Any excuse to go Astoria's Muncan Food - Serbian butcher shop extraordinaire - is alright by me.
My latest excuse? A friend's birthday. What better gift to offer up than a selection of delicious Serbian meat products?
And, once I led my pal Allison into the meat-riffic shop, strewn with gorgeous smoked slabs of pork ribs, thick garlands of sausage and an abundance of house-cured salamis, she most certainly felt like the birthday princess she has always dreamed she could be on the glorious anniversary of her birth.
No need for a birthday hat or a cake when you can celebrate with warm, chewy nubs of pork cracklings. Then again, what party is complete without an array of bacon, from rolled paprika-style to pepper panceta? Guiding us through the meat maze (straight to the lamb salami) was Muncan's ever-knowing Zoran - or as I like to call him, "The Willy Wonka of Meat." He is more than a butcher: He is a Serbian meat master.
So, if your birthday is around the corner and you want to commemorate the occasion with some meaty magnificence, drop me a line. I'll be quick to catch the R to Steinway and meet up for a meat up. Heck, I'll even bring along a candle to stick in the Balkan cold-smoked pork loin.
Make a wish!