I was walking back from Drewe Bros. Meats in SF when I decided to check out Carniceria Los Chavez on the corner of San Jose and 30th. I'd been wondering about this homey looking butcher shop and market and finally satisfied my curiosity. What a score!
The first sign of good things inside was the smoke hanging in the air of the densely stocked little shop. The owner had just cooked up a batch of chicharron and handed me a sample on a little pink slip of paper. Good stuff, but what really got me was the array of housemade salsas spread out on the counter, complete with tortilla chips and spoons for sampling.
There was a good guacamole and salsa fresca but the odd ones were the best. There was an incendiary red salsa made of ground peanuts and chile arbol. There was a spicy fruit salsa, not too sweet but just the thing to cool my mouth. I tried an excellent spicy carrot, onion and tomato salsa. Most interesting of all was a creamy salsa that seemed to have onion, dill and some other vegetables (jalapenos?). He wouldn't tell me the ingredients. Perfect on the chicharron. The owner is an artist. He said he sometimes has as many as ten salsas for sale.
In addition to the salsas and fresh chicharron, he makes excellent barbacoa (which he promptly offered me a sample of), huge links of fresh chorizo and other sausages, carnitas, ready-to-cook pork in adobo sauce, marinated green onions, beef cabeza en salsa, and other stuff I'm sure I'm forgetting. Granted, the place looks less than spotless but I was smitten.
Except for the salsas, a lot of this is standard fare in Mission District carnicerias but the variety under one roof and friendly proprietor make it stand out.
Carniceria Los Chavez--59 30th St, SF. (415) 826-8017