Things have been pretty quiet here on the Life of Ando for the past few months. I don’t know if there isn’t much to say or I just lack the energy to say it. But there are some life happenings that require mention. Things that so alter the course of ones perspective on the world that all hinderances to expressing it must be hurtled. Last night was one of these events. I went to Espetus.
The name alone conjures an imagined world of exotic wonder and exotic and wonderful it was. Seven of us were brought to this enchanted bounty by our resident gentle giant, Leo. A native of Brazil, he wanted to share with us a taste of his homeland, though to describe it as a mere taste is like saying Noah’s flood was a cloudburst. From the moment we entered the restaurant in the heart of San Francisco the food was upon us like a flash flood. There’s no ordering, you have only two choices: “Keep the meat parade rolling” or “Meat is clouding my vision, I better stop.” You indicate your current status by a two-colored wheel on your table, green for go, red for stop.
The selections are amazing, all delivered to you on skewers. A server in Brazilian gaucho garb brings the skewer to your table laden with any of the following: parmesan-roasted pork, pork tenrloin, ribs, herb chicken, pork sausage, various cuts of beef preapared in a variety of ways, lamb, jumbo prawns, and chicken hearts. The server then either slides off a cube or slices off a piece which you grab with your special tongs (provided). The flood of slaughtered animal begins as a trickle, fooling you into thinking you can keep up without a problem. However, the trickle soons becomes a torrent. Not wanting to miss out on anything, you always take what they’re offering, even as the queue on your plate begins to pile ever higher. There are other options besides meat, a salad bar offering a number of lesser foods, but this is a mere sideshow. Not that they weren’t very good as well, because they were, but they aren’t the star of this show and they know it and are content to stay in the background.
Among the eight of us, I think was the fifth to throw in the towel, eating to the point of light-headedness. Considering the company I was in, I’d say that was a pretty stout accomplishment. After my plate was removed and I began the process of digestion in earnest while attempting to make coherent conversation, I kept reflexively taking sips of my water, which couldn’t have had too much room to manuever down my gullet. I’m pretty sure it was just pooling up on top of everything else somewhere just above my collar bone. We crowned Matt the king as he not only went back for salad after the meat spigut was finally turned off, but he then asked for a desert menu! A true man among boys.
Without a doubt it was the most amazing dining experience of my 31 years. It’s not something you can do every week. Not only is it pricey, about $60 a head including tax and tip and only drinking water, but to eat this way on a regular basis would either cause you to be crushed beneath your own morbid obesity or your heart would explode. However, once or twice a year would certainly do no permanent damage and I think we all agreed that at the very least an annual trip to this magical eatery was more than warranted.