beef and "Kobe"(american Wagyu) and great toppings. Can you have corn tortillas on a gluten free diet?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Burger Boy

              yep, corn tortillas are ok as long as they're pure corn [i.e. no other types of flour mixed in].

            2. I agree with all of the other posters who ask you to go slow. My wife is a vegetarian for the most part, but still has cravings for meat on occasion as well. When she gives in, and if she eats any quantity beyond a modest amount, it comes back to haunt her. I think what happens is your body hasn't been required to produce the enzymes in large enough quantities to properly break down the animal proteins in one's body. When you introduce something to the equivalent of Lawry's "Beef Bowl" cut, the backlash that your body is going throw will make the French Revolution seem mild.

              I would take the same approach as what Das and Glutton suggest. Go for quality in smaller quantities with foods that your body is already accustomed to. A little beef goes a long way in yakiniku - you'll be able to savor the flavors alot longer, from the moment the beef is presented to you, to the grilling and sizzling bringing forth the aromas, to the long-awaited romance between your mouth and your long-lost love - those tender marble-laced slices of premium beef. And shabu shabu might be even easier on your body as you'll be poaching your meat - you can decide whether or not the resulting broth will be to your body's liking...

              1 Reply
              1. re: bulavinaka

                Shabu-shabu sounds like a great idea and I agree with other posters about the portions.

                If not shabu-shabu, would share a medium rare filet mignon with someone at a good restaurant... I believe medium rare is easier to digest than something more done.

              2. Take things slowly or you might be very ill. You might not, but why chance it.

                My friend was in almost the exact same situation as you. Vegan since her early teens, she was told by a few doctors to start working dairy and meat back into her diet slowly for health reasons. She started with mild cheeses, moved to other kinds of cheese, then fish and chicken. I don't know if she's started or wanted to start on red meat though.

                I would get something small and delicious to start, and then if you're still craving meat and you feel okay after a few hours just go nuts.

                Some things I like when I have that beef craving:

                -a few slices of kalbi somewhere with very high quality meat (or a good Korean market)
                -steak frites at a tapas/small plates restaurant (actually, the one at Beechwood is shockingly good in a buttery way)
                -a baco at Opus that involves beef (but you'll have to wait til next Tues!)
                -steak or rare roast beef sandwich at Clementine.

                My friend's lost over 40 lbs, btw, by ADDING meat and dairy to her diet. This is on TOP of muscle mass weight gain from lifting lots of weights. Eat your shorts, "vegetarians don't get fat" people! She's got 10 more pounds to her goal weight.

                1. Fogo de Chao. If you're going to fall off the wagon, do so in grand fashion.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: SauceSupreme


                    This would be like cold turkey in reverse.

                    1. re: SauceSupreme

                      Is this all-you-can-eat Brazilian bbq? You guys crack me up. :)

                      1. re: SauceSupreme

                        ditto! you can have all kinds of meat! so delicious! excellent salad bar.

                      2. I agree with the numerous other posters who have noted that if you eat too much meat your first time out, you'll likely be sick.

                        If it were me, I'd go have lunch at Lucques (http://www.lucques.com/ ), order the steak frites, and eat about 1/4 of the steak. (Take the rest home, of course.) It's a nice clean re-introduction to beef. Not too much seasoning or sauce, with some delicious french fries, and a nice side salad. Simple, balanced, and well-prepared. It should scratch your itch without overwhelming you or making you sick.

                        Welcome back to the carnivore club, btw.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: David Kahn

                          I second this rec. Sensible and sensational.

                        2. From some of your other recent posts, i'm assuming you do eat seafood...yes? my SOL has similar health issues, and said to start with fish, then very lean meats, in small quantity...she's now the consummate carnivore and can put down a baseball cut with the best of them, but says it's the fat content of the meat that makes the difference for her. My thoughts, stick with seafood - if it has feet and/or wings, or slithers on land, I don't eat it. Claws and pinchers are of course acceptable!

                          1. I was a vegetarian who started eating meat again after several years (i.e., 4 or 5). My first meal was a curry chicken sandwich, but I have to say, I was pretty quickly eating all kinds of meat again. I experienced absolutely no shock to my system as a result of resuming my meat habit. Mind you, I wasn't veggie nearly as long as you, and I craved meat the entire time (e.g., I was and am a huge fake meat aficionado). But I wanted to give you a different perspective since I think some vegetarians psych themselves out with the change...

                            PS: I say, get some kind of ground meat kebob at Sunin or Sham.

                            1. ^ I agree. Here's what I'd do in your sitch -- obtain a take-away serving of filet mignon beef satay from Talesai in Studio City. I think it's still one of their permanent specials.

                              High quality, good portion, not cheap, but really tasty.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Maxmillion

                                i know, i planned to eat it at home just to be safe. either order it to-go...or buy some raw beef & cook it myself. [i may not typically eat meat, but i am an experienced cook and i've handled it quite well in the past...the food science portion of my graduate studies required me to work with all sorts of proteins, and i even do the turkey for the thanksgiving feast i host every year.]

                                but i digress.

                                any suggestions for good takeout sources on the westside? i'm in brentwood, and i'd rather not have to head over the hill...

                                1. re: 1_healthnut

                                  What about getting Father's Office burger takeout and then you could take the bun off once you're home? I was veggie for 10 years and the first thing I started craving after years of being disgusted by meat was a very rare burger. This one does the trick!

                              2. I am not familiar with what you are describing, so please do not rely on me for advice, but my first reaction is that if this is what you really want to do, then have someone cook something for you at home. Something like a great prime filet that you can buy at Gelson's. I live in Brentwood too so for filet i go to Gelson's century city or palisades. For lamb chops, or burgers, Ralphs. Chicken is Rosie's at Gelson's or Whole Foods on San Vicente. Whatever you make, I'd do it at home, grilled plain with a little salt and pepper. Cooked to your spec and when you want it. Eat as much or as little as you want. No need to have the stress of eating out. I love meat and I rarely get it how i like it at a restaurant and I rarely get the quality that i want. For example, burgers can be top sirloin or choice or chuck -- all taste very different to me; seasoning can vary; if the meat is angus or kobe or prime or whatever affects the taste. by eating at home you pick what you think you might like best and there's no pressue, no discussion, etc. if it doesn't work out for you, no big deal.

                                I don't know what you mean by "heal" or "begin to heal" or why a gluten free diet would "heal" you or why it would create meat cravings. You may want to think this thru some more. Get a second opinion? Let us know what you decide. This is HUGE.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Bite Me

                                  the "healing" aspect comes from the fact that i have celiac disease, a condition in which foods that contain gluten damage/destroy the intestinal cells.

                                2. Like everyone else said go easy and eat small. You mentioned that you might want a burger, go to Mo's in Toluca Lake. Their hamburger is really good, and one of the few places that you can get it medium rare. I rarely finish the burger. They have a lot of good toppings that you'll enjoy it without the bun. Enjoy

                                  1. You can always get a protein style burger at In-N-Out. It's really more like a lot of veggies with small amounts of beef throw in. It's cheap, fresh, good, and you can test how your body reacts to the meat with minimum amount of effort/$. Get a milk shake on the side to fill you up.

                                    Then I'll say graduate to the nice prime steaks... ;)

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: notmartha

                                      THANK YOU to everyone who offered their advice, suggestions and concerns. you guys are great.

                                      after much consideration, i decided that the best way to do this was at home, on my own terms. so i picked up the necessary elements at whole foods yesterday, took them home, and here's how it went...

                                      -i seasoned some organic ground beef with coarse salt, fresh ground black pepper, a touch of minced garlic & a dash of lea & perrins...and pan-seared the patty on the stovetop
                                      -put the burger on a toasted gluten-free bun piled with ripe heirloom tomato, red-leaf lettuce, red onion, and a drizzle of smoky barbecue sauce
                                      -had it with some oven-baked organic yukon gold shoestring fries seasoned with a little olive oil, fresh pepper & sea salt, and a small plate of sauteed baby spinach on the side

                                      i was over the bun & fries after the first couple of bites of each...but i enjoyed every last morsel of that burger.

                                      felt great all evening. slept like a baby. feel great today.

                                      so apparently after 21 years i'm officially a carnivore again.

                                      crazy, huh?

                                      i'm going to try some poultry today, but more importantly, i'm thinking a restaurant steak dinner is in my near future.

                                      so, who does the best filet mignon in l.a.?

                                      1. re: 1_healthnut

                                        If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, Fogo de Chao on La Cienega. You can choose from an array of meats (the lamb chops sing to me) and the cuts themselves are small, rare, medium, well, whatever... And the salad bar is to die for, as are the sides - yum for the fried polenta sticks!!!!!!

                                        1. re: Ndelible

                                          While Fogo de Chao has the best meat selection, it just doesn't justify the price to me -- we usually go to Picanha or Gauchos Village.

                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                            I'm a certified carnivore and sometimes the meat at Picanha is just too much for me - actually, always. It's a little too MUCH and sometimes too well done for a former vegetarian to cope with first time out of the gate, I think.

                                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                              Ah, the price is more than fair, IMO. I generally go for lunch though - it's $32. The quality of the sides and salad bar puts it far above the other brazilian places.

                                        2. re: notmartha

                                          Like Notmartha, In 'n Out protein style would be my choice. A small amount of flavorful meat with some good veggies and sauce. Yum. When I switched away from a veggie regimen, it was (eek) a Tommy burger that did it.

                                        3. I've known about my celiac for the past 4 years, and it took about 6 months to fully adjust to eating gluten free. As for meat, LA practically caters to gluten free meat dishes b/c everyone trying to avoid eating flour (vanity works in our favor here).

                                          I always try to cook at home...but sometimes, I just need a burger!

                                          A burger without the bun is still AMAZING and one of my favorite foods.

                                          If you go to In-N-Out, you must order the following: Double Double Protein Style with Grilled Onions. Yum.

                                          The Counter burger in a bowl is great. Houston's burgers are some of the best in town. They will hold the bun. Father's Office will not, so I pick off the bun, but some people are much more sensitive to gluten than I am. If my mother has even a trace of gluten, she's sick for two days.

                                          PF Changs has an entire gluten free menu, so even though it's Americanized Chinese food, it's pretty much the ONLY truly gluten free chinese food that you can eat--and you can get stuff made with beef or chicken depending on your meat craving.

                                          When you are cooking at home, order ALL NEW condiments and spices from www.glutenfreepantry.com so that you are cooking pure.

                                          Get the filets or the tenderloins from Trader Joe's, rub on salt and pepper, and grill it at home. Wonderful!

                                          I like steaks from the Palm and Maestro's in Bev Hills. Plus if you tell them you have to eat gluten free, they'll prepare it for you with care.

                                          I love the rest of the suggestions above--I am looking forward to trying them as well!

                                          BTW, order tamari packets from Gluten Free Pantry (or maybe they're at Whole Foods now) to take with you if you like to put soy sauce on stuff--no more soy sauce for you--it's made with wheat!

                                          One day, I'm going to open a restaurant and bakery aptly titled "Gluten Free!" (the exclamation point makes it so classy, doesn't it?). Then you, me, and the 20 remaining gluten-free nerds in LA will dine like kings!!!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: gluten free mama

                                            for you in n out burger, ask for a grilled whole onion slice, so much better than the chopped stuff.

                                          2. Good to hear you tolerated the burger well.

                                            I generally don't order filet mignon in restaurants - I like them on the firmer side. If you have a decent BBQ grill, you can get great ones from Trader Joe's and cook it yourself(they have both angus filet and angus filet tips - I prefer the latter).

                                            Otherwise I think any of the fancy places for steaks tend to have good ones - Mortons, Ruth's Chris, Fleming's, etc. Try searching chowhound.

                                            If I want prime rib I tend to just go for the cheap but good option at Carvery at South Coast Plaza. It's just order at the counter and they deliver at your table type of deal, but if you get the platter with the meat medium rare, hold the jus (too salty) it's a nice piece of beef.

                                            Otherwise I also like medium rare BBQ tri-tip at Wood Ranch. It's flavorful, but a bit more chewy/firm than a filet.

                                            My most recent great steak moment is the Hitching Post, but you'll have to drive north past Santa Barbara for that.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: notmartha

                                              Heh, my favorite restaurant steak is at Nero's in Caesar's Palace LV: they've got the option where you can top it with bone marrow. Aaahrrrrr.... (drool) Talk about carnivorous!

                                              Locally, I'm okay with the Mastro's steak, but really I have more fun just trying out different burgers. Most places, if you tell them "protein style", because of the prevalence of In-N-Out, will know what your talking about, and they'll accommodate you.

                                              1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                Marrow on steak. Oh that sounds good. Although marrow on anything's good!

                                            2. Shabu Shabu on Sawtelle could be a great solution for you. The meat is LEAN and you'll have lots of veggies to go along with it.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: eliwise

                                                On that vein you can always get pho. They are mostly rice noodle soup, with options of rare/cooked beef.

                                                The other thing I eat when I crave red meat is roast duck - specifically chinese BBQ duck.

                                              2. Consider something light and easy to digest like shabu shabu and order or split a small poriton. You'll have good beefy flavor or texture and can experiment with different degrees of doneness. Mizu 212 on Sawtelle offers an organic beef option which should satisfy at least a few of your concerns.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: JudiAU

                                                  oh yea for sure. when i eat shabu shabu i often feel like i'm faking vegetarianism lol...

                                                2. I'd be looking for meat that's been produced without the hormones, antibiotics and steroids that are present in ALL supermarket meat that is not labeled Organic, no matter how fancy a name is attached to it.

                                                  1. Shabu Shabu is an excellent idea! I used to live in Japan and one of my main reasons for staying as long as I did was the draw of the shabu shabu. I couldn't leave it! :) You get a plate of delicious meat and a plate of vegetables and two dipping sauces-ponzu and goma (sesame). Having said that...
                                                    Houston's (same co. as Bandera's-mentioned earlier) has a great burger but also a great filet-very tender and very lean. I recently tried the filet from Mastro's of BH and was appalled at how much gristle and fat there was! For the prices Mastro's is charging I really expected at the very least,a gristle-free filet.