The best wienerEat This!, Latest Issue Thursday, September 28th, 2017
Heart and Trotter is a whole animal butchery in a nondescript North Park strip mall. Owned and operated by James Holtslag and Trey Nichols, Heart and Trotter is San Diego County’s only local sourced, sustainable and humane butcher shop. Their proteins come from personally selected ranches in Newman, Bakersfield, Riverside and Julian, California to assure quality and freshness.
THE VENUE: The clean comfortable meat market features grey concrete floors, white walls, white ceiling, white exposed HVAC, white subway tiles, gleaming display cases, tawny wood display shelves and a small service counter with seating for four. In addition to a wide variety of meats, the full service butcher shop also sells local products such as honey, barbecue sauce, sweet jalapeño relish, custom steak seasoning and chicken rub. Classic rock music – AC/DC, Led Zeppelin – pulses from the overhead speakers.
THE MENU: Heart and Trotter retails 15 varieties of traditional and exotic sausages ($13.99/lb), charcuterie, pork, chicken, lamb and beef (New York Strip steak $21.99/lb). Their charcuterie and sausages are prepared on-site without fillers and preservatives. The hormone and antibiotic free meats are smoked and cured in house. Their sandwich board features 15 different selections, including breakfast with bacon or sausage, hot pastrami, cubano, BLT, smoked chicken and Italian cold cuts. Sandwiches are served on sourdough or brioche bread with a side of crunchy kettle cooked potato chips. You can enjoy your sandwich with a variety of local craft beers or wine. Local breweries include Mike Hess, Ballast Point, Saint Archer, Modern Times and Alpine Brewing.
THE MEAL: I ordered the Roast Beef Sandwich ($13) and a 16 oz. can of Mike Hess Claritas ($6). Slices of rare succulent grass fed beef are piled atop tangy sourdough bread with sharp cheddar cheese, spicy arugula greens, slightly sweet pickled onions and a mild horseradish sauce. Fresh and filling. The light bodied, pale gold Kölsch-style brew, 5.8 percent alcohol by volume, is a well-balanced pour with a malty fruity aroma, a crisp understated bitterness on the tongue and a smooth dry finish. Satisfying.
Diego, the friendly and knowledgeable butcher-in-training, told me Heart and Trotter had only been open for about three years, but had already been named best butcher shop in 2015 and 2016 by local readers. He also offered me a sample of their hotdogs made with 100 percent ground beef and pork. Diego told me they smoke the links for five hours using apple and hickory chips. The perfectly seasoned frankfurter has a firm texture, a velvety grind and a sumptuous smokey flavor. With a flawless sear from the grill, I can honestly say it was the best wiener I’ve ever put in my mouth.
Diego also let me sample their pickled cucumber spears, cauliflower florets and thick sliced carrots. They had a good bite, but were a little too sour for my taste; I’m more of a garlic dill sort of guy. You can purchase their pickled products, too; you’ll find them in the refrigerator next to the eggs and organ meats (yes, they use the entire animal).
Heart and Trotter also offers classes in butchering and sausage making, and you get to take home three pounds of your classwork. With Octoberfest right around the corner, Heart and Trotter is the perfect place to pick up your premium bratwursts and schnitzels. Oom pah pah.
Heart and Trotter is open six days a week. Hours vary. Eat this, hungry readers. You’ll be glad you did.
Heart and Trotter
2855 El Cajon Blvd., Suite 1
Tues-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sun. 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
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