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Beef for the First Time

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I have decided to try beef for the first time in 12 years. Though I know it would be better to eat in a restaurant, I want to bring it home with me in case I get sick while eating it.

If you were going to take out beef to eat for the first time, what would you recommend ordering and where would you recommend going? I am open to recommendations of restaurants in DC and Montgomery County.

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  1. Get a burger at MacDonald's for $1. If you get sick, at least you didn't waste a lot of money.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Ericandblueboy

      And then fully turn off beef for at least another 12 years?

      hopeinmee - what is the reason you haven't eaten beef in 12 years? That would help us out. Also, do you eat meat? If not, beef might not be what you want to start out on.

      Taking a wild guess that you do eat meat, just not beef, I guess I'd start by doing something like good Mexican; either fajitas so you can mix in some beef with some chicken, or a lomo saltada or carne asada, which is a thin piece of meat that has, imo, very good flavor.

      Generally from all I've heard, the bigger the animal, the less impact on the environment, so in that regard, beef is better than chicken.

      1. re: Dennis S

        Dennis--I had stopped eating beef because I was bored with it. I ate it at least 4 times a week and was tired of eating it all the time. With many people around me not eating beef, I jumped on the bandwagon and stopped eating it. I am now realizing how limiting not eating beef can be given all the other foods I do not eat so I decided to try and see if I can add it back into my diet.

        1. re: Dennis S

          "Generally from all I've heard, the bigger the animal, the less impact on the environment, so in that regard, beef is better than chicken."
          Corn-fed beef has a huge impact.

          1. re: ko1

            Definitely! Just from all I've heard and read, CAFO beef is less impactful than CAFO pork is less impactful CAFO chicken (though all are hard on the environment). Done right, the animals shouldn't make much of a difference - just CAFO.

        2. re: Ericandblueboy

          As silly as it sounds, I'd have to agree on concept. That first experience is probably going to be so unusual (at best) and down right sickening (at worst). I don't know if I would be able to tell the difference between a fancy plate of beef and a regular home-made plate of beef if it were my first time. Either get a simple burger (I'd recommend a five guys burger if you can rather than McDonald's/Burger King/etc) or buy a slab of strip or rib eye and make a really simple steak. You absolutely need no previous experience to make a simple delicious pan-seared steak.

          Good luck. Hope you love beef. Everyone should love beef (except for those poor poor cows).

          1. re: Ericandblueboy

            Maybe go to a pho house and get a bowl of pho (beef broth, with small, thin pieces of beef). That could be a good way to get your feet wet.

          2. See if the Prime Rib will let you take out one of their delicious signature steaks. It's certainly about as "meaty" as you can get! (Plus it's so good).

            Otherwise, how about a burger from Palena. Might be easier to look at and more delicate. Good ingrediants, I believe homemade bread and one of the best burgers in town. (Certainly better the Micky D's.)

            If I were to go lower end I would go with Five Guys. I see other's point about not spending a whole lot if you are afraid you might have a bad reaction.

            1. Good luck! I hope you don't get sick, but people who don't eat stuff like that in a long time do tend to get sick so play it safe. I think I would order a steak with sides you know you like some sort of potato or veggie. Get the smallest steak they have, get it done medium perhaps the first time to be safe if you don't know how you liked it cooked.

              If you could find someone that had short ribs to go, I think you would really like that. Most places will do a to-go order. I am trying to think of somewhere good, but not out of this world pricey in case you don't like it. Daily Grill has decent steak and isn't killer price wise, they also have braised short ribs and they do to-go, go with something not real fatty as the meats you eat are pretty lean and ask for something other than fries they will get soggy. Ceiba has a spicy steak with a spicy sauce on it you might like.

              Zola has braised beef that would be good, but I think it has bacon too that might not be what you would want.

              You could also get to go sliders, they aren't as high meat to toppings ratio so it gives you good flavor without overwhelming meatness. Matchbox I am sure does theirs to go.

              And if you really love beef after some experiences if you tell you know who I can guarantee he would treat you to Morton's.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ktmoomau

                "You could also get to go sliders, they aren't as high meat to toppings ratio so it gives you good flavor without overwhelming meatness. Matchbox I am sure does theirs to go."

                That was my point. Get a burger from somewhere, anywhere, pile lots of condiments on there and you'll be eating beef again in no time.

                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                  Yeah I think that is a good thought. I agree you want something where you have just a little beef and other stuff mainly.

                  I was trying to think of something you could take a couple bites of and get what it tasted like without being overwhelmed. I thought fajitas or tacos, but they don't use very good beef for that, although good beef tacos might work if it was like the slow cooked shredded beef, then I thought asian ethnic, but I don't eat a lot of beef in those dishes, so I didn't know what would have good beef flavor to it, then I thought maybe steak tips, but I didn't know anywhere that had it.

                  I thought with shortribs, the texture and taste would be really good beef flavor and you could just eat a few bites, even though it is very fatty and rich with a couple bites you could get the essence of the taste of beef.

                  I have a friend who came back from being a vegetarian, it took a little while for her to get back to liking meat, I think beef was her last, I will have to ask her about her experiences with that.

              2. This may be an off recommendation, but go to Chipotle, get a burrito bowl with the Barbacoa - the spicy shredded beef - its not fatty, its tasty and might be a good first step before you sink a fork and knife in a big steak or burger.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Adam23

                  Having watched a friend eat his first red meat in about 10 years (a burger that completely disgusted him), I wholeheartedly agree with trying pho, shredded beef or anything other than a burger or steak.

                  1. re: CMACDC

                    That is a really good idea, I was trying to think of a type of ethnic cuisine (thai, chinese, etc) that had beef, that you didn't lose the flavor of why beef is good, and I didn't think of Pho, and in a lot of chinese and thai you really lose the flavor of the beef to the sauce, good thinking.

                2. I'll echo everyone's recommendation that the first "dose" of beef be somewhat limited. On that theory, a tapas or Middle Eastern mezze meal might work well. You could order a small plate of something with beef on it and select the remainder of the plates from the foods you would normally eat.

                  I think you'll less of a reaction if the beef has been cooked by a slow cooking method in contrast to a grilled piece of steak. Folks have already brought up pho. Here are a few more ideas: beef stews/goulash, braised beef short ribs, or ground beef in moussaka. Since these tend to be served as full-portion entrees, you'll want to get a friend to share the beef dish and fill in with the type of food you would ordinarily eat.

                  Your focus has been on eating beef at home in anticipation of a bad reaction. Is the reaction so instantaneous that you might be ill before the end of the meal? Really? You don't even have a couple of hours before any reaction might set in? I only ask because if you'd like to experience the taste of beef again at its best, eating it freshly prepared seems to be the way to go.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Indy 67

                    For slow cooked beef, it doesn't get much better than barbecued beef brisket. And there are a couple of places around here that do it right.

                  2. As someone who has considerable digestive problems eating beef, I have some suggestions. I have had to lay off beef for long periods up to a few years. As it is, I eat it only very rarely, with months between sometimes.

                    First of all, since you haven't eaten beef for so long, you may not have all the digestive enzymes available. Therefore, start small. Do not go out and eat a large amount your first time out. You'll probably find that just a few bites will satisfy you, anyway.

                    Getting something like McDonalds is probably a very bad idea. You will be more likely to get sick.

                    Secondly, whatever you have, don't have a lot of rich sides with it. The combination is more likely to make you sick.

                    Recall what beef dishes you used to like and go for that. I personally have never found a difference when going back among rare vs well done, slow-cooked vs grilled, ground vs pieces of meat, cooked in dishes vs straight meat, etc. The major thing is to start small. Sometimes I would first venture back with a few slices of a medium rare steak on a salad. If you loved burgers, go with a burger, but a well-made one (e.g., Palena) and not a low-end one (e.g., Five Guys). But eat only a portion of it. You can work back up to eating a Five Guys burger. I have.

                    If you liked beef in dishes, then the Chipotle suggestion might be a good one. I don't know about their beef, but they try to be responsible about the pork that they use.

                    If you liked everything beef, then the pho suggestion is a good one. Sometimes that's what I have if I'm hankering for it after a few months off.

                    If you have issues around environmental impact, which I do, then try to find someplace that serves grazed, grass-fed beef. This has less environmental impact than any "industrialized" meat. Better yet, buy some meat from a place like Eco-Friendly Farms at Dupont Circle or Arlington Courthouse Farmers' Market and cook it at home. You may be set on going out. I'm not sure what restaurants in the area serve their beef, but if you ask them at the market, they would be more than happy to tell you.

                    1. I recently fell off this very same bandwagon, and got some good suggestions (albeit for Baltimore): http://www.chowhound.com/topics/499414.
                      I had been eating some fish and chichen before, but my first meat meal was a scrumptious filet minon perpared by my boyfriend (I agreed to try a steak (he's from Wyoming and used to work on a ranch) in exchange for him stopping smoking - a very good deal for me!!) I must say despite not eating red meat in over 16 years I had no tummy troubles, so I wouldn't stress yourself out too much. And I hope you enjoy the broadened menu choices as much as I do - as a foodie it's so great to actually go to a resturant and let myself consider all the options. Makes me kick myself for not having made the transition back sooner. . .