Archive for category Mighty Rib Top 20
My numero uno…Anthony Bourdain’s #13…IN THE WORLD! That’s right…the great foodie has Kansas City’s Oklahoma Joe’s on his “Places to Eat Before You Die” list. Celeb opinions usually mean nothing to me, but the man got it right on this one. My favorite restaurant ever is actually located inside a gas station. Don’t worry, it’s clean with plenty of tables. Plus, if you order more than $20 worth of meat, you get 3 cents off each gallon of gas (just kidding). The reviews said to get there early or be prepared to stand in line. Arrived at 10:30 for an 11 o’clock opening. Okay, in fairness, our plane was a little early and we had nothing else to do. Spent the down time in the parking lot inhaling the sweet BBQ fumes. Never before have I gotten full off oxygen. Eleven o’clock came and it was time for the real deal…authentic Kansas City ribs. Although, this didn’t stop me from ordering a pound of sliced brisket…and the meal came with some delicious, seasoned fries. The half-slab of ribs were beautiful…like something out of a magazine. Big, thick, just the right amount of fat, and unreal tenderness (don’t worry, I’m still talking about BBQ…although I think I have a legitimate problem). Their homemade sauce had a perfect level of spiciness. The brisket was the best I’ve ever eaten, but the star of the show was definitely the ribs. I’ve lived in Texas my entire life. No offense, but OK Joe’s far exceeds any Texas BBQ I’ve eaten. Texas loves BBQ…in Kansas City, it’s a way of life. To be honest, I’m not that big a BBQ eater. It’s typically not my thing, which makes it even more amazing it’s on my list…much less #1. I’ve given Sara permission to fly me up to KC if/when I make it to 85. I want to gum down half a slab and have her knock me over the head with a bottle of BBQ sauce. I figure it will be a short trip to heaven since I’m already there.
Eating OK Joe’s ribs, along with a little motivation from Sara, were my inspirations for starting this blog. I emailed my friend Stephanie a week before our Kansas City trip. She led me to Ok. Joe’s. That’s the essence of this blog …interaction/sharing ideas/opinions. It’s all about finding the next Mighty Rib.
#2 Lai Lai Dumpling House Houston, TX
Lai Lai is as “hole in the wall” as it gets. In fact, I’m guessing there are actual, man-made holes in walls much bigger than Lai Lai. It’s a family-run eatery located in the heart of Houston’s new Chinatown…serving the best damn dumplings you’ve ever eaten. I get teary-eyed just thinking about those pockets of heaven. Go with an order of pork fried and steamed beef. The fried ones are about three inches long, with a perfect crispy outside, and a delicious filling. Sara’s favorites are the steamed beef. I just can’t get over the tastiness…when you look at the filling, there just doesn’t seem to be much going on there. But there is…oh, there is. Yes, the dumplings are phenomenal, but so is the rest of the food. We always get an order of green beans. I know that doesn’t sound sexy, but you’ve never had better. I could eat the entire over-sized platter. I’m guessing the sweet people at Lai Lai flash fry them, followed by a quick saute with garlic. How they get plain ol’ green beans tasting so good is beyond me. An order of lo mien and sesame chicken is usually in the mix. Very solid. The menu is somewhat limited, but this doesn’t matter. What they do, they do well…the trademark of any good restaurant. Lai Lai even does off-menu-items like Crispy Shrimp…and you can always count on the waiter bringing over something to try (which is on the house). We always over-order…one of my favorite past times is gorging myself on leftovers. Plus, Lai Lai isn’t exactly around the corner for me…which is the only downfall of the place. It’s also cash only. Lai Lai has somewhat of a cult, underground following. Consider yourself part of the club.
This is the finest Cuban food in the United States. Let me know if you find one better…I’ll fill you in on a little secret…you won’t. My brother-in-law Scott found this restaurant with his trusty Blackberry on a day-trip to Key West. Thank you Scott. Getting down to Key West takes a little time. But a visit to El Siboney is as special as the drive itself. El Siboney is located a few blocks off the beaten path (which is always a good thing) in touristy Key West. It’s won every food award in the area. I recommend trying as many dishes as you can. If you go with a big party and everyone is cool with sharing, this is definitely the way to go. Our table started out with sliced avocado and yuca. The avocados in this part of the country are enormous and have such a buttery flavor. Roasted pork, vaca frita (shredded beef), Cuban sandwiches, plantains…I could go on and on. The plantains were sweet like candy and went with just about every dish. The shredded beef was extra crispy and went quite well with black beans. There’s Cuban roast beef on the menu…that would have been my choice with a second visit. No one in our party got seafood, but butterfly yellowtail and grilled mahi-mahi don’t sound bad. I truly miss El Siboney.
#4 Old Town Mexican Cafe San Diego, CA
My sister-in-law Rachel took us down to Old Town San Diego to walk around, check out some shops and grab a bite to eat. Oh, we grabbed a bite to eat alright. Stumbled upon the Old Town Mexican Cafe… the crown jewel of this restaurant district. What a combination of food and atmosphere! This bustling restaurant had awesome written all over it. Sometimes you just know a restaurant is going to be good as soon as you walk through the door. The multiple people making tortillas as you enter didn’t hurt Old Town’s cause…this place just had it all (including a one hour wait). I started the meal with a halibut ceviche. Ceviche is the perfect marriage of what San Diego is known for, fresh fish and Mexican food. It was perfection, but only the start of wonderful things to come. Those said things are known as carnitas. Carnitas are the very reason Old Town is this high on my list. What are carnitas? The most tender pulled pork…slow roasted for hours, and then fried on a grill right before serving. The end product is served with refried beans and rice. I keep trying to order carnitas at other places since then…I’m ruined.