You’ll spot dry-aged rib eye, marbled Wagyu, Kobe New York strip...
  • You’ll spot dry-aged rib eye, marbled Wagyu, Kobe New York strip...
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Siesel’s Meats

4131 Ashton Street, Bay Park

Any time I find myself in Bay Park during business hours, I wind up wandering into Siesel’s Meats. The place is basically a high-end butcher shop with a gourmet market and full-service deli built around it. A foodie with a fresh paycheck can spend hours strolling the aisles and discovering imported and regional specialties, whether your hankering is truffle oil, San Marzano tomatoes from Italy, or several dozen varieties of barbecue sauce.

Naturally, my first move is to grab a number and stand in line at the meat counter. Fine meat abounds here, and depending on the day you’ll spot dry-aged rib eye, beautifully marbled Wagyu, or a Kobe New York strip that can go for $60 to $70 per pound.

Siesel’s Meats

Siesel’s Meats

Racks filled with barbecue sauce to complement the main attractions

Racks filled with barbecue sauce to complement the main attractions

Such cuts are a pipe dream for this budget diner, but I admire them all through the glass counter. Fortunately, there are options I can afford and still feel adventurous. Many of them are usually in a large freezer at the back of the counter, which is usually stocked with game and other exotics. There, intriguing finds include smoked duck breast, pheasant, and oxtail — things you’re not likely to find in a supermarket. And if you really want to get wild, look for venison loin, elk rib chops, or whole rabbit.

On a past visit I even discovered a package of rocky mountain oysters, as if to remind me that my sense of adventure does have a limit. And, like a number of conscious eaters, I also have some ambivalence about eating veal. I’m accustomed to finding that behind the counter as well, along with sundry poultry, pork, and lamb cuts. But eating calves that had a short, confined lifespan is something I avoid, especially when compared to beer-fed, massaged-daily Kobe cattle.

An array of sausage

An array of sausage

On the other hand, I’m a huge fan of sausage, and Siesel’s (along with Grantville sister shop Iowa Farms) makes some of the best in town. Their $4.99 a pound pork bratwurst is terrific, and their $9.99 a pound veal brat is even better.

I think the sausage decision through while I peruse the shop’s dozens of mustards, hush puppy mixes, salad dressings galore, and pickled everything. The sausage contains the leftover parts of the cow, right? So eating veal sausage isn’t for me. But I can embrace the “every part of the animal” principle, especially if I’m craving that ground coriander and mace brat (but still not the “oysters”).

In the end, I split my order between pork and veal brats, plus frozen pork belly, smoked chicken breast, and boneless skinless chicken thighs. I also got a superb Boar’s Head pastrami sandwich at the deli and a can of those San Marzanos, which cost twice the amount of domestic canned tomatoes but taste five times better than fresh in pasta sauce. Adding a six-pack of craft beer, I spent about 60 bucks, knowing I’ll eat and drink well the week ahead.

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Comments

aardvark Dec. 13, 2015 @ 2:21 p.m.

Glad to see the author also mention Iowa Meat Farms. They make a VERY good chorizo as well.

1

monaghan Dec. 13, 2015 @ 9:10 p.m.

Siesel's has a Clairemont vibe and neighborhood-y location, but its contents remind me of the old La Jolla Jonathan's Market and its smaller predecessor Jurgenson's, both gone now. Great meat and weird stuff in that back freezer, but also Bread & Cie bread and German Christmas spice cookies and much more packed into a small space. Plus very helpful and friendly workers, butchers, cashiers. A wonderful store.

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