When it comes to longevity and quality meats in the cold cases, Taylor's Market is in a separate league. Proving the point, the Sacramento icon will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a five-course wine-pairing dinner on Aug. 12.
Meanwhile, co-owner and head butcher Danny Johnson (pictured) is planning a lamb feast Tuesday after leading a "butchering 101 class" in which he will disassemble a lamb from Lava Lake Ranch, situated near Sun Valley, Idaho. The hormone- and antibiotics-free lambs raised there are free-range and grass-fed (www.lavalakelamb.com).
"The lamb I will butcher will not be the lamb we're cooking for dinner," Johnson was quick to point out on the phone this morning. "My class will focus on the different cuts of lamb and what (the home cook) can do with them."
As for his choice of Lava Lake Ranch: "It has a seasonal (lamb-raising) program, not 24/7 like so many other ranches. They're doing things the way ranchers used to do them."
After the class, Taylor's Kitchen chef Richard Telford will prepare a multi-course lamb dinner. During the evening, Lava Lake Ranch owner Brian Bean will give a presentation and answer questions.
The lamb dinner menu will include bresaola (air-dried salted lamb with arugula, fennel, pickled cherries and pine nuts), lamb carbonara (handmade fettucini with lamb bacon, English peas, egg and pecorino cheese), Moroccan spiced leg of lamb, and Manchego cheesecake (fig compote, honey and Marcona almonds).
The butchering class will begin at 6 p.m. (with appetizers), followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets are $75 (plus $5.12 surcharge) at www.taylorsmarket.com, and at the door on Tuesday (availability permitting).
Taylor's Kitchen is at 2924 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, adjacent to Taylor's Market. Information: (916) 443-6881.