Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Whole Ox Deli or My Neighborhood Butcher

I remember the days when my mother had her own butcher!

My dad needed to watch his cholesterol levels even back then, and once a week we made the trip to Kaimuki where mom bought lean cuts of meat like flank steak. She picked out pieces of round, had the butcher trim the fat, and ground them to order. That butcher shop doesn't exist any more.

Yes, there are butcher shops in Chinatown, but where does all the pork and beef come from now?

I remember, too, the pigs feet and oxtail soups my grandmother would make, how delicious they were. Much of it was the love and care she put into making them, but the meats were fresh and sourced locally. No such thing as frozen for grandma!

I saw my friendly neighborhood butcher (I wish!) yesterday when we went to The Whole Ox Deli. Folks were eating sandwiches as fast as they could dish them up, and drinking water like it was running out. So I had to go to the tap to fill my own cup - just like your hole-in-the-wall Chinese or Korean restaurant!

A voice called out and said, "Hi, darlin', I'd hug you but I'm all porky!" Huh? It was my favorite butcher, Bob McGee, the Whole Ox Deli proprietor. WOD has been open for less than a week, but I confess we've been there for three meals! Breakfast and lunch on opening Wednesday, and lunch yesterday (only because we're trying to practice moderation).

What did we eat? Opening day, we shared the steak and eggs and ordered the Medianoche (pork AND ham!) and roast beef - both delicious. Yesterday, DH had the Reuben, and I had the burger - beautiful AND tasty! Try the sides, too - the tomato and watermelon salad was yum!

Well, Bob WAS porky - up to his elbows in half a pig, cut into 4 pieces. This looked quite fresh and beautiful, and I'm going to guess it's from Shinsato farm or somewhere else local. I'm also sure the end products - porchetta, ham, whatever, will taste wonderful, too.

In the future, when the craziness settles down into routine, Bob and the Whole Ox want to be YOUR butcher and mine.

Take a look at Melissa Chang's reporting on Gayot and NonStopHonolulu.

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