Raising the Steaks (Marczyk Fine Foods, Denver)

Although Friday night (Pharcyde at the Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom) was a epic success if left me with a very nasty Saturday Morning hangover. Somewhere in a haze of Advil and coffee Caity 0′ managed to talk me into running some errands with her. Thus finds me at Target wandering around the isles. It was here that I had the sudden desire to cook us some steaks and post up in front of the TV.

A quick google map search for butchers revealed a store I had never been to directly, on my route home. Marczyk Fine Foods is located at 770 E 17th Ave.  (they have a separate location at 5100 E Colfax). A quick browsing of their website left me eager to arrive and check out my new discovery.

Upon pulling up to the market I was happy to find ample parking. As soon as I stepped in the door of Marczyk I knew that I had found a great new spot. Directly in front of the door is a raised butcher counter. Including pork, beef, poultry and lamb, the selections on display soon had me salivating. Beautiful steaks sat out in the cooler sporting labels. Although the dry aged steaks continued to catch my eye I did eventually settle on some fantastic looking NY Strips. THe thought of bistecca fiorentina raged in my head and upon acquiring my steaks I quickly hurried off to explore the rest of Marczyk and find  my other ingredients. Off the the right of the butcher counter I found produce and dairy. A small but bountiful produce section provided me with fresh baby arugula and lemons. On a side note, the lemon selection was particularly special. They offered several different varieties of fresh lemons including Meyer (one of my all time favorites). After the produce section I moved off across the store in search of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Bistecca Fiorentina is a classic central Italian preparation of beef and a good EVOO is essential. As I wandered into the dry goods section I was delighted to discover a window looking into a butchery room, complete with a large butcher block table and severe large primal cuts of beef hanging on hooks around the walls. In house butchery, particularly when done in sight of guests, is one of those special things that is unfortunately rare to find these days. At the back of dry goods I found a door leading into an adjacent and affiliated liquor store. While I wasn’t purchasing and liquor I simply couldn’t help myself from looking around. I great little store I found the shelves full of great representatives from all categories, Leapolds Gin, Tin Cup Bourbon, Etc. After picking up a bottle of EVOO from dry goods and two great looking loaves of bread from the bakery area (ciabatta, and baguette) I headed to the register. Here like all stores of this quality is the painful part. While I found the prices completely reasonable for the products I was buying, quality does cost money. 1.5 lb of NY Strip Steak, 1 lemon, arugula, 750 ml of spanish EVOO and 2 loaves bread sold for $57. Not horrible but not inexpensive by either.


Bistecca Fiorentina is probably my favorite way of eating steak (a close second being Cote De Boeuf Bearnaise). Its name means steak in the style of Florence. Florence or Firenze is, in my humble opinion, the greatest city in the world. I have had more fun in Firenzne than should legally be allowed, but thats a story for a different time. Many people are familiar with Florence’s propensity for fine leather. Part of the reason for this is that Florence has long been a major hub for beef in Italy and giving a plentiful amount of inexpensive hide the people of this region became incredible leather workers. Bistecca Fiorentina therefore is a simple representation of good meat served in a rustic fashion. This incredible dish is simply just a steak grilled seasoned with sea salt, black pepper and EVOO, served with a lemon wedge. When made with good ingredients it is absolutely amazing.

bistecca fiorentina 2 bistecca fiortentina 1

A Few Scotch Soaked Words



I am unsure as to how lame it is to kick off The Mashugana Diaries with a piece about myself. It is certainly not conventional. But, Fuck convention, I love talking about myself. It’s my favorite subject, so here we go, I give you the very beginning of the Mashugana Diaries.


Bogged down by work I’ve been desperate to put some pen to paper and get this blog started. Tonight’s kick in the pants, came completely out of the blue. As I left a late work meeting I turned towards home only to receive a message from my roommate asking me to pick up a can opener. Grumbling to myself over the contents of my aforementioned meeting I wondered into a local grocery store in search of my target. Pacing the aisles aimlessly, more deep in thought, than anything I suddenly found myself with a basket full of food.


A Random Recipe Conceived in the Aisles of Safeway,

Thai Style, Broccoli and Pork Tacos




  • Pork
  • Broccoli
  • Carrot
  • Jalapeno
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Chili Flake
  • Star Anise
  • Coconut Oil
  • Honey
  • Miran
  • Tabasco
  • Corn Starch
  • Corn Tortillas


Arriving home a smoke and a stiff glass of scotch were immediately in order. As the I kicked on the radio and Tom Petty cut the silence I unloaded my grocery’s and started to cook.




Break down the broccoli and pork into like size pieces. Begin to sauté. Slice thin and add jalapeno. Micro plane garlic and ginger and add to pan. Add star anise and chili flakes. Shred and add carrot. Once a nice fond has developed add honey and allow to caramelize.  Deglaze with Miran. Season with Tabasco salt and black pepper. Remove all solids from pan (only a small amount of liquid should remain). Thicken with corn starch. Quickly grill tortillas. Fill tortillas with cocked product. Drizzle with remaining liquid.

***For photo reference The Gallary


Some of you may have noticed how incomplete this recipe is. For instance there is a complete absence of quantities and specifics. The majority of recipes I write (at least those that I choose to post) will be this way. The beautiful thing about cooking is that there is nothing completely new or original about it. Everything is just a spin off or combination of pre-established ideas and/or techniques. Once one has mastered the basic principles of cooking they are free to mix, match and spin off of them in an endless serious of creative combinations, not unlike a musician composing with chords. My recipes are written to exemplify this.  For those of you practiced in culinary techniques, create away. For those of you who are not practiced, create away anyhow. The way to learn to cook is to cook! Riley can vouch better than anyone, that those close to me suffered through some truly terrible meals when I first entered the world of food.


I don’t know what it is about cooking that always has a way of soothing my angsty side. It could possibly be the stiff drink I usually nurse while doing it, or maybe the multiple smoke breaks. It could also be the loud music. I however I believe that more than anything it is the actual act of cooking. There is a great calming effect to the act of performing planned and timed tasks one after another in an continuous process towards the conclusion of a final product. Whether it’s the muscle memory and repetitiveness of knife skills, the clean as your go multi tasking or the focus (depending on my scotch level) of plating there is something truly great about the combination of food, booze and music.


A Few Scotch Soaked Words