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April 7, 2020
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Ribs and Steaks to dream of at The Spur Steak Ranches

I recently watched a very fascinating docu-series on Netflix about a man on death row, The Ted Bundy Tapes. It’s the story of Ted Bundy, an infamous serial killer executed in Florida State on January 24, 1989. Before his execution he had been on death row for a whooping ten years.

On the day of execution, like all death row inmates, Bundy was offered his choice of a last meal. He refused to pick anything. Last chance to have anything for a last meal, and guy just shrugs and says, “Hey, let’s get on with it, gentlemen”.

Tasteful interior, great decor
Tasteful interior, great decor

My head just boggles and sort of crashes like an overloaded gadget when I think of all the crazy stuff I’d ask for. Not that I aspire to be a serial something or imagine a death row situation to be enviable, but, man, it’s the time I’d ask for choice crocodile meats, guinea fowl breasts…..you get my drift, right?

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The authorities had to serve the Standard Last Meal. In the history of executions, they had never had to use that option, and I imagine aged court clerks in horn-rimmed glasses poring over tattered, dog-eared constitution manuals searching for the meal.

A steak cooked medium-rare, eggs over easy, toast with butter and jelly, milk, coffee and juice.

Not bad for a serial killer’s last meal, I guess.

Indian artwork on the walls
Indian artwork on the walls

My attention turned to steaks. What’s a steak, anyway? I’ve been exposed to all kinds of meats, in all sorts of places and questionable standards – I try to keep away from roadside Samosa guys – you can’t tell what animal has been hit by an errant motorist the previous night.

I had to seek people conversant with steaks, and I was shooed towards Spur Steak Ranches.

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I didn’t need to order to know I have had it all twisted, steak-wise.

Nikatie ka steak hapo, boss. No bones”, I would shout to Mwangi at the neighborhood butchery. Most soft spoken people develop a deep, loud baritone on ‘meat days’ – depending on who else is at the premises. Mwangi curves random strips and curves and makes a newspaper wrap. He knows not to use the page from the obituaries section. I’d rather have Atwoli’s face on my steak, or if am lucky, The Hustler’s image.

Elegant outdoor seating plan
Elegant outdoor seating plan

That’s not steak.

The Spur Steak Ranches outlet at Two Rivers is an interesting place to be, very chic and tastefully furnished. It’s easy enough to get lost in the maze of floors and lifts, but The Spur is easy to find on the Aqua Park Riverfront. For a moment, I thought am in the coast – a huge water expanse with a scattering of palm trees.

There’s a sort of gazebo-style setting on a beautiful court, dining tables under a shade. A smiling waitress comes over. I like smiling waitresses, kind of turns on my taste buds. Eating is spiritual for most people though they may not realize it, and that’s why you first make jokes with a waitress to brighten her up. A smile brings up the food connection you crave.

Applies everywhere. A smiling wife versus a sour wife serving your food. Take your pick.

The menu is bright and glossy like a magazine, bright photos. My stomach is growling at this point, forgive me, but glossy photos of browned steaks and ribs ain’t easy to ignore. There’s a great variety, man. The day you take your son to a toy store, and spend hours there because he can’t make a choice, you’ll get my predicament.

The steak, served with mashed potatoes and onion rings
The steak, served with mashed potatoes and onion rings

Or, the day you unexpectedly get access to free Wi-Fi, and suddenly all the hits you’ve ever wanted to listen to are instantly erased from your mind.

Lamb chops. Pork chops. Grilled chicken. Prawns and other seafood. No. No. We came here for ribs and steak. Narrow that down to just those two, we tell Sophia. Our smiling waitress is called Sophia. We ain’t here for Mexican, however tantalizing the photos are – Bueno Nachos, Fajita (pronounced Fa-hee-ta), hot sliced Jalapenos. Ok, the latter may be pepper, he he.

We ask for a ramp steak, and we hear it’s been aged for 21 days.

The menu is ala carte, fancy name for get-things-to-think-about-as-we-cook-your-food. I was already in the thinking zone, busy wondering how one keeps meat untouched for 21 days. I have a drunken uncle who lives by a creed: he cannot be in the same house with booze. Either him or the booze. Most times, the booze wins and knocks him out.

The grilled ribs, with Ugali and Kachumbari
The grilled ribs, with Ugali and Kachumbari

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I may be in a similar situation with meat. How will I even sleep knowing there’s a cut of ramp vacuum-wrapped, curing in the fridge? For 3 weeks! I guess that’s the time I should schedule a visit upcountry.

Oh, I’m gratified to know they serve Ugali in the house! I’m usually afraid of high end eating outlets. They may have a different definition of your regular managu, for instance.

The steak turns out incredible, and in very large portions. Juicy and soft. The ribs, well. Take it this way, if the steak and the ribs were in GOT, I guess the ribs would have been the rightful heir to The Iron Throne. It’s been a few days since we ate at The Spur, but I still dream about those ribs.

Waking up in the middle of the night dreaming of ribs seems outrageous, I know. Even if the wife asks, do not say you are dreaming of some ribs. Cook up a story, be creative. Do not let your wife know you had a spiritual connection with grilled ribs dipped in cheese and garlic sauce.

A glass of blended juice. Or milk shakes. Really nice.

I’d love to do this again with the wife, if the dreams do not end, but then I’ll go Mexican towards the end and order a margarita, or a Mojito.

I hear Tequila mellows down the seven demons of the universe.

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