I was intent on ordering the antelope.
Sammy's Wild Game Grill offers a variety of exotic meatstuffs, but I wanted to try something really, well, wild. The last time I remember seeing the word "antelope" on the menu was eight-odd years ago at Jiko in Walt Disney World. But at the time I went for something tamer because I was a cranky, unadventurous tweenager.
I didn't anticipate, however, that Sammy's would be offering a special that would make antelope seem pedestrian and render my interest in it obsolete. "Camel $11.95" read the blackboard list of seasonal meats.
Well, yes, yes, I will have dromedary for dinner.
My exposure to camels (forms both living and dead) has thus far been limited. In Syria, I had the opportunity to take a camel ride and I will forever regret turning it down (for fear of falling and cracking my skull). I imagine the camel to be a sturdy beast in terms of physiology, given its ability to travel incredible distances and hydrate super efficiently. This vision does not suggest succulent, tender meat, but my camel burger, despite being significantly lower in fat than beef varieties, was just that.
Of course, the fantastically chewy pretzel bun (courtesy of Slow Dough) didn't hurt nor did the generous dressing of cilantro aioli, which provided a spritely kick to the sandwich's heartier components. But superior bread and condiments can only go so far in elevating a burger. The meat is where it's at and while I would have been satisfied if camel "tasted like chicken", I'm thrilled to say it didn't. Peppery-sweet, juicy, and with a Kobe-like consistency, my camel burger was not merely indistinguishable from a "regular" burger, it was better.
Three bites in and I was kicking myself for not ordering a double. There's still time to do so, I've been informed, since the camel burger has proved so popular Sammy has decide to keep it on offer...for now. But where else are you going to get camel in Houston? Nope, not the zoo, those animals are for display, not for dinner. Just go to Sammy's.
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