Its all about the Meat!!!..
One of the great things about living in a major city like L.A. is the abundance of great ethnic food sources. I can get pretty much anything I need to make anything I want, within about a 20 mile radius of where I live. I love to check out the small mom and pop meat markets and strip mall ethnic food shops for fantastic ingredients to cook with. There are a growing number of larger “supermarkets” that cater to certain ethnic needs here in L.A. such as 99 Ranch or Mitsuwa which cater to the large Asian community here . Those places are great for fresh interesting choices of critters from the sea, most of which are still living. I have never made it a secret of my fondness for red meat and I will eat it in many forms from a delicious and tasty New York steak to almost raw beef tataki made at Nijiya markets (yum). The Latino culture loves to cook meat over fire, and you know what, so do I! So having that in common and the fact that its coming up on “grilling season” I jammed over to a market near my home that is part of a growing chain of Latino influenced supermarkets called Gonzalez “Northgate” markets.
You know how when you walk into the “normal” supermarket suck as Ralph’s or Publix you see a fresh meat counter that has steaks, ground beef, roasts etc. …Well picture that on steriods, I am talking a red meat section that is at least 20 ft long with 15 different selections of meats! Many are seasoned such as the tasty carne asada, also there is prepared and chopped steak for tacos as well as carne res marinated in onions and citrus just ready to hit the grill! You want chicken, you got it baby, from little tiny grillers marinated in juice and spices (its a theme in Latino cooking) , to prepared pollo asada (white and dark meat separated) . This place is fantastic, there are 4-5 fresh sausages stuffed with a variety of meats and spices from regions all over south and central america. They are fantastic, just buy em and throw em on the grill! Now if you want a bit of cheese, now sweat, there is another counter that is 30 feet long with every kind of Latino based cheese you can think of including that tasty Oaxaca style string cheese you can use to wrap a salad with (cool trick I learned in San Jose Del Cabo Mexico).
So if you are in for a culinary change and need something different to light up a creative spark in the kitchen, or hell even if you just want some great meat, take a trip to Northgate markets if you live in L.A. or if you dont live here, go out and find something like it and just walk in the door. I think you will be pleased with what you find!