So during our recent trip down to Los Angeles, we drove up to Santa Barbara and Solvang on the way up back up to the San Francisco Bay Area. Since we were in the area, we dropped by Jocko’s Steak House, renowned and beloved by locals and tourists for their Santa Maria style BBQ. The joint is so popular that people willing wait for HOURS for a taste of their steaks, despite the place being quite dingy and located in the middle-of-nowhere Nipomo. I wouldn’t say that the place has no atmosphere, because it certainly does, with its Old West style complete with deer heads mounted on the walls and gruff-looking clientele.
We actually tried to go to Jocko’s last time we were in the area but showed up without reservations. This is an extremely bad idea because even those with reservations usually end up waiting a while for their table. This time, we hoped that we would have more luck since we arrived earlier in the evening. But we still arrived without a reservation (don’t ask me why we never learn our lesson about the importance of making reservations) so we plopped ourselves down in the bar to get a taste of their bar menu (which does not include the steak dinners). We weren’t hugely disappointed about not getting any steak, since neither Hubby or I are big steak eaters. Figuring that there other meats must be good as well for them be so famous, we simply wanted to get a taste of the BBQ.
Hubby ordered the pork plate while I the ordered something called sweetbreads and fries. In my desire to fit in, I didn’t dare show my cluelessness by asking the bartender what sweetbreads actually were. Besides, if the name contained “sweet,” I figured it couldn’t be all bad. A long 40 minutes later, we got two heaping plates of meat with cubes of bread. I tasted my sweetbreads and immediately thought it was just chicken, albeit a very fat and chewy one. “Wow, your chicken sure is fatty,” Hubby commented. I ate as much as I could and pushed the plate away. To our disappointment, neither of us were very impressed with our plates. Even the fries were limp. I suppose we really did lose out by not eating one of their steaks.
The next day, I started wondering how a plate of chicken pieces got the name sweetbreads. That’s when I learned from Google that I actually didn’t eat chicken meat, but rather ORGANS, an animal’s thymus glands to be exact. Now I’m the type of person who doesn’t dare eat liver, cow intestines, chicken feet, or any other types of food like that, so I immediately started feeling weird about stuffing my face with thymus glands the day before. I can see how some people are really into it though, like foie gras. For boring old me whose palate is not as refined, I’d just rather eat chicken breast. I think that’s the last time I try to be cool and act like I know what I’m ordering even though I have no clue!