When my office moved to the West Loop four years ago, there weren’t many condos or offices down there. And while that has changed over the past few years, this is still the meat packing district. When I did the walk from Ogily Transportation Center to my office and would walk down Lake instead of Randolph or Washington, I’d often see dead goats, lamb and whatever else at 8 in the morning. Not a pretty sight. Many of the places down here aren’t the most inviting but many are open to the public.
For example, after years of seeing Peoria Packing Butcher Shop on Lake Street packed, we decided to stop in there a few weeks ago. It was quite the experience and we left grossed out and empty handed. When you walk in the doors of this place, you essentially walk into a refrigerator. All of the meat is in big vats and you’re supposed to put on rubber gloves and pick out your meat yourself. The meat all looks great, but these unsanitary conditions scared me quite a bit. I know, all the germs and bacteria get burned off when you grill, but this germaphobe could not get past the thought of buying meat that may have been sneezed or spit on by dozens of people.
However, last week we discovered a true gem. We’ve driven and walked past Northwestern Cutlery a number of times and we recently read about it in a general interest magazine. Supposedly this is where all Chicago chefs go to get their knives sharpened. We were thoroughly impressed! Sharpening is done while you wait and cost $28 for a full butcher’s block of knives. Dave tried them out last week and sliced through an orange like it was butter. Since then we’ve been dicing and slicing away with out favorite knives (as opposed to the newer ones we’ve picked up).
And best of all, there’s free parking!!!