El Salchichero is an actual old-timey butcher shop, where the tasty locavore twist is the products come from regionally sourced and humanely raised animals. Shopping here is a vote for sustainability, goodness, and respect for your food, as well as for supporting local business. Plus, when you eat a burger that came from a cow that grazed on those grassy slopes looking out over the Pacific. It’s a very real taste of Santa Cruz.

Take advantage of owner Chris la Veque’s butchery wizardry to get uncommon cuts like beef bavette and pork secreto as well as pate, rillettes, chicharrones, even whole rabbit. On the smokehouse side, Chris makes his own bacon and jerky as well as crafting creative sausages from lamb & Guinness to California chorizo to chicken mole to black sheep. And if that’s not enough, he’s got a curing room where he makes a variety of salamis, including hard to find speck, lomo and finnochiona.

The first time I stumbled across the storefront, I bought their handmade hot dogs, perro calientes (beef, water, celery baste, organic fresh garlic, sea salt, organic sugar, Lindencroft chilis, and organic spices) with some chorizo bacon (pork, sea salt, organic sugar, Groundswell Farms chills, organic spices, and tequila) to make my first batch of Tijuana dogs. Sugar and spice and everything nice is NOT the way I ever expected to describe a hot dog, but there you go – the best hot dogs around, with a subtle bite from the chilis. Now I try to get there every month or so to see what the latest sausage offerings are and to support local business in the most delicious way.

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