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Archive for February, 2010

A BBQ Gem in Gold Country

February 20, 2010 4 comments

Vacations are for rest, relaxation, and research.  Food research, that is.  Recently, the FUNdamental Family vacationed in the majestic winter wonderland that is Yosemite National Park. Always in search of legit BBQ in California (read my definition of real BBQ here), Yelp sent us to Doc’s Texas BBQ in Sonora.  Yelp, I love you!

Doc’s has a real “down home” feel, with obvious regulars greeting one another and Doc himself.  I was quite concerned that I didn’t smell any smoke whatsoever in the parking lot or even inside.  My fears were put to rest as our food came out almost glowing with that beautiful pink smoke ring that true BBQ fans look for.  Doc told me that he uses oak (I found his three upright smokers out back). 

Spare rib, tri tip and sausage combo with fries.

Brisket plate with slaw and beans.

Doc's smokers. I was tempted to load one into the van. Seriously.

We had the pork spare ribs, tri tip, hickory sausage, jalapeno sausage, and beef brisket.  Everything was tender, juicy, and pleasantly smokey.  The brisket may have been just a bit on the crumbly side with a little too much gristle, but was still very enjoyable.  The jalapeno sausage had a nice kick and was right up there with some of the tastiest I’ve ever had.  The tri tip was amazing.  I’m usually not a fan of smoked tri tip as it normally gets very chewy and tough.  I usually grill it to no more than medium rare.  Doc has found a way to smoke it for hours and keep it tender and juicy.  Pure magic.  The fries were even amazing-er.  Made from fresh potatoes, which is great, but the flavor is just over the top!  It’s as if they’re fried in lard or bacon grease or something along those heavenly lines.  Or maybe it’s just more of his magic.  Absolutely the best fries I’ve ever had.  The sauce was very good, slightly sweet and tasting a bit of coffee.  I just wish there was a hot version.  The beans and cole slaw were decent, nothing spectacular.

Doc’s Texas BBQ is one of the best BBQ experiences I’ve had anywhere (including the Lone Star state itself) and easily the best in California.  But why, oh why, oh great Mr. Doc must you be so far away?

Doc's Texas BBQ & Burgers on Urbanspoon

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Smokin’ Hot Wings

February 5, 2010 4 comments

Man food. **Insert cave man growl** Corn dogs, ribs, meat loaf, and bratwurst are fine examples of masculine culinary expressions.  With the Super Bowl upon us, it behooves me to provide a recipe that will delight the masses of men meaning to munch on meat.  This ultimate sporting event stimulates a surge of testosterone that causes us to consume copious amounts of flight appendages.  I can eat me some hot wings.  There’s just something about that combination of buttery, tangy, and spicy.  But let’s add another element: smoke!  Does it get any more manly than that?

I like to grill-smoke my wings for 30-35 minutes.  I put them directly over a thin layer of lump charcoal with a chunk of smoldering hickory working it’s magic over to the side.  The initial blast of the charcoal will put a nice crust on the wings, but with the smoker closed, it will cool off enough to gently cook them without torching them.  Then they go into the fryer to crisp up.  It only takes 2-3 minutes to get them golden brown and delicious!  Toss in the following garlicky buffalo sauce and you’ve got a manly (and low carb) treat.

**This should be plenty for 20 or so wing pieces.
1/2 stick of butter
1-2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
1/4 cup of your favorite red pepper sauce (Red Rooster, Louisiana)
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Melt the butter slowly with the garlic over medium low heat.  Remove garlic before it has a chance to brown.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Then let the chicken wings party with the sauce!

Point-Point Joint

February 2, 2010 1 comment

I’m filipino, but I like to think of myself as a coconut: brown on the outside, white on the inside.  I grew up eating rice every day, pretty much every meal.  I watched my lola (filipino grandmother) suck the brains out of fish heads and wondered why “chocolate meat” tasted nothing like chocolate (I later found out that what I was eating was pork blood stew–you sick, sick adults who would trick a trusting child!).  And, no, I’ve never eaten dog.

My Italian/Irish/Cherokee wife has learned to cook up some bomb filipino food over our 14 years of wedded bliss (it’s highly unlikely she’s part Cherokee, it just seems that most white people claim to have some sort of Native American in them).  But when I’m really getting a serious hankerin’ for some island comfort, I head to a “turo-turo”, which means “point-point”.  The concept is simple: walk over to the steamed-up glass display case and point to what looks good.  Don’t ask what it is, you might not want to know.

To celebrate my 35th birthday last month, I decided to pay homage to the cuisine of my childhood.  Google pointed me to Arko Foods in Glendale.  This medium sized grocery store is really easy to miss on Colorado Blvd.  Yes, it’s a grocery store, but look to your immediate left upon entering and you’ll find “turo-turo” heaven!  These resourceful filipinos pack 25-30 traditional dishes into a steam table meant for maybe 15 items (what’s a health code violation or two amongst friends?).  It’s all there: whole fried fish, baby octopus, chopped pig face, and chocolate meat (a.k.a.-dinuguan).  Add a couple young children selling jewelry and a taxi driver in cut-off shorts, a wife-beater tank top and flip flops and you’d think you were in central Manila.

My white-washedness kept me from the more exotic offerings.  We went with two combos and chose four standard “party foods”.  And they had garlic fried rice!  Score!  I’ll definitely be back.  Maybe in a wife-beater.

Lovely longanisa, that sweet and garlicky sausage that you burp up the rest of the day! The beef steak (usually braised in soy sauce and vinegar) was pleasantly tender and nicely tangy. The onions were still a bit crisp, which I really like. Great stuff!

The pork barbecue tasted of charcoal goodness with just the right amount of sweetness. The pancit may have had a bit too much fish sauce and definitely not enough garlic. Not bad, but not all that great.

Arko Foods
1428 E Colorado St
Glendale, CA 91205