Calgary grocery/butcher complaint/help
So I am trying to make a relatively simple dish. the ingredient are as follows;
1/2 calfs foot
salt and pepper
1 whole shank Bone in
2 tbsp olive oil (not evoo or if not olive use canola)
1 tbsp butter
2 medium onions sliced thin
1 carrot 1 cm cubes
1 tbsp tomatoe paste
1 tbsp flour
1 cup wine (white or red)
zest of one lemon
1 bouquet garni
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2sprigs parsley (flat)
TO be served with a rich creamy polenta. Made out of Parmesan cheese, cream, and cornmeal.
You would think that none of these ingedients would be impossible to come across. But after calling coop, safeway and second to none i still could not find a regular shank or foot ( or lamb not frozen). So off to china town, no luck, so i head to where i know i could find these items in vancouver, T&T in the Pacific Place mall. No luck there they had shanks but not bone in. So quick call to second to none they have a veal shank bone in, upon arrival they want $60+ for it. Given it was 6 pounds of meat and bone, but seriously $60! Next on my list off hard to find, cornmeal. Why is this so hard. Specialty bakery store with many types of flour no luck, same goes for the places I had visited or called above.
Here is the thing that gets me the most, my girlfriend spent $23 dollars buying up all of these ingredients except the wine and balsamic(some more than she needed for the recipe like the foot, shank, cornmeal) in one store no less. I spent $20 and went to numerous stores and I didnt even get the shank or foot. What gives calgary? I mean we slaughter beef just down the road.
Why dont we have a fairways market here? they are cheap and have wide selection. Where should i have gone?
Surprised you couldn't find cornmeal. What about the bulk section of a store like Superstore? I would have thought that even Safeway/Save-on would have it....although sometimes they stick this kind of stuff on odd aisles where you wouldn't tend to look.
The shank is another story. People all want meat from the grocery store or, worse, Costco now. Both of which operate on a commodity basis. Real butchers that actually know about meat are a dying breed.
Harvest Hills. There is a good butcher in Bowness - Gordon's Meats and an excellent one in Haysboro - McEwan Meats. There is also a good one at the Crossroad's Market but can't remember the name. But you should call in advance - they don't stock everything every day but bring in the carcasses once a week, eg pork on Thursday, beef on Friday, etc.
I have seen fresh (un-frozen) lamb at Sunterra in West Market Square. It may have been Valbella, or it may have been from Sunterra Farms.
As for beef shank, bone-in, we have seen/asked for it from time to time at different butchers in Chinatown, from Lambda Supermarket, and from the butcher inside Tops.
Cornmeal is usually found in the baking section (next to the flour and baking powder, etc) in Superstore and Safeway where they keep those plastic packages of nuts, dried fruits, and ground almonds. I'm pretty sure I looked everywhere else in the store before there--and only found it after asking a more knowledgeable floor employee (the first one didn't know). But now, I have no trouble finding the cornmeal.
If you want more than a couple of grain sizes for your cornmeal, try Lina's Italian Market. They have a very deep selection of polenta/cornmeal!
Grazin Acres at Calgary Farmers Market sells pork, beef, lamb, chicken, rabbit, pheasant, goose, etc. I've seen lamb shanks and pigs trotters there, but they may not always have what you want, or be sold out. (Ask, they may have it in their back storage freezer) I have found if you ask they will bring in what you want, if they can, but you will have to wait until the next weekend to get it. I always get my cornmeal from Community Natural Foods, on 10th Ave SW. The organic stone ground far surpasses the finer grind you can buy at grocery stores. It takes at least twice as long to cook, but the flavor and texture are worth it.
I'd suggest taking a look at Jan's Meats - a small Polish deli/butcher/import store on 5th Ave and Crowchild Trail NW. I order pork by the side from them and it always comes with a couple packages of trotters. They have beef as well, but I am not sure if they have veal.
Their prices are low for the quality their products are sourced locally. I'm not sure on the exact source - I asked Jan about it one time, but made the mistake of mentioning Cargill (as in," your meat doesn't come from there, I hope"). He was so insulted at the mere mention that I didn't ask any further...