Last updated: 04:00 PM ET, Wed June 08 2016

3 Steaks Worth Traveling For

Features & Advice | Melinda Crow | June 08, 2016

3 Steaks Worth Traveling For

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I have tackled numerous forms of work over the years to support my travel habit. One of those was owning a steakhouse for sixteen years. Mel's Steakhouse was no big deal, except to a few hundred loyal customers spread across two counties in Texas, but I do know steaks. The key is starting with a good cut of meat; then it has to be seasoned properly to bring out the flavor of the beef, not obscure it.

I am still occasionally asked when I plan to open my place back up. The answer is simple: I'm not. I prefer to get my steaks on the road these days. Here are three of the best I've had lately.

Perini Ranch, Buffalo Gap, Texas

This is a favorite for Texas steak lovers who are in the know. Buffalo Gap is located roughly thirteen miles southwest of Abilene — a city famous for its steakhouses for more than half a century. But to get the juiciest, most expertly seasoned steaks in the whole state, you have to head to the ranch. The menu is small, but with steaks this good there's no reason to add fluff. I know people who make the trek to Perini’s regularly for the ribeyes, which come in a 16-ounce version or a bone-in 22 ounces. I prefer a thick tenderloin myself, served at the ranch as an 8-ounce miracle of meat.

You can get the full ranch experience by staying in their guest quarters on site, or opt for one of the eclectic Sayles Ranch Guesthouses located in the heart of Abilene. For fun and activity in the area check out one of the best small zoos in the country or spend an afternoon sampling wine at the Winery at Willow Creek.

READ MORE: Carnival Adds Steak in Dining Room (For A Fee)

Steve's Steak House, Catalina Island, California

Tucked away over the shops along Avalon's main street across from the harbor, Steve's is an elegant yet unassuming spot to find what may be the best steak I have ever tasted. If you must know, I didn't order the steak. I ordered the chef's special stuffed swordfish. I know, I know, it's a steakhouse — I should eat steak. But I was thinking, "it's California! I should eat seafood, not beef."

It's a good thing that my husband Gary had the sense to order a tenderloin. I should have known something was up when he let out a long sigh with the first bite. After several bites thankfully, he felt compelled to share. It was well seasoned, fork tender, and cooked to perfection. To be fair, the swordfish was spectacular as well. My advice — go two nights in a row and have steak one night and seafood the other night.

For a place to stay, I recommend the Avalon Hotel. The cozy, off the street rooms are an elegant trip back in time. Fun things to do while you wait for the dinner hour at Steve's include zip-lining and sea kayaking at Descanso Beach. 

READ MORE: 5 Great Old School Steakhouses

Hot Rocks Grill, Silversea Cruises

This may be the hardest steak on the list to get to, but it is part of one of the best cruise dining experiences you will find anywhere. The magic happens in the evening when the casual poolside grill morphs into an alfresco evening dining venue where guests each cook their own meals on super-heated hot stones at the table. There are bibs. There is laughter. There are sunset views of the world. And there are amazing cuts of meat that melt in your mouth. If temperatures are cool wherever you happen to be, there are heaters and warm blankets. The meal wraps up with a delightful apple pie for desert.

As for accommodations and activities, Silversea's cruises are a perfect blend of understated luxury and overstated service. Hot Rocks (or Black Rock Grill, as it is called on some ships) is an experience and a steak worthy of the journey.

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