Eat Local Fry-Up

September 2, 2014 at 11:12 am

It’s Not Always A Turkish Breakfast


There are good and not so good places to open your new business in downtown Oak Park. On Lake Street next to the theater, good–plenty of people will see your forthcoming store. South of the rail/El tracks, already getting less desirable, and when you put your new business on pleasant off of Marion, off of the last bits of commercialism in a greater Suburban downtown that’s not thriving to begin with (come back Borders, man we miss ye), well who’s gonna notice. My wife and I did happen to notice months ago, a store front with a papered over, coming soon sign, but that’s because we’re the kind of people who would notice a coming soon called Carnivore. Still, at that location, we had no idea that it opened until we went to a friend’s house for dinner and she mentioned that the mussels she prepared came from Carnivore. Myself and the local kids stopped by the next day.

I’ll tell you upfront, honestly, sadly, I will not be shopping at Carnivore as much as I’d like. Now, my whole approach to local meat has evolved since I began my locavore adventure. Early on, you can read the quotes in the articles written about us, we said we drew the line at local meat because of the prices. That did not last long, as we realized that keeping our proteins local was as vital as any part of local living. We arrived at hacks to control meat spending like buying a half-a-cow, meatless Mondays, and in about the best way to reduce costs, going vegan (for a period). In short, when we buy meat, we buy good meat, but we don’t buy good meat very often. A lot of background to get back to my point that there’s expensive, there’s really expensive, there’s what I’m willing to pay, and then there’s Carnivore. The higher than high prices reminded of something I’d see in New York City or at Harrod’s Food Court. High.

The foodie in me brushed that aside (with the locavore urging right along). This was total meat porn. Gorgeous slabs of red meat and white fat. What it’s supposed to look like. Labeled with all my farm friends, the Kilgus’s and Slagels and such. I was drawn to spare ribs but settled for a remainder portion of breakfast sausage. The kids egged me on. Let’s make a fry-up today. The butcher, a butcher shop with butchers, yes! re-purposed the last link into 4 chipolata style chubby wieners. I could not quite stop there. Did they sell local eggs? We did not see. Would our idea end inchoate? No, they did not sell local eggs, but yes they had some they’d give us. OK, how about some of that house-made bacon, sliced to order to our specificity of thickness. And then speaking of sliced to order, it would not be today’s breakfast, but after a sample, I also had to pick up some of their cold smoked salmon, a bisele, shtikl, easy on the pocketbook mein herr.


Back in the Bungalow, we got to work. Not often included in recipes for one-pot meals, but the fry-up or English Breakfast, the Full Monty, or just the Full, the Complete, needs only a very good, well blackened pan.  Add your rashers and your bangers.  Manage the heat.  You want the stuff to start cooking but you need to create your fat.  See, anyone can eat bacon or sausage for breakfast, but for a breakfast that deserves a wee dram on the side, you need to cook your bread, your tomatoes, and your eggs, in that order, in the grease that the meats emit.  To leaven, ever so slightly, this breakfast, to add a whiff of our normal Turkish-ness to our plates, we did make a salad, and since we were eating at fry-up, the salad was of rocket.

Hannah's frySophie's fry

Looks good. So good that I ate mine in like five minutes. My wife asked me the next day, what I thought about Carnivore’s meat. I said the bacon did remind me of English bacon in its thickness, its meatiness, and the way it tasted much more of hog than cure. I’d be back today for more if it were not so damn expensive. I might have to wait until we do another eat local fry-up.