My friends, the ones eating monkfish, assume that I was talking to a dealer. In a manner of speaking, I was. The man on the other end of the line was Nathan McCall, who runs McCall's Meat & Fish with his wife, Karen Yoo, and I had just scored a massive pork shoulder from a Heritage Berkshire hog.
When I rubbed the shoulder with salt and fennel pollen, stuffed its crevices with garlic, rosemary and vacant-lot wild fennel, and roasted it for four hours at low heat, it was the best thing that had ever come out of my oven, and at a party the next day it evaporated as if it had never existed.
McCall, whose lithe build and genial sneer make him look more like a sensitive indie guitarist than a butcher, was a line chef at three-star Daniel among other places, and there is always a recipe scrawled on the chalkboard on a wall in his tidy Los Feliz shop. McCall's is busy all day -- he and Yoo understand the Los Feliz need to eat extremely well, but in small, Pilates-compatible portions.
If you stop by on a late Thursday afternoon, maybe to have a look at the pig's head back in the walk-in, or the 65-day dry-aged rib eyes that look like roasts carved out of petrified wood, you will see a stunning array of customers who all seem to be the same guy: married Eastside industry guys in their 30s, skinny jeans and scruffy beard growth, coming in to pick up their cooking projects for the weekend -- pork bellies or fat geese or shining pink snapper; clams so fresh that they scoot across the crushed ice; glowing arctic char or the first Alaskan salmon of the season; sausages, grass-fed steaks and baby lamb chops for the grill.
McCall, a new father who may qualify as a marriage counselor as well as a meat cutter, has ideas for most of them, special things in the back for some and baby pictures for all, the beatific bro of all things meat and seafood, a shining beacon of cool.
This story is from this week's People Issue. To read more, see our cover story.