Lonesome Dove: Sleepin' in the Prairie when there ain't no Stars
Weeeee-haw! What we done gone dood din havin’ got up in here is an ole- fashin’ ass-whoopin’, like pappy use to give me when I git to splashin around in his tannery barrel.
That’s how come I got them chemicals in my brains.
The Count not only zero-stars Lonesome Dove, he does it with confidence, with panache, with the sangfroid of a prudish cop shutting down a tacky whorehouse. The place struck Frank from day one as nasty and he’s got the language to prove it:
Outside the restaurant, “on the sidewalk, like a rustler’s riff on a red carpet, lay a brown-and-white steer’s hide.” Chef/owner Tim Love apparently likes to shop for furniture and décor on Highway 9.
“Look at the handiwork on this bureau! I wonder if it comes with a dresser?”
With rain and traffic, Frank returned to find “this hairy and scary welcome mat plastered to the ground, mottled with dirt and squishy with water: roadkill after a rainstorm.” So already, Frank is being greeted at the doorstep by a sewer-rat’s jerry curl.
And yes, that’s Pedro Martinez’ hair. Don’t you recognize the sheen?
Lonesome Dove is playing up the cheeky southerner ad nauseum, according to Frank: décor includes a “mounted steer’s head and a chandelier of antlers,” while the cooks wear cowboy hats (which must be totally unbearable and really impractical.)
Not that I’ve ever cared about practicality!
One of my little inventions…It’s the ultimate easy travel pack for the traveler who just wants 50 extra pounds of dead weight— say, someone taking a dinghy across the Pacific.
Speaking of impractical,
“Lonesome Dove imagines and executes what might be called contemporary cowpoke cuisine. It’s a mash-up of the Southwest, the Wild West, the Outback and maybe even Brokeback…”
Wow. Australian Southwest gays?
It’s like the baby of Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban.
Lonesome Dove seems to test the limits of the most intrepid diners, offering meat from every animal that walks, e.g. “marsupial nachos” consisting of “reddish meat on blue corn chips with avocado and corn scattered about” like the marriage between a Vampire and a Fatass, where the guests threw trash instead of confetti. The shocker here is, the crazy meats turn out to me “more interesting in theory”: tastes like chicken, the Count admits.
Tim Love’s ingredients are as multiple as his meats are weird, and about as ineffective: “A deluge of salt and a gooey dollop of butter mixed with Serrano chili, shallots, Boursin cheese and fresh lime juice” topped a buffalo rib-eye. I can’t even play that one out in my imagination. Maybe Tim should have applied to his food Coco Chanel’s advice about removing one accessory before leaving the house:
“Ya know what? I’m gonna take this bracelet off, it’s just too much.”
But does the cheekiness of Lonesome Dove come as any surprise? Tim Love has been a cheeky press presence for a while now--
Perhaps more surprising at this point is the praise that the Dove actually gets:
“Mr. Love seems dedicated to getting first-rate cuts of meat, and if the rub-happy kitchen goes overboard in seasoning them, especially with salt and pepper, it certainly knows how to cook many of them.” Oh good ‘cause I like my chipmunk medium and I’ll take my meerkat and my narwhal as rare as they’ll let ya!
Tim Love's ranch.
Frank also appreciates the hearty portions and the inclusion of sides. But who cares, because move over for one of the most amazing Brunisms of all time:
The grilled $120-“Tomohawk chop” is a “bone-in rib-eye for two, accompanied by a lobster tail and two scallops as large as tennis balls, and that bone is so long it seems to stretch all the way back into the partly visible kitchen.”
Tim’s coming up from the rear in a separate tent with the balls and a signed copy of Innuendo? Yes please! Give Me Two Heaping Scoops, by Frank Bruni.