Keeping it Flavorful: Steak and fries make a tasty bite

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Putah Creek Cafe’s Steak Frites feature charred tri-tip cubes served over a bed of fries, topped with blue cheese crumbles. (Crystal Apilado/ Winters Express)

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Summer is the ideal season to cook outside on the grill. A world of flavorful dishes opens up on the grill – outside of the all-American tradition of hot dogs, sausages and burgers.

Two of my favorite things to grill include vegetable skewers and Filipino barbecue chicken (Inihaw na Manok). I enjoy putting together a flavor profile of soy sauce, citrus, vinegar and savory herbs in a marinade and topping it with the smokey taste of cooking it over a fire on the grill.

The challenge is that sometimes I just don’t want to cook dinner. The chopping, the waiting, the skewering, trying to get a good heat going – the process paired with young children at home on a triple digit day can be a lot.

In the event I don’t want to cook, I turn to our local eateries. One of my current favorites this summer is the Steak Frites at Putah Creek Cafe. This dish alone combines a lot of my favorite things into one appetizer (that I happily eat as a meal although my five-year-old daughter says it is not a dinner). Essentially, its steak paired with French fries.

Steak Frites features charred tri-tip cubes served over a bed of fries, and topped with blue cheese crumbles. The menu touts that it also has steak sauce and salsa verde, flavors that are not something I would think would taste great – but they indeed are delicious.

I didn’t know that I liked blue cheese until I had the steak with softened blue cheese crumbled on top at Tomat’s. Ever since Susan convinced me to try it, I include blue cheese crumbles when available.

The sharp, salty flavor and creamy texture of the blue cheese pairs with the meaty taste of the tri tip. The sweet and bold flavors of the steak sauce and salsa verde drizzled on top with a forkful of fries creates one delicious bite.

I included a garden salad with my meal to help cut through the rich flavor with something “fresh” and crunchy. The fresh cucumber really does the job.

Get dessert
If you really want to treat yourself, order a slice of pie.

Sometimes, I will order dessert for my husband. And, sometimes he offers to share a bite of it with me. That was the case with a slice of Mixed Berry Pie.

The berries were tangy and tart, baked into a flaky pie crust. It highlighted the natural sweetness of the berries, without weighing it down with the taste of sugar.

We ate it before dinner, which in my book is an acceptable way to eat dessert. But, don’t tell my children that because often the conversation with them flips dinner before dessert.

I want to try the Tri-Nut Pie and Peanut Butter Chocolate cake next time. I may need to bring my family with me to share the calories. If you have a favorite local summer dessert, please let me know.

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