There’s been a tremendous growth in LA’s BBQ scene in the past couple of years and one of the restaurants that the growth has brought us is Maple Block in Culver City. Maple Block is definitely on the trendier side of BBQ, but the interior smelled like deliciously smoked meats and the guy that ran the place walked us through the menu to make recommendations.
Bludso’s in Compton is very often hailed as the best BBQ in LA. Yet, for some reason, a number of people find it difficult to make it to that part of town. Thus, Bludso’s spun off into Hollywood with a bar and que concept that creatively includes a bar along with BBQ. In other words, my long-awaited trip to BBQ heaven (and possibly like real heaven) in Compton was put on hold to make the trip to Hollywood.
South Pasadena is a unique place. As a wholly independent city, it’s often thought of as a more hoity toity part of the area. Yet, it retains a charm that is distinctly “main street.” The part of Fair Oaks that runs through town features a pharmacy straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, but more importantly it has Gus’s Bar-B-Q, which has been around since 1946.
According to Anthony Bourdain, firemen make some of the best food around because they have some sort of crazy camaraderie in which they are always cooking for each other. Maybe Firehouse Subs came from that. Or maybe it was because some firemen wanted to make some extra cash and thought it would be a good schtick. Either way, Firehouse Subs exists and I finally tried it out in the middle of Palm Desert.
There are few better things to have nearby than a solid BBQ place. Not too far from my place in Pasadena are two contenders that seem like they can fulfill my hopes, so I set out to try out the first one recently. It’s called Bonnie B’s Smokin’ and is hidden away in a little strip of shops and a payroll loan place. I would call it a hole in the wall if it weren’t for the fact that the interior features a decent set up of tables and is immaculately clean.
While essentially a part of The South, Washington, DC has always seemed much more like a northern city to me. Nonetheless, its southern roots can sometimes be found in a number of places. Rocklands Barbeque in Glover Park is one of those places, because obviously The South is chock-full of great BBQ.
BBQ is a wonderful thing. And while most great BBQ is nowhere near LA, there are certainly great spots to be found. A newcomer on the scene just recently popped up in Culver City (in a corner where restaurant seem to die), calling itself Chop Daddy’s. The place has all the makings of trying to become a chain, which isn’t always the best when you’re looking for authenticity, but all I cared about was getting some good ‘cue.
I once swore I would never return to Dallas. That’s because I went for a weekend and it snowed and the whole city shut down. Plus I was coming from Michigan and hoping for, like, good weather. Alas, I was unable to keep that promise and recently returned, swearing I would eat some good BBQ before leaving. Thus, I found myself at Bone Daddy’s House of Smoke, which would never top any lists of the best spots in Dallas, but was close by and traffic in Dallas is stupid.
When you name a restaurant Grassroots, you have to assume that meat lovers will be fearful. Aside from awesome 60s music, the name evokes a hippy dippy vegan spot. Yet, it is anything but. Sure, this Scottsdale spot caters to the veggie-loving crowd, but it caters to unvegans no less so. Plus, let’s not forget that it does harken to the 60s music crowd.
On my rapid journey across the country once again, my buddy suggested stopping at Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue in the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. Having traversed this path before, I was eager to get back to Gates, but he said this would be worth it and I deserved it because it was my birthday. Since he hails from Kansas City and knows good food I took his word.