Louvain’s Grillades

My friend Rick Louvain from New Orleans loves going to supermarkets “to see what the Great Unwashed are consuming,” and insists on dragging me to my little neighborhood store for a scathing inventory when he’s in town.

On a recent outing he declared the entire produce aisle nothing more than a compost heap. His withering assessment of the floral department brought a tall bald queen around the corner clicking his nails like a scorpion. Rick had to buy a dozen roses to save us both from getting bitch slapped and owning it.

After declaring every can in the store a ptomaine grenade, we hit the meat section.

I was jittery because the butcher on duty was my buddy Charlie, who has the build of a Sumo wrestler and the disposition of a lamb. After a sweeping forensic analysis of the meat section as a whole, we came to the discount section where he grabbed a flat pack of thin round for two bucks and grinned.

Big Charlie was right next to him, humming to himself and marking down hamburger. Rick slapped Charlie on the shoulder. “Hey! Is this round steak?”

I tried to die three times. “It surely is,” Charlie said with the most bountiful smile in the known universe.

“Great!” Rick said. “Run three pounds fresh through the tenderizer for me. We’re gonna get some stuff in the deli, we’ll be back in a couple of minutes.”

Charlie winked at me when we got the meat, and I think he was thanking me for the customer, but I’m not sure. He goes out of his way to cut me t-bones to order, and if you ask me, I think he’s flirting. And that’s a big okay.

Once out of the store, Rick said, “We’re going to make grillades. This is what my gammy uses. She breads it, fries it, makes a roux in that, throws in some garlic and onion, bell pepper and celery, diced tomato, cooks it down in a casserole in the oven. Food of the gods, and you’re cooking.”

“You’ll never let up on me, will you, Rick?”

“You’re one lucky hoss, Jess.”