On ‘Beef House,’ Family Sitcoms Get the Tim and Eric Treatment – The New York Times

The press tour had been canceled. Everything is canceled. But as anyone familiar with the comedy of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim would appreciate, there was something almost too appropriate about having to view their faces as degraded images on a stuttering, grainy video stream amid a general feeling of discomfort.

That description could just as easily fit “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!,” the innovative and vaguely disturbing sketch comedy-cum-video art series that ran on Adult Swim from 2007 to 2010. It made cult heroes out of its two creators, better known as simply Tim and Eric, whose new series, “Beef House,” officially premieres on Adult Swim just after midnight Sunday (and after a surprise online debut of the pilot a week early).

On a mutually sequestered afternoon last week — with the new show in the offing and press interviews relegated to Skype — the description also characterized a three-way conversation, in which everyone was a little stir crazy but seemingly grateful for something fun to talk about.

“Should we do some comedy for you?” Heidecker asked. He was calling from his mother’s place in Southern California. Wareheim was calling from his own home in Los Angeles, where he’d been hanging with his cats.

“We could put on a show or something,” Heidecker added.

Even comedians get bored sometimes.

“Beef House” may or may not be the best antidote to these times, but that depends on your sense of humor. Like “Awesome Show,” which had an uncanny knack for lingering on awkward moments, for uncomfortable displays of masculinity, for poop jokes, the new series is funny, but also dark. And like most comedy that’s both smart and deeply absurd, it will probably find an audience that is as niche as it is devoted.

“I don’t think we’ve ever tried to intentionally alienate people, but this feels like the least alienating thing we could do,” Heidecker said. But as he was also quick to note: “It’s still dark and crazy and filled with things like Eric killing a busload of people.”

What is a Beef House exactly? Unclear. In the show’s world, it’s a term whose meaning is taken for granted, used to describe the house full of dudes at its center. (Infer your own connotations.) The series itself, which Heidecker and Wareheim wrote, directed and star in, is a bit easier to define, at least superficially: a bizarre spoof of family sitcoms, complete with laugh tracks, “awwws” and a multicamera format. The sets have three walls. The living-room couch is its center of gravity.

But that’s about where the similarities with classic family sitcoms end. Episodes of “Beef House” are about 11 minutes long. Jokes can be corny, but self-consciously so; almost always, they bear a vague but unmistakable stamp of something more grotesque. And in place of the traditional family are two middle-aged men named Tim and Eric; three elderly men of indeterminate relation to one another; a young boy, who shows up later in the series; and Eric’s wife, Megan, a sexually and intellectually frustrated police detective.

Why Megan abides in the Beef House — she makes the money, she makes the rules — is also unclear. Even the actress who plays her, Jamie-Lynn Sigler (best known as Meadow Soprano in “The Sopranos”), couldn’t quite say.

“She is an accomplished, sane, seemingly-of-strong-intellect-and-reason woman, so yeah, ‘Why is she living in a Beef House?’ is a good question,” she said, laughing. “I think there’s just a little bit of love there between her and Eric that she’s not willing to give up on.”

Two episodes in (the number previewed for journalists in advance), the reason behind such an odd cohabitation of characters hasn’t yet been revealed. Most likely, it never will be. As in most of Tim and Eric’s sketch humor, there are few whys and wherefores. You just have to roll with it.

The Beef House concept, whatever it means, started with a similarly inexplicable thought. “I think I suggested that this kid that we have in the show go to Beef Camp,” Heidecker said. “I remember saying to Eric — I know him so well — I was like, ‘I’m going to tell you something, and I guarantee you’re going to laugh and love it. I have a home run: Beef Camp.’”

“And then it just became Beef House,” he continued, “and then it was all we could talk about — one of those things in our careers when we’re like, ‘That’s what it is, and that’s all.’”

Wareheim did, indeed, love it. “One of the greatest things about this sitcom is that we don’t really explain why it’s called the Beef House, why we all live there, why my wife would put up with that kind of stuff,” he said.

“We just do things like that,” he said. “Our whole career, we’ve set up these situations that are very uncomfortable that people are forced to live in and experience.”

That approach has served them well in the more than two decades they’ve been collaborating. They got a break in the early aughts, when Bob Odenkirk agreed to executive produce their first series for Adult Swim, “Tom Goes to the Mayor.” Regular guests on “Awesome Show,” which played as half conceptual-art project, half public-access spoof, included Zach Galifianakis, John C. Reilly, Jeff Goldblum and Will Forte.

Ask people if they know about Tim and Eric, and you’re likely to be met with either a blank stare or a conspiratorial flash of recognition: This person gets it. On a recent comedy tour, audience comments during the Q. and A. were a reminder of their status as a litmus test among the comedy cognoscenti.

“People would be like, ‘I met my girlfriend or I met my boyfriend because of you guys,’” Heidecker said. “‘I had to make sure that they were OK with this kind of humor before I was going to continue the relationship.’”

Heidecker and Wareheim have been working with Adult Swim for over 15 years, and their “Beef House” pitch was fairly simple, said Walter J. Newman, head of program development: They wanted to do a sitcom, but make it twisted. Newman thought the idea could be pushed a little.

“The challenge that we presented to them was, ‘Hey, can you write this where it plays funny as a straightforward sitcom but still has the Tim and Eric sensibility in it?’” Newman said. The scripts would read as they might “on a sitcom on NBC,” he added, but would accrue that warped “extra layer” once Heidecker and Wareheim brought it to life.

The pair welcomed the push to go beyond a simple “goof on sitcoms,” Heidecker said. To make “Beef House” feel more like a real sitcom, they shot on cameras used for “Fuller House.” They hired the same person “Fuller House” used to mix their laugh tracks, too.

“There are things about sitcoms that we like in that you can tell a story, and you can have characters and build those characters and make them have relationships,” Heidecker said. “The things we don’t like are the jokes and the humor.”

Whatever their attempts to add authenticity, there seems little risk that “Beef House” will slide into the unfunny conventions of actual multicamera sitcoms. The episode premises alone should keep things weird. In Episode 1, the Beef Boys hold an Easter fashion show. In Episode 2, they collaborate to solve Tim’s constipation.

Then there’s that busload of dead people in a later episode. Funny? They probably found a way, same as they had managed to mine humor from an awkward video chat under pandemic lockdown. But “Fuller House” material it wasn’t.

“It looks and feels so much like what’s going on out there,” Wareheim said about the array of other sitcoms. “I feel like that was a challenge for us to see if we could get that close to the insanity that is a sitcom.”

“Yeah,” Heidecker added, “getting that close without getting totally burnt and burning up and destroying itself.”

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Where's the beef? – Miami's Community Newspapers

Chef Liz

Plant-based meat alternatives, such as Beyond Beef and the Impossible Burger, are sprouting up everywhere. But are these products good for you?

Plant-based meat products typically have a similar caloric content to real meat, but have less cholesterol and more fiber (good)—but also more sodium (bad). What’s more, some of these meat substitutes are over-processed and, as a result, are laden with chemicals.

There are health benefits to going meatless—if you make sure you get enough protein and other vital nutrients found in meat. And whether you eat meat or not, it’s essential to eat healthy. Make sure to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; replace saturated and trans fats with good fats; and always remember that consuming too many calories—regardless of the source—is not healthy.

In fact, some experts tout the advantages of going “flexitarian”; that is, someone who eats a mostly vegetarian diet, but sometimes eats meat, poultry, and fish. So, if you want to enjoy the health benefits of a meatless diet, you’re generally better off avoiding plant-based meat alternatives.

If you’re looking to reduce or eliminate meat, remember to keep enough protein in your diet (multiply your weight in pounds by .36 to get your recommended protein intake in grams per day). Here are a few good non-meat protein sources:

  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts
  • Corn
  • Potatoes (but watch the calories)
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Oats

But no matter what diet you choose, a healthy one will always include lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and healthy grains.

Want to enjoy a healthy meatless option tonight? Try our Smoky “Beef” and Black Bean Chili recipe.

Smoky “Beef” and Black Bean Chili

  • 1/2 pound(s) Beyond Meat
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 chipotle chile adobados finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon(s) chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon(s) adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon(s) cumin, ground
  • 1 15 oz. can(s) black beans rinsed, drained
  • 1 14 1/2 oz. can(s) diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion
  • 2 tablespoon(s) cilantro chopped
  • 3/4 cup(s) imagine vegetable stock

Cook Beyond Meat, onion, and bell pepper in medium saucepan over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until beef is browned and vegetables are softened, stirring frequently. Drain off any excess fat. Stir in chili, chili powder, adobo sauce, and cumin. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Stir in beans, tomatoes, and water; bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally. Stir in cilantro.

Chef Liz is the Executive Chef and Owner of The Pickled Beet, a personal chef service that custom designs menus and prepares fresh, wholesome, and balanced meals catered to its clients’ specific needs, with and without meat. For a free consultation: 305-388-3536. Chefliz@thepickledbeet.com. ThePickledBeet.com

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Kansas beef producers feeling the impact of the coronavirus – KWCH

CIMARRON, Kan. (KWCH) Ag producers in Kansas are already feeling the impact of the coronavirus.


The beef market is taking the biggest hit with demand and commodity prices declining. Mark Busch says he and other beef producers are now at the mercy of the markets.

“Traders have seen what happened in China where the outbreak started. And it resulted in businesses being shut down and people being confined to their homes, and a massive drop in demand and economic activity,” says Mark.

It’s not fear of the virus itself, but the impact it could have on the economy.

“If it did happen, it could lower the price of livestock because people aren’t out eating at restaurants or doing their daily activities,” Busch says.

Futures prices for grains have already been in decline, but beef is taking the biggest hit.

“One of the arguments I’ve heard is that ‘well, people still have to eat.’ Well, yes they have to eat but their eating patterns will change. And I can guarantee they won’t be going to a restaurant and ordering steaks,” says Busch.

Unlike grains, when it’s time for cattle to go to slaughter, they can’t be stored. Busch just hopes commodity prices will even out soon.

“What goes up comes down, and what goes down comes up eventually,” he says. “While I don’t think this is over, I also don’t expect this to be a long-term problem. This is a temporary thing.”

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Brazil Says It Has U.S. Approval To Resume Beef Imports – Drovers Magazine

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  1. Brazil Says It Has U.S. Approval To Resume Beef Imports  Drovers Magazine
  2. US lifts Brazilian beef import ban amid quality concerns  KCCI Des Moines
  3. US lifts ban on Brazilian beef | 2020-02-21  Agri-Pulse
  4. U.S. Lifts Ban on Brazil Beef Imports After More Than Two Years  Bloomberg
  5. U.S. will allow fresh Brazilian beef imports  Successful Farming
  6. View Full Coverage on Google News

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2016 Redux: Clinton, Sanders Campaign Keep Up Beef Three Days Before Iowa Caucuses – TPM

With just three days before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders’ campaign kept up their years long grudge.

In a podcast Friday, Clinton maintained her attack on Sanders that he didn’t do enough to boost her campaign after she clinched the nomination last cycle.

“All the way up until the end, a lot of people highly identified with his campaign were urging people to vote third party, urging people not to vote,” Clinton told Emily Tisch Sussman, host of the “Your Primary Playlist” podcast. The New York Times flagged the interview. “It had an impact.”

That echoed comments from Clinton from an upcoming documentary, in which she said of Sanders, “Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him.” In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter last month, she said she stood by that assessment.

Meanwhile, in Iowa — where Sanders is surging ahead of Monday’s vote — a surrogate for his campaign joined in when the crowd started booing a mention of Cliton’s name.

“I’ll boo,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) said after Clinton’s name was smothered in boos during a packed rally. “You all know, I can’t be quiet. We’re going to boo. The haters will shut up on Monday when we win.” Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), who’ve also endorsed Sanders, laughed on stage in response. (Tlaib tweeted Saturday morning, “In this instance, I allowed my disappointment with Secretary Clinton’s latest comments about Senator Sanders and his supporters get the best of me.”)

Sanders himself has stayed above the fray over the past few days; he and several other Democratic presidential contenders were stuck in the Senate Friday night as Republicans voted against hearing any new witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.

The hard feelings between Clinton and Sanders have continued on for years despite, Sanders’ supporters point out, the dozens of speeches he gave for Clinton in 2016.

In the podcast interview released Friday, Clinton said she didn’t care who the Democratic nominee for the presidency was — “as long as it’s somebody who can win, and as long as it’s somebody who understands that politics is the art of addition, not subtraction.”

There was little love lost between the two sides Friday night.

“A hater said — by the name of Hillary Clinton, we’re calling names out here, taking shots — that nobody likes Bernie Sanders,” Des Moines School Board member Dionna Langford said, referring to the Clinton documentary, after the initial booing died down.

“We have three days to show the entire country how much we like Bernie Sanders! And it starts here in Iowa.”

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What's ahead for beef? – Beef Magazine

Last week, this column gave an outlook from Rabobank on the global beef picture. Since this is the time of year for outlooks, be they right or wrong, let’s look at what the economists who write the Daily Livestock Report (DLR) think about the beef cutout.

Why is that important? After all, that’s a long way from the calving pasture. It’s important because what happens at the wholesale and retail end of the beef marketing chain affects you at marketing time and ultimately, affects the genetic decisions you make.

According to DLR’s Dec. 27 report, the rib primal value has collapsed, as it does every year, but the pullback this year has been even more significant than last year.

READ: Facts about the live-to-cutout spread

But don’t worry. That’s a seasonal move as rib demand dampens following the holiday season. “Last year, the pullback for the same time period was 14.5% but the year before that it was 23%. So the rib seasonal is alive and well although it will move around a bit from year to year,” DLR reports.

At this time, what we don’t know yet is the performance of end cuts come January and February. For the beef cutout to gain traction in January, end cuts would need to once again carry more of the value. Higher beef prices in the world market and lack of imports should be supportive but it is far from a sure bet, according to DLR.

“The big unknown is how retailers feature beef roasts and ground beef in Q1. One could argue that the higher [cash register] rings that beef provides will continue to make it an attractive feature item. The economy continues to outperform the doom and gloom talk from some quarters and the partial trade deal with China could also open the doors for more U.S. beef trade in 2020.”

Related: As beef producers look to 2020, all eyes are on China

On the other hand, there are some reasons for concern. “The most significant is the slowdown in beef sales for delivery 22-60 days out. In the four weeks ending Dec. 20, forward sales in this category are down 23% from a year ago and also below both 2017 and 2016 levels.

“This could suggest retailers are planning on fewer features in the second half of January and in February. Forward sales for the 61-90 day window during this period were down 18% and for delivery 90 days or further in the future were down 34%,” according to DLR.

One thing we know for sure: Beef demand has been exceptional and that has been underpinning prices. Yes, feeder cattle and calf prices aren’t as good as we want them to be. But I believe they would be lower were it not for the great beef demand we’ve seen.

So my outlook for 2020 hinges on continued strong beef demand. I’ll use Certified Angus Beef (CAB) as a proxy for the high-quality beef consumers have available.

“The Prime carcass count from 2015 to 2019 has increased by 91%. That’s moving the Prime share of steer/heifer carcasses up from 5% to 8.5% in that period,” CAB’s Paul Dykstra tells me. “The Prime cutout premium to Choice is up 5% from 2015 vs. 2019. Supply has increased tremendously while price has modestly increased too.”

READ: Does beef demand impact you?

The CAB story is similar with a big move in supply. “Same period—2015 vs. 2019 (calendar years)—an increase of 59% in CAB carcasses certified, moving the acceptance rate from 28.3% to 34.9% of all eligible cattle,” Dykstra says. “The CAB cutout premium to Choice in that comparison shows a 21% increase from $8.58 per cwt to $10.39 per cwt. It’s important to realize that Choice supplies were also increasing. As well, CAB supplies are nearly 20% of all fed cattle combined,” he adds.

“The interpretation is that during a period of significant increases in supply of high-quality beef, we have seen premiums for Prime and CAB carcasses increase as well.” 

That’s a clear signal that consumers want the best beef you can produce and are willing to pay for it. Meeting that demand starts with the genetic decisions you make when you buy your herd bulls and the management you put into cow herd and raising your calves.

I don’t know what cattle prices will do in 2020. But I’m certain that the quality of beef you provide to consumers here and around the world has gained a reputation for being the best.

Let’s look forward to 2020 with the certainty that the beef you produce will continue to be best in the world. And also with the hope that trade tensions will lessen and the trade outlook will be better.

That, along with the reputation U.S. beef has established, will continue to underpin cattle prices regardless of which direction they trend.

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Mastro’s to open in Union Square with $240 Kobe beef, $50 cocktails – San Francisco Chronicle

The owners of the high-end Mastro’s Steakhouse chain are betting big on San Francisco with the opening of a 14,000-square-foot, three-level restaurant.

Just off Union Square, it will be the first Northern California location of the national steakhouse group, owned by Texas corporation Landry’s, which also runs Morton’s the Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks and Joe’s Crab Shack. Mastro’s is the most upscale of the Landry’s brands.

While it was set to open Friday, a last-minute inspection had to be rescheduled. It’s not clear when exactly it’ll open, but’ll likely happen by the end of the month.

The San Francisco restaurant boasts a whopping 500 seats, floor-to-ceiling windows, shiny silver booths, a terrace with a retractable ceiling, black

Calacatta marble from Italy and a 4,000-pound chandelier.

The design screams opulence, and that air of luxury carries over to the food and beverages.

The main dining room Mastro's Steakhouse centers around a 4,000-pound chandelier.

The Union Square restaurant will be certified by the Kobe Beef Association in Japan to serve Kobe beef from coveted Tajima cattle. For $240, guests can sear their 4-ounce portion on a hot stone, then dip precious bites in chimichurri, jalapeño ponzu or spicy mustard.

“It’s all about the experience and the show,” said general manager Ian Hoshino, who previously worked for Charlie Palmer’s restaurant group in Napa and Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco.

Mastro’s is known for extensive wine lists — the Houston location won an Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator this year. The 700 options will range from $60 to thousands of dollars per bottle. There will be 60 original cocktails available between the restaurant’s two bars. The Baller, for example, features JCB Gin, caviar dust, shaved black truffle and white truffle oil for $50.

The rest of the menu at Mastro’s, which opened its first location in Arizona in 1999 and now has 18 locations including the new one in San Francisco, is a more classic selection of steaks, chops and seafood options. Signature dishes include Lobster Mashed Potatoes, Alaska King Crab Black Truffle Gnocchi, Warm Butter Cake and 2-foot-tall seafood towers that see dry ice fumes billowing through the dining room. There’s also sushi — a lobster roll goes for $29.

San Francisco has seen an influx of high-end steak-focused restaurants this year, including wagyu emporiums Niku Steakhouse and Ittoryu Gozu. Celebrity chef Tyler Florence is also planning an upscale steakhouse near Chase Center. What will set Mastro’s apart?

“Our steaks are the best,” said Gregory Hammann, Mastro’s regional vice president. Apart from the Kobe, Mastro’s gets its beef from Wisconsin, cooks it in the broiler and serves it on a sizzling plate with clarified butter and parsley.

The filet from Mastro's Steakhouse, opening in San Francisco on Friday.

Perhaps more unusual will be the sheer size and range of dining spaces within Mastro’s. There’s a rooftop-bar like terrace, private dining room and slightly more casual second floor M Bar, where a grand piano is permanently stationed for live music every night.

“This is not a sedate jazz club,” Hammann said. “This is a lively, cosmopolitan atmosphere.”

The Bay Area has long been a target of Mastro’s, according to Hammann. The company plans to open another grand, two-story location in Santa Clara near Westfield Valley Fair in 2020. With its close proximity to Palo Alto and Silicon Valley’s many tech campuses, the next Mastro’s will likely try to deliver even more luxury.

Mastro’s Steakhouse. Dinner 5-11 p.m. daily, bar 4-11 p.m. daily. 399 Geary St., San Francisco. 415-363-9539 or www.mastros.com

This story was updated to reflect new information about the restaurant’s delayed opening.

Janelle Bitker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: janelle.bitker@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @janellebitker

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