Food Gal Contest: A Meaty New One, And Winners of the Popchips One

Wouldn't you love to sink your teeth into this juicy filet? One winner can. (Photo courtesy of Morton's)

I hope you found the last Food Gal contest involving Popchips a blast to participate in. The three winners of that contest who made my heart go pop the most are unveiled at the end of this post.

Now, wait until you get a load of the latest contest that starts today.

It’s especially made for carnivores.

Morton’s The Steakhouse in San Jose is generously offering one Food Gal reader a complimentary dinner for two at any Morton’s location worldwide. Yes, that’s right — a dining certificate for two people that’s good for up to one year at any Morton’s around the globe.

Now that I have you salivating, I’m sure you’re wondering just what you have to do to win, right?

No worries. It’s very easy. Keep reading.

You already know that my hubby’s nickname is Meat Boy for obvious reasons. What you might not know are some of the ways he’s truly earned that moniker. Let me tell you.

My husband is the sort who will go to the grocery store, and return with arms laden with a humongous roast or a mountain of pork chops or a heap of rib racks, then declare, “Gee, I wonder what we should eat this with tonight?”

I will respond in complete disbelief, “You were just at the store! Why didn’t you think of that when you were there?”

Then, he will look at me blankly, and whimper, “Uh…oh…yeahhh….that’s a good question…”

I still remember when I once returned home at night from the gym to find that my husband had cooked dinner. He thoughtfully left a plate out for me. When I pulled back the foil, I discovered about six little “piles” arranged neatly. There was a bit of sausage, a bit of steak, a bit of roast, a bit of ham, and a bit of this, that, and the other. All of it was meat in some shape or form.

There was no salad, no bread, no rice, no potato, and no veggies whatsoever. In his meat-filled mind, he had cooked the perfect dinner. All meat. But, of course.

My hubby is the type who believes that fancy prix-fixe menus would be far better if they had no salad, intermezzo, or dessert courses. He believes tasting menus should essentially be tastes of meat, meat and more meat.

You know how gal friends will call other gal pals let them know there’s some killer shoe sale going on? My husband’s colleague, Ed, has been known to call my husband excitedly to inform him, “Dude, prime rib is on sale at Safeway!!”

So there you have it — some insight into why Meat Boy is who he is.

Now, it’s your turn: Tell me one memorable story about how the Meat Boy or Meat Gal in your life earned that distinction. And yes, if you prefer, you can even explain how YOU qualify for that description if it’s more apt for you than anyone else in your life.

Deadline: Entries must be received by the end of the day, Aug. 1. Unlike previous contests, this one is open to anyone, no matter where you live, since the dinner is good at any Morton’s in the world. The one winner will be chosen by my Meat Boy, with input from me, of course. The winner will be announced on Aug. 3.

And now, for the three winners of the Popchips contest, plus a BONUS: The good news is that you are ALL winners in one way or another. The folks at Popchips were so thrilled by the responses you came up with that they want to send coupons to all who participated. The three grand-prize winners revealed below will be sent a bag of each flavor of the popular snack chip.

Without further adieu, here are the three grand-prize winners, listed in no particular order, who best answered the question, “What three things make my heart go pop?”:

Alejandra, who wrote:

1) That little open-eyed smile nod thing my boyfriend does when he bites into something I’ve made that he likes. I always look out for it when he takes a first taste and it’s fantastic when I see it.

2) That sweet moment when you show up at a store and find out that there is only ONE pair of the shoes you love left in your size. And they’re 50% off what they were last week when you were “this close” to buying them but didn’t.

3) Packages. I adore receiving packages. They don’t have to be wrapped up in brown paper and tied up with string, but they better have something wonderful inside!

Katrina, who wrote:

1) Coming home to find my husband in a kitchen, that looks like WWIII just erupted in it, trying to surprise me with a homemade meal.

2) Seeing hope in the eyes of someone who has just been diagnosed with food allergies as I show them around a grocery store and help them realize their culinary life is not over; it is just beginning.

3) Watching my family try to play a board game without breaking anything or anyone. We are all a little too competitive for our own good!

And Mike, who wrote:

1. having my 2-year-old daughter walk into a room and proudly exclaim “whatcha doin” is absolutely adorable.
2. walking through any historic building and getting the rush of adrenaline when you realize your walking in the footsteps of so many other people.
3. sitting in the stands of any baseball field, little league up to the pros, and having someone hit a homerun, the buzz and electricity that instantly fills the crowd is like the first time everytime.

To claim your prize or coupon: Participants and winners should send me an email (see the “Contact Food Gal” link on the right-hand rail) with the subject line “Popchips Contest,” along with the screen name you used for the contest, as well as your full name and mailing address. The information will be forwarded to the folks at Popchips, who will send out the prizes and coupons.

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  • What a neat contest! I’m looking forward to reading all the stories. Don’t have my own good story for this one I don’t think 🙂

  • I have nothing to offer to enter this contest, but I do love the crab cakes at Morton’s. I’m also always amused by the side dishes like the gigantic hunk of broccoli that comes simply steamed with a little cup of hollandaise on the side. Such a clear statement that the sides are not what matters, and it’s all about the steaks. (and crab cakes)

  • I met my husband 27 years ago at Ft Bragg, NC in my brother’s backyard during a BBQ. As he was filling his plate, I joke about the amount of meat on his plate and no vegetables. He replied, “I am a meat and potatoes kind of guy, but the potatoes are optional” It has taken me over 27 years to convince him that there are other things that go on dinner plates other meat, but if he has his choice, he always defaults to steak!

  • Me (and all my Ex’s).

    First, Shawn. When I met Shawn, he was a vegetarian. But I didn’t know that. Our first few dates were at Italian restaurants so one doesn’t notice when Fettuccine Alfredo is ordered over a Bolognese. But when I invited him to spend the weekend with me for the first time, I wanted to be the good girlfriend by making breakfast the following morning after our first time together. While Shawn was still sleeping, I headed towards the kitchen to juice the oranges, grate the cheese for omelets, and — of course — start frying the bacon. The distinctive aroma filling the house, wtihin a few minutes a groggy-eyed, sleepy Shawn stumbled into the kitchen with the announcement, “I smell bacon.” Turning towards him sweetly, I smiled and responded, “Of course! I’m making us breakfast.” It was then he announced that he had been a vegetarian for eight years but that the smell of the bacon (and perhaps the night with me?) had completely reformed him…

    Later in our twelve year relationship, I was working at a Napa winery when the vineyard manager felled a grazing dear. He called the vineyard crew in two hours early to quarter the animal and divide up the proceeds. I was thrilled with the prospects and asked for the loin, but couldn’t believe it when no one else wanted much of the meat. Heading home with the front and hind quarters in my trunk, I called Shawn to clean off the cutting board; we had work to do. His vegetarian/Buddhist philosophic background kicked-in as when I got home, the incense was burning and the house was full of the sound of Buddhist chanting. As Shawn and I continued through our amateurish butchery techniques, working on obtaining every morsel through the sinew, Shawn became trance-like with knife in hand, thanking the animal spirit for its glorious offering.

    Lastly, just two years ago, when I first started dating Kevin in early 2006, I caught on quickly that here was a guy who had nary anything green pass his lips in years. Moving in with him, we routinely feasted on charcuterie plates in bed, made a ritual of creating our “Sausage Sunday” brunch with friends. But then I discovered that D’Artagnan Foods was having a special “Ariane’s Freezer Sale.” We went through the site and filled our virtual cart with all the meats we desired. When we were notified that the shipment went out (in two boxes), we realized there was no way it would all fit into the freezer that our small one-bedroom apartment contained. The apartment was rearranged and a second refrigerator was purchased — just to house our meat purchase; over 60 pounds of game that included a Kobe beef tongue, rabbits, quail, venison, lobes of foie, buffalo, boar, and more. The really cool part? There is free shipping after 40 pounds and by the time our order arrived, all 60+ pounds of gourmet game meat ended up averaging only $4.99 a pound. Over the next few months, we made venison larb, buffalo moussaka, and rabbit ravioli.

    Even now, as a single girl, I hunt out the most obscure bits of meat possible and was thrilled that, at a weekend Mechoui in Sonoma just a few days ago, besides the ample goat skin and meat, I was award the tongue!

  • I was a vegetarian for 20 years, and then I became a mom to MeatBaby, who grew up to be a now-fifteen-yr-old MeatTeen. As moms do, I ate her leftover meat and lost my vegetarian status. Hoping to regain it, along with reducing her addiction to bacon, steaks, and hamburgers, I read her excerpts from “Omnivore’s Dilemma” about issues with meat production and consumption.

    Finally, she said, “Okay, Mom – I’ll try being a vegetarian for a while.” I asked her what kind of vegetarian recipes she’d be interested in trying, she replied, “Chicken.” When I explained that chicken is not a vegetable, she said, “But it’s not really meat, either!”

  • I am a total Meat Girl which obviously made God laugh and pause before making me miss type 2 diabetes girl. lol Every day I try to make salads and veggies taste like a big yummy cheezburger .. alas it doesn’t quite work. I do eat way less meat then I’d like too and too many veggies! A good dinner for me — if I could — would be bread and butter with 3 whole chicken breasts pieced and dipped in bbq sauce!

  • I have long said that, if it were not for Macintoshes and digital cameras, I probably would be waiting tables still. However, in 1999, I acquired a stint with a company doing farm dinners in the Santa Cruz area.The chefs were inspired by wild boar (killed from a treetop, saving Happy Boy Farms from having their potato crop ravaged), venison, foraged mussels, and so on, as well as the usual selection of pastured beef, chicken, lamb, and other things that grow on the Meat Trees at our local farms. Pork bellies were a first, as was the only foie gras I’d ever been able to stomach: I learned the importance of having clean meat on the table, and have acquired a palate that can no longer stomach the BBQ pork at, say, Armadillo Willy’s.

    A few years ago, we had a young butcher, Justin Severino, move to town, and he began working with TLC (Tastes Like Chicken) Ranch. He needed a website, and I quickly adopted a tagline: “Will Work for Meat.” My freezer was filled with his custom sausages, pork tenderloins, chops, roasts, lard (“pork butter,” as Justin called it), along with his spice blends to take the dishes into new realms.

    Other clients have included ranches and restaurants: they also paid in meat or eggs, or in fine dinners with multi-course tastings that introduced me to tripe, brains, sweetbreads, birria, and more. I am happier than a pig in…mud. My birthday dinner this year included three separate three treatments each of duck, beef, and lamb (along with sixteen other dishes from chef Brad Briske).

    My most recent conversion was to lamb, which I could never stomach: it tasted too dead. Then I learned the difference between hair sheep (like the Dorper) and wool sheep: the latter have all that lanolin in the flesh, which gives it that gamey taste. Hair sheep produce the sweetest lamb imaginable, really like a different animal altogether.

    Another revelation came when I had my first grassfed beef: even the ground beef was like eating a new food. The hamburgers from Morris Ranch tasted like the hamburgers of my childhood: like REAL meat. Yes, I am through forever with supermarket meat.

    I write about farms and ranches, and have taken my meat education seriously. I am always happy to lead people to real, clean meat—humanely and sustainably raised. And equally happy to have folks over to dinner: a grill filled with various meat cuts, along with smoked vegetables from our garden. Leftovers, with TLC Ranch sausages, make the best meaty pizzas on earth.

    “Will Work for Meat”: not the worst job in the world.

  • This is not only a story about my meat-loving husband, but apparently all meat lovers that appreciate a good, big burger.

    Nothing makes my husband happier than an In N Out 4X4, animal style. I think I love beef just as much as the next woman (or man), but I tried a bite of his once and found it way too overloaded with meat. So, I usually stick with a single patty cheeseburger. I don’t like food that can’t fit somewhat neatly into my mouth. On one visit, as we were getting ready to bite into our burgers, I saw my husband make the scariest face I’ve ever seen on his normally very sweet and mild-mannered face. His eyes bugged out as he stretched his jaw as far down and wide as possible to take a bite. At least three different veins surfaced around his forehead. I thought he looked psycho-killer crazy. In fact, he looked that way with each bite he took, until the entire burger was gone. I told him so, and he didn’t understand what I meant because there were no mirrors.

    We started looking around, watching others eat, and realized that every other guy in the entire dining area was eating their burgers the exact same way! Deranged carnivores. It was hilarious. He got to see what he was doing himself and laughed. Ever since then I call that look the “burger face”.

    I bet if you watched your male companion next time you eat a burger, you will see him doing the exact same thing. Luckily, I didn’t catch any women doing this. Seriously, do guys know they look that psycho when they eat a burger?

  • My friend developed gallstones at the age of 24 from eating nothing but red meat and, sometimes, potato chips.

  • Nothing to detract from your hubby, but my wife has called me Meat Boy for years.

    I think this makes me a contender:

  • My brother was always the “Meat Boy” in our house growing up… we had the tradition of letting the birthday boy/girl pick their dinner, and his would end up sounding a lot like the meal your husband left for you! What makes this story cute is that his oldest daughter is completely following in his footsteps! “Carnivore” was one of her first three-syllable words, and while her sisters would rather eat pasta, beans, or veggies, B would be completely in heaven if her plate would be covered in ribs, wings, pork, chicken, beef, etc….

  • I love this post given what you had written as a comment on my blog about your husband being a meat guy as well. My boyfriend has the name meat boy because whenever I make a delicious dinner, which is often vegetarian, he will without fail say WHERE’S THE MEAT!?! His only appliance is a George Forman grill which is routinely soiled with steak drippings, although he seems to think it’s just flavoring for the next thing he cooks.

  • My husband, Grilldave, is a meataholic. He went to buy a few steaks awhile back and came home with a freezer’s worth of beef and pork. He had to buy a “meatsaver” in order to package it all up prior to freezing. Most people call them foodsavers…but not my husband.

    He also bought a La Caja China Pig Roaster because he wanted to roast a whole pig. That little project was a mere $550.00….he is roasting a goat next.

    He cooked wild game for a big bbq we had…including snake. He actually said, “our snake is on the plane today”….right around the time the movie came out.

    He bought a smoker because he wanted to smoke salt and pepper…to put on the meat, that was also smoked. Seriously, we could start a bbq business out of our backyard!

    They don’t call him Grilldave for nothin’. BTW..he will eat white cheddar cheese, which he calls “the other white meat”. I manage to get some veggies down him by hiding it between the layers of meat on his dagwood sandwich. I can submit pictures of all of the above!

  • First, Thank you for the opportunity! I love steak and simply cannot get enough.

    But I would have to say “the meat” person in my life would have to be my boyfriend. He can cook a mean steak on the grill and more importantly loves meat more than any other food out there. Sometimes he’s sent abroad for work and what does he miss most? A good steak dinner. In fact, he comes back from India on Wednesday and the first thing I’d like to do is take him to a nice steak dinner to celebrate his return. A free one couldn’t hurt!

  • It’s a widespread myth that all women love bread and chocolate. Don’t get me wrong; these are two deliciously divine foods, but if you give me a choice, they are not what I’m gonna pick. My mom used to make fun of me when I ate burgers or sandwiches, because as a child, I had a tendency to put the bread aside so I had more room in my stomach for the “best part.” In my head, why would you fill up on the bread which only surrounds the yummy goodness that you ordered in the first place? Club sandwiches were squished down and condensed as the third, unnecessary piece of bread was removed. At picnics and barbecues, birds ended up enjoying the little pieces of bun I tore off in an attempt to get mouthfuls that were mostly hot dog.

    As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to appreciate vegetarian cooking and meatless main dishes. But I never get cravings for salads in the same intensity as my cravings for a big steak or juicy burger. I am woman, hear me roar… for more meat.

  • Wow, there are some fun reads, here, the only thing I would add is that my husband can be “meat boy” on occasion as well. An example would be when he wanted to recreate a dish he loved when he was in Nicaragua – he said he’d prepare it and take care of dinner. To me that meant the sides, too. But nooooo, dinner was the meat, just protein and nothing else. I’ve learned to ask more questions when he does the cooking.

  • When I first told the main squeeze of my life about your contest, he told me I could not refer to him as Meat Boy… he must be known as the Meat Man. Which made me laugh and decide to enter!

    When my Meat Man and I were first dating and I tried to make him dinner, I quickly learned that vegetables do not enter his mouth and OJ is the only fruit he consumes. However, that man can make an amazing steak and a mouthwatering burger. I am a healthy eater for the most part, so in our fridge, we have his and her shelves. His is full of grilled meats, deli meats, raw meats, baked meats, and some bread to occasionally soak up meat juice.

    My favorite story is when the Meat Man decided he would “make my sweetie a healthy dinner.” What did I consume? Grilled chicken, steak, and a low fat gourmet hot dog. He had no idea how to prepare a vegetable to go with it!

    I love all of these stories people are submitting because they remind me of the Meat Man and my number of failed attempts to sneak a fruit or vegetable into his diet (the Sneaky Chef couldn’t sneak anything past his palate!)

  • I’m not much of a Meat Gal, but my mom and bro sure are! They would totally burst into tears if there was not at least one type of meat in their meal.

  • My 10 month old, with just one tooth, is our meat baby. Already he eschewes any kind of traditional baby food. His dad was sitting at the table feeding him pureed squash and MeatBaby was calmly downing the veggies UNTIL he saw me lay out the spaghetti for our dinner. He pitched a fit. Squash went everywhere, all over the tables and walls, everywhere but in his mouth. He refused to eat any more veggies at all. From that day forward he has insisted on eating what is on our plates — especially spaghetti, tacos or ribs. I break it up into really small pieces, but he just gums it right up, smiling the whole time. And heaven forbid, if we pick up the plate and there is a little still left on it. The whole of earth has not heard such a pitiful sound. Once we scoop up the last bit of meat and shovel it into his waiting maw, he is again all smiles and all it right with the world. This does not bode well for the teen years.

  • My husband loves meat, to be sure, but the number one love of his life is bacon. He would probably leave me for a strip of bacon if it was legal to marry one in our state. Not only does he love bacon itself, he also loves things that resemble or purport to be flavoured with bacon. Example: bacon bandaids, bacon wrapping paper (which I scanned for him so he can use it as his desktop wallpaper), and the unfortunate bacon jellybeans. Even he agrees that those are pretty bad. He still eats one from time to time, though.

    He wouldn’t turn down a steak, though. He’d probably just try to put bacon on it. Like how he implored me to make the bacon-wrapped meatloaf (with a hidden core of macaroni and cheese) that he saw on tv.

  • Yay!!! I won! So exciting. Thanks so much, Carolyn. I’ll send you my contact info asap.

  • My boyfriend is definitely a “Meat Boy.” When he makes his own food, he only eats meat and some starch like rice or pasta. He never eats vegetables or any fruit. Out of concern for his health, when I cook, I try to make a balanced meal, adding some greens and some fruit for dessert. The vegetables and fruit are always left untouched. If I try to feed him some, he will actually press his lips shut and turn his head, much like a baby refusing unwanted food.

    This one time, I made a Chinese noodle stir fry dish, with beef and bits of vegetables. When he was done eating, I saw his “empty” bowl, which was still scattered with carrots and broccoli. He had literally picked out every piece of vegetable from the noodle dish.

  • I feel sort of like I should be standing up as I say this and finally admit “my name is Jenny, and I am a meataholic”. Whenever I go out to eat, it is preferably red meat, although, I have to admit that well cooked pork is a close second. There is nothing like cutting into a perfectly cooked steak, in-between rare to medium rare, with that perfect crunch of the knife cutting into the sear, and meat rested long enough that if is juicy and succulent as I put it in my waiting mouth. My husband no longer goes with me to Costco when I am getting meat, as he cannot stand it as I go through the packages looking for the perfect one, marbling to meat ratio. From New York, tri-tip, pork loin, they all get the same care when I get home – the vacuum sealer goes to work to save my treasures.
    I love to experiment with marinades and brines, and I find no bigger pleasure in making my own homemade bbq, with a huge hunk of meat cooking all day in my oven. I love the way it makes the house fill with the scent of what is to come.
    My newest love has been cooking corned beef with beer, onion, my own blend of spices, and vegetables, cooking it until it is falling apart, gingerly lifting the meat out, then putting it in the oven to be cooked further with mustard and brown sugar. The crust it forms is simply put, divine.
    I admit that it became a true obsession when I found myself ordering a heritage turkey from Dean and Deluca to experience a true “turkey”. I have tracked down Van DeRose bacon and pork from distributors hours away. As donuts are for Homer Simpson, meat is to me.
    I am not ashamed anymore to admit that I bought 4 chubs of pepperoni at Williams Sonoma, and that when the holiday meats come in at Costco my heart skips a beat and I pore over the varieties of meat that they have specially brought in.
    My “life list” includes a variety of things, but I can now fully admit that the clear majority of them involve meat – from eating a Pink’s,Gray’s Papaya, Peter Luger’s steak, to me, it is the experience of the meat and although I will be the first to admit that if given the choice, I would take a huge slab of cow over a hot dog most days, there are those times that you just have to pull open a can a spam to bring back childhood memories, sizzling in the skillet.

  • My guy is a total meatguy. I like it too,but I can have all veg for dinner too and enjoy it. when asked what he would like me to fix to go with……. whatever meat I happen to be making, I get the answer, do we have too? He isn’t a meat and potatoes guy, he is just a meat guy.

  • Ever hear the sad tale of woe of the vegetarian who starved to death because she hated vegetables? Well, that would have been me, if I hadn’t given up vegetarianism after only two days a few years ago. No matter how companies try to dress up veggie and soy burgers, I’d still rather eat sawdust. And no one has even come close to creating a fake steak. I think that speaks volumes about the uniqueness of steaks. Life without steaks and burgers (and the occasional chili dog) would not be worth living, anyway. On the other hand, I would be completely happy if I never had to eat another vegetable (or even fruit!). In a previous life I must have been a dog or cat.

  • hi auntie carolyn! i don’t have a good story for the contest, but tell akira that if he picks me anyway, i’ll talk to paw paw about adopting him! 😉

  • Kelly: Are you trying to bribe the judge? Hah! Good try! But I’m pretty sure that Rule #18, Section #22 states very clearly that second cousins once removed cannot use their familial ties to render undue influence in meat-related competitions. 😉

  • aw darn, i stopped reading that pesky fine print at rule #18, section #20. it was worth a shot! 🙂

  • Kelly: Don’t let me stop you from entering the contest. Bribes, however, are not allowed. BUT you do have to come up with a good Meat Boy or Meat Gal-type story to enter. And judging from the entries already received, you have your work cut out for you. There are some mighty fine ones already. It will definitely be hard to pick a winner. I’m glad that responsibility rests on my Meat Boy this time, and not just on me. Whew!

  • My hubby is quite the “MEATBOY”!! I’ve always been more of a veggie than meat girl but seeing as how his family raises cattle we have a LOT of meat in the freezer! We don’t have a meal that doesn’t have some form of meat in it! I’m always looking for new ways to cook meat for him. Which I don’t do to well because I love mine well done and he enjoys his medium. I would love the certificate to take him to enjoy a great steak just the way he likes it, especially since there are no Morton’s around us but we will be in Vegas in 2 weeks and could go there! He has also instilled his love for meat to our 3 little girls! If left to him and my daughters our dinners would be main course-meat, with a side of meat and a bowl of meat!! Gotta love it. 🙂

  • The Morton’s contest is now closed. The winner will be announced on Monday. Check back here then to find out who gets the free dinner for two, and to learn about a NEW, tasty contest with a great prize.

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