True Gentleman’s Jerky in Sinsa Korean Flavored BBQ flavor.
When I — or most women — are in need of a snack, we reach for fruit, yogurt, a handful of granola, a cookie or some pretzels.
It’s meat. Always.
My husband could have had a burger for lunch and could be preparing a leg of lamb for dinner, yet if he gets the munchies, he’ll still crave a meat product of some sort.
That’s a little of the spirit behind True Gentlemen’s Jerky. It was founded by a group of guys who all went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo together. In search of the perfect snack, they started making their own beef jerky based on a family recipe. Before long, a business was born.
True Gentlemen’s Jerky is made in the Sacramento area from Northern California beef. Recently, I had a chance to try samples.
Pulled pork bun (front) and braised lamb belly bun (back) at Belcampo in Palo Alto.
After opening its first restaurant-retail meat shop last spring in Larkspur, Belcampo Meat Co. has been on a rapid roll.
Since then, it has opened in speedy succession in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and just four weeks ago in Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village.
Shortly, Santa Monica will get the largest outpost of the farm-to-table meat company with a butcher shop plus a restaurant that will boast a full bar, as well as 90 seats. A lease also has been signed for a location in West Hollywood.
Belcampo is on a fast-track mission to prove that sustainable not only can be profitable, but feasible on a large-scale.
A butcher packs away the meat just before closing.
Note the whiteness of the fat on the meat — a sign of pasture-fed animals.
It is the brainchild of Todd Robinson, a Wall Street veteran with deep pockets; and Anya Fernald, a California-native and long-time locavore entrepreneur. She may look familiar from her previous appearances as a judge on “Iron Chef America” and as the founder of the Eat Real Festival in Oakland.
The Chicago Dog at Al’s Beef in San Jose.
People often think my life revolves around copious chef’s tasting menus night after night.
But not when you’re married to someone nicknamed Meat Boy, whose guilty pleasure is fast-food.
I usually steer clear, but I have been known to snatch a handful of fries or the pickle from his burger now and then.
So when Al’s Beef recently opened its first Northern California outpost right here in San Jose at The Plant, I was game to try it with my husband when I was given a $50 gift card to do so.
Meat Boy and I went on a Wednesday night. Although there was a line out the door for The Boiling Crab next-door, Al’s Beef was fairly empty.
Banners inside the eatery.
The eatery started out as a family-owned food stand in Chicago in 1938. It now has 17 locations, most of them in the Chicago area.
Presenting the American Kobe ribeye cap.
For the past seven years, almost all of Snake River Farms’ entire supply of ribeye cap — its premier cut of American Kobe beef — has gone to one restaurant.
The French Laundry.
That tells you just how magnificent this cut of beef must be.
Thanks to an uptick in production, though, that same cut is now available to the public, starting this week on the Idaho-based specialty meat company’s Web site.
Yes, you can cook up the same exquisite cut of beef used at one of the finest restaurants in the world.
It won’t come cheap, of course.
Rosy slices of lamb topped with a vibrant salsa verde.
Let’s face it — bones can be a bit of a pain to deal with.
Just try eating chicken wings gracefully.
Or de-boning a whole fish in front of guests without mangling it.
But bones serve a purpose in cooking. They add more flavor to the flesh as it cooks. They also conduct heat, allowing the meat to cook more evenly with less shrinkage.
So when Superior Farms, one of the largest distributors of lamb in the country, offered to let me try any cut on the house, I went for one with a bone. A big bone.
I chose a bone-in leg of American lamb because it’s not a cut you find all that easily in markets these days. Sure, you can get a boneless leg of lamb with little effort, but one that still has a bone in it often requires a real search. That’s because it’s a lot heftier to handle. It’s also more challenging to carve. But what a dramatic presentation it makes for at the table.