Showing posts with label bbq. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bbq. Show all posts

Monday, June 5, 2017

Meats and Mixology at Boston Magazine's The Cue, Back on August 15, 2017

Summer is a time for bbq and day drinking. It's also the season for food festivals in Boston, including Boston Magazine's annual food festivals. In August, the two-night affair The Cue and Battle of the Burger is returning to the Cruiseport.

Last year, I was invited to attend - since I was flying out for a friend's wedding, I only managed to check out The Cue right before heading to the airport!

The Cue
Pecan smoked baby back ribs from Coppersmith

The Cue is a celebration of BBQ and mixology - what a great pair, right?
The Cue
There are meats and ribs galore - prepare your heart and stretchy pants before you come here! Guests get to vote for the best bbq and the best cocktail, no naturally you have to be fair and taste everything, right?

Last year's participating restaurants include Andy Husbands' The Smoke Shop BBQ
The Cue

Monday, November 24, 2014

Brisket, Biscuits, and Honey Butter at Sweet Cheeks Q (Boston, MA)

In the Fenway/Kenmore neighborhood of Boston is Sweet Cheeks Q, a barbecue joint from Top Chef finalist, Tiffani Faison. It's noted to be the most expensive bbq place in Boston, but possibly also the best.

You can order meats by the pound or get a tray with 1, 2, or 3 meats (the last one is called the Fat Cheeks Tray) that comes with two sides.

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Above anything else, though, you have to - absolutely must - get the biscuits with honey butter.
Biscuit
If you eat nothing else at this place, the biscuits need to be the one thing you do try. They are warm, buttery, flaky biscuits that are heavenly with that honey butter. Oh, that honey butter ... No one will blame you if you just come here and eat a bucket of biscuits.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Austin, Texas

Eden East
Franklin BBQ
Qui

Friday, May 30, 2014

New Menu at Roadhouse LA with Chef Kyle Schutte

About 3 years ago, I encountered chef Kyle Schutte's cooking at Vu. He called it "progressive comfort food" and I still remember his chicken fried watermelon. He had a short stint at Corner Door and I'm glad he's finally found another home at Roadhouse - that barbecue restaurant at The Improv.

One of the favorites during my dinner was the Root beer-cured bacon, soft scrambled vanilla scented eggs ($12)

Root Beer Bacon
This is made with housemade root beer syrup and the thick bacon is brined for 2 days then smoked for 12 hours.

Chicken Fried watermelon with pickled rind ($6)
Fried Watermelon
Yes, the dish I had at Vu made another appearance here! These are quite interesting and worth a try if you've never had it before.

I really liked the Punjabi Poutine with thick cut fries, coconut curry spinach, grilled cheese curds, queso fresco, goat meat and goat gravy ($12)
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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Tips for Lining Up for Franklin BBQ (Austin, TX)

Breakfast Taco
1. Bring breakfast or snack, or be sure to eat breakfast beforehand. You might think you want to come hungry to eat barbecue, but trust me, you won't be eating for a while (I got there at 9:25 AM and didn't eat until 2 PM!). Me, I brought a breakfast taco from Cenote.

2. You can either be sure to get some or you can take a gamble. To be sure, get there early by 9 am and be prepared to wait up to 4 hours. Or you can take a gamble and stroll in around 12 or 1 pm. You'd only have to wait an hour or so and there's a chance there will be some brisket left for you (maybe even ribs).
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The line at 9:25am is already around the block
3. When I was there, they had a guy renting chairs for $5. Remember, you might be there for 3-4 hours, though you can always sit on the ground.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pork Belly's (Venice, CA)

A couple doors down from a juice bar on Abbot Kinney is Pork Belly's, specializing in sandwiches made with meats smoked in-house by their competition BBQ pitmaster, Eric Solton.
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There's no seating inside this small store, but you can eat on the wooden counter on the wall of graffiti and they're working on some outdoor seating.
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Their signature sandwich is The Belly Up: Smoked BBQ Pork Belly topped with homemade coleslaw on a brioche roll ($8.95)
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Generous amount of thick pork belly slices encased between brioche buns. It's decadent, for sure, but the slaw does a surprisingly nice job balancing the fattiness so that it's not too heavy on your palate.


If you're still afraid the pork belly will be too fatty for you, try The Chop: Brisket smoked for over 12 hours in their in-house smoker then chopped. Topped with homemade BBQ sauce and Cole Slaw on a brioche roll ($8.95)
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This is easier to eat than the pork belly. With the shredded brisket you don't need to tear off a chunk of meat with each bite. The sauce is nice, slightly tangy. Again, the slaw balanced out the sweet BBQ sauce nicely so you can keep eating.
Oh, every sandwich also comes with a mini chocolate chip cookie, so watch out for it when you open the wrapper! The cookies are freshly baked and chewy.

Smoky Balls: Pork & Beef meatballs smoked then thinly sliced. Served with homemade tomato sauce, peppers and onions on a grinder roll, topped with melted cheese ($8.95).
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The meatball had a very interesting texture, closer to meatloaf than the usual meatball. It's not as flavorful as the first two sandwiches but it had a subtle smokiness.

They also serve something which they claim are "like chili cheese fries but better". They're tater tots topped with either brisket (called Chop Tots) or chorizo (called Slop Tots) and melted cheese ($4.99)
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Better than fries indeed! I only tried the slap tots but will need to try the one with brisket next.

You can still take your vegetarian friends here, where they can try the veggie sloppy joe or a grilled cheese sandwich.

Another side to get is the Fried pickles served with sriracha aioli ($3.95)
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I think this is my first time having fried pickles but I really liked them, especially with that sriracha aioli.

There's no beer or wine here, but I have to admit I did enjoy the freestyle Coke machine with over 100 choices of soft drinks or lemonade. So. many. choices.
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Pork Belly's offers something different in the Venice area and a quick, satisfying to-go lunch stop. To make it extra quick, you can also place your order online for pick up.
On Mondays and Thursdays they have ribs after 1:30 pm but unfortunately I was there too early to try it.

It's not just a lunch stop but they're also open late at night on the weekends (until 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays) and the food would be so good on those drunken nights and prevent hangovers!

Pork Belly's Sandwich Shop
1146 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90291
(424) 777-8875
http://www.porkbellysla.com/
Pork Belly's Sandwich Shop on Urbanspoon
Disclosure: this meal was hosted 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Calling Peat and Whisky Lovers: Peatin' Meetin' V on June 29

If you're not a member of the LA Scotch Club, you may not know about their annual Peatin' Meetin', open to anyone who enjoys peaty whisky. They will all convene next Saturday, June 29 at the Upper Picnic Area at UCLA's Sunset Canyon for over 100 peated whiskies including Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Bowmore, Smokehead, Lagavulin, and many more.
The great thing about this event is that the whiskies you will taste there are not just from sponsors, but they use their own club funds to source some rare whiskies. It's all about sharing a great whisky with fellow lovers.

Other than over 100 peated whiskies, 7Grand will also be on site making peated cocktails! You won't be drinking on an empty stomach, fret not. They will be peat smoking 175 lbs of New York strip sirloin this year. There will also be peated beer!

Tickets are $100 all-inclusive (or $40 for non-drinkers). You will also get a free t-shirt if you register early. Tickets and more information are available on peatinmeetin.com.

Monday, January 7, 2013

8 Flavors of Pork Belly at Palsaik BBQ in Koreatown (Los Angeles, CA)

I was recently involved with a project to review a few Korean restaurants in Los Angeles, and one of my assignment was Palsaik Samgyupsal Korean BBQ. I was pretty excited since I had never been to this restaurant which boasts eight flavors of pork belly. The set menu with the 8 pork belly and stew ("Palsaik Set Menu") was $49.95. I asked around as to how many people the set would feed and got answers ranging from "two, but when you get to the rice you won't be able to taste anything" to four, so I settled at three, which seems to have been the perfect number.


Compared to other Korean BBQ places, Palsaik is decidedly more modern looking and cleaner (though the service wasn't any better)
The presentation was also quite impressive. A long wooden board held eight plates of the pork and underneath each one the flavor was printed: Wine, Original, Ginseng, Garlic, Herb, Curry, Miso Paste, and Red Pepper Paste.

On the wall they also display the "health benefits" of each flavor, which I thought was pretty funny ... I mean, we're eating eight slices of fatty pork belly here! I don't think the "benefits" of the red wine marinade would really cancel out the effects on your blood vessels.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Eating and Riding Around Knott's Berry Farm

I've been invited to many restaurants and food events, but every once in a while something fun and different comes along, like an invitation to Knott's Berry Farm! OK, so the invite was to come to a tasting of their food offerings around the theme park, but I have to admit the opportunity to ride roller coasters was a major draw for me. Knott's Berry Farm isn't just known as a theme park, but their fried chicken and pies were what started the whole enterprise. Mrs Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant started in 1934 and attracted so many tourists that they started building shops and attractions around it to entertain waiting guests. So it really was the food that started the theme park!

The most famous food here of course is the fried chicken from Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner in the MarketPlace area, where they still serve the original recipe from 78 years ago. I actually have never had the fried chicken up until now, despite having lived in LA for almost 10 years. Verdict: they're quite good and hit the spot.

During the tasting I also tried the chicken pot pie, which also turned out to be really good. Flaky crust with creamy filling!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

BBQ at The Roof Garden, Peninsula Hotel (Beverly Hills)

What's a more perfect meal than a BBQ on a beautiful rooftop in LA? Roof Garden at The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills is one of the best rooftops in town and they're having a bbq every weekend this summer. The Roof Garden shares the kitchen with The Belvedere and the hotel's Executive Chef James Overbaugh oversees all the dining operations.

The rooftop is not that big, but the circular section with the fireplace is my favorite.


Before starting with the bbq, we had some cocktails and appetizers near the fireplace:
Ahi Tuna Chop Chop with sliced avocado, crisp pineapple and roof garden-picked herbs
Chilled Cucumber Soup with spicy cucumber-melon sorbet, hearts of palm, cilantro and citrus tapioca
Your best bet for cocktail here (if you like a bit of heat) is the Speckled Jalapeno Margarita
Dinner starts with a basket anise bread (yep, anise, and it was good), zucchini, olive, and lavash. 

We shared a variety of their entrees including:
Free range chicken breast, cilantro and mint chimichurri ($24, comes with 2 sides)
I am typically wary of chicken breast since it tends to be dry and overcooked, but at least this night it was prepared well and the bold chimichurri sauce would make any protein taste that much better.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Get Cultured, Gnaw on BBQ Ribs

We were sitting in the night breeze of Little Tokyo, listening to an amazingly talented woman recite her poems about kings and fems, a Boston-based spoken-word duo BrownStar prophesying Kal Penn, our fingers sticky with bbq sauce, gnawing on a giant beef rib.

Just another night at Tuesday Night Cafe.

Tuesday Night Project is the longest-running free public arts series in LA. For the past 12 years, every 1st and 3rd Tuesdays the TNProject brings the community together to listen, see, and perform music, poetry, plays, improv comedy, and anything else you can think of.

Johneric Concordia from The Park's Finest BBQ has been a long time supporter and resident host of Tuesday Night Cafe. In fact, he always feeds the staff and performers of TN Cafe with his delish 'cue.

To get more exposure of Tuesday Night Cafe and their annual fundraiser TN Party (more on that later), TN Project invited a few bloggers to the Cafe on July 6th, enticing us with some Park's Finest BBQ. Park's Finest only does catering right now with a minimum order of $300, so I thought it was a good opportunity to try the 'cue that Pleasure Palate claims to be the best in town. Plus, I've been missing the whole art and poetry culture since college.

I tried a plateful or stuff, including a wonderfully tender leg of chicken with a great spice rub, pork ribs, rib eye roast, and beef ribs.
If you ask Johneric what style bbq he serves, he'll say that it's true Echo Park style. "You don't get shot if you can cook," is another thing he'd tell you. Johneric is Filipino so you can see some Filipino influence like in his famous Concordia sauce that's flavored with coconut or the flavors in his spice rub.
It's all about the bbq sauce on them ribs.

The Mt. Mayon hot sausage links were spicy but so good. I had to go to the cafe next door with my mouth burning and my fingers sticky to buy a bottle of water but it was well worth it.

The cornbread they serve is a riff on traditional Filipino dessert called Bibingka, which is usually made with rice flour, sugar, and coconut.

These Tuesday nights are free for you and everyone (PS. there's one going on tonight July 20!), but nothing is ever really free. TN Project has to somehow pay for all the sound equipments, lighting, etc. The donation box that goes around isn't going to cut it.

If you want to support this ongoing community project, you can help by attending the TN Party on July 31st. There will also be a silent auction of various donated items. Both the ticket and silent auction proceeds will go towards keeping TN Project alive and kickin'. Not only that, this is one of the rare opportunities where you can go and buy a plate of The Park's Finest BBQ instead of having to throw a whole party!

Tickets are $15 pre-sale and $20 at the door. There will of course be live performances and plenty of raffle prizes. Park's Finest BBQ and Good Girl Dinette will also be on location serving up some good food.
TN Party. JACCC Plaza (244 S San Pedro St). July 31, 2010, 5-11 PM.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gyenari: Korean (and Cocktails) for the Masses

Gyenari is that Korean-fusion restaurant in Culver City backed up by Debbie Lee of the Next Food Network Star. The result of two long lost cousins finding each other and opening up a restaurant (true story) and is also one of the very few Korean bbq joints on the westside (the only one if you take out West Hollywood).

I've heard of quite a few bloggers liking their happy hour and the food here, so when a press invite came from their PR person, I took up the chance to try the place out.

I actually got to Culver City in time but since I missed the turn for the parking structure (right behind BofA, 2 hours free) and the no-u-turn-everywhere I ended up being late after all. Bah.

The night started out on the patio for cocktails and skewer appetizers.
I believe I had the ginger soy beef which turned out to be pretty spicy. I don't know how the rest of the skewers are since I came in a bit late and they were all gone.

While on the patio we also got some Duk Boki (pan fried rice cylinders in onions and korean chile paste)
I was surprised to find this item since I don't think their typical clientele would order dukbokki. The version here is not spicy but flavorful enough, and the rice cylinders had a good texture. I wonder if they ever get new customers trying this out?

Gyenari also has a surprisingly good selection of cocktails, with an Asian slant, priced pretty reasonably at $9-11.
A couple of the cocktails I enjoyed were the Soju Caipirinha (though it shouldn't be called a caipirinha w/o cachaca ... Caipisoju?) and Mango Mojito
Between all of us, we managed to try almost the entire cocktail menu. Another one that I liked a lot that I managed to get a sip of was the St. Gyenari.

After the appetizers, we moved inside for our dinner. We were seated in front of a series of lighted panels depicting "gyenari", a yellow Korean flower.

Assorted Jeon Plate (mung bean, shrimp, fresh vegetables)
I liked these as they used fresh ingredients and the batter wasn't as greasy. I particularly liked the shrimp.

Apparently their bbq dinners typically comes with some porridge which we also got that night:
Pumpkin Porridge (toasted pine nuts, soju sauteed dates)
The porridge (more like a soup) was a lightly sweet, smooth, and creamy.

Pear and Shiso salad with Flashed Rib Eye and Shabu Sesame dressing
There was talk amongst my table-mates about why Gyenari decided to use the word shiso and not the Korean word, but if you ask me salad isn't really that Korean anyway, right? I like this salad and especially the use of the pear. Flashed rib eye was also good (although I can't help but imagine how good it would be with steak tartar!)

We were served the G1 set from the menu which came with japchae
The japchae was most definitely sweeter than usual and I think we all missed that garlicky oniony that is japchae.

The G1 meat selection included Gyenari Galbee, bulgogi, aged pork belly, and Gyenari Flower Chicken
Table-top grill, of course.
All the meats were good quality, much fresher than what you'd find in an AYCE place, naturally, and the marinades were pretty flavorful.
I was missing the rice paper or even the lettuce to wrap my grilled meats in, although I did love the rice they had here.

The banchans also did not disappoint. Kimchi was pretty good, and I love the bean sprouts and could not stop munching on them.

To finish off the savories we had a stonepot of Kimchee Chigae
The kimchee chigae was rather bland and the tofu was also unflavorful. I thought they definitely could've made this richer and spicier and cook the tofu inside the broth. Even though they're perhaps trying to appeal to a Korean-food-beginner audience, they're not doing the food justice in this case. Considering their skewers were spicy, why tone down the spice here?

For dessert we tried their Spicy Chocolate Creme Brulee with bacon shortbread and almond cream, and the Green Tea Beignets with chocolate mint drizzle.
Although the spicy chocolate creme brulee was a pretty good brulee, it was nowhere near spicy. The creme brulee would definitely benefit from more spice to make it more interesting. The green tea beignets had a stronger green tea flavor but was too dry (I did hear some of us got firmer ones). I wonder if the ones on the regular menu are bigger and more moist inside ...
As they were, though, vanilla ice cream or something would be good.

Overall I had a good meal (complimented by some tasty cocktails): the shiso and pear salad and pumpkin porridge stood out, and the barbecue meats were all good. On the other hand they need to be bolder with their traditional korean menu items like japchae and kimchee chigae. I would be interested in trying some of their fusion "Seoulful" items later though since they were supposed to be Debbie Lee's specialty. Galbee pot pie, anyone?


Gyenari
9540 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 838-3131
www.gyenari.com
Gyenari on Urbanspoon

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