Tuesday 8/24: Was Boyfriend's birthday! The big 2-5! To celebrate this notable accomplishment we decided to make a pulled lamb (lamb is Boyfriend's favorite meat) feast for all of the roomies. The recipe that we used called for 8 lamb shanks; when we made it before we cut it in half but had no problem finding 4 shanks.
This time, however, God did not bless us with ease. First we went to a "fancier" Key Food a little further from the house and found a very minute lamb section with nary a shank in sight. No matter, we figured the Key Food near Boyfriend's house with its more diverse shoppers would have shanks a plenty. In reality, they had two shanks. Fear was starting to settle in.
We drove down Hillside (read: ghetto ass street) to a C-Town (supermarket) thinking they would definitely have lamb because they were a (allegedly) Muslim market (because they were shocked and offended when I asked where the beer was) and Muslims love lamb. In reality, they had even less lamb than the booze-plentiful Key Food. Luckily, there was a Halal Butcher and Market across the street with a banner that boasted "Lamb, Goat, Chicken" etc. Although it was tiny, we took a risk and walked in.
Instantly, confusion settled over us as we assessed our surroundings. A strong Indian spice scent lingered in the air, most likely from the two aisles of shelves littered with strangely named products. On the other side of the shelves was an open space with a few shiny fabrics and pieces of jewelry for sale. We walked to the back where there seemed to be a "meat section;" at the very least there were some stainless steel counters and a sink. At the sink was a Ecuadorian (I wanted to say Mexican but somehow Ecuadorian just sounds less offensive) washing dishes with his back to us. In the aforementioned open space was a Muslim women on the phone. Behind us was a century old beverage fridge with a few more random and repulsive looking products in it.To our left was a giant refrigerator with a sign that read, "All Meat Slaughtered by Muslims According to Islamic Law." Next to it sat an approximately 15 year-old Muslim kid with a Bieber haircut.
I had plenty of time to assess my surroundings because we had about three minutes standing at the stainless steel counter with no one addressing us. Finally, I addressed the "Ecuadorian." "Excuse me," I said as he turned around, "Do you have any lamb shanks here?" "Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh," he replied, looking at me blankly. While he pondered my heavy question, I noticed the Muslim women half-turning to me, gesturing with her index finger extended, indicating to wait a minute.
After we waited the obligatory minute, she walked over and addressed us. "How many shanks you want?" "Uh, six please." "Okay. Let me show you what I have," she said as she lead us over to the big fridge. This being my first time at a butcher, I assumed that she wanted to lead us to the packaged meats section. Instead, she opened the giant fridge to reveal a meat locker, filled with animal carcases hanging from hooks...some had heads, some didn't; some had legs, some didn't and some were just legs.
I played it cool as I stared a the multitude of carcases while my Muslim guide started pointing out the various shanks (FYI: shank is just a fancy word for leg) she had available. Eventually we figured out that there were 5, just short of our request, but some of them seemed pretty beefy so we told her we'd take it. At this point, she started grabbing the shanks and slicing off various parts with a vicious automatic bone saw.
She was so casual around it; looking around while she was separating a shank from a headless body, wearing no gloves, dropping one of the lambs on the floor and laughing as she threw it back up onto the blade table.
Yet after all of this, we were so grateful for some shanks that we gladly paid top dollar for them and even tipped her. We went back to Boyfriend's house and started the 3.5 hour process for the delicious, totally-worth-it, dinner. The rest of the night can be told in a series of single sentences:
Some of Boyfriend's non-roommate friends came over as a surprise and then everyone started drinking.
Slaw joined us, a bit later because she had to go to deaf karaoke first (everybody signs) where she had three drinks so she showed up already three sheets to the wind.
Rounds of beer pong were played, three bottles of wine were downed, everyone got progressively more wasted.
Except for Boyfriend's non-roomie friend, Mike because he was driving.
Slaw did not care and professed extensive love for him immediately upon meeting him.
After feasting on the delicious lamb dinner (which everyone STILL raves about), everyone gathered to play some Apples to Apples and Outburst.
Slaw sat with perma-smile and occasionally threw in a card.
Slaw constantly mumbled and placed her short legs on people while yelling, "WATCH OUT FER MA SHORT LEGSSSSHHH!"
Slaw decided to put her love to Sober Mike on the table and started randomly sneaking him kisses on his arm or cheek.
More intimately, she started giving him foot jobs with her short legs under the table.
Sober Mike occasionally stood up and walked away because the FJs were getting a little too aggressive.
Eventually, Slaw passed out on the guest bed and woke up the next morning not remembering anything. Too much lamb I guess.