My friend, Dog, is a chef at the world's most exclusive club: 100 members only, it costs millions to get in and a new member can only be admitted if another member leaves or dies. So when Dog told me he was looking for goat meat for lunch for the members, I knew it would be an adventure to find it. Dog wanted baby goat meat that he could roll, tie and roast, so we needed someone who could butcher the goat for him.
We started out on Saturday morning, first heading to Big Boy's World Wide Market, an international market on Paca Street across from Lexington Market. They did have goat, but it was frozen and cubed. Since we were in the vicinity, we stopped in to Trinacria, where we met my Sunday partner-in-crime, Julie, who gave us a suggestion of where to look. We checked out Lexington Market, pretty much knowing that they didn't have goat, but we needed coffee, so thought a walk through the market would at least provide us with that.
From Paca Street, we headed over to a halal market on Charles and 20th streets. We walked in and didn't see anyone and finally called out. There was a man sitting behind a huge glass partition, who couldn't even be bothered to greet us when we entered. He gestured us to the back, where there was a butcher. They did have baby goats, but wouldn't butcher them for us, so we left.
From there, we aimed for Huntington and Remington, at Julie's suggestion, although we realized that these two streets don't intersect. We drove up Remington from 25th until we saw another halal store, and stopped in there. "Oh no", they said, "we won't have baby goats until tomorrow. You come back then." They did point us to a place that they assured us was "in front of Yellow Cab" in best Baltimore directions-giving manner.
To give directions in Baltimore, you must direct people via no longer existing landmarks, not actual street names. Needless to say, although we did find Yellow Cab, which is now Veolia Transportation, we didn't find a butcher. Our queries to cabbies in the area yielded no results, although somewhere along the line, we were told about another halal market on 33rd Street, right next to Papa John's.
Close by the Waverly Market, right on 33rd Street, there is indeed a small halal market, which ends up being rather Tardis-like, being much larger in the inside than the outside. After we wended our way to the back, we discovered a butcher shop which did have baby goats that the butcher was willing to cut for us. He chided us for not ordering in advance, but since we didn't know of the existance of the place until about 15 minutes earlier, that was impossible.
After some hemming and hawing, he assured us that he could do the butcher work, he did have enough baby goats and that it wouldn't take too long. How long, we wanted to know. Several hours? No, just long enough for us to go to Pete's Grille for lunch and walk back.
I did take pictures of parts of this adventure, especially the last part, but I have been assured that people will not want to see them. I had a hard time even taking them. If you must see pictures, click here.
The funniest part about this whole adventure was what happened later: I was going to get my eyebrows threaded by a Pakistani woman in the Security area of Baltimore. When I pulled into the parking lot, I remembered that there was a halal butcher and grocery store next to her shop. I mentioned our goat quest to her and she told me that the owner of the store was her husband, he had a butcher on premise and they did have goat in the house!