I have been craving curry oxtail stew for nearly two weeks. I searched in all the usual markets around my Westside neighborhood, but I could not find any oxtails in any of them. I was hoping to avoid having to trek Downtown to the Grand Central Market, so I Googled local Carnicerias around my zip code. Carniceria's are butcher shops, you know the kind of markets we used to have in ancient times before butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers got bought out (or employed) by megamarkets. There are very few butcher shops left aside from the ones who cater to specific ethnic tastes, like the Glatt (Kosher), the Carniceria, and the Asian storefronts which supply parts of the animal most other Angelenos would never eat, much less know how to cook.
Sanchez Carniceria was the closest and best reviewed in my area, so I decided I would give it a try and I am so very glad I did. It is easy to find at the South West corner of Inglewood Ave & Culver Blvd., and they even have a secure parking lot for both the market and an adjacent restaurant (or you can grab a bite at their outdoor taco window).
The outside looked promising and once I entered I was relieved to find the interior sparkling clean. There was no odor of old meat or disinfectant, which I have smelt in various megamarket meat departments. The refrigerated cases were filled with bright red beef, fresh poultry, and all manner of animal parts, including tripe, beef tongue, hog's feet, and liver. The also have great chorizo, fresh salsas, and real lard. If you want to just heat & serve something for a quick dinner, pick up a few of their cooked tamales to go. The prices were excellent, running about 30-40% less than the superchains charge for similar items like hamburger or steak. It is so reassuring to know there are still places which offer customer service with a smile at discounted prices for fresh food. I was there in the middle of the afternoon during the middle of the week, and there were two others waiting for service at the meat counter in this very small shop, so I would say the turnover of product is probably very good.
I asked the butcher for enough Oxtails to serve 4 and I got about 4 pounds for less than $13. It was the freshest oxtail I have had in years.
I made my curry oxtail stew and it turned into this.
I'll write more later, gotta go eat my stew before it gets cold. Sanchez Carniceria, at 4525 Inglewood Blvd., Culver City, CA (310) 391-3640