I was part of group. Pizza was ordered when work went late. Bonus! Free food... Eh, not so fast.
What I ate came in a pizza box. The pie within was spotted with slices of a processed meat product resembling pepperoni which were nestled in a crust which resembled lightly browned cheese all in a razor thin crust of, I assume, bread.
Honestly, I have no idea what this was supposed to be but my answer to this product served to me in a blind taste would not have been pizza.
Come on... Ride the train.
The bacon cheese burger at Carney's, lacks the bells, whistles and snob appeal that comes with higher end gastropub offerings, but savoring it does impart the feeling that one has returned to the very beginning, where all the fuss started, where America decided on its national sandwich and having chosen wisely, found that all was right with the world. This burger is an unassuming and damn near perfect rendering of the classic.
Do you like hot dogs? THIS is the place. The aroma pulls you in like a rope through a nose ring. The skin snaps like a rifle crack, firing the best of that familiar, cured, unctuous, beef and salty magic, point blank at your defenseless taste buds. Sweet surrender. The fixings are fine, fun and free flowing but kids, this dog stands on its own feet.
French fries here are terrific. The chili is as it should be. The staff are pros. The setting is perfect for tourists and locals like it too.
Carney's serves up real food and fun to real folks in a real friggin' train. All you need for a fast, modestly priced fete, is a few famished friends and a maybe a fistful of quarters for the meter... What? Free parking?! All aboard!
Came to Horse Thief BBQ on the recommendation of one of my favorite LA BBQ spots.
Was in a hurry and so I ordered the rib tips (which seemed a faster to dish up choice than brisket and one easier to eat while driving). The dry rub leans heavily toward cracked black pepper and is indeed tasty, however the tips were not cooked to that perfect state of fall off the bone doneness, nor was the smoke signature far enough forward in the flavor. The sauce was very good and definitely improved the experience. Good enough bbq. Not great.
The setting and the service were spot on and I look forward to returning to sample the brisket and to revising my review upward at a time when I am less focused on having my car towed and can enjoy the patio and a beer.
Do you believe in magic? Barbarella is located one block from the site of Disney Studio's first LA facility, opened in 1939, where some of the miraculous, early, classics of feature animation were born. Can magic be attributed to a place? Can one reasonably compare good barbecue to enduring icons of cultural heritage?... Ah... Sure?
Barbarella's brisket is a perfect expression of smoked cooking. Real smoke flavor. Scintillating aroma. A veritable, Texas-flavored party in your mouth (Austin that is, not Houston). The brisket is served with sauce, almost to test you or to prove a point. Try it once with the sauce and you'll immediately realize this brisket doesn't need sauce at all. Think Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs: Best in class. Ground breaking. Somehow, totally original and a veritable classic at the same time.
The back ribs are very good, equally well smoked, flavored, cooked, etc., but not quite the standout performer that the brisket is and honestly just a little heavy on the sauce. By no means, Song of the South. More, Pinocchio: Very good to be sure, just not the first one that comes to mind.
And by the way, the food is priced to move.
Interestingly, both plates were garnished with a small floret of pickled heritage cauliflower and a gherkin. I could have easy overlooked this detail, but I'm glad I didn't. Not only are these pickles really good, their flavor is perfectly positioned to highlight certain qualities of the barbecue. A really nice touch. To keep the metaphor alive, I look to Fantasia: Different, unexpected and maybe a little weird but definitely accrues with time and reflection.
Ate at the bar and the tender was very kind and attentive, not batting an eye at handing me a menu 5 minutes before the close of the kitchen and making me wish I'd brought her a glass slipper... Okay, enough of that. The bar is stocked to the gills with fine Bourbon choices and beers.
Simply put, Barbarella's is worth a special trip and deserves your support... OR... When you wish upon a bar... OK, OK...
Didn't expect to be write this review. I'm already a tremendous fan of the Compton location. I assumed that there would be a slight fall off in the quality of the food which would be compensated by a nicer environment and a beautiful, full bar and no 2 hour round trip drive. My plan was to graciously not make a blog issue of my expected disappointment. So much for assumptions.
The food was just as good as Compton and possibly better. The brisket is spectacular. Chicken, usually not a bbq favorite, was perfectly flavored, moist and juicy all over the bird. The rib tips were heaven. Mint juleps on tap? Can I bring a cot? The only thing missing from the Compton menu is the beef ribs. A significant but understandable omission given the mess of making beef ribs. That said, there is no way to reasonably quibble with the work being done at Bludso's. It's brilliant. And not least of all, our server, Maryanne (ph), was a star.
One of the marks of good barbecue is a condition I call, food swoon. Properly prepared, bbq should leave you feeling something close to drunk. Well, aim attained. Kudos Bludso's.
The best cocktail on earth is the West of Brooklyn. I've had it, now on several occasions, and the two bartenders from whom I've ordered mix it equally well. It is a pure-D winner. Cut yourself off at 2.
The store visit described below took place on September 3. Today is the 10th and my first on-line purchase just arrived, on time, as ordered. I like these guys.
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Learned of Buck Mason from Shark Tank, where the partners made a compelling presentation. Took me a few months, but I finally made it into the shop... SOLD!
Hard to fit? Some might say. I would say I'm lumpy. Buck Mason pants fit me perfectly. The tees are nicely tailored. At $135 and $28, neither is cheap, but given the quality, both represent terrific value for money.
The new shop feels authentic and organic and the salesperson, Ali, was on it. Proof of the pudding: I bought 3 pair and 5 tees. If they'd had the button down in stock, I probably would have take one of those too. And all made in town to boot! Where's the downside? The next day, I got an email from the owners to thank me for the purchase, most notable for an in store purchase.
Other boutique clothing retailers could learn a lot about quality, presentation and customer service from these people. I'd recommend you try them and don't wait a couple of months to do it. Buck Mason is the real thing.
For some reason, I like Bear Pit. It looks right. It smells right. It serves real bbq. But alas, I cannot say it serves really good bbq.
The quality of the beef and pork ribs with which they start is middle of the road at best. In spite of clear, dry evidence of excessive of smoker time for both the beef and spare ribs, little if any smoky flavor seems to permeate the meat. Which brings us to the sauce, which they offer at the table in two proprietary varieties: Too Sweet and Much Too Sweet. A hot variant which I didn't sample is available for take home. If a good amount of salt is added to Too Sweet, it becomes a pretty good sauce, still lacking, however, in acidity and any sort of singular character.
On the positive side, the garlic bread was very good as was the cole slaw. Service was slow owing to under staffing. Our waitress was harried but clearly trying.
Not worth a special trip but not terrible either.
My perspective is, perhaps, limited, but I find it hard to take seriously a Middle-Eastern restaurant that doesn't offer tabbouleh salad or who fashions a kebab from ground beef. But that's me.
Lunch started with a very pleasant plate of four salads. The babaganoush stood out as did the red cabbage cole slaw. Another big mark on the plus side is their pita which is standout good. The kebab was ground as mentioned, but much a bigger problem was the lack of any character to speak of. The result was more a slider plate, and not terrible sliders, but not what I expected.
Staff is to be complimented for the speedy service and frequent check ins. To be sure, nothing was bad, but nothing was that remarkable, save for the pita and babaganoush. Traffic patterns around the cash register make for a somewhat confusing cafeteria experience.
Middle eastern food is among my favorites, with Yemenite Israeli cuisine topping the types. I will however, need to keep looking.
HUB is manned by very nice people making an earnest effort, but I did not love the food. It was not terribly bad nor outrageously overpriced, it just did not wow me.
More objectively, HUB's fare bears no resemblance to barbeque as I think of barbeque. With sincere apologies to the fine people of the city of Santa Maria and the country of South Korea, barbeque is fatty meat cooked for a long time adjacent to a smoky fire at relatively low heat. This is not that. Nor does it feel like some sort of spin or variation on barbeque. It's just it's own thing. The word barbeque, having here been co-opted or borrowed in the generic, picnic-y sense.
Subjectively, the pulled pork was too lean and homogenous and while not offensive, it lacked assertiveness. Little bits of charred fat mixed thru would have gone long way to improving this dish in my opinion. The mustard sauce with which it was served was okay. Neither the Brussels sprout slaw nor the pickled onions really did anything for me. The bread was very good.
The smoky chocolate chip cookie was an interesting enough cookie, featuring, as it did, a sort of a chewy sub-layer, somehow reminiscent of Queen Anne's Lace cookies. That said, I detected nothing vaguely approximating smoky flavor.
The people that work there are lovely and much friendlier and more concerned than merely professional. Care clearly goes into this cooking and I can imagine some people really getting into what they are doing at HUB, I'm just not the guy and I don't feel entirely good saying so.