First we went to Dirk's Fish & Gourmet Shop
We had an awesome lunch, I had a tuna melt, Andrew had a crayfish salad sandwich, and Jesse had the tilapia sandwich, and for desert we had a brownie that was like a brick of fudge. Right then and there Andrew decided we were having surf and turf for dinner, so we bought some great looking shrimp.
Then our plan was to get some meat at the Paulina Meat Market but after parking in their empty parking lot we realized that they're closed on Sundays (whoops!). So I suggested we go to The Butcher &Larder.
I've been wanting to check this place out for a few months now. I first heard about the new shop when we had made reservations at a restaurant named Mado for our firm's Holiday Dinner. As our reservation came closer the more rumors we started hearing about the restaurant (and not the good kind). We soon found out that the chefs behind Mado, Rob and Allie Levitt, left to follow their passion and open a butcher shop. I've read up on their blog and the more I learned about their shop the more and more I wanted to try it out. Rob Levitt has a wonderful love and philosophy regarding butchering. If you're at all interested you should check out the blog and if you live in Chicago you need to check out the shop. I love what he wrote, these are a few snippets from various posts on his blog before and after he opened the doors of his new shop. It was hard to choose so I mashed a few together:
Are people going to go along with my idea that, if I don’t have the ribeye you came in for I can sell you something else…maybe a little more interesting? Are folks going to expect to walk in and get 6 pork bellies and 2 hams? This ‘whole animal’ thing is intimidating. Animals only have so much stuff on them, and when it’s gone it’s gone until the next round of animals show up.
I have been talking for some time about my desire to be the friendly neighborhood butcher. I went on about getting people to understand our mission to cut and sell the whole animal, not just the obvious parts.
I have to remind myself that what we are doing is our idea of what a butcher shop should be, and we proudly stand behind it. Delicious, responsibly raised meat and house-made meat products reasonably priced, and a crew of good people you’ll want to get to know, and trust. I have always believed that if you have a strong idea you are willing to go all out and risk everything for it is the right idea. And if it fails, at least you have your pride.
We went in to buy some steak. My first ever steak. I only started eating red meat in December when, at that holiday dinner (we switched our reservation to Spring), I ordered scallops . . . scallops on a bed of ox tail. I couldn't ask for something else considering it was my own fault for not reading the menu completely, and I had to be polite as I was in the company of the Company. And to my surprise I loved it and I never felt sick. It. Was. Delicious. !!.
So, here we were, buying New York Strip Steak. The man behind the counter brought out a huge hunk of meat, there were no pre-cut, pre-wrapped, this-is-how-much-I-think-you-should-have portions, just a slab of meat. He asked how thick we'd like. We got two one-inch thick slices and were on our way. Andrew kept squeezing the parchment wrapped steaks and telling me how they were so tender he could use them as a pillow.
They were beautiful:
As was the Shrimp:
Andrew began to prepare the surf (shelling and de-veining them), as well as the turf (cutting slits in the fat so the steaks didn't curl up, and seasoning them with salt and pepper):
I just sat back and watched, I wasn't about to pretend that I had any idea of how to cook a steak.
And since he was already on steak duty it just made sense that he do the shrimp too:
I must say, it was pretty good:
(I'm not ready to try rare yet, not sure if I ever will be)
Since Andrew did all the cooking (except the mashed potatoes, that was my job), I decided I'd make us a little dessert.
In 20 minutes!!! YUM! It was a great Sunday night dinner!!!