“My favorite animal is steak.”
— Fran Libowitz
Archer’s Butcher Block
Archer’s Butcher Block, which is located at 5425 Mother Lode Drive, between Greenstone Road and the “Y,” where Mother Lode Drive meets Pleasant Valley Road, is really three businesses in one: a meat market, deli and a custom butchering shop.
I walked in on a rainy Tuesday just after noon and it was busy with a trio of young ladies serving customers, packaging meat and making sandwiches. The first thing I noticed was that everything, the counters, equipment, display cases and floors were clean; a lot cleaner than a number of similar places I have visited.
Gary and Georgia Grover own the business and I happened to catch Gary there, dressed for the rainy weather in chest-high waders and a black cowboy hat, just back from somebody’s ranch.
“We started in 1997 with the custom butchering and in late 1999 bought Max Archer’s butcher shop in Georgetown. Two years ago we moved the butcher shop here and about a year ago opened the deli,” he said.
“We carry U.S. Choice natural Black Angus beef from Kansas which we cut and “cryovac” (vacuum seal in plastic) for the convenience of the customer,” he continued. “We make our own hamburger from beef round and chuck, cure our own bacon and ham and brine our own corned beef. We also marinade tri-tip using seven different marinades and one dry rub. We sell all the marinades except one, that one is a secret. For some reason everyone around here wants tri-tip to barbecue, while in other places brisket is the favorite. I haven’t figured that one out yet.
“We also carry natural pork, turkey, lamb and chicken and, if you want something different, we also carry more exotic meats like buffalo, elk, venison, rabbit, pheasant and duck. They are all ranch raised. Right now we are trying to find alligator for one customer.”
As we walked by the meat case, he pointed out and talked about the roasts and steaks and then stopped at the deli case.
“We have a lot of different kinds of cheese, bacon, ham and smoked and cured meat we do in our own smokehouse,” he said while picking up a small package, pulling a knife from his pocket and slicing it open.
“Try this,” he said, handing me a round, slice of meat.“It’s elk salami that we make,” pausing to add, “it’s actually summer sausage because it is cooked.” It was good, very tasty and not as fatty as many commercial products. “It’s all meat,” he added with a satisfied smile.
“I used to work in construction,” Gary continued. “I would buy a sandwich for lunch and then open and say ‘I paid you what for this?’ You should get something for your money, so when we opened the deli we decided to make our sandwiches big. Our blockhead sandwich is the big seller, but you can order any kind you want. We do ribs on Thursday. You should come by then. Our customers love them and I am sure you would.”
I tried the blockhead, which is “A random combo of meats and cheeses served on a rustic roll with all the fix-ins.” It was delicious, moist and full of flavor. I was also very pleased that the young lady who made it thoroughly washed her hands before making it, after answering the phone and after finishing it. My kind of place.
“We are in the service business, serving the public and we always want to provide a good product,” continued Gary. I mentioned how clean the place was and he simply said, “I like it that way.”
Stop by and see what they have. It is an old fashioned meat market and deli with great service and friendly people. Not only do they sell single packages of meat, they also have a number of different family value packages that include beef, chicken pork and more.
Archer’s Butcher Block is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and closed on Sunday and Monday. For more information call 530-626-MEAT (6328).
Nello Olivo Winemaker’s Dinner
There will be a winemaker’s dinner featuring the wines of Nello Olivo Vineyards on Saturday, March 31 at 6:30 p.m. at Sequoia, 643 Bee St. in Placerville.
The menu includes: hors d’ oeuvres of wild salmon gravlax with herb crème fraîche, paired with 2009 El Dorado Viognier; Dungeness crab bisque paired with 2008 El Dorado Primitivo; a salad of heirloom beets, blackberries vinaigrette and grilled duck breast, paired with 2009 El Dorado Barbera; braised organic chicken and roasted garlic risotto, paired with 2008 El Dorado Toscanello; Nieman Ranch pork loin with mushroom jule, potato and porcini flan and braised vegetables, paired with 2009 El Dorado Cabernet Sauvignon and a dessert of El Dorado fruit crisp with “moscato caramel sauce.”
For more information and reservations call 530-622-5222.
Luncheon in the Skinner wine cellar
On Sunday, April 1, from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., Chef Giovanni will be preparing another four course luncheon paired with Skinner wines at Skinner Vineyards tasting room, which is located at 8054 Fairplay Road in Fair Play.
For reservations call Skinner Vineyards at 530-620-2220.
Cyber wine tasting
On Thursday, March 29 from 6 until 7 p.m., you can join vintner Linda Neal and winemaker Alejandro Alfaro from Mellowood Vineyard, along with renowned wine expert Didier Loustou, for a cyber-tasting.
From the comfort of your kitchen table, you can prop up your feet, open your
lap-top, pop a cork, and join wine lovers around the world, tasting the same wines at the same time. Log on to toutsuite.com to watch the banter.
There is no need to register if you just want to watch, but if you want to get on camera and participate you just need to sign up in advance, as spaces are limited, and have a camera on your laptop. You can go to the site, toutsuite.com, right now to see other winemakers being interviewed and see the format.
For more information call Linda Neal at 530-306-9454 or e-mail her at [email protected]
El Dorado Winery Association Passport Weekends
Passport Weekends are just around the corner on two Saturdays and Sundays, April 14 and 15 and April 21 and 22. Thirty-two El Dorado County wineries will be hosting the region’s annual Passport wine and food event with plenty of wine and food pairings, barrel tastings, art and music.
For more information and tickets contact the El Dorado Winery Association at 1-800-306-3956 or visit eldoradowines.org.
Celebrate the day
Birthdays to celebrate today: actors Joan Crawford (born Lucille Fay LeSueur in 1904), Richard Grieco (1965), Amanda Plummer (1957) and Keri Russell (1976); comedian Louie Anderson (1953); the distance runner who broke the four minute mile, Dr. Roger Bannister (1929); singer Chaka Khan (born Yvette Marie Stevens in 1953) and filmmaker Akira Kurosawa (1910). It is also Liberty Day, celebrating Patrick Henry’s famous, “Liberty or death” speech and “Near Miss Day,” recognizing that on this day in 1989 a mountain sized asteroid came within 500,000 miles of earth.