Monday, February 8, 2010

McCalls: Marrow Bones and Ken Dor Chickens and Grass Fed Beef, Oh My!

2117 Hillhurst Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Last week on a rainy day I hit McCall's in Los Feliz to check out the new talent in the neighborhood.


I love how their blackboard breaks down the cow in terms of what cuts come from where and what cuts they carry.

McCall's is small but focused. The focus is on organic hormone and antibiotic-free meats, free-range chickens and sustainable and wild caught seafood.

After immersing myself so thoroughly in the world of Michael Pollan recently, I have been really keeping my eyes peeled for grass-fed beef, and am excited that McCall's is carrying it.

I have always wanted to try my hand at a Kurobota pork chop, and these look gorgeous. However, this week I caved on a Kendor chicken. Free-range, organic, etc.  They had just arrived from Kendor the morning I picked my trussed bird out of the case. @mccallsmandf twittered as such.

I learned that afternoon that the Branzino that I love is actually synonymous with loup de mer. Good to know.

Sashimi grade salmon.

And a finely honed selection of non-perishables including salts, vinegars and olive oils.  Owners Nathan and Karen were hanging out behind the counter minding shop, and Nathan asked me what I intended to do with the chicken. I told him my usual. Stuff the cavity full of quartered lemons, rosemary and garlic under the skin and pop her in the oven. He suggested placing the entire bird on a throne of chopped veg, letting the chicken juices seep down into the veg as everything cooked. I did, it did and it was marvelous. My brussels sprouts attained a beautiful caramelization around the edge of the pan, and the roasted potatoes were crunchy and tasted slightly of chicken fat & juices. Thanks for the rec and the lovely bird!


Pat Saperstein said...

I've been meaning to drop by soon. Sounds good, assuming one has plenty of money to devote to dinner. How much was the whole chicken?

Food, she thought. said...

That's an excellent point, Pat. And an interesting thing to consider when thinking about the elitism of eating organically. The chicken was a whopping $22.80. I think it was just over 2 lbs, iirc. The receipt was not detailed. Can I afford to eat their chicken once a week as a DINK? Yes, I can. But I can hardly advise friends with multiple children or one income households in this economy to buy their protein here.

mattatouille said...

Wow $22.80 is wholly unreasonable for a 2 pound chicken. I have to know how it tasted though. I think whole Jidori chickens wouldn't cost more than $15?

Food, she thought. said...

You're not wrong, Matt. It's shockingly expensive. But it was also fabulously delicious, and incredibly fresh. I have no idea how much a Jidori chicken is. Chowhounds has a thread from 2007 that suggests under $3 a pound.

Tricerapops said...

great run down, i've been by twice and tried their sausages, prime flat iron steaks, duck legs (for a cassoulet on super bowl sunday), and various seafood items (mussels, squid, salmon). i'm with you - i wouldn't go here for everyday proteins - but as a once a week stop for weekend dinners at home? most definitely. the pork chops are next on my list for sure, although i'll need to get a handle on some test chops before i go kurobota (I am notorious for drying out pork).

my favorite part of the store, which i think helps to justify the premium, is that most of the stuff is already prepared. in the world of supermarket butchers that are inconsistent AT BEST, it's great to have stuff already prepped (e.g., scrubbed/debearded mussels) - it really cuts back on the cooking/prep time.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the report. In my 'hood but that is rather pricey. Still, I'll drop in next time and check it out for myself.

streetgourmetla said...

Bananas! Well, I'd like to come by and at least stare at the food.

Pretty meats!