A Meal Fit for a King (That Cost a King's Ransom)!

Have you ever been in a situation where you wrongly assumed something, then realized your mistake in front of a bunch of people and were too embarrassed to say anything? I have, and it can be a sticky wicket, indeed! Let me tell you what happened to me the other day.
I had dropped Mini-SGCC and her friends off at the big movie theater downtown and I had some time to kill. Since Whole Foods was just a few blocks away, I decided to pop in there to pick up a few things.

Now, a visit to Whole Foods is usually a dangerous proposition for me. I almost always go armed with a specific list of items to buy, and I never stick to it. I can't help myself! It's like I become completely hypnotised by the rows upon rows of vibrantly colorful fresh fruits and vegetables, neatly stacked and perfectly arranged, mist clinging to them like little droplets of morning dew. Swiss Chard, baby bok choy and kale, come to Mama! Organic strawberries, I like your style! Heirloom tomatoes, stick with me kids - we'll go places!
It gets worse as I continue to push my cart past the seafood department, with its pristine case of glistening fresh fish. Whoa! Is that Chilean sea bass still breathing? (Move along, move along.)

As I meander up and down the dry goods aisles, I mindlessly pluck things that I don't need off the shelves. Organic Shoyu for $7.99 a bottle? Okay! A L'Olivier Roasted Almond Oil at $21.99 for eight ounces? Sure! Why not? Plum jam made by Trappist Monks? Yes! Oh, yes! (Are you starting to see a pattern here?)

But, the deadliest place of all for me is the Black Hole that is the cheese department. Once I stroll in there, my cart develops a mind of its own, digs in its heels and Will. Not. Budge! In my trancelike state, I gaze lovingly at the bountiful array before me. Those rich, buttery bries, robust, brazen blues and cheeky little chevres coquettishly flirting with me - teasing me. I want them all!
I know I'm digressing, but I had to give you some background information so you could understand just how I got myself in the aforementioned uncomfortable situation.

Anyway, as I said, I was killing some time in Whole Foods when I found myself in front of the meat counter, which is a sight to behold in and of itself. I swear, I was only going to pick up some chicken leg quarters! Well, maybe some nitrite-free bacon too, but that's it! It was while I was waiting my turn in line that I saw them - the most gorgeous veal chops I had ever laid eyes on! They were huge, two-inch thick slabs of beautiful blush pink meat. Holy Crap!!! Mr. SGCC would go wild over these! He is a caveman, after all. My knees got weak and my brain was swimming with thoughts about what I could do with them. I NEEDED some of those veal chops!
Now is a good time to tell you that veal is something I only buy occasionally because the cost is usually so prohibitive. The only reason I even considered buying those chops was because they were so f*cking stunning. With one eye closed, I glanced at the price listed in the case. $18.99 per pound. That was pretty high, but not so bad. I took four and practically skipped up to the check out line.

As the check out girl rang up my purchases, I kept my eye on the little display screen. I always do that, you know, in case she makes any mistakes. All of a sudden I saw something come up as $121.12. Huh? That sure must be a mistake! (See! That's why I always check.) I coolly took a closer look at the screen which had the nerve to tell me that my veal chops cost $121.12. WTF! Let's see, four veal chops at $18.99/pound (even if they each weighed a pound) did not add up to over one hundred twenty dollars. I took a peek into the bag that the chops were now resting in and my blood ran cold. I don't know how it happened, but I somehow misread the price. Those veal chops were not $18.99/pound. THEY WERE $28.99/POUND! THAT IS $30.28 PER CHOP! OH SHIT!!!

I didn't know what to do. Should I say something? Ask for a price check? Just give the damn things back? By this time, there were at least three people behind me in line, one of whom had already started loading her groceries on the belt.
I started stammering, "Um....(cough)...er....(cough, cough)....I...uh...."

The check out girl kind of looked at me funny. "Is something wrong?" she asked.

By this time, I was starting to really sweat. I looked around and realized that everyone was staring at me. (Well, maybe not actually staring, but definitely looking.) I frantically tried to think of a quick response. I couldn't. I'm ashamed to say that I was just too embarrassed to admit my mistake. I mean, people apparently do buy thirty dollar veal chops, or they wouldn't be selling them. I didn't want to look like a) an idiot; or b) a cheapskate. I'm a regular customer there. People know me!

So, I sucked it up, slapped on my sweetest smile and said, "Oh no, everything's fine! I just had a little frog in my throat." And with that, I handed over my debit card with my head held high (and prayed the transaction would go through)!

Of course, this is strictly between you and me. Mr. SGCC must never, ever know about it. The poor guy has enough stress in his life. Why add to it? It will be our little secret!
Once I got those veal chops home, I had to decide how I was going to prepare them. I figured that for what they cost me, they had better be freakin' fabulous. Since they really were pretty wonderful all on their own, I chose to keep it simple. I sprinkled them with some salt and pepper, pan roasted them and served them with a zippy Chipotle-Lime Butter that I whipped up. They were amazing! Better than I'd hoped for. The meat was so tender and succulent. The Chipotle-Lime Butter was a wonderful complement. It was smoky and spicy with a bright zing from the lime juice.

Kind of as an afterthought, I took the leftover Chipotle-Lime Butter and sauteed some fresh corn, scallions and red bell pepper in it. Oh, wow! It was one of the best corn dishes I ever tasted! That butter is a keeper. It's a snap to make and it seems to go well with everything.
One of the best things about this meal (aside from its soul-shattering deliciousness), was that the whole thing took less than an hour to put together. It was so easy! I could have even grilled the veal chops and not had to turn my oven on at all. As a matter of fact, I was wishing that I had some of that gazpacho I made a few weeks ago. I think it would have been a terrific addition to a another perfect summertime meal.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Mr. SGCC didn't say more than two words during this whole meal. He was too busy groaning, drooling and shoveling food in his face at the speed of light! I think he liked it.

So, my question to you is this: What would you have done in my situation at Whole Foods? Would you have wimped out like I did? Would you have bitched about the price, but buy the veal chops anyway? Or, would you have told them that you weren't about to pay a king's ransom for a slab of meat? I'd really like to know.

Pan Roasted Veal Chops with Chipotle-Lime Butter

(Printable Recipes)

4 thick veal rib chops

1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Chipotle-Lime Butter ( recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a heavy cast iron skillet or other oven-proof frying pan over high heat.

Rub the rest of the olive oil on the veal chops. Then sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Sear the chops for 2-3 minutes on both sides until nicely browned.

Transfer the pan to the oven and roast until cooked through, about 10-12 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and put a blob of Chipotle-Lime Butter under each chop. When butter is melted, turn over the chops to coat the other side.

Serves 4

Chipotle-Lime Butter

1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter, either salted or unsalted

3-4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce with 1 tablespoon of the sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor or by hand, puree the peppers with the adobo sauce. Add butter, lime juice, salt and pepper and thoroughly combine.

Chill until ready to use.

Chipotle-Lime Corn Saute

6 ears cleaned fresh corn or the equivalent of frozen corn

3 scallions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

4 tablespoons Chipotle-Lime Butter (recipe above)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Remove the corn from the husks using a sharp knife. Mix in scallions and red bell pepper and set aside.

Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the corn mixture and saute until heated through, but not too soft. The corn should still be a little crisp.

Add salt, pepper and fresh lime juice.

Melt remaining Chipotle-Lime Butter on top. Stir.

Serves 6


If you enjoyed these recipes, you might also like:

Pan Roasted Veal Chops with Calvados, Apple and Cream Compote

Churrasco with Chimichurri Sauce

Bistec a lo Pobre

Ribeye Steaks with a Spicy, Smoky, Cacao Nibs Rub

Veal Chops with Morel Sauce Recipe from Sunday Nite Dinner

Veal Chops With Rose Petal Plum Sauce from Eddybles

Veal Chops with Roasted Shallot Relish, Arugula and Soft Polenta from Caviar and Codfish


Anonymous said…
this looks delicious! I love chipotle anything. I love how you used the same flavors all over the plate.
Anonymous said…
Well, I guess I'm not too proud to admit I made a mistake. I am glad you liked the lamb, but fer cryin' out loud! If you didn't plan to pay that much, you really should just say: OOPS! I must have misread the sign. My mistake, - wouldn't be the first time - but I definitely won't be taking those! Surely, at SOME point you would have cried uncle?
Anonymous said…
I would've ended up sucking it up and just paying for it, like you did. Not much backbone here either.
Elly said…
This looks seriously amazing. I bet it's worth every penny! I am the same way in WF. I do not even understand what comes over me in that store. To answer your question, not only would I do the same thing as you but I *have* done the same thing as you. Especially when I am in a line with people behind me, I freeze. I can just feel their eyes burning into my skull saying, "hurry up already! I want to get out of here!"
Peter M said…
This ppst is dangerous for my wallet...ya make me want to go get some Provimi veal chops...about the same price up here but worth the splurge.
Anonymous said…
I am laughing so hard at your story! I would've done exactly what you did...and faked a sincere smile of joyous foodie-ness. :-)

Honestly, like Elly, I've done stuff like this too. I think the best approach is to treat it as serendipity and make the most of it in the kitchen. Which you did!
Anonymous said…
I think my grocery store has every penny we earn...it's crazy there! It all looks beautiful.
krysta said…
Oh man, I'm not sure what I would have done. If there wasn't that many people around I probably would have said something but if there was, I would have sucked it up and bought them praying that my husband never noticed how expensive they were.
Manggy said…
I dunno... If the people were lined up behind me, I probably would have taken it in the groin but there's virtually no chance that I would ever consider buying something so expensive, even at $18.99 a pound... I'm just cheap that way. I don't even think I've ever carried as much as $120 at one time before!

Regardless of the mistake, it did produce a lovely, delicious dish... Let's just hope your husband never does read this post in the first place! :D
Oh, Been there, done that, AND bought it. Whole Foods is the devil I tell you.......who needs a $20 yellow heirloom seedless watermelon??? apparently I did hehehehehehe. It was good! I LOVE LOVE LOVE THEIR HERBED SALAMI in the deli case. I slice it thin and then serve w/fresh mozzarella, baquette, basil leaves and sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil........ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Anonymous said…
You have a great blog! I haven't chuckled so much in a long time ... me? I would have faked a heart attack and had them call 911 ... just kidding ... retired paramedic joke ...LOL

I would have sucked it up, boy they sure did look good!

Leah said…
We got a Whole Foods here about two years ago and I'VE NEVER BEEN. Around that same time we got a Trader Joe's, never been there either! So surprising for me; I have friends who are absolutely addicted to both, but I don't need another habit, let me tell you! I have enough!

I did feel physically ill last Christmas when the butcher handed me my rib roast (in front of 40 other Christmas shoppers) and it was 85.00. GULP. I did almost ditched it in the cereal aisle and served Cheerios, but sucked it up and took it home. It was awesome, but the DamFam ate beanie weanies well in to the New Year to compensate! ;-)
Anonymous said…
I totally would have told the cashier that I didn't want the meat. Whether there is one person behind me or 50. I've done that so many times and it usually takes just a second to void it out. I just couldn't justify it to myself (or my husband) to spend that much on meat!

But hey, if you enjoyed it and it was delicious, that's awesome. They do look very tasty!
That was hilarious!! I have done that very thing at whole foods, everything there is so amazing, you desribed it perfectly. I love the way they display all their prepared salads and everything. A small container of this please, and a small container of that, and before I know it I drop 30 dollars for a quick lunch! Yikes! sounds like your Hubby savored every bite! If he only knew!lol
Sara said…
I totally would have wimped out too, and been mad at myself later! :) So I definitely understand...at least the chops were amazing!!!
Lien said…
Such a funny story! Been there too! Though I'm not familiar with this store, I'm perfectly familiar with this shopping style and loading up the kart with things that are good but not necessary and expensive, just being greedy. I'd have reacted just like you, not wanting to look stupid. But I'm glad it tasted soo damn good in the end!!
Lore said…
Pricey indeed! You sure made the best of these! Is there a non-caveman man?
I suppose it would depend on what my debit crad says. If it were almost pay day I'd have to pass. I once bought a tiny prime rib roast for $56.....sounds like the chops were worth it though:D
I've paid what is the equivalent of $60 for 2 rib eye steaks before so I think I would have gone with it, a bloody big shock to get to the checkout and see that price though!!!
Anonymous said…
Oh, I'll tell you what I would have done: the exact same thing. And oh, the sinking feeling in your tummy when you hear those numbers! And oh, the happy feeling after you've cooked them! Lovely dishes.
Mary said…
I had a similar experience at whole foods. I think I ended up with a $30 wedge of cheese or something. Since then I check the prices there vigorously. And yeah, mostly because I have no backbone.

Fortunately since moving away from the big city, I now get easily overwhelmed by Whole Foods and rarely make it past the vegetables into the cheese.
Great story. I probably would have done the same thing and not eaten for the week after! $30 dollar for a chop!

At least you did something wonderful with it, because the final dish does look magnificent.

I don't know why veal is so expensive. I've never cooked veal: the price scares me so.
While I would say I would have not bought it when I saw the price error, my past responses to similar situations went exactly the same way. Once I bought some veal shank (for osso bucco)...it was big, beautiful, and freshly cut just for me. Imagine my surprise when it was something like $50-60 when I went to check out. I wanted to put it back...I mean yikes, what a ton of money. But I choked and bought it...and now its our little secret. You, me, and the whole internet, lol.

But anyways, I share in your veal lust. I have no Whole Foods nearby...which is probably for the better of my wallet, lol. It looks like you did those veal chops proud though--that's a delicious looking meal!
Susan @ SGCC said…
Hi, Everyone! You all are making me feel a lot better about this whole thing. I guess that this happens to a lot of us. We Foodie-types are probably more susceptible because we recognize and appreciate great food.

I have to tell you that in retrospect, I'm kind of glad it happened. If I had known the price beforehand, I would have never even considered buying the chops. That would have been a shame, because they were so excellent. We did eat a lot of meatloaf and mac & cheese for the rest of the week, but it was worth it!

I'm so glad that you all enjoyed the post and appreciated the chops! Sometimes, it's hard to capture your emotions in words, and sometimes, only certain words will do! ;)

Anonymous- Yes, I suppose that I probably would have cried "uncle" at some point.

Obsessive- Yikes! $20 for a piece of fruit? I might have drawn the line there. Although, I have paid $5.99/lb for heirloom tomatoes before. Now, I'm trying to grow my own.

Denise- Thanks! Come visit anytime! A heart attack? Lol! Wish I'd thought of that. ;)

Leah- You must have a will of iron! I'd kill for a Trader Joe's! Although, not having one close by is probably a blessing for me! ;)
Jayne said…
Oh I know I would have done the exact same thing you did - and Whole Foods has the same kind of effect on me as it does on you - and plenty of others, obviously. I would have just figured - okay, there's our splurge for oh, the next decade. And then enjoyed every single bite! Beautiful job, by the way!
Stefkow said…
As a former employee of Whole Foods, I certainly would have told them I didn't want it. The cashiers don't really care what people buy or don't buy. They just bring it back to the department so it's not a big deal to the cashiers. Although I worked in the Deli Dept. so I guess it's not exactly the same thing. I'm pretty sure there is no way I'd pay that price though! (but it makes for a funny story that's for sure!)
Amanda said…
I have, in the past, sucked it up and told myself it's worth it, and then felt funny in my belly about the whole thing but just reminded myself to be more careful next time. But...a week ago, I put something in my basket because I read a ticket on the shelf as $1.99. At the checkout the item rang up at $5.99, and when I asked, the cashier said oh, the tag probably meant the item under/ over that spot rather than the place I'd been looking. I just said, "yeah, I'm going to skip that, ok? Thank you," and we all carried on like it was no big deal.

Me, I am far more offended by the person in line whose cart contains only boxes, bags and cartons of processed food than the person who balks at paying $120 for 4 slices of (albeit delicious) meat.
test it comm said…
That meal looks amazing especially the veal! I once grabbed a bag of almond meal thinking that it was $6 and at the checkout it was something like $18. After the price check confirmed that I was wrong I was unwilling to pay that much and said that I no longer wanted it. It was a bit embarrassing but $18 was way too much.
Mari said…
Good gravy and I thought I spent a lot on food...LOL! The most important point thing is that you enjoyed them. I would have most likely laughed out loud at the till and said, "Are you crazy?!" before kindly asking the check-out girl to return those precious chops to the meat counter, but that's because I've been Dutchified (the Dutch are known for their bluntness).
Anonymous said…
What a brilliant story - I love it! I shop at WF all the time and that crap happens to me, everytime as well. L. wonders why grocery bill is so high ..... oops! These look GREAT
Joanna Schmidt said…
I would have gotten off the line, given them back to the butcher and said the honest truth: I read the price wrong, and chosen some other yum meat to cook up. You are brave, and I am sure you loved every morsel. :oD
Anonymous said…
I went through something similar last year with cherries. Though thankfully it wasn't $120 worth of cherries!

grace said…
i avoid confrontation at all costs, so i would've meekly handed over my credit card as well. it seems like they came through in taste, so i reckon that's something. lesson learned, right? :)
Cakelaw said…
LOL - at least Mr SGCC really enjoyed those chops - and they do look fantastic.
I think the cashiers at Whole Foods are really tired of my schtick because it seems almost every time they ring me up and I gasp at the price I exclaim, "There is a reason why they call this place Whole Paycheck." I've looked at the cost per pound of certain meats without thinking that I might be buying more than a pound. I've also not bothered to look and then wondered why my grocery bill is so expensive.

My problem is that often my lunch hour is the only time I have to go shopping and Whole Foods is the closest market to my office except for Stew Leonards, which has lots of fresh foods, but charges an arm and a leg for a small selection of shelf goods (unless you buy it bulk). WF also has a better selection than my neighborhood A&P. I'm kind of stuck shopping there.
Anonymous said…
What about a princess like me? haha..gag!
Looks wonderful :)
Ginny said…
I'm drooling! Looks amazing! I have the same problem at Whole Foods...I went in the other day to buy some fennel and salmon...but the scallops were just winking at me and being so flirty that I had to get a few...so worth it though sometimes! :)
Anonymous said…
You are TOO funny! You know, I would have done the SAME thing. In fact, I'm sure that I have. The only difference is that I would have to tell my husband since I don't have a job.... However, I would be freshly groomed, doused in perfume & wearing stilettos when I break the news to him. I always send Alfredo to Whole Foods now if I need something from there. He's a total caveman too! He went there a couple of weeks ago to pick up some meat for ropa viejo & called me from the check-out line in a total panic.... I LOVED it!

This post had me laughing out loud, thank you!

xoxox Amy
Paula said…
This is a great story! I feel your pain, yet at the same time I was laughing out loud reading this. So glad that the chops were soul-shatteringly good! The certainly look divine!
Chef Jeena said…
You did a pretty fabulous job of a pretty expensive fabulous meat!!! :-D
Chef Jeena said…
You did a pretty fabulous job of a pretty expensive fabulous meat!!! :-D
I am the cheapest person you'd ever want to know. I would have choked and then said something tactful like, "Excuse me, is that a mistake? Are you really trying to charge me that much for the meat? If it's not a mistake, please put it back."

Your meal looks delicious and I'm glad your husband appreciated it. It would have been a much worse story if he'd complained!
Anonymous said…
I would have done (and have done too many times) exactly the same thing that you did. I just don't know why it keeps happening to me but it does! That looks delicious by the way!!
Laura said…
That happened to me once with tomatoes on the vine. And yeah I wimped out and bought 'em anyway.

Your meal looks gorgeous.
Mrs Ergül said…
I, too, will hold my head high and hand over my debit card and membership card (because a hundred and more dollars worth of veal chops will give me substantial membership points to be accumulated in exchange for a shopping voucher!). That's only if we can really afford that without having to go hungry for the next 2 weeks! hehe
Anonymous said…
Well, your veal chops look and sound great. But the price you paid seems completely unreasonable to me.

We love veal, but fortunately in our area, prices are more reasonable. On the other hand we never shop at Whole Foods because we think that they are overpriced on meat, cheese and produce.

Trader Joe's is a favorite of ours, and since I have a very good personal relationship with the meat department manager at our nearby Giant Foods, I can order just about anything I desire, usually at a very reasonable price (for example, custom-cut USDA Choice Porterhouse was on special this week at $4.99 per pound).

Anyway, you handled the situation in a polite manner, had a fabulous meal, and perhaps learned a lesson of sorts.

Sounds like it turned out well.
Anonymous said…
the scenario you describe is, sadly, all to familiar to me.

i pay every time.
Anonymous said…
The same thing happened to me today at Whole Foods. I ordered 3 grilled corn on the cobs with lime butter and the price was $14.99!!!! I wanted to return it but the employee had prepared my box twice since the first time he served it with the same utensils as seafood was being served (I'm allergic) so I felt too guilty to give it back.
Susan @ SGCC said…
DocChuck- Thanks! I agree, the price was outrageous. I only wish we had a Trader Joe's here. I've heard so many good things about it.

Anonymous- Ouch! Next time try my Chipotle-Lime Butter with your corn. It is terrific and a LOT cheaper!
Anonymous said…
Todd has got to see this one....he'll feel like a king just looking at it!
luv 2 cook said…
I read this out loud to the hubby as I said look doesn't this sound like us! I am SOO careful in the meat dept or I will do that I am not as bad in the cheese dept but don't ask about chocolate :)
floridafoodies said…
One obvious question... has your husband requested a requested veal chops again? If so, how did you handle it?

Great story!

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