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The best meat available in the USA. - Page 2

post #16 of 20
Let's hear more about meat! It's an interesting topic, very revealing about our current state of food. I was depressed to read a while ago in one of Jeffrey Steingarten's books about the "evolution" of the USDA grading process. Meat grading was once much more rigorous and refined. The USDA Prime designation we use today as the highest grade for meat now covers a far greater range than ever--and still there is less and less of it. I'm less concerned about the wet/dry debate (how long have we had the cryovac anyway?) than I am about supporting traditional methods of raising livestock. Things are so stratified today. Those who don't care about meat will buy a uniformly inferior product at the local supermarket, while the rest of us are left to ferret out small producers, restaurant suppliers, etc. I remember going to the butcher with my grandfather and everything was all there without any of the niche marketing and proprietary names we have today. Even specialty butchers with sterling reputations (such as Bryan's here in SF) don't always have the real goods. When I went to Alsace and Burgundy a couple of years back all the food was a revelation, of course, but what really stuck in my mind was the base quality of the meat and dairy products. I remember coming back here to SF and realizing that to continue eating in this way from time to time would require a great deal of effort put toward finding basic ingredients.
In addition to Prather and GG meats, I think the Niman Ranch pork can be quite good. Grimaud Farms duck is amazing. The prosaic Rocky Range whole chicken is about the best roasting bird you could ever want. Is there a good source for top quality lamb (there's really nothing like good loin chops marinated in yogurt with garlic and perhaps some mint or thyme and then grilled quickly at high heat)? And speaking of yogurt, we might as well admit that Strauss Family Creamery is about as good as it could posibly get.
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
We shopped at Bryan's for years, and it is a good place. The fish is really excellent. The veal is the best available in the area, as they sell real veal and not the organic/natural young beef that is sold by some of the organic food stores. I remember them being the first place that you could find double cut veal rib chops rather than skimpy loin chops. American Pork is far behind pork in Europe. We siply will not pay the price that it costs for really high quality pork. Prather Ranch sells excellent pork that they source from a like-minded producer. In Europe the entire pig is used, while in the US we eat bacon and pork loin. The two finest dishes I have ever eaten were a pigs head at Robuchon in Paris and a truffled pigs foot at Taillevent. I really wish that there was more demand for such cuts here and that restaurants could cater to it. Strauss is top notch, as is Cowgirl Creamery. Marin Sun Farms produces eggs that rival the best in Europe. I agree about Grimaud Farms, and also think that the birds available from D'Artagnan are excellent. I think that Acme does an excelent job with breads. Maybe they are not as good as the very best in Europe, but they are better than most. I avoided the Ferry Builing Marketplace for a long time because of all of the affectations surrounding it. I now realize that the products are too good to miss. Next time you are there, make sure to pick up a bag of the homemade potato chips at LuLu Petit. They are terrific. The mexican restaurant Mijita is also worth going to. It is owned by the chef at Jardeniere. We also pick up fresh tortillas from them when we cook Mexican at home.
post #18 of 20
Interesting. I avoided the Ferry Building for a long time too. But then last summer my oldest son started swimming at the Embarcadero YMCA in the mornings. At about 9:00 am we'd wander over to the Ferry Building, go to Acme, Peets, GG Meats, once in a while buy something from Recchiuti--a tough life, I know. That's when I realized it was a real market with some great stuff and not just the ersatz flash.
My wife used to go to Mijita until she had some nightmarish experience with the birds outside.
And as long as we're talking bread we should also give Bay Bread a mention. They make some very good bread (the sour baguette and the pain integrale come to mind), but where they really shine is the sweets. I don't think I've ever tasted a more sublime almond croissant and all of the country-style cakes and tarts are top-notch.
post #19 of 20
Originally Posted by ayn
I will have to try some of their steak, will check out the MV farmers' market this Sunday... Back in Austin, TX, I got my steak from this place called The Meat Shop, they sold Wagyu beef from Harrell Ranch, excellent excellent steak! They closed their retail location before I moved away though.

I don't think they come to Mountain View any more - I did pick up some meat for pot roast from them at the MV market about six months ago, but haven't seen them in the last few weeks.

There is, though, a stall that sells boudin noir, wild boar sausages and so on in Mountain View, so I'm consoling myself with that.

post #20 of 20
The Ferry Building has the most incredible assortment of luxury grocers/foodstores/etc. I've ever seen. God I miss San Francisco.
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