From the “…and it’s getting smaller all the time” Department!

 *EDIT* A warm and heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS to Alejandro and his lovely wife on the arrival of their new Princess Melina Vita Cantagallo.  Bienvenida Princessa y que Dios te bendiga!

It’s been two months since I’ve returned from Buenos Aires, but I’m still heavily infatuated with the food of Argentina. I set out to find an Argentine butcher, because my sons are so besotted with Argentine chorizo and the sandwich called Choripan, and well, because I wanted to recreate the culinary experience that we shared in Argentina back home. Armed with a name and a borough, I hopped on Google until I found what might be a good match. There was, however, a small fly in the ointment, as there were two different addresses listed. I found the phone number, and Miggy called to check the address, saying what a cute accent the man on the phone had. We punched the address into the GPS in my car, and away we went. I drove all the way to Jackson Heights with visions of Argentine chorizo and morcillas dancing in my head.

Imagine my surprise, when upon walking into the store I was met by none other than Alejandro Cantagallo, a culinary student at NYC School of Technology’s Culinary Program, and one of my regular kitchen ninjas at venues like the James Beard House! The shop belongs to his dad, and it is a treasure trove of all things Argentine for your kitchen.

Alejandro “Blu” Cantagallo at Don Francisco’s Meat Market in Jackson Heights, Queens

First, I was struck by how impeccably immaculate the shop is, then I flitted from one vitrine to another in animated excitement, exclaiming about one product or another! I almost brought down the house when I came upon a six pack of Quilmes, the beer we drank in Buenos Aires!

Daisy macks the Quilmes

I found shelf after shelf of Argentine cheeses, dried sausage, mates, even two different types of empanada shells; they had one for fried empanadas and another for baked ones!

Cheeses and dry sausage from Argentina

Assorted Alfajores and sweets

But even with my thorough investigation of the shop, nothing had prepared me for the meat showcase…I felt myself literally swoon! See for yourself!

Fresh Chorizos and Tira de Asado

Matahambre and Fresh Argentine Morcilla

The meat case was truly beautiful, but Alex had one last surprise left for me. He took Miggy and I into the back of the shop to meet his father, Don Francisco, who was busy making fresh chorizos. It was amazing how fast he works the links.

Don Francisco works his magic.

Chorizo ready to air dry in walk-in

I picked up some cheeses, morcilla, mollejas (sweetbreads), matahambre, mate, Quiles (of course!), and some tira de asado. I bought the stuff with the intention of getting the family together and having a great big asado, but what with the boys’ schedules it’s difficult to get everyone together at once…and every evening, that meat calls to me from the freezer…i’m thinking I’m going to have to make another trip to Don Francisco’s sooner than later!

Don Francisco Meat Market 8517 37th Avenue Jackson Heights, NY 718 505 5892

13 Responses to “From the “…and it’s getting smaller all the time” Department!”

  1. 1 Lyzz March 4, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    i wish there was an argentine market close by me.. i live in New Windsor.. and there is nothing around here… i live vicariously through you Daisy!!

  2. 2 Patricia March 5, 2008 at 10:42 am

    I’ve been following your blog for awhile. I’m a fellow Boriqua and a lover of food! My step-father also loves Choripan.

    I remember you wrote one time that you wished your could put the tilde over you n’s. Here’s now you can do that:

    ñ – Option n, then n

    Ñ – Option n, then shift N

  3. 3 burton shacter March 6, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    Daisy, i am enthralled to find an Argentine meat market
    my wife and i visit Buenos Aires alternate years to visit relatives. I will contact Don Francisco’s to see if i can convince them to ship chorizo to me. We miss it in between our visits. if necessary i will make some myself.

  4. 4 David March 7, 2008 at 10:23 am

    That may work for Macs, and to be honest, I hope that’s what she’s sing, but if she’s on a PC then you will need to do write your text in Word, then copy it over to the blog. In Word go to the insert menu, then go to “symbol”, find the ñ and press insert. You can create short-cuts for what ever symbol you want from there.

    By the way, I’m a huge fan. Daisy you are teaching me so much from your TV show. You are so much better than any cook on the Food Network. By the way, there is a great restaurant in Dayton, Ohio (of all places) called “el Meson”. Its one of the best places I have ever been to in the whole world. (And I’ve been to a lot of places…)

    I was also wondering if you would ever have tried to or consider tackling the food from my country, Ecuador.

    Thank you for everything!!! You’ve made my kitchen a better place.


  5. 5 daisy March 7, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Dear Burton:

    I am almost a 100% sure they ship their products..feel free to contact them!


  6. 6 daisy March 7, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Dear Dave:

    I knew this was the case on a word document, but did not know we could do it on a blog format as well..Great advice!


  7. 7 daisy March 7, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Gracias PATRICIA!!!

  8. 8 melba March 7, 2008 at 5:23 pm


    I try to watch your show as often as I can. I love when you describe the smells that come out of your kitchen. My sister’s name was Daisy; she passed seven years ago from the effects of diabetes. She loved to cook and worked for many years in the food service industry. She had the ability to cook in huge quantities without compromising taste. Her kitchen was authentically boricua and it was the warm, cozy place where vistors camped out. It was inevitable to get a snip of this and a smigen of that while you stood around chatting with her as she concocted delicious dishes. She also shared with her community at every level. During the holidays no one would miss out on a good meal if my sister could help it.

    I believe that our culture extends love and a sense of belonging through its cuisine. I am seeing more and more small businesses run by hispanics and especially Puerto Ricans throughout the tri-state area. These small “come y vetes” or take out food shops are beginning to attract the people who would go for take out from chinese restaurants. I love chinese; but when you walk into a boricua restaurant you get an extra smile and leave with the feeling that the food you are taking home came from grandma’s kitchen.

    Thank you for keeping our culinary traditions alive. Our future generations need to continue to prepare our succulent dishes and add the warmth and love that is inherent to our kitchens.

    I just sent my daughter your link. She is a great cook in her own right. But I want her to continue the tradition. God bless you.

  9. 9 daisy March 7, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    What an absolutely lovely email, Melba! Gracias por tus bonitos sentimientos y bendiciones. It is indeed my privilege to bear the responsibility to get the word out, so to speak, as to the art and passion of our Latin cuisine. Que Dios te muliplique tus bendiciones a ti y a tu familia. oxoDaisy

  10. 10 Mike Delgado March 9, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    FYI for all –
    To get the ñ in Windows, hold down the ALT key while typing 0241 (ALT-0241) – when you let go – wallah!

    Other letters:
    Ñ – ALT-0209
    Ì – ALT-0204
    ì – ALT-0236

    Hope this helps.

  11. 12 Paola April 3, 2008 at 1:01 am

    Hi Daisy,

    Love you and your cooking. I am a foodie and love to cook. I have a question for you. Is a culinary diploma or degree a must to make way in the food industry? I live in Miami and have Le Cordon Bleu (nice but about $38k for the associate’s degree) and also have a Johnson & Wales University that offers associate’s degree in culinary arts (much more affordable-a bit less than half of LCB). Does it matter which institution to get your degree from? What can you recommend or suggest to someone interested in the field but has no restaurant experience to start. How hard is it to get your foot in the door of a restaurant with no kitchen experience. I am desiring this for a career change. I currently hold a bachelor’s degree in mass communications. I would be grateful to hear your opinion and/or advice.

    Thank You

  12. 13 daisy April 7, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Hola Paola,

    Thank you very much for your lovely email.

    I will give you what is my opinion, in answer to your question. While it is not necessary to have a culinary degree necessary to make way in the industry, it certainly doesn’t hurt. I would certainly look closely at Johnson and Wales, which is an incredibly reputable institution.

    Usually, your school will have placement programs that will help you find a position in the industry.

    I have had the pleasure of working with volunteers from J&W, and was very impressed by their skills. Ask them for a tour, and get an up close look at what they offer you in the way of “support” (ie: internships, externships, placement, etc.).

    Good luck, and let me know how you make out.

    Hasta pronto,


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