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How to find a good Butcher?


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#1 fannus

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 04:00 PM

Up until now, 95% of my meat shopping has been done at general supermarket stores like Ralph's or Vons, etc., or at club stores like Costco, but increasingly, both of these have very poor selection, quality, and value in the meats they sell. I want to buy chicken legs, feet and all. I want, on occasion, a prime cut standing rib roast. I want to be able to buy a 5lb block of kidney suet. I've decided I need to find myself a good Butcher.

I've looked in the yellow pages, via Google (search, local, etc.), and unfortunately I don't have a group of friends who are 'in the know' about such things, so I'd like to know, does anyone has some tips on how to find a damn good Butcher?

I figure that this post is the first step ;) I'm looking somewhere in the San Diego area, preferably north of Downtown (I live in University City). I've seen a lot of places in the Clairemont Mesa/Convoy area but they seem to be big wholesale meat suppliers, and don't have retail storefronts. If anyone has a Butcher that they frequent in the area, I'm all ears!
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#2 Carlsbad

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 04:27 PM

I have some friends who swear by:
Siesel's Meats
4131 Ashton Street
San Diego, CA 92109
Tel: (619) 275-1234

I think you can get chicken feet at 99 Ranch Market on Claremont Mesa Blvd. Not sure they are going to be attached to the leg, but you can give it a try.

#3 Kouign Aman

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 04:50 PM

Ditto re Siesel's. And they're between you and downtown (off Morena, near SeaWorld Drive)

A bit further east, on Mission Gorge Rd is Iowa Meat Farms.

I dont think I've seen a stand-along butcher other than these....perhaps I need to pay more attention to my surroundings.
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#4 mizducky

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 05:24 PM

Here's a third for Siesels. I also highly recommend their elder sister, Iowa Meat Farms, which is maybe a little further south than you wanted, but hey, it's still north of downtown (Mission Gorge Road, about 4 blocks north of I-8).

Here's the website for both Iowa Meat Farms and Siesel's. A caution: they're both a bit on the pricey side (though you do get appropriate quality for the money).

#5 kalypso

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 10:28 PM

Iowa Meat Farms and Siesel's are the 2 mainstream choices in San Diego, and has been previously noted, they are both very good. Iowa Meats will special order for you, they brine their own corned beef, the carry real USDA Choice grade beef, they'll give you advice on cooking if you ask, I've purchased prime rib from them, love their thick cut bacon and I've never had a bad piece of meat from Iowa Meats.

If you'd rather brave the I-5 and go north to Encinitas there is always Tip Top Market, though I understand that can be a bit inconsistent at times. Isn't there a Gelson's in La Jolla? Also, the butcher counter at Whole Foods is pretty good, especially in Hillcrest, but it truly does give new meaning to their alter identification - Whole Paycheck.

If you want a little adventure and slumming it a bit doesn't bother you, there is an Asian chicken shop on Euclid about 1/2 a block south of El Cajon Blvd. Don't worry about the name, it's not in English anyway. It's in a small strip mall which IIRC is named Century Square, but you can't miss the BIG sign that says POLLS-PATOS - VIVOS Y FRESCO in Spanish. They do speak English but be very clear about your order, including size and what you intend to do with the chicken, or you may get more (or less) than you bargained for. They definitely have chicken feet. The butchering process is clearly visible through a plate glass window in the front part of the shop.

#6 fannus

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Posted 04 April 2006 - 02:00 AM

Thanks for suggestions! I'll definitely check out Seisel's and Iowa Meat Farms this week :) I'm on a bit of a budget but I'm willing to pony up for a decent cut of meat :)
"He's, uh, talking to the ketchup, now."
"Ketchup.... Catsup?"
"Ketchup?.... Catsup"
"Could you come along with us, sir?"
"Are you here to solve my Ketchup problem?"

#7 Carlsbad

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Posted 04 April 2006 - 09:53 AM

Tip Top is actually in Carlsbad. I haven't been there in ages, but I've always found it expensive and not all that great. In the north coastal area, I'd rather go to Seaside Market in Cardiff or Jimbo's in Carlsbad (although it seems like it's in Encinitas).

#8 kalypso

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Posted 04 April 2006 - 04:10 PM

Tip Top is actually in Carlsbad.  I haven't been there in ages, but I've always found it expensive and not all that great.  In the north coastal area, I'd rather go to Seaside Market in Cardiff or Jimbo's in Carlsbad (although it seems like it's in Encinitas).

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Thanks for the update on Tip Top. You confirmed what I'd recently heard about them.