UPDATE MAY 4 2016: Earls has committed to moving back to Canadian Beef! This is a big win for Canadian suppliers and evidence that Earls is a company that cares about our local economy and customer feedback. Congrats Earls for making the hard decision and making it right.
In the interest of full disclosure, we are huge Earls fans. We are even bigger fans of their PR person Cate Simpson who introduced us to just how special of a place Earls really is. On numerous occasions she has walked us through the details of how they make their bread in house, and the love that goes into their pumpkin pie at thanksgiving. She is amazing, and even though we disagree with the talking points she has been given (see the post from yesterday), we think she is doing an amazing job handling the great steak debate of 2016.
Unfortunately, this whole thing has created a ridiculous amount of dogma around Alberta beef. Some people now firmly believe that Alberta beef is inhumane. Others believe that the only humane beef is that which is Certified Humane, which is, like I said yesterday – bullshit.
Most of our readers know that we rarely say anything negative about restaurants, because we don’t think it is our right. One bad review can have significant implications on a small business. The one place where we will go on the offensive however, is when misinformation and bullshit take center stage. For evidence of this you can refer to our post on blogger bashing which remains one of our most read posts. There are also two really well known restaurateurs in Calgary who are about due for a blasting if they don’t stop trolling on numerous food festivals without making donations to the cause they support.
The unfortunate side effect of the media attention garnered by Earls decision is on the small business owners who raise Alberta’s beef.
However, to be fair to Earls, we wanted to give their new steak a try, and provide an honest review. The good news is, our training and experience judging numerous food competitions comes in handy. It allows us to be objective.
So here is the good and the bad.
- The steak is a sirloin cut, which makes it a more delicious steak, but also one that is harder to cook perfectly. If cooked poorly it can be tough and chewy.
- It is simply the most tender sirloin steak I have ever eaten. From a mouth feel perspective, it is more like a tenderloin than a sirloin.
- They nailed the cooking! It was perfect. I asked for medium rare, and that is exactly what I got. Most restaurants will slightly overcook a steak, but as you can see, this one was bang on.
- It was seasoned to perfection.
- It didn’t quite taste like a sirloin should. It was very mild, which some people may like. So maybe this isn’t so much a bad thing but a preference sort of thing. Me, I like my steak full of flavor, so this one just isn’t for me.
Honestly, I’m disappointed that this isn’t Alberta beef. It definitely doesn’t taste like Alberta beef. But it is still a good steak, just different.
That said, Earls has never been known for their beef anyways. Their warm potato salad and cajun chicken on the other hand are amazing! Not to mention their Sticky Toffee Chocolate Pudding, which is insanely good! I don’t care what anyone says, I’m going to support the Albertan employees of Earls just so I can eat the Sticky Toffee Chocolate Pudding.
Here’s the thing. I don’t think boycotting Earls is the answer. In my mind, Earls is more likely to listen to a good customer than one who is an absentee. So if you really want to show Earls they made the wrong choice, don’t change your dining habits, change your order. Then tell them why you didn’t order the beef every time you eat there. They will listen.
PS. When you tell them why you didn’t order the beef, leave out the dogma bullshit. 🙂