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Archive for the ‘BBQ’ Tag

Mas Que Tacos II   Leave a comment

Among the surprises during a recent visit to Mexico City was the variety of food. I should have known that cosmopolitan Cuidad de Mexico (CDMX) would be well-represented by cuisines from around the world.

Pizzas Nosferatu has virtually no inside seating, but it’s fun to sit outside with an unobstructed view of the gourmet pies being made. The joven who took our order was friendly and, indeed, young. The thin-crusted pizzas are served on round slabs of wood. The beers available next door were astounding in the quality and variety. We enjoyed the namesake Nosferatu with spinach, ricotta, herbs and fresh ginger. The Henry with pepperoni, onion and tomato was also tasty.

cervesa

Pulled pork and smoked brisket are not foods I associate with Mexico. Now I know better. I can’t wait to return to Porco Rosso Roma. The different spins on beans (spicy frijoles) and onion rings were a treat. Sorry no photos. Next time, though.

We enjoyed breakfast at trendy Delirio Monica Patino. Here the traditional molletes (thick slices of toast topped with melted cheese and beans) had a twist: Greek olive tapanade rather than a tomato-based salsa.


My pesto at Trattoria Giocovanni was a lighter version than what I had in Italy, but the lasagna was pure Italiano.

mexicocityfish

White, mild fish, at Contramar, was exceptional both in its presentation and flavor. Half was coated with a red dried chili rub and the other half with a parsley rub. The tuna tostados and the desserts rivaled the entrees.

mexicocitydesserts

 

 

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Kansas City Traditions   Leave a comment

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The first thing to keep in mind at Gates Bar-B-Q is that the women taking the orders are not angry, even if they are intimidating. Before we had much time to look at the menu, let alone determine that we fully understood it, we were yelled at. It wasn’t may I please take your order, or even what may I get you? Instead, it was Are you ready to order — with an implicit YET?

I needed time before reaching the counter. Gates had a very different menu than I was familiar with. I’d heard of burnt ends, but not long ends or short ones. I finally figured out they referred to ribs. The sliced meats were easy, thank goodness.

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Kansas City BBQ is known for the variety of meats ( beef, pork, mutton, turkey, etc.)  and sooty flavors thanks to the slow, low method of smoking. Sauces are added by individual diners, not the cooks in the kitchen. I ordered the burnt ends which were served piled high on a hoagie bun, which I barely touched. These are tender, melt-in-your-mouth pieces of shredded brisket and occasional bits of beef that came closest to the heat becoming slightly charred in the process. Not burnt as the name suggests, but like a crisped layer of skin. The Combo Plus 2 featured a choice of two meats served on slices of white bread. We opted for beef and pork which were piled far too high for the bread to contain.Again, the meats were tender and juicy even before the addition of any sauces, all with a ketchup, molasses and vinegar base.

Once we had our trays loaded with food, the women were all smiles and spoke in pleasant voices. That is until they hollered for the next order.

Gates Bar-B-Q

Four (Messy) Plates

Various locations throughout the Kansas City, MO., area

Fanfare for Pub Fare   Leave a comment

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It may not be quite fair to draw attention to the Manitou Brewing Co.’s limited food menu: only six items. However, neither would it be quite right to dismiss the dishes altogether. In its defense, MBC is focusing on the brew part of its name; four beers are brewed on site and a dozen others are “guest beers.” In fact, more extensive food offerings should be available in early April.

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MBC has been open since early March after months of preparation. The décor features corrugated tin ceilings, seat backs made from old barrels, and trim work from Waldo Canyon Fire-burned trees. Midday early in the week the place is ghost-like, but it’s unlikely to stay that way for long.

manitoubcbarbeq

The five sandwiches and Hummus of the Day skillfully reflect the kitchen’s potential. The Bacon Brisket Sandwich is a festival of flavors. Anything with bacon is bound to be a winner, but add caramelized onions and it’s the jackpot. The addition of cheese is interesting and perhaps unnecessary. The brisket itself was not as tender as what’s found in true barbecue joints, but it was possible to overlook thanks to the vinegary zest of the house beer BBQ sauce.

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Caramelized onions and mushrooms ruled the Mushroom, Onion and Swiss Panini. This was essentially a grilled cheese sandwich elevated far beyond its lunch standard status.

The menu states that the limited items may change or even disappear as new plates emerge. If anyone from MBC is reading: please keep what you have!

Manitou Brewing Co.
Four Plates
725 Manitou Ave.
Manitou Springs, CO

Almost Home Cooking   2 comments

frontrangebbq

Beef brisket is one of the toughest cuts of meat around. In the right hands, it’s rendered fork-tender and full of flavor. Of course, it takes several hours to get that way, but Front Range Barbeque has both the touch and the time to get the right results.

frontrangehouse

The restaurant, in a modified bungalow in Old Colorado City, has several small, crowded rooms and a large outdoor dining area. The latter is enclosed and heated for year-round seating. It’s a comfortable setting for live music. Front Range is homey, busy and is a place to make friends with the people at nearby tables – because these are such cramped quarters. Servers maneuver through the small maze of diners, and everyone keeps their elbows close.

Once the food arrives, it’s easy to forget the jam-packed conditions and enjoy the meal. Besides the fall-apart-beef, Front Range knows how to do sides. The baked beans are thick with molasses and bits of shredded pork. Coleslaw is creamy, but not excessively so. The platters also feature mini-cornbread muffins and thinly-sliced onion rings.

The cooked-to-perfection meat takes center stage with its charred coat. It’s served dry, but three sauces, made in-house, provide the opportunity to enhance the taste. There’s Original Tangy, Sweet n’ Spicy, Mustard Wine. The latter is an unusual combination of Dijon mustard and white wine. It complemented the French fries better than it did the meat. The tangy has too much vinegar, while the sweet and spicy is just the right yin-yang combination.

Front Range Barbeque

Almost-Four Plates

2330 W. Colorado Ave.

Colorado Springs, CO

More Than a Saturday Market   Leave a comment

The Handy Market is just that: conveniently located and, despite its compact size, well-stocked with fresh produce, an impressive meat counter and a decent selection of wine and beer. And there’s the Saturday barbecue.

Every Saturday the industrial grills are loaded with a variety of meats cooked to fork-tender perfection. The aroma alone is hypnotizing. People stand in line – often a block long – to order ribs, chicken and tri-tip, but the bonus is the aroma emanating from the ballooning smoke of the grills.

A Santa Maria-like style is used: meats are cooked over a hot, hot bed of slow burning fuel, such as mesquite. Tri-tip is a lean roast with one fatty side from which the juices flow into the meat during the cooking process.

A recent visit to LA netted a trip to the Handy Market. We arrived later in the afternoon and the line was only about ten people deep. A wipe board identifies the meats, and orders are placed at the window of a trailer. The grills are set up next to it in the market’s parking lot. We ordered the trip-tip and chicken. With just the right amount of salty, smoky flavors, and optional tangy sauce, the Tri-tip is the meat of choice.

Grilled corn and salads, ordered at the meat counter, are offered. Once the meats, which are sold by the pound, are wrapped in heavy duty foil there’s the option of having them slathered in a thick, rich barbecue sauce. Go for it.

The Handy Market
Four-and-a-half Plates
2514 W. Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, Calif.

Tangy and Tender   1 comment

A few years ago, my family and I embarked on a barbecue quest. Our (ongoing) charge was to find
the best place for BBQ in Colorado Springs. We’ve also sampled in California, Wyoming, Denver,
Flagstaff and other locales – including New York City. While we aren’t ready to name a champ-
ion, we all agree that Bird Dog BBQ is among the top three anywhere – not just our hometown.

Our criteria were simple. We wanted the best in flavor, sides, and tender meats. Bird Dog scores
high in everything. Brisket, pulled or sliced, practically falls apart by just looking at it. Bursting
with smokiness that only comes from a low and slow technique, this is the kind of meat to dis-
suade anyone from becoming a vegetarian. Three in-house sauces are made daily. One has a sweet
and sour tanginess, while the other is an upgrade to spicy and tart. Taking it up a notch is one made
with Wasabi, but to be honest I like combing the two traditional sauces. Rumor has it there an ultra-
hot blend kept behind the counter.

Pulled Pork, Pork Sausage, Ribs and Chicken complete the meat offerings. The Pork is fork tender and
moist. Barbecue is nothing without Baked Beans, and the sweetened beans do not disappoint. Potato
Salad and Cole Slaw are other winners.

The decor is another reason Bird Dog scores high with my family. There are lots of photos, brought
in by diners, of dogs of all kinds. We keep meaning to take in a picture of ours: so we’ll get to return.

Bird Dog BBQ
Four Plates
5984 Stetson Hills Blvd. and 1645 Briargate Pkwy.
Colorado Springs
(Another location at 6965 Mesa Ridge
Fountain, CO., has not been visited)