I’ve always been a little wary of meals in which you cannot choose your food. This is, of course, the case with pop up restaurants. Yet, when I saw Foodshop‘s latest menu, filled with the flavors of the Caribbean, I was convinced to give it a shot. Thus, we took the long drive to Venice to grab some food at an undisclosed location.
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.
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.
Clarkston is not a part of Michigan I ever found myself in while spending the first 22 years of my life in the state. Yet, Union Woodshop wasn’t there for any of those 22 years either. It’s there now though, a modern BBQ spot fully endorsed by hometown hero Kid Rock (although not owned by him in any way despite popular contrary opinion), and thus I finally made my way there as well. And it should probably be noted that while I don’t really listen to Kid Rock’s music, he does seem like he would like the same food as me.
There’s are few things more American than good BBQ, and when I came back from a night in Canada to figuratively kiss the ground of the land of the free, the first thing I did was head to Smoke on the Water in Tonawanda. Situated on Ellicott Creek by the Erie Canal, the place looks more like a bar than BBQ, but the menu tells a different story. Filled with things you would expect from a BBQ joint, plus some things you wouldn’t.
In my continuing quest for Buffalo’s best BBQ, I made my way to Fat Bob’s Smokehouse with a few guys. Unlike Dinosaur, Fat Bob’s is a Buffalo native with only one location in Buffalo. Like some other BBQ places, Fat Bob’s doesn’t seem to have an actual specialty, unless you count their mac and cheese. Fortunately, this one has combo platters to ensure an unvegan like me can sample around.
Buffalo might have a few specialty foods, but BBQ is not one of them. In fact, one of their supposed best spots isn’t even home grown, coming in from world famous BBQ hotspot Rochester. It’s called Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and despite having absolutely no actual dinosaur on the menu (what the hell?!), the little paleontologist inside of me was still eager to find out how good it was.