Butcher


Sawicki’s is in a modest location on Ponce de Leon, near a Taco Mac, and gives little indication that this is one of the more highly regarded sandwich shops in the city. The focus of the shop is on fresh ingredients, and in their better offerings, plenty of them.

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We ordered a roast beef sandwich, a roasted lamb, a veggie sandwich, and a mediterranean salad. The salad was probably overkill.

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The roast beef sandwich was a fistful of meat in between bread.

veggie sandwich.

veggie sandwich.

Mediterranean salad. The veggie sandwich and the mediterranean share many of the same ingredients.

Mediterranean salad. The veggie sandwich and the mediterranean share many of the same ingredients.

Roasted lamb. Not as enormous as the other two, but plenty  tasty.

Roasted lamb. Not as enormous as the other two, but plenty tasty.

There is no magic in these sandwiches. It starts and ends with fresh, high quality ingredients. Prices are entirely reasonable, most sandwiches under 9 dollars.

For the folks too new at the blogging game to remember, back in the day Foodie Buddha had a sandwich tour, much as Jimmy once had a pizza tour. Sawicki’s was one of the highest ranked sandwich shops on his tour. In the four years since the tour, the quality hasn’t changed.

Sawicki’s
250 West Ponce De Leon
Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 377-0992

Sawicki's Meat Seafood and More on Urbanspoon

I mentioned to my wife that I was interested in Star Provisions, and it got under her skin in a way that places to buy groceries seldom do. So after a hellish Saturday at work, I was taking off into the middle of town to find Star Provisions.

I get lost down on Howell Mill plenty, but this time a pair of cop cars marked the way. We turned into the lot, parked, walked inside. Roomy! I let my wife and daughter wander while I went to find Tim the Cheese Man.

Much fun. I ended up with the chunk of cheese above. The Cabot, like most high end cheddars, lacks the bitter tastes you often see in supermarket sharp cheddars. Tim was affable and patient, worth the 50 minute trip downtown. If you’re needing not a good cheese for your dinner, but the right cheese,  this is clearly a place to go.

We missed the sandwiches though. We’ll have to come back sometime.

Wilkes Meats is a butcher shop with multiple locations, one in Snellville. It has been covered extensively by Snellville Eats (articles here, here, and here) and that has led me really to avoid talking about it in the past. But as we have recently reviewed Patton’s Meat Market, I thought I would touch base with this shop, to compare and contrast the various meat options, as I know them, in the city.

By far the least expensive meats come from Mexican butchers, such as La Jalisco Carniceria and the Lilburn International Farmer’s Market. On the other side of the price equation are supermarkets such as Kroger and Publix, and then also high end butchers such as Patton’s. Wilkes serves a niche that wants a better cut of meat than the supermarket at a reasonable price.

When I went, I didn’t have any trouble getting the attention of people behind the counter, nor did I see it lacking in civil conversation. They had good looking strip steaks, ribeyes, extra large sirloins and they also had marinated meats. They had a more extensive pork section than Patton’s. I bought a marinated filet mignon for the holidays and a pound of stew meat. The filet mignon, a thick cut of meat and wrapped in a thick slab of bacon, cost about 8 dollars. And when I cooked it for Christmas Eve, it was amazingly tender.

Issues? The smell of the butcher shop, as noted by Snellville Eats. The cheeses and sausages were stripped when I dropped by. The grade of meats wasn’t noted, though the shop claims their meats are all Angus beef. But none of these are deal breakers, and yes, I think Wilkes can be a perfectly reasonable option for good meats at fair prices.

Wilkes Meat Market
2304 Scenic Highway
Snellville, GA 30078-3151
(770) 978-8106

Patton’s Meat Market was a recommendation I saw posted by the author of Marina’s Recipe Box. I was looking for something appropriate for Christmas, as I would be cooking for myself. I looked up the location (Peachtree Industrial at North Berkeley Lake) and tried to get there a couple times from work. That was never successful, as traffic along 285 was far too slow for me to get there on time. I finally managed to get there around lunch time.

Patton’s Meat Market does indeed offer prime grade meats, as well as choice cuts. I bought a prime New York strip and a choice ribeye for the holidays. Patton’s offers a lot more than just beef, however. It sells a very nice but small collection of produce. Good looking tomatoes, potatoes, and mushrooms dot the store. There are sauces for meats. There are home made sausages, such as Italian sausages and jalapeño and cheese sausages. Patton’s is neat and clean, and smells no different than any higher end grocery store I’ve been in.

When I was there, it was full of shoppers. There were so many people behind the counter, though, I never felt as if I had to wait at all.

Prime strip, waiting for a garlic rubdown.

I recently cooked the strip. It was an excellent cut of meat, very tender.

To get there from Snellville, I’d take Pleasant Hill from I-85 until you reach the Hill Drive intersection. This is the 4 way just after Super H Mart, and just before Wall Mart. Turn left here. This road becomes North Berkeley and the traffic is much lighter along this route. Patton’s itself is behind a gas station, so if you see the gas station on the northwest corner of Peachtree Industrial and North Berkeley, then just head a little past the gas station ands enter the mall area.

I recommend this as a convenient place to buy the highest grade of meats. Marina has mentioned that you can get other delicacies here if you ask, such as bison steaks or goose liver. So ask. You don’t know what they may be able to provide you with.

Patton’s Meat Market
3931 Peachtree Ind Boulevard
Duluth, GA 30096
(770) 495-0077

The DeKalb Farmer’s Market is the grand daddy of all the large markets in this city, and huge doesn’t begin to cover it.  It’s at the corner of Laredo and Ponce De Leon, and the entrance to De Kalb is one of the four ways you can go at that light.  The parking lot is about a block in size and as large as the lot is, it is equally as large inside. Once inside, there is a vast array of vegetables, about as ordered as any market could be, with the produce marked by country of origin, name, and with a drawing of the produce to boot.

The wines, two aisles of them, are separated by country of origin and type. In between the wine are stacks of beers, everything from Miller Light to Belgian ales. Grains and beans? Just to look at two examples, they had red, green, yellow, brown, and French green (a smaller variety) lentils, along with whole mung beans, and plenty of dals. Quinoa? Not only did they have the white and red varieties, but also wild black quinoa, not seen anywhere else that I’ve looked. Nuts and candied fruits are available in large quantities, neatly sealed in plastic bags.

They have good breads, and one thing I bought the day I was here was a sack full of whole wheat rolls. They were tasty and chewy once I got them home, just perfect. Just past the breads and vegetables is the fish section, which in my opinion is the very best part of this store. When my wife is after the freshest fish she can get, she comes here. She comes here because of the selection of live fish, and the ease with which this place can clean those fish. Perhaps something compares in this city, but I haven’t found it yet.

Meats are past the fish, and they serve a startling variety of product. Besides fine beef, you can get rabbit here, quail and cornish hens, duckling, goat from Australia, and lamb from Colorado. You can get bison, if you want it. A selection of fine cheeses is nearby, slices off large wheels, and the dairy section, also nearby, has items unavailable anywhere else.

Before I do nothing but sing praises to this place, I’ll note a few downsides. It is full of people and often cramped here, more so in the smaller aisles. There are shoppers who park in those narrow aisles with their flock of full grown kids for eternity it seems, blocking everything. If you take a cart inside, PUT SOMETHING IN IT IMMEDIATELY. If you do not, your cart will be taken. Though this is an international market, with international vegetables, it is not a particularly good Asian market, and Asian staples like Asian (often called “Korean”) yams just aren’t here. Go to Super H Mart for those kinds of goods. Meats tend to be pricey and if you want cheap meats, a market like Lilburn International Farmer’s Market is a better choice.

Still, there is nothing like it in the city, and it comes with the highest of recommendations.

From Snellville, perhaps the fastest way to this market would be to head down 78, then south on 285, and take the Ponce De Leon exit westward. An alternative path is to take 78 to Scott Boulevard, Scott down to Clairmont Ave. Head south, and take Clairmont until it ends at Ponce De Leon (hang a left when Clairmont ends). If you get forced left on Commerce, just keep going. It runs into Ponce De Leon as well.

When I found this place on the Internet it was called La Jalisco Carniceria. On the front of the building it called itself La Jalisco Ranch Market. It’s in a modest strip mall about two blocks south of the Highpoint-US 78 intersection, on the north side of 78, and it is the only butcher open at hours I can get to during the week (open until 10pm). I called ahead and asked if they had lamb. After some moments the lady answering me said, “They had some lamb.” What the heck, you only live once.

Lamb is perhaps my favorite meat these days. Lamb can be cooked any way that beef steak can be cooked, and a typical price for lamb (ca $5.00 /lb) is about half the price of a good cut of beef steak.  There is lamb available on my way home, generally from the Publix on Pleasant Hill, just east of the I-85 intersection, but they have had fewer and fewer lamb steaks and these days are restricted to lamb chops. I stopped at that Publix, and bought a couple Kashi frozen entrees: I like their Ranchero Bean entree and I bought the Black Bean Mango to try. I find the Kashi frozen dishes are great sides for a meal like this. They had a sale on Australian wines so I bought two bottles of red wine. I’ve tried both white and red as reductions with lamb and red is markedly superior in flavor.

So I get to La Jalisco and I’m pleased when I enter. It’s a neat grocery store, with a vast array of peppers, vegetables, canned goods, dried beans, and spices. Virtually all the signs are in Spanish, and the clientele was pretty much 100% Spanish. So, I go to the meat counter and ask for lamb. Once the butcher understood me, he went into the back and pulled out a sheep. Yep, pretty much a whole frozen sheep.

After some words and some pointing I made it known that I wanted steaks off the leg of lamb. I ended up with 4 of them, about twice as thick as I asked for. However, the price was really good (2.99 a pound, roughly half that of Publix), and I was entirely pleased with my purchase.

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