^
Keep Houston Press Free
4

The Carniceria Connoisseur in Canada

ST. LAWRENCE MARKET, TORONTO -- “You must be from the States,” the butcher at the St. Lawrence Market said as I took his picture carrying a huge hindquarter of beef into his meat market. “You guys don’t get to see real meat anymore, hey?”

He was right. In Houston, meat comes in little plastic packages, even in the Mexican carnicerias. It was shocking to see big primal cuts of beef hanging in a meat locker.

Texas may be a cattle ranching state, but when was the last time you saw a side of beef? When was the last time you saw a real butcher shop?

All photos by Robb Walsh

At the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, there are a half a dozen upscale butchers operating side by side. And then there’s the seafood shops, cheese counters, bakeries and restaurants.

The big specialty here is bacon. There’s awesome-looking sliced bacon, hot ready-to-eat Canadian bacon, English bacon and the local specialty--peameal bacon.

Peameal bacon is made from the same pork loin used to make Canadian bacon, but whereas Canadian bacon is cured and smoked, peameal bacon is cured and pickled. It used to be rolled in crushed dried peas, hence the name. But these days it’s rolled in cornmeal.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

I had fried eggs and peameal bacon for breakfast at a little pub in the market building called Paddington’s Pump. And then, after a few hours of exploring the 200 year-old market, I had a peameal bacon sandwich for lunch at the famous Carousel Bakery.

The walls outside the bakery are covered with articles from food magazines like Saveur, local and regional newspapers and testimony from such luminaries as Emeril Lagasse, all singing the praises of this sandwich.

To make it, a soft Kaiser roll is split in half and a large pile of fried peameal bacon is placed in the middle. That’s about it. No lettuce, tomato, cheese or any other dressing. There are a lot of mustards to choose from. I slathered my sandwich with the hottest looking one I could find.

There are tables set up alongside some of the meat markets, so you can sit down and eat a bacon sandwich. There was also a Brazilian churrasco restaurant where everybody understood my bad Spanish. The lively market scene and tables set up outside the butcher shop reminded me a lot of the Mexican carnicerias I saw serving cabrito in the mercado de campesinos in Monterrey. – Robb Walsh

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.