Ochoa is one of Kendall’s many Argentine butchers, a trade that has been passed down through generations of immigrants. Though the neighborhood has changed since he first arrived — “When I got here, there were no houses, only nurseries,” he says — the demand for quality Argentine meat has remained constant.
“The Argentine people, they like their meat,” Ochoa says with a chuckle. “They like to eat well. They like to have a good asado. That’s why they come here.”
Asado is the Argentine word for barbecue, and it’s a dish that is near and dear to Ochoa’s heart. He grew up in the province of Buenos Aires, where asado is a way of life. “In Argentina, we have asado every Sunday,” he says. “It’s a tradition. The family gets together, and we have an asado. We eat, we drink, we talk. It’s very nice.”
Ochoa says that his favorite part of the asado is the chorizo, a spicy sausage that is a staple of Argentine cuisine. “For me, it’s the best,” he says. “I like to put it on the grill and let it get a little crispy.”
When asked what sets Argentine meat apart from other types of meat, Ochoa is quick to answer. “It’s the grass,” he says. “The cows in Argentina, they eat grass. Here, they eat corn. It’s different. The taste is different.”
Ochoa says that he is happy to be able to share his culture with his customers through the food he sells. “I like to help the people,” he says. “I like when they come in and they ask me, ‘What do I need for this? What do I need for that?’ And I help them. I give them tips. I tell them what to do. I feel good when I can help them make a good asado.”