I rolled into Winter Park, Florida, hungry. I had made the trip down from Tallahassee fueled by only a bag of mini-wheats and a cup of black coffee. I did not have much time before my mediation started so I decided to grab something fast. I decided to check out the Meat House located on Orange Avenue. It advertises itself as a neighborhood grocer and butcher, and from the outside it certainly lived up to that image. The building is a dark tan and the side that fronts the parking lot is rather bland. A large Meat House side complete with a stylized longhorn steer stands above the door. However, around the corner on the side facing the main road a black awning covers several tables and chairs giving it the feel of an outdoor cafe.
Entering through the sliding glass door I was greeted by the delightful sights and smells of a high-end market. Numerous wines were displayed in addition to a number of craft beers. Pedestals displayed numerous kinds of groceries including specialty pastas and sauces. Fresh fruits and vegetables were also available for purchase. To the left was a small checkout area. The floors were wood and the entire space had a kind of old-time grocery store vibe that I really enjoyed.
I made my way towards the rear of the store and noticed the Meat House’s crown jewels. Two meat cases packed with a numerous cuts of pork, beef, chicken and seafood. Other prepared salads were also available. It was carnivore heaven, and I drooled over the two-inch thick bone in pork chops. I wished I had brought a cooler to take some of their meat back north.
As I stood in a meat haze one of the butchers asked if I needed any help. I told him I was looking for a sandwich and he pointed to a small paper sign. The Meat House offered several sandwiches and I was eager to try their steak and cheese. The butcher told me they used their hand cut steak tips smother is cheese and served on a crusty sub roll. I told him I would take one and watched as it was prepared.
The bread was sliced in half and toasted on the gas grill. Several scoops of prepared steak tips were dipped from a container. I was expecting them to be warmed on a griddle, but instead they were plopped into a microwave. Oh the humanity! After warming for a short period of time they were placed into the toasted roll and covered with slices of cheese. That was the sandwich, beef, cheese, bread and nothing else. He wrapped in aluminum foil and handed it over the counter. I took it and proceeded to pay.
Unwrapping the sandwich the microwave’s ding rand in my ear. How could they nuke beef tips? My expectations plummeted and I took a bite. To my surprise rather than being tough and rubbery the beef tips were tender. The cheese was perfectly melted and gave a creamy sharpness to the sandwich. The bread was phenomenal. It was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. All of the elements came together and made for a very good steak and cheese sandwich. Next time I am in Winter Park I would not hesitate to stop in for another sandwich. If I do I will also have a large ice packed cooler in the trunk to transport some steaks and chops.
Sweet Tea & Bourbon’s Rating: