Sausage Queen

El Chaparral sells meat with a South American accent

Argentina is a veritable carnival for carnivores.

Meats grill on nearly every corner, waiting to meet their Malbec. But if jaunting to Buenos Aires for your protein fix seems far-fetched, head to Clarendon's El Chaparral Meat Market.

This butcher and grocery store specializes in South American products, including vino tinto (Spanish table wine), yerba mate tea, dulce de leche and meats from across the continent.

The butcher case houses a hypnotic array of sausages: winey Argentinean pork, smoldering Mexican and a more mild Salvadoran style ($5 per pound). Slender cuts of schnitzel-style chicken ($5 per pound) and beef ($6), known as milanesa, are sold prebreaded and ready for the skillet.

The family-owned operation sells house-made chimichurri ($5.60), brilliantly green from fresh parsley and amply spiced with raw garlic. The sauce complements nearly any grilled meat, but goes especially well with sausages.

Add authenticity with Paraguayan hardwood charcoal ($10), a bag of French rolls from the Pan American Bakery ($3 for 6) and a six-pack of Argentina's Quilmes beer ($9) for a barbecue of choripán, the country's spicy answer to hot dogs.

Lapsed grillers can stop by on Saturdays, when owner Rosa Mirabelle prepares Argentinean sausages over coals in the market's parking lot.

El Chaparral Meat Market, 2719 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.; 703-276-8337

Editor's note: El Chaparral Meat Market has closed.