meat alone is always gluten-free, isn't it? although i choose not to feast upon the land-dwelling type, that didn't stop me from making a trip to the peoria packing & butcher shop in the near-west side.
it looks like a little bit of nothing with a little bit of a parking lot out front. it's actually not a whole lot when you walk in, but the bits of this and that placed out on table tops was enough to make me stop and look. and look. and walk from table to table just to see what the heck a skinned turkey neck looked like anyway. as i strolled through the aisles of bleached tripe and cow tongue twice the thickness and of equal length of my arm, i couldn't help but feel like i was being watched. did someone know i didn't belong here? that i wasn't going to actually eat any of this? or worse...
that i was shopping for my dogs???
it was like 20 lasers burning into my back and i turned around ever so slowly. cooly. calmly. visions of a bloodied, wild-haired, cleaver-bearing butcher flashed through my brain and i inhaled the cold, damp air.
oh. my. goodness.
my eyes caught the gaze of another pair, frozen and still, stuck in the visage of what must have been a rather large pig. this head was stacked upon another head which was balanced on another and all of them were looking my way like some insane mona lisa-esque art installation. my dogs are so not getting one of those.
where's the chicken?
the place is basically a refrigerated warehouse filled with cuts and slabs and racks of everything you can imagine. if you're especially adept at preparing a whole fish for a meal i'd imagine their prices on that tilapia are quite good. in fact, the prices on everything were better than quite good. and as i carried my little basket in the crook of one arm and with my plastic-gloved hands, i got lots of tasty bits for 2 hungry raw-eating dogs.
dan came along and he found some polish sausage and beautiful sirloins for himself. this is, after all, a place for people food. and there were people-a-plenty filling carts and baskets with all sorts of ingredients for stews and bar-b-ques. and it all was so plentiful and so fresh it felt almost a shame to leave only to know that it would all be packed away for the evening and then lights-out for the night.
sometimes a sincere feeling of gratitude can overwhelm you in the oddest of places. and so, while in the snouts and ears side of the room i looked back over the other 3 corners and was amazed at how much we have and have available. and how much we take it for granted. and how in this little cold warehouse of a butcher shop you can pop in and grab those 75 chicken wings you've been hankering for and never really truly know what it feels to want.
and they may come in handy for the super bowl on sunday.
peoria packing & butcher shop
1307 w lake st
monday - saturday: 6am - 5pm
sunday: 9am - 3pm