Best Local Sausage

Best: Let’s Meat on the Avenue
2403 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. (703) 836-6328
2nd Best: EcoFriendly Foods, sold at the Dupont Circle (Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.) and Arlington Courthouse (Saturdays, 8 a.m.-noon; no dogs) farmers markets
Foodies might know about EcoFriendly Foods from Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, in which the author visits the company’s processing plant in Moneta, Va., about 25 miles west of Roanoke. And while it’s nice to know that the company uses only rotationally grazed, pasture-raised pork, its own spice blends, and no preservatives, the real draw is sausage that tastes as much of meat as it does of spices. I stick with the sweet Italian and sweet breakfast sausages—my kids freak the hell out if they even get a whiff of pepper. Unlike EcoFriendly’s chicken, which trends out of my price range, the sausages, which come frozen, are relatively cheap. So you don’t have to feel guilty about using them in a weeknight supper or for a non-special weekend breakfast. EcoFriendly also offers a non-spicy, Spanish-as-in-Spain-style chorizo and a butifaro, both of whose recipes come from José Andrés, and some spicy sausages, including one with extra black pepper, which I guess I’ll get to try in about 15 years. I’m giving it second for the slightly higher carbon footprint involved in getting these sausages up here; Let’s Meat on the Avenue’s tube steaks are just as delicious.