Archive for the ‘Barbeque’ Category

Tomales Bay Oyster Company

April 3, 2008

My buddy Ray recently had his birthday gathering at Tomales Bay Oyster Company. It was genius. We headed north from SF over the Golden Gate and about another hour and a half on highway 1 winding through Stenson Beach to Tomales Bay. The place is simple. They sell super fresh oysters from a stand and have grills and picnic tables scattered about overlooking the bay.

Everyone brought great beer, wine, food for the grill, and fixings for the oysters. With an unlimited supply of amazing oysters and a variety of different ingredients lying around people got really creative. It was like a burger bar for oysters. We ate them raw, in many different sauces, wrapped them in bacon and grilled them, bbq’ed them whole on the grill, and the list goes on and on. If I were not busy shucking the whole time I would have more pictures to show for it…

Oysters fresh from the bay:

We all got better at shucking:

Ray shuckin’ his 5000th oyster:

Oysters on a half shell:

Oysters and Ribs on the grill:

Bay and other oyster fans:

It was the perfect day. I never thought I could eat that many oysters in one sitting, but I still didn’t leave without bringing another dozen home. It was such a satisfying day that every time I notice the scars that are still on my hands from shucking, I daydream about oysters, bbq, and beer at Tomales Bay…

– CJ

Tomales Bay Oyster Company

15479 Highway One
Marshall, CA
T: 415.663.1242

Road Trip USA

January 21, 2008

Got back from a big road trip. We did NYC-Chicago-Memphis-Austin-New Orleans-Atlanta-Miami-Savannah-Charleston-NYC with a bunch of stops along the way. 3 weeks, 6000 miles. This could get way too long, so I’ll spare the descriptions of the food. I don’t know enough adjectives, and you can’t eat words anyway.

Left NYC a few days before Christmas, after eating at my favorite spot in the city and stocking up on Tate’s and Mallomars — essentials that we wouldn’t get along the way. Drove through rain and low visibility in the Poconos through Pennsylvania and ridiculously strong winds that were blowing cars into ditches in Ohio.

Stopped in Cleveland for dinner, but our target restaurant was apparently out of business. If you could judge the life of a city based on a cold Sunday night at the end of December, things don’t look so good for Cleveland. The only people dumb enough to be hanging around a freezing, dark, deindustrialized city that night were us and, apparently, R. Kelly.

Ducked in to the only place we found open, and good road trip karma presented us with McNulty’s Bier Markt. A Belgian beer bar with over 100 beers, they even had Chimay on tap — on tap! That’s even hard to find in NYC. Add some mussels soaked in Duvel for less than $10, and we began to believe in Cleveland again.

Made it to Chicago that night, hung out for a few days then headed toward Memphis. Had to stop at 17th Street Bar & Grill in Murphysboro, IL, consistently rated one of the best in the country.

In Memphis, we only had time for one BBQ spot so we went for Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous:

Rushed out of town in mid-afternoon because we a had a long way to Austin. Made a couple quick stops in Little Rock and followed a friend’s tips for the best mojitos in Dallas at Cuba Libre and best Tex-Mex at Cuquita’s.

Austin gave us the cup cake bus:

And more good Mexican food…

Heading east from Austin, we were back in God country.

Can you just make up quotes and attribute them to God? Stopped in Elgin, Texas, at Southside Market & BBQ which has won national contests for its hot sausage:

Made it to New Orleans on New Year’s Eve, but were unlucky enough to end up in the French Quarter. Totally Disney-fied, the Quarter was packed with spring break douchebags and college football fans in town for the Sugar Bowl.

2 1/2 years after Katrina, New Orleans is still a national embarrassment and George Bush still doesn’t care about Black people:

NOLA does still have some of the best food in the country — it was worth spending more than an hour waiting to get a burger at Port of Call and even longer for the best creole food at Jacques-Imo’s:

Made quick stops in Selma and Birmingham, then turned 80 miles off our route to hit another of the best BBQ spots in the country: Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama.

Check out the baked potato stuffed with BBQ meat. Looks better than it tasted. The ribs were off the hook, though, and that’s what counts.

Making our way to Atlanta, we drove on dark, windy Alabama state highways with a radio signal just strong enough to find out that Obama won Iowa and listened to his victory speech.

It seems that every best-of-Atlanta list starts with breakfast at the Flying Biscuit. Shrugged off as a cliche the story on their menu about how when they first opened the restaurant, they thought 90 biscuits would be enough for the day, whatever whatever, then they sold out in 2 hours, yadda yadda. Then the biscuits came, and I realized that was no joke. No pics here because we devoured them too fast. They were warm and a bit soft on the outside and so damn creamy on the inside. I will always be grateful to Atlanta for those biscuits and and for Coca-cola.

The next morning we had another great breakfast at the Thumbs Up Diner. I ordered an extra pancake to go with my standard bacon and eggs. It looked just like a regular pancake, but the inside was so smooth and creamy, like it was pancake batter. Have breakfast in Atlanta, if you ever get the chance.

We were fired up, ready to go, and picked up some biscuits from the Flying Biscuit for the next leg to Miami. We hung out at Tinta Y Cafe in Little Havana, which was very chill and had a bunch of great sandwiches.

We even got in some beach time, since it was 80 degrees in early January, and had great Haitian food (and the best mojitos) at Tap Tap, near South Beach. By this time, we were seriously craving some PinkBerry, but not only have they not expanded beyond LA and NYC, their copycats hadn’t even opened up in Miami yet. Looks like we just missed them by a few days.

Turning back north, our next stop was Savannah. Very cool town. Stopped at the Back in the Day Bakery before we left. This is right in the middle of an almost grotesquely gentrified block that’s being called ‘Starland.’ In the middle of a Black neighborhood, the block had a few art galleries, of course, and this bakery. We went in and managed to enjoy a couple good cupcakes for $3 each. Three dollars? Are they even that much at Magnolia? The interior was all about a retro-chic — “back in the day.” Yeah, well, back in the day, gentrifiers weren’t posted up there selling cupcakes for $3 a pop.

Had to make one more BBQ stop in Charlotte at Mac’s Speed Shop — a faux biker joint that served Carolina BBQ with a range of fine beers.

We made it up to DC, excited about all the great Ethiopian restaurants. Ended up with a pretty mediocre dinner at Dukem, which actually charges for extra injera.

Finally, 3 weeks later, we returned to NYC, but before going home we had to make a final stop at PinkBerry.


November 22, 2007

Hello my name is Sonja and I’m a new poster here! I’ve been taking photos of food since I was 16 and never stopped. My life is recorded better in food pictures than in pictures of friends and family (that is sad). I live in Williamsburg but have never had really great food there (I seriously don’t think it exists) so I usually eat out in Manhattan and randomly in New Jersey. I also cook quite often but I prefer to eat out every chance I get! I hope to post pretty often even though I don’t really use my blogger account.

I thought I would start out with this disturbing picture of giant oysters:

Here are some kumamotos in comparison:

I’ve been kind of on an oyster-for-dessert kick…I think it actually makes sense to eat them at the end of a meal.

I just had dinner at Korean barbecue at the Manhattan branch of Fort Lee staple Madangsui. I read reviews before I went and was expecting a great from their banchan (free appetizers).

There were quite a few but they were basically just different forms of kimchi. They do serve this preserved raw crab that’s kind of rare to get in restaurants.

You need to be a little careful though because food poisoning is possible. Now you totally want to eat it I know.

We ordered kalbi (marinated shortribs) and jumurok (tenderized short rib pieces). Too much meat! Their servings are quite large and flavored sweet. They use pear in the marinade. The fat marbling is pretty intense but not really any large pieces of fat.

Delicious but ask for perilla leaves, gheneep, along with the lettuce. It is in the same family as Japanese shiso but the flavor is somewhat different. The restaurant also provides a decently spicy jigae and steamed egg dish (pretty bad). This was probably some of the better the Korean BBQ I’ve had here but then again I don’t eat it so often. Anyways, nice to meet y’all!

35 W 35th St
New York, NY 10001
(212) 564-9333

Perfect Pork Ribs

August 20, 2007
Aren’t you drooling?

(As always, I forgot to take pictures of mine, and this is not from my kitchen)

Recently there are quite a few BBQ restaurants popping up in New York, including Justin Timberlake’s Southern Hospitality (let’s bet how long it lasts). Pork ribs, its sweet and juicy meat, and the flavor of summer is always mouthwatering, and when it’s done right, it’s sooo darn good.

I used to live in NJ, and had a backyard grill and made whole kind of grilled food including fucked by beer can chicken (or drunken chicken), cedar smoked salmon, etc. Now that I am back in the city, my option to have an outside grill are pretty slim. So I looked around for an indoor pork rib recipe, and man, this was awesome.

You simmer slab of pork rib bought at the store with beef broth and peppercorns for 2 hours. Take it out of the liquid, smear it with BBQ sauce (recipe follows), broil it until it gets crispy outside. Keep an eye on the oven while you broil it, since it takes just a couple of minutes.

Because you boil the meat in beef broth, it adds a lot more flavor to the meat, and it was the juiciest pork rib I’ve had. I’ve tried dry rub, and other methods, but trust me, this is the best and easiest way to make a juicy pork rib.

Recipe for homemade BBQ sauce (not really a recipe, since I don’t measure. Don’t follow the amount I say since I totally made it up)

  • ketchup (about 1 cup)
  • brown sugar (about half cup packed)
  • Worcestershire sauce (three table spoon)
  • apple cider vinegar (three table spoon)
  • liquid smoke (2 table spoon)

Simmer them together and it’s as good (or better than) as store bought ones.

Of course I made corn bread to go with it. Trust me, this is gooooood!

Summer BBQ Grillin’

June 6, 2007

There aren’t too many things I enjoy doing more than grillin’ outside with friends. I take great pride in my BBQ skills. More importantly I enjoy the look of satisfaction on people’s faces after each bite of my mouthwatering hamburgers. So now that we have all the rain far and gone it is time to turn this nation into a grillin’ nation!!

I usually buy my ground beef fresh from the local butcher right down the street. I suggest you do the same. Store bought ground beef can be suspect. You never know how long it has been sitting in the fridge. Also, try locating an organic food store for some free-range meat.

Alright, to begin let me tell you that I always try to have at least .5lb of meat per person. So given your expected guest list, you can do the math.

The essentials for a delicious burger:

  • Minced onions
  • Olive oil
  • Parsley
  • A touch of flour

Delicious add ons:

  • Feta cheese
  • Minced jalapeno peppers
  • Minced red peppers

I suggest you never stray far from the essential ingredients, those ingredients are what make the hamburger truly amazing. The add-ons, well those are just a few suggestions on my part, you can clearly add whatever you want. But, make sure to remember that you do not want to over do it with too many flavors. The idea is to bring out the flavor of the meat, which is why the essential ingredients I have included are so valuable. Nothing accentuates the flavor of meat more than minced onions mixed into each patty. Once, you have selected all of your ingredients, just mix them in with the ground beef and start building your burgers!

Don’t forget to accommodate your non-meat eaters. Try to grill veggies (with olive oil) for them or throw on a veggie patty. They will be very appreciative.

These were just a few of my tips for delicious hamburger grillin’! Top the burgers with whatever you like. I prefer bbq sauce/homemade chipotle sauce, avocado, tomato, lettuce, and cheese. Yummerz!

Do Hwa

May 17, 2007

Wow, this is my first time blogging! How exciting.

Anyway, MRoach introduced Aya A. and two JS alums, yours truly and Gayle, to Do Hwa — a great Korean joint in the Village (55 Carmine Street b/t Bedford & 7th Ave S). We did not leave hungry…that is for sure! I specifically took the photos with my cell for Umami Mart!

Above are photos of our Deji Bulgogi (thin slices of pork in a spicy chili pepper marinade)…..soooo good!! It helped that Mel was the best BBQer, making sure the meat was getting cooked equally on both sides! 🙂 You wrap it in the lettuce & shiso leaves (last photo).

To start we had kimchi pancakes and a fried oyster appetizer. We also had two kinds of soups – Mandu D’uk Gook (homemade dumpling soup with rice cakes…which was more like mochi — YUM) and another one, which I think was Dwen Jang Chigae (dark miso soup with vegetables and beef).

The place is very cool – definitely a fun place to go in a group if you do the BBQ….but note: you cannot split the BBQ’s for two for an individual BBQ…must be for two…no ifs ands or buts.

The Smoke Joint: Snag a Table, Never Leave

April 20, 2007

I don’t care what Time Out thinks. They ridiculously passed up the The Smoke Joint for Blue Smoke in Manhattan in their Eat Out Awards last week for Best BBQ, and all I have to say is: BAD CALL. I’d like to testify that The Smoke Joint is far superior to Blue Smoke, in taste and price.

The Smoke Joint moved into what used to be the famed “Cambodian Restaurant” (a Brooklyn institution that no one knows the name of, and has since moved up to the Upper East Side), and Peter Meehan wrote about it back in December.

Nestled in the tiny little triangle of a block where Lafayette and Fulton Street veer in opposite directions (right behind BAM), The Smoke Joint is an inconspicuous joint that looks like a cabin shack from the front, with nothing more than their name on the top of a chalkboard menu displayed in the window.

This wee cabin however, cranks out some of the best bbq I’ve had in the city. NO JOKE– talk to anyone who has been to the Smoke Joint and they will simply drool all over you. It’s counter service, so you just walk in, take 5 to decide what you want from the overhanging menu, order from the cheery guy at the register, and go stake out a table.

Number 85, your order’s ready…

The mac & cheese takes the prize– there were 4 of us, and we all agreed that this was a true winner. These glistening ringlets of macaroni are cooked to perfection, and lie in a delightful, creamy cheese bath. Lots of heart attack-inducing stuff in here, no doubt, but I recommend you take your chances and take the plunge.


The ribs: Tender! Tender! Tender! Perfectly marinated! Hints of honey! Melts in your mouth! They seriously have the ribs down to a science- there’s no misstep here. The pitmaster is truly a genius.


Ohh la la! This corn… masterpiece. Fuminatto will back this up. It’s dipped in melted butter then peppered with a slew of spices. Don’t ask, just eat. Totally worth the bits of charred corn that will inevitably get stuck between your teeth.


Usually, I’m not one to order chicken at restaurants (As Anne-Marie aptly put it, it’s rarely a memorable experience), but I read that they smoke their chicken in some special smoke machine from Oklahoma. That’s pretty special, wouldn’t you say? This baby was all about the skin: perfectly charred, sweet yet a little spicy (lots of kick), and crackling. Get ready to get your hands dirty as you try pulling this hunk of meat apart– so much fun. It was juicy, even the white meat. Don’t even get me started on the dark meat, cause I could fantasize about it for hours– it was truly tender and damn flavorful.


The Crispy Catfish was flaky and indeed crispy. For those of you who don’t do the red meats or chicken, the catfish will satisfy you just fine, I promise. However, I highly advise that you cheat and order the pork ribs, just this once. Do it for me.


They have all sorts of funky, hard to find local and domestic beers and beverages. This can of Dale’s Pale Ale from Colorado was excellent- and only $2.50!

They give you two kinds of bbq sauce with your meal– one sweeter, the other spicier. They have it just right– the perfect amount of vinegar to counterbalance the smoked meats.

You can pass up the hacked chicken (TOO smoked), corn bread (too dry), and the fries. I have heard, however, that their baked beans are delicious, so give it a go.

I must say that this place is a bit poorly laid out– people walk in and clog the doorways, and the line to order is all over the place. And geez, trying to find a table is a seriously bloody battle. When we were in the middle of our meal, this random customer guy came up to us to ask us how much longer we were going to be, and that he was told to “stake out a table”. This is when you KNOW you need some sort of hostess, cause that’s just ridiculous.

Overall the staff is super friendly and proud of what they’re serving, which is so important. The place definitely has a no-frills, DIY, laid-back vibe. And my entire meal of half a chicken, corn, mac and cheese, cornbread and a can of beer was under $20! Dude, at Blue Smoke, you end up spending at least twice that much, and have to deal with the rowdy Park Avenue South crowd. Take your pick.

For your sanity though, I would try to go on the early side of the evening just for the peace of mind that you will sit, and before they start running out of their goods: Stacy just went the other night and said that they had run out of their ribs by the time she got there. I was truly sad for her.

Just remember: snag a table, never leave.


The Smoke Joint

87 South Elliott Place (Fulton Street)
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
(718) 797-1011
Tuesday – Sunday, 5pm – 10 pm
Closed Monday

– Mac & Cheese
– Spare Rack of Pork Ribs
– Tender Smoked Chicken
– Corn on the cob
– Dale’s Pale Ale