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A couple years ago, I crashed a party at a home in the hills of Valley Center, where about thirty guests had gathered to take part in the slaughter of two pigs.

The local butcher showed up with his 13-year-old son and, over the course of the next half-hour or so, transformed the well-fed beasts into workable chunks which he then took home in his truck to cut down further and return to the guests in frozen, familiar segments.

More jolting than the shot from the .22-rifle that fell our oblivious swine, more outlandish than the sight of the butcher blowing air down a disembodied trachea to demonstrate the expansive properties of the lungs, and more surreal than the image of his son showing how the entirety of the brain fit easily in his small, cupped hand, was the fact that most of us had never experienced any of this before.

By and large, most of us were disconnected – physically, emotionally, and intellectually – from the process that provided our meat.

In order to help reconnect San Diegan’s with the meat that they eat, South Park farm-to-table joint Alchemy and Societe Brewing Company are teaming up (yet again) to debut The Heart & Trotter Butchery.

The Thursday, August 15 beer and beef dinner pairing will highlight the new whole-animal butchery’s selection of sustainable, hormone-and-antibiotic-free bovine all sourced from ranchers within 250 miles of San Diego.

“We have created this event for two reasons,” the butchery writes in a press release, “to promote the opening of The Heart & Trotter Butchery in November and to promote & educate San Diego on sustainable eating practices.”

Set to become the only butchery of its kind south of Lindy & Grundy in Los Angeles, The Heart & Trotter will be hosting a butchering demo with the hind-quarter of a steer from Dey Dey's "Best Beef Ever" Ranch (Lompoc).

Chef Ricardo Heredia from Alchemy will then create a six-course, tray-passed dinner for guests to enjoy.

“At Alchemy we strive to be close to our sources and have passion about what we do,” says Alchemy owner Ron Troyano.

“Trey and James are bringing the same truth and passion to their butcher shop and we want to support that mission.”

Throughout the night each entity involved in the dinner - the rancher, the butcher, the brewer, and the chef - will be speaking on why they believe sustainable food practices are important, how their own approach to food and beer supports sustainable values, and will introduce diners to every aspect of their beef: where it was raised, who raised it, which part of the steer their cut came from, which is the best way to cook it, and which San Diego beer tastes best with it.

“Sourcing from local farms not only strengthens our local agriculture but also drastically reduces the carbon footprint of each piece of meat,” says The Heart & Trotter butcher James Holtslag.

Holtslag and business partner Trey Nichols will go on to make guest appearances at restaurants across San Diego for their Butchery and Dining Tour throughout August and September.

Alchemy’s six course menu is as follows:

Tostone relleno: grilled flank, guajillo pepper, charred onion, twice fried plantain, micro cilantro.

Beef yakiniku: New York strip, gochujang, kimchi, binchotan coals.

Kheema kofta curry: ground sirloin, ginger, chili, grated coconut, mint, poppy seed.

Philly cheese steak: house roll, faux hanger, confit cippolini onion, truffle salt, "cheese wiz."

Pot sticker: tri-tip, garlic shoots, chive, soy-mirin dipping sauce, micro merigolds.

Chawan mushi: steamed savory custard, tenderloin, beef broth, bone marrow, shiso.

“My menu is designed to support sustainable practices and above all give our customers the best product we can source,” Heredia says.

“Grass fed beef has more character in its flavor and subtle nuances such as breed, grass type, and even climate are highlighted. Let's face it, I'm in the flavor business and grass-fed beef just tastes better to me.”

The event will run from 6 to 9 p.m. on August 15 at Alchemy Cocktails and Cultural fare.

Tickets are $48 and reservations may be made by calling Alchemy at (619) 255 - 0616.

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Mercy Baron July 31, 2013 @ 11:35 p.m.

I've been treated to Heart and Trotter and what they do recently at a private party by one of my neighbors.

They grilled the freshest hamburgers ever and brought other cuts to buy from a freshly slaughtered cow that was walking a day or so before.

The rib eye I got from them was so fresh and flavorful, it was unlike any piece of meat I had tried before.

I wish more people would understand that to have meet sourced from these kinds of purveyors makes such a huge difference in the taste of the meat they buy. Not to mention sourcing with a conscience.


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