Category Archives: Meat

Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 7

Khachapuri adjaruli -- a bread lover's dream at Bevri.
Khachapuri adjaruli — a bread lover’s dream at Bevri.

Bevri, Palo Alto

When it debuted in downtown Palo Alto in 2018, Bevri was thought to be the first Georgian restaurant in all of Northern California.

Russia-born Pavel Sirotin, who also works at Google, opened it with his brother and sister-in-law because he missed his favorite homeland noshes. Over the years, word has spread about this unique gem of a place, and even more so now after the restaurant was featured on a recent episode of “Check, Please! Bay Area Kids Special.” Sirotin says a lot of newcomers have discovered Bevri as a result of that show, with many of them racing in and declaring, “I want what those kids had!”

It’s all available for takeout, too. If you are a carb lover like I am, you simply must order the iconic khachapuri adjaruli ($21), the soft, puffy, canoe-shaped bread whose center is molten cheese. The bread comes packed in a pizza box so it won’t get smooshed on the drive home. A separate container of butter, and a raw egg yolk is included. Warm up the bread in a toaster oven, then plop the yolk and butter in the center, and mix it into the warm cheese. Tear off a hunk of bread, dip it into the center like fondue, and prepare to experience bread-and-cheese nirvana.

The simpler khachapuri imeruli.
The simpler khachapuri imeruli.
An appetizer of creamy walnut spreads and eggplant roll-ups.
An appetizer of creamy walnut spreads and eggplant roll-ups.

If you don’t want to contend with a raw yolk, there is also the khachapuri imeruli ($18), which is more like a flattened round bread that has a filling of soft, stretchy, mozzarella-like cheese. It’s also wonderful, but not as quite as special.

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And the People’s Choice Is…Beef Jerky

People's Choice Cowboy Peppered beef jerky.
People’s Choice Cowboy Peppered beef jerky.

The Blanchetti founded Peoples Old Market in downtown Los Angeles in 1929, an old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness neighborhood butcher shop.

It flourished, eventually being renamed Peoples Sausage Company to reflect its specialty. Over the years, succeeding generations of the family joined the business, adding their own new products, including an all-natural, hand-crafted beef jerky made from a 1920’s recipe that became a runaway hit.

People’s Choice Beef Jerky now offers a range of dried meat products, which I recently got a chance to sample.

Now, admittedly, I’m not one to normally chow down on beef jerky. But in the time of a pandemic, I can readily see how these meaty snacks can come in quite handy.

This is beef jerky that actually tastes of beef, not an old shoe. It’s got chew to it, so if you prefer softer, flabbier jerky, this might not be to your liking.

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Savor Thai Barbecued Chicken — Inspired By Cream Co. Meats

My whole chicken from Cream Co. Meats was turned into this turmeric- and curry-tinged grilled chicken feast.
My whole chicken from Cream Co. Meats was turned into this turmeric- and curry-tinged grilled chicken feast.

Before the pandemic, Oakland’s Cream Co. Meats were available only to celebrated San Francisco chefs such as David Nayfield of Che Fico; Stuart Brioza of State Bird Provisions and The Progress; and Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s.

A distributor for sustainable and regenerative ranches across the West, Cream Co. it is one of the few USDA-certified processing facilities in Northern California.

If there’s one shining light in this COVID madness, though, it’s that this certified whole-animal butchery has pivoted to offer its top-notch products directly to everyday consumers now.

The "Basic Bunker Box'' from Cream Co. Meats in Oakland.
The “Basic Bunker Box” from Cream Co. Meats in Oakland.

That means even if you can’t dine in at restaurants these days, you can still enjoy the premium meats they use — if you’re willing to do the cooking, yourself.

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A Taste of California’s Only Commercial Iberian Pig Farm

Encina Farms Iberian pork loin chops grilled with just salt and pepper.
Encina Farms Iberian pork loin chops grilled with just salt and pepper.

Since last summer, Helmut Drews, a former tech acquisitions specialist, and Madrid-native Alberto Solis, a founder of the San Mateo incubator kitchen known as KitchenTown, have been cultivating a dream.

They have been raising Iberian pigs on their Encina Farms, the only commercial endeavor of its kind in California nurturing these specialty Spanish swines from which the luxurious jamon Iberico derives.

While Encina Farms’ own jamon Iberico is still a few years off — it takes a minimum of two years to cure the buttery ham leg — other pork products made from this distinctive black-footed, acorn-devouring breed can be enjoyed now.

Look for Encina Farms selling its Iberian pork cuts every Friday at the St. Helena’s farmers market and Saturday at the Napa farmers market.

The farm also offers limited delivery in the Bay Area, plus shipping to other parts of California, as well as Arizona, Oregon and Washington.

After writing a story about the founding of the farm last year for the San Francisco Chronicle, I was eager to try the pork for myself, so I splurged on a shipment.

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Ama’s Anchovy Pork Asada

Anchovies in the marinade give this grilled pork extra oomph.
Anchovies in the marinade give this grilled pork extra oomph.

How do I love anchovies?

Let me count the ways.

I love them in Caesar salad so much that when a waiter queries if I want anchovies, I almost take the bait and ask for extra.

I think many a pizza just isn’t complete without them arrayed lavishly overtop.

I find tomato sauces just a little flat without their depth.

And I always have tins of them stocked in my pantry.

So of course when I spotted “Anchovy Pork Asada” in the new “Ama: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen” (Chronicle Books, 2019) cookbook, of which I received a review copy, I knew I had to try making it.

The cookbook was written by Josef Centeno, chef-owner of the Centeno Group of restaurants in Los Angeles that includes Bar Ama, Baco Mercat, Orsa & Winston; and Betty Hallock, formerly deputy food editor of the Los Angeles Times.

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