Porktown, CA

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April 20, 2011 by 8junebugs

The last time I went grocery shopping, “steak/pork…no, we’d really prefer steak” was on the list. And we were craaaaving steak as soon as we put “meat–steak or pork” on the week’s menu.

Yeah. We’ve been writing out menus. And we stick to them, for the most part. We may shift nights around, but we eat what we say we’ll eat over the course of a week. We worked out how we want to eat before we moved here, which is to say that we worked out that Graham would like to start eating more like I’ve been eating for years. Lots of fish, brown rice, and veggies, with pasta and red meat mixed in sparingly. Naturally, Friday night is pizza night.

Anyway. You guys all know how I feel about Trader Joe’s. “Sycophantic” might not be going too far in labeling my devotion. As I am the chef and chief food-buyer in the house, the vast majority of our food comes from the hallowed home of Two-Buck Chuck. (Which you shouldn’t drink. Really. Don’t even cook with it. Splurge on just about any of the $5 wines and save your palate.)

Generally, though, I won’t buy fresh meat from Trader Joe’s. They can only stock so much and the prices aren’t competitive; I can get local grass-fed flesh from the farmers market for less.

Unless I plan on that and the bloody farmer isn’t at the market. 😦 (Also, it should be noted that TJ’s fresh pork chops are reasonably priced and we live and die by their frozen fish section.)

I wanted to find a butcher shop on the way home, or at least not too far out of the way, as (naturally) I had a bunch of frozen groceries to ferry home. I tried Choice Meats, which (a) smelled wretched, (b) had only butt roasts and ground beef, and (c) came with a side of verbal objectification and physical intimidation coming and going. (Catcalling and following me to my car. Awesome.)

Also, 80% of the Choice Meats case contained pork.

So I tried a more local shop that, sadly, was limited to deli meats. Then, I walked down the street to the Housewives’ Market because I’d heard one could buy meat there.

One can, it turns out, buy pork or fish there. Seriously. Jack’s Meats was supposed to be there but is also listed under a different address, so WHO THE EFF KNOWS.

Frustrated, I gave in and bought some pork steaks for dinner, not having previously heard of pork steaks. I mean, a cut of meat is a cut of meat and I have no reason to doubt that pork steaks have always existed, but…IT WAS SO NOT BEEF.

The pork steaks were not bad, once marinated and seared. But…pork.

Screw you, Oakland. I’m ordering from Omaha Steaks.

(I’m told that Berkeley Bowl is a good source of animal protein when one’s farmers market falls short. We’ll try that when the sirloin runs out.)


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