Food Gal Contest: Winner of the Morton’s Steakhouse Dinner, Plus A New Dinner Prize Up For Grabs

Beets with pickled egg salad at the Tavern at Lark Creek. (Photo courtesy of John A. Benson)

Talk about fierce competition for the prize of dinner for two at any Morton’s The Steakhouse in the world. I sure am glad my husband, Meat Boy, had the responsibility of choosing the winner this time around, because I would have been hard pressed to pick just one from all the incredible entries submitted.

The winner of this ultimate carnivore contest will be revealed at the end of this post. But before you scroll down like mad, you’ll first want to know about the delicious new contest that starts today.

The Tavern at Lark Creek in Larkspur is kindly offering a prize of dinner for two (a total value of $75, which can include beverages, too). The contest for this prize is open to anyone in the world, as long as you can find your way to the restaurant in Marin County, Calif. within the next year. That’s because the dining certificate is good — you guessed it —  for one full year.

A muffaletta mouthful at the Tavern at Lark Creek. (Photo courtesy of John A. Benson)

So what do you have to do to win? Read on.

You may recall that the Tavern at Lark Creek was formerly the venerable Lark Creek Inn, a more special-occasion restaurant with fancy tasting menus. Its new incarnation is far more casual and laid-back, with the likes of crispy cornmeal-crusted catfish, shrimp and grits, and a New Orleans muffaletta on the menu.

It’s indicative, of course, of the challenging times we are living in.

In this era of cutting back, and making do with less, what have you learned most?

For me personally, it’s this:

…That I sure used to waste a lot of time shopping aimlessly in malls, as if it were pure entertainment or a sport. Now that I don’t do that anymore, I’m surprised that I don’t really miss it. And boy, do I have a lot more valuable time as a result.

…That when times are tough, and unexpected pitfalls happen such as you get laid-off, not only do friends, but people you don’t even know or barely are acquainted with, have your back. I can’t tell you how grateful and touched I am that so many readers, news sources and distant colleagues, whom I’ve rarely dealt with in person, if at all, send me leads on jobs or just the most astoundingly heartfelt, encouraging emails.

…That spending your husband’s birthday noshing on pizza and soft-serve can be every bit as wonderful, memorable, and romantic as a six-course tasting menu at a far fancier restaurant.

Now, it’s your turn: In this era of cutting back, and making do with less, what have you learned most?

You can answer with just one example or multiple ones; it’s purely up to you. The most intriguing or memorable response to that question will win the dinner for two to the Tavern at Lark Creek.

Deadline: Entries must be received by the end of the day, Aug. 7. Anyone can enter, but just know that the certificate is good for one year at this N. California restaurant. Winner will be announced on Aug. 9.

Steak au poivre at Morton's The Steakhouse. (Photo courtesy of Morton's)

And now, for the winner of the Morton’s The Steakhouse dinner for two:

Lisa, who wrote: “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?”

Congratulations, Lisa! You’ll want to know that Meat Boy, who picked your entry above all the others because it made him laugh so much, says you’ve inspired him to try a 4×4 now. He adds that if you and your husband are ever in his hometown of Sacramento, there are two bodacious burgers you must try that he has yet to: The #4 (a 1-pound burger known as the “Football”) at Ford’s Real Hamburgers; and the “Quad” (four patties) at Nationwide Freezer Meats.

To claim your prize: Lisa, please send me an email (use the “Contact Food Gal” link on the right rail), with the subject line “Morton’s Winner,” along with your full name, email, and mailing address.

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  • Congrats, Lisa. I’ve seen the “burger face” look and even donned it a few times. Enjoy your Morton’s steak!

  • Thanks so much Foodgal! I’ve always enjoyed your blog and it is so great to get to surprise my husband with this. We haven’t been to Morton’s for over a year because they aren’t exactly baby friendly – must find a babysitter now! I will send over my info asap.

    So does Meat Boy recognize the burger face? Maybe had it himself?

  • i’ve learned that caviar and champagne are not actual necessities.

  • Congrats Lisa, and Carolyn, what a fun contest. Hhmm, as far as making due with less. Living in San Francisco, a culinary mecca if ever there was one, with a restaurant to tantalize anyone’s taste buds. We’ve become culinary explorers, not so much by eating out, but by scouring the many international markets that exists and finding ingredients that we may know nothing about, taking them home, researching what they are, and how they are used and coming up with our own culinary education. We’ve really expanding our horizons, and tried indigents that we might not otherwise have selected, we’ve really pushed ourselves. We’ve had a lot of fun, explored new food, and never felt like we sacrificed anything in the process.

  • Lisa: Congrats! Meat Boy doesn’t think he has donned the “burger face” before. Hmm, I’ll have to pay closer attention the next time he’s eating a burger. I don’t think I’ve ever seen veins pop out of his forehead. But then again, he has yet to try the infamous 4×4. 😉

    Don’t forget that you can enter the NEW contest, too. Bon appetite!

  • I’ve learned that having people over and serving a homemade meal is so much better than meeting at a restaurant. It’s more cost effective and more intimate. We do it all the time now!

  • I learned that my 14 month old daughter thinks gliding around our living room carpet in a laundry basket full of fresh-from-the-dryer clothes is just as much fun as riding her friend’s battery operated BMW kiddie-motorcycle! (No kidding, they really make those.)

    Thanks for the great contest opportunities!

  • LOL! It’s easy to see why Lisa’s entry in your “ultimate carnivore contest”, Carolyn, made Meat Boy laugh appreciatively such that it captured 1st place. Hearty congratulations to Lisa for her hysterical behind-the-scenes — or more apt (aptly?), up-close-and-personal — details of “burger face” on her husband in particular, all guys in general, when caught flagrante delicto devouring 4X4’s! Sadly I missed the other stories because a women’s pro tennis tournament at Stanford University usurped my time however, Lisa’s winning story expanded my To Do List: gonna have a 4X4 next time I’m at an In-n’-Out.

  • Lisa’s story is too funny!

    As far as what I’ve learned. I really wanted to take a fancy vacation this year but couldn’t afford it and I’ve learned that there were a lot of incredible things to do in my own backyard. I realized that tourists were coming from all over the world to visit my area and here I was neglecting its many opportunities. I’ve learned that just taking a ferry to a different part of your state can feel as relaxing as traveling across the country.

  • Oh and I would LOVE that gift certificate because it would give me a really good excuse to come back to the west coast. 🙂

  • What I’ve learned:

    That premium cable sucks the life out of life!

    …The remembrance of simpler things. Having scaled back our cable
    service, I’ve remembered we actually have a patio, and it can be used to
    read, garden, just hang out in.

    …That conversation leads to a deepening of a relationship –
    communication lines have been re-opened.

    …That there actually is enough time in a day to do eveything –
    exercise, or cook a real meal. Technology can be a timesaver, but also
    rob you of time to get on with life if you let it.

  • I agree with you on eliminating the mindless shopping. Lately, I have started having major discussions with myself about do I really need this or that. It helps a lot!

    Also, I find that when I cook seasonally and locally, I save money. By not buying blueberries in the middle of winter, and structuring my menu around what is seasonal, I find that I don’t spend so much on pricey ingredients. And of course, the added bonus is that the food tastes better.

    Great contest, Larkspur would be a fun trip from the South Bay!

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