Meat is good.
No. Strike that! Meat is great.
Happily my Chicago pal Gourmet Rambler more than agrees. In fact, I think it's fair to say that she is actually a meat snob.
Last Friday, after a challenging morning of boutique-browsing (and buying) in Bucktown, she insisted that we head over to meet her friend Rob. Rob is her butcher. And, let's just say that Rob isn't just a meat snob; he's a meat guru. His shop is called The Butcher & Larder, but eyeing the huge cuts of beef and lamb, mammoth trays of offal and heaping platters of housemade sausages strewn about the open kitchen and carving area, it definitely seemed more "butcher" than "larder."
Gourmet Rambler explained that this store is a go-to destination for the Windy City's barbecue and grilling cognoscenti. I wasn't a bit surprised. Then one of Rob's other regulars came in -- to get a bucket of bones. Was he making stock? Nope. This gent has two gargantuan slobbering, lovable dogs who couldn't dream of going a week without chomping on some of Butcher & Larder's finest Flintstone-sized beauties.
Well, if it was good enough for the pooches!
We decided to forgo picking up the raw stuff and went straight for the sandwiches. My fave is pictured above -- a crackerjack Homemade Ham Sandwich with Honey Mustard and Pickled Onions. This gem was piled high with lightly smoked, thinly sliced pork, which I would have gladly eaten one paper-thin sliver at a time. It was just plain perfect.
Now, we may have genius butchers back home in NYC, but I'm hard-pressed to find a ham sandwich that will make me swoon the way that succulent specimen did. Makes my heart race just thinking about it!
Hate to say it, but I might just have to go back to Chicago for another.
No. Strike that! I must just say it: I have to back to Chicago for another.
Gourmet Rambler best let Rob know I'm coming back and make sure he has plenty of ham at the ready.