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Mar 25, 2004 11:06 AM

Lamb, Real lamb

  • h

Does anyone know of anywhere in the valley you can market or meat market purchase lamb that really tastes like lamb? I'm tired of the bland excuses for cuts of lamb at Whole Foods or Ralph's. Even the New Zealand stuff at trader Joe's leaves a lot to be desired. Heck I'll settle for mutton recommendations. Preferably in the valley as aforesaid but anywhere within a reasonable distance of the valley. Thanks

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  1. I know it's not quite the same thing as "nearby", but in its way it's even closer: Niman Ranch. They sell real, spring lamb. And it'll be delivered to your door.


    2 Replies
    1. re: Fidelixi

      I have bought absolutely terrific legs of lamb at Vicente Foods in Brentwood--a bit of a distance from the valley I know, but you still might want to try it.

      1. re: juny1cat

        Thanks all. Some good suggestions and I will follow up.

    2. I imagine that Papa Cristos can provide you with mutton. They may source stronger lamb.

      We order from Niman Ranch for "special meals" of lamb and pork. Their pork is better than Lobel's korobuta, which was mealy. (shipping is free over x dollars-we buy some lamb and guanciale)

      The frozen NZ leg and rack of lamb at TJs is very good value if defrosted very carefully. We salt heavily an hour beforehand which takes care of the extra water.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JudiAU

        I bought fresh Niman's lamb chops at Trader Joes in Westwood last week - very, very good. Also had good luck with Bristol Farms and San Vicente Foods. Bad luck with frozen NZ "boneless" leg of lamb which ChowPup deemed as not worth eating. We concurred.

      2. Hugh, at least once do yourself the favor of ordering Jamison Farm lamb. Forget Rolling Rock beer, it's the best thing to come from Latrobe, PA since Arnold Palmer. A friend served it to me a couple of years ago, and it was simply unsurpassed. Check the site details below, they offer a range of product and shipping options.


        1. i saved this list from an LOS ANGELES MAGAZINE article a few years ago AND used it a lot- HOPE THIS HELPS! CHECK OUT BEL AIR PRIME MEATS and FALLBROOK MARKET and VENTURA KOSHER MARKET and most definitely MARCONDA'S MEATS -- addresses and phone numbers are in the blurbs -- recommend you call first to find out hours...


          AN ELITE CLUB COMES TO THIS TINY spot for California-raised Harris Ranch beef, dry-aged in the shop for 14 days. Proprietor Joe Rosa's star-studded clientele depends on his cooking as well as his culling: He can roast whatever strikes your fancy--turkey, guinea fowl, capon--to perfection in his sturdy Chitwood ovens. He'll also smoke any meat, fowl, or game over hickory chips. Succulent veal chops, rack of lamb, and frozen game birds are part of his larder, but any game may be had fresh with a few days' notice. Beverly Glen Marketplace, 2964 Beverly Glen Cir., Bel-Air, 310-475-5915.


          ALL THE CUTS AT THIS HUMBLE GOURmet grocery are excellent, but it's the wild ones that make the selection truly extraordinary: frozen slabs of finely ground venison, ostrich meat from the leanest part of the bird, top-grade buffalo loin, and for the holidays, a flock of exotic fowl--duck, goose, pheasant, and quail. Ask nice and they'll special-order your suckling pig, wild boar, even rattlesnake. 5947 Fallbrook Ave., Woodland Hills, 818-347-5525.


          PREMIUM BEEF SUPPLIERS ARE LIKE any business--each claims its stuff is the best on earth. So we tried Vintage Natural Beef for ourselves, and it is good, damned good--grain-fed and hormone-free. Marconda's carries the line on its pristine shelves; you can see the vitamin B goodness in the luscious round steaks and sirloin stew beef cubes. Another counter harbors the poultry. Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St., 323-938-5131.


          AT THIS VALLEY INSTITUTION, CLERKS shout numbers like bingo callers while customers--often two or three deep--kvetch playfully and ogle the fresh chickens, huge roasts, and gargantuan slabs of brisket that beg to be basted or smoked. Much of the meat comes from well-known kosher suppliers, like Bet Josef, Kehila, and Empire. Behind another counter endless varieties of knish and kugel await. You want that beef tongue fresh or pickled? 18357 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, 818-881-3777.


          THE MEAT COUNTER AT THIS FAMILY-run grocer makes the most of its space. If the filet mignon bordelaise--marinated to a rich chocolate brown--sounds a little too heavy, how about a rack of juicy baby back ribs or the store's chicken-cranberry sausage? "If it's out there, we'll get it," says meat manager Danny Camacho. That means organ meats, such as brains, kidneys, and certified Angus beef hearts, as well as smoked ham hocks, New Zealand lamb, and petit poule. During the holidays Vicente carries fresh pheasant, squab, quail, and Muscovy duck. Grab a bottle from the small but deep wine rack in front and you have a feast. 12027 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, 310-472-5215.



          FOR THE PAST 32 YEARS, PAOLA AND Frank Bauducco have maintained one of the most authentically stocked salumerias (Italian sausage shops) in the area. They've got skinny Neapolitan styles flavored with wine and nutmeg as well as classic Italian varieties in hot, mild, and fennel-free versions. Take home a loaf of rough-hewn tegola, or one of the other naturally leavened breads from their bakery That's all you'll need with these beauties. 2839 Agoura Rd., Westlake Village, 818-991-4670.


          VIENNA WIENERS, KNOCKWURST WITH taut skins, and perfect beef salamis are smoked in a brick pit behind this tiny shop. German master butcher and new owner Gary Troub upholds a stellar reputation for finely crafted sausage with his veal bockwurst, juicy bratwurst, and about 50 other delectable styles. He takes an international turn with spicy pork andouille and South African dryworst. 9109 W. Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-276-1331.


          ATJ & T EUROPEAN THE SCENT OF smoke and garlic permeates the room, and rustic links dangle on racks. If you don't know your mysliwska from your wiejska, your dry kielbasa from your krakowska, don't worry: Here they're all outstanding. Co-owners John Pikula and Ted Maslo, schooled and apprenticed in Krakow, use oak and juniper in the shop's brick smoker, prepare their own cold cuts, and cure several types of ham. 1128 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-394-7227.


          ALL FIVE LIBORIO MARKETS SPECIALIZE in Latin sausage. The butchers make six kinds, including beef and pork chorizo, longaniza seasoned with mint and cilantro, and a leaner, mildly spiced Central American longaniza with or without achiote. They also sell Guatemalan and Colombian styles and offer Spanish varieties such as sobresada, butifarra, and morcilla, also known as blood sausage. 1831 W. 3rd St., 213-483-1053. 864 S. Vermont Ave., 213-386-1458. 2021 W. Pico Blvd., 21-389-4444. 62135 Atlantic Ave., Maywood, 323-560-8000. 130 W. G St., Ontario, 909-983-4002.


          IT'S CONTINENTAL, ALL RIGHT--South American style. For Argentine cuts and chops, this is the place: coils of chorizo, pink sweetbreads, elephantine pork rinds, and a mysterious tray of beef garnished with onions that simply bears the label SPECIAL. The Argentine sausage is so fresh, its contents look like ground-up red and white crayons. Noncooks, however, may want to stick with ready-to-eat matambre, that country's signature beef. 12921 S. Prairie Ave., Hawthorne, 310-676-5444.

          1. Holy Lamb! The prices for Niman and Jamison Ranch Lambs are almost twice that we pay - $5.99/lb - for fresh goat meat at the Halal meat stores throughout So Cal. Most Indians get their goat from these stores. Unfortunately, there are none in the Pasadena area. There is one in Little India in Artesia.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Suvro

              Did a search to find a Halal market and found one: Mediterranean Halal Meat and Deli on Venice Blvd in Palms. Is that the type of store you mean? What other goodies do these stores have? And, please, what is "halal"?

              1. re: Aileen

                Yes. Mostly they serve meat butchered the "halal" way for Muslims who cannot eat anything that is not "halal" - this is similar to kosher meats, but I am not an expert to know what differences exist between the 2 methods. They have the meat frozen and use machine saws to chop them into the cuts you want - so ask them to do that before you take it home.

                Mostly, these shops cater to expat Pakistanis who have a large part of their cuisine based on meat. They will also carry some Pakistani and Indian groceries - so have fun exploring.

                1. re: Aileen

                  Here are some more Halal meat markets in SoCal:

                  Makkah Halal Meat
                  401 S Vermont Ave Ste 3
                  Los Angeles, CA 90020-1983 Phone: (213) 383-9976

                  Halal Meat
                  4050 W 3rd St
                  Los Angeles, CA 90020-3131 Phone: (213) 365-9934

                  Shafaa Halal Foods
                  12211 Hawthorne Blvd
                  Hawthorne, CA 90250-3807 Phone: (310) 675-3400

                  Gazi Halal Meat & Grocery
                  23545 Palomino Dr Ste I
                  Diamond Bar, CA 91765-1625 Phone: (909) 860-4442

                  Aljibani Halal Meat Co Inc
                  23385 Golden Springs Dr
                  Diamond Bar, CA 91765-2028 Phone: (909) 861-3865

                  Shahnzwaz Grocery & Halal Meats
                  12211 Centralia St
                  Lakewood, CA 90715-1646 Phone: (562) 860-3031

                  Metro Food & Halal Meats
                  16906 Parthenia St
                  Northridge, CA 91343-4506 Phone: (818) 892-1194