By Heather Hoch
By Lauren Saria
By JK Grence
By Eric Schaefer
By Robrt L. Pela
By Eric Schaefer
By Laura Hahnefeld
By Laura Hahnefeld
Someone stop me before I have a cow.
I don't want to churn out my own milk. I'm certainly not in it for the slaughter. I've just decided I want a pet cow: all deep, velvet brown eyes framed with thick ebony lashes, gentle rubbery lips that feather against my fingers, a buttery moo to welcome me when I come out to feed it. It would be my bovine buddy.
The cow I want isn't just any milk-maker. It's a new breed called a "compact cow," bred by an industrious farmer in Rockwell, Iowa. These specialty animals are Lilliputian, topping out at 35 inches tall, a friendly 400 pounds of lovable livestock. The farmer's got 50 of them and is fielding inquiries from as far as Europe, Mexico and Argentina from people like me, charmed by the latest concept in unique, trendy pets. He's even got some that leap around like teeny, rabid rodeo bulls.
20701 N. Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
Category: Music Venues
Region: North Scottsdale
480-515-5891. Hours: Dinner, 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
I've got room in my barn. And even at $1,000, the cow would go great with my two tiny, black and silver pygmy goats, other trendy animals I took home on a whim. Little cows and tiny goats may not do much, but the idea just sounds so cool.
Thinking about buying a cow has got me thinking about eating a cow, perhaps a hefty rib eye, porterhouse, filet mignon or New York strip, grilled to a deep beefiness and spilling gold-red juices when cut. I've chosen the new Everett's in north Scottsdale, because it doesn't serve just any steak. Billing itself as the nation's first all-natural, all-organic steak house, the restaurant opened this spring, trumpeting a menu free of toxic pesticides, fertilizers, hormones and antibiotics.
All ingredients come from special vendors that adhere to strict, uniform standards verified by independent state or private organizations. The entire wine list is organic, and there are organic cocktails (a Lemon Drop martini of UK5 Organic Vodka, organic lemon juice and organic sugar). Virtually everything is organic: the pear, apple and bleu cheese salad; the shrimp and orzo pasta in peppered vodka-tomato sauce; the La Trappe Blond Trappist ale; the Tazo green iced tea. A healthful steak house, so trendy it's perfect.
Good intentions, good gimmick. But intentions that, unfortunately, don't translate to reality. Cool concept or not, Everett's food is lousy. What a disappointment my steak turns out to be organic-schmanic, this wildly overpriced beef would have been better served to have stayed on the hoof.
I'm no stranger to the kind of hype that summoned me to Everett's. I know I'm a sucker for it. I crave every single "As Seen on TV" gadget, even though they usually break. After so many fiascoes, it would seem I'd be smart enough to see through the charade.
Hype is what got me those goats, after all, an expensive pair of pedigreed animals that since have turned me into their slave. All I really wanted was freedom from the weeds that threaten to swallow my home after every rain. I'd tried everything pre-emergents, backbreaking hand-pulling, insults and prayer. A friend joked about goats, and it sounded so obvious.
Oh yes, the breeder told me, a goat would strip my gravel clean in minutes. The best choice was the pygmy, since it was so darn cute to boot. I met the goats, I chose one, and the breeder injected the little animal with an anti-bloat medicine because surely it would balloon, given its voracious appetite.
I spent $500 building a goat run. Then $300 for a custom sun shade. Then $100 for a goat carrier and goat house. Then about three hours driving back and forth to the goat farm, way, way west of Goodyear.
But the goat wouldn't eat. Not weeds. Not lush green grass. Nothing. It just stood in its run and yelled at me in its loud, angry cat voice.
The goat hurled vulgarities at me for days, quieting just long enough to nibble finally but only on fresh hay that carpeted my car with leafy dust as I trekked it in from an overpriced Scottsdale pet boutique. And I'm allergic to hay.
I called the breeder, scratching the fiery rash on my arms. She listened politely, then suggested that my goat was lonely. Get another goat, she said. Then goat number one will settle in, and both will eat like Weed Whackers. She had the perfect auxiliary goat for me.
I did it. And then I bought more hay, because while the one goat didn't eat any weeds, the two goats didn't eat weeds twice as much. They just stood on their house and stared at me. At least the furry things finally shut up.
So now I'm at Everett's, drawn by the intrigue of another trendy notion a certified organic, dry-aged, grass-fed New York steak and, again, I'm feeling like I've been completely ripped off.
Ultimately, I've spent $32 on a piece of meat that's so poorly prepared and tasteless that I feed it to my dog Santiago. This is about as satisfying as realizing that I'm going to be spending $15 a week to buy premium alfalfa pellets for as long as I'm stuck with those cranky, weed-hating goats (they won't even eat hay anymore, having discovered that pellets come packed with tasty corn, grain and molasses).