I am very much not a meat lover.
A dabbler when I've had a glass of wine.
And I eat bacon like it's going out of fashion, but bacon, as we know, isn't really meat... it's crack. Meat crack, some sort of irresistible savory goodness that I can eat by the packet without remorse.
Don't get me wrong. I wish I were a meat eater, asking for my meat 'bloody' when out to dinner or sucking marrow out of bones. Really do and contrary to all the vegetarian stuff out there (and my leafy leanings) I don't think a bit of good-quality meat is bad for you at all.
But I'm squeamish like a picky two year-old. It's embarrassing. I dry heaved the only time I tried eating chicken off the bone. Same with ribs. I can eat cured meats if I don't think to hard about it or get a big, juicy bit of grizzle lodged between my teeth, which just causes a total melt down. By me. A grown woman.
But I am fascinated with the look of meat. Always have been.
I could stare at its marbled surface all day.
The reds and whites all swirling around. Flecks of dark purple and glossy surface...
Cuts of meat are always my favorite parts of old still life paintings. Always. I fantasize about what Henry VIII's banquet table must have looked like.
So... I was walking home from the most glamorous of glamorous errands today (dropping the car at the mechanic) when I stumbled onto Publican Quality Meats, which had opened this very afternoon. It's a high-quality butcher, the kind that are commonplace in places like London, all of France and Italy...
They do not, for the most part, exist in the states in such abundance. Foodies will travel from far and wide to visit them when they do exist. Because, while we do corporate food systems like nobody else, we do not have a knack for small-scale, high-quality meats.
Publican Quality Meats is the London-France-Italy-style butcher, with heaps and mounds of speckled sausages, duck confit in glistening fat still in the enameled dish... all piled up and stewn with paper labels letting you know what each is.
The shelves against the windows carry sundry staples and crates litter the floor with rustic bread loaves.
Clean white tiles are punctuated with blue and in the back is a freezer with high-quality dairy and stocks to purchase alongside a set of blonde wood tables where you can have lunch or a coffee.
It could be all set pieces (that's another thing we're good at over here... making just stuff look authentic) but it's not. It feels like they've tried to create something real that's simply been absent from this part of the world but genuinely should (and probably once did) exist here and still does elsewhere. And thank goodness.
I'm ready to get cuts of meat, when I get the courage to cook it, from some place other than the heaving counter at the mega grocery store, where it always smells faintly of sour milk, even at pristine Whole Foods. And I'm looking forward to a coffee in a place that doesn't have another identical shop just 200 feet away (although I do love La Colombe, which recently opened in the same neighborhood).
This was supposed to be a post with a few beautiful (in my opinion) pictures accompanied by the phrase 'just opened' but I couldn't help myself. I'm not a foodie and not a meat connoisseur but I do like lovely, genuinely interesting places that have a sense of purpose and good design.
This seems to be one.