BBQ

Seoul Sausage had humble beginnings –Simple Korean BBQ sausage street vendors turned reality TV competition stars pretty much sums it up. The Great Food Truck Race season 3 winners immediately gained popularity, and in 2012, they opened up a small shop in Little Osaka on Sawtelle. Serving up their popular Korean BBQ style sausages and street food, the food is innovative and exciting. Never have I imagined Korean BBQ to be stuffed inside a sausage.

It is a sausage company after all, and I had my eye on the spicy pork. The Handmade Korean BBQ pork sausage was flavorful. It had great pork flavor, but a bit on the mild side. I am used to sausage that is salty and full of flavor. This just tasted more like spicy pork inside a tube casing, which by the way was missing the snap of good sausage. It definitely need just a pinch more salt and way more spice. I did enjoy the apple cabbage cole slaw though. It was fresh and gave it that crunch it needed. Served on a toasted soft roll, this was an interesting experience. Never would I have thought that Korean dishes would make its way into a sausage.

The flaming ball was a genius idea. I choose the kimchi fried rice ball. Inside was a cheesy kimchi fried rice with spicy pork served with DMZ sauce. This sauce was perfect — it is a garlic jalapeno kimchi sriracha aioli that went well with the slightly spicy kimchi fried rice. The outer fried batter held everything together. The fried rice inside was pretty standard, but the mixture of the crunchy outside and killer DMZ sauce made everything work together. It was a nice little snack.

The shop is small and only has limited outdoor seating. Situated on Sawtelle and Mississippi, it sits at the bottom of an apartment/condo. The food choices are limited, but with the addition of a fried chicken dish (Da KFC), and galbi poutine, hungry customers should be satisfied. If you’re hungry, or just looking for a little snack, Seoul Sausage Co. has just the right fix. This is what LA is all about — a mashup of ideas and cuisine that creates a fusion of food from different regions. Seoul Sausage Co. hits home for me because of my Korean roots, and spins it in such a way that something so familiar is transformed into something brand new. Creativity is the key, and Los Angeles is the most accepting of anything new.

Seoul Sausage Company on Urbanspoon

{ 0 comments }

Gen Korean BBQ – Top Notch AYCE

by Franklin on October 14, 2013

If you didn’t know by now, I am Korean. I grew up on rice, kimchi, and SPAM. Now in my late 20′s, I don’t get to eat my mom’s cooking as often. I think these days, the closest thing I get to Korean cuisine is Korean BBQ. One of my all time favorite Korean BBQ joints, unfortunately a bit far, is Gen Korean BBQ in Tustin. Yeah, Alhambra has their very own Gen Korean BBQ, but that place was a disappointment. The one in Tustin though, it quite the spot.

Ban-Chan was all symmetrically prepared before us. You know how mirrors make rooms seem larger? This “mirror” effect gave the illusion that there was a lot of ban chan. Yeah, most places would make people share this stuff. It was cool that for two people, we each had our own set.


The reason why Gen is one of my favorite Korean BBQ spots is because of the meat. The thinly sliced beef brisket (Chadol) and non-marinated short rib is my favorite. The beef brisket has a pure beef flavor and the fat has an indescribable quality to it. It seems like it was never frozen; the meat doesn’t dry up once cooked. The short rib has a perfect balance of meat and fat, and the marbling is excellent. And yes, that is large intestine you see in the picture. It’s a bit chewy and a lot fatty, but dang good! The quality is the best — clean and pure.

The experience at Gen Korean BBQ is like no other. Not only is the meat great, but the ambiance is on par. With modern leather(ish) chairs and granite(esque) tables, to the blue ambient lighting, the space is cool and relaxing. From great quality meat and modern fixtures, what more can I ask for?

Gen Korean BBQ & Yakitori Bar on Urbanspoon

{ 0 comments }

Bossa Nova – Sunset’s Brazilian Hot Spot

by Franklin on January 21, 2013

For the longest time, I wanted to eat at Bossa Nova. I always plan on eating there for lunch or dinner, but something else comes up or I go eat somewhere else. Finally, I made it here and the experience was pleasant. The only brazilian food I am used to is the BBQ. Whether it be M Grill in Koreatown or Fogo de Chao in Beverly Hills, the endless meat is what I go for. Maybe that is what kept me hesitant about Bossa Nova for so long. The Sunset location was somewhat packed that night with a 30 minute wait. Waiting all that for semi-outdoor seating was a bummer. After the food came out, I wasn’t really complaining.

The night started off with complimentary bread. Not particularly a favorite, the bread was a bit boring. It wasn’t really soft, warm, or chewy — it didn’t have any qualities of being good bread. It felt like they served it just because. Not that there isn’t anything wrong with that, it was free afte all.

The chicken brochette is probably the most decadent thing I had in a while. It was a fried on fat on more fat combination of pure bliss. Fried chicken breast wrapped in bacon sat in a vat of gorgonzola cream sauce. Served with a side of sliced bread (which was way better than the bread they gave us), this appetizer was tasty. The bacon was crispy and salty, and the chicken inside was moist and tender. It was a perfect match in taste and texture. To top it all off, the gorgonzola cheese sauce made everything just pop. It was warm, creamy, and delicious with all that blue cheese funk. This was a killer dish for sure.

To keep this fried on fat on fat theme going, we ordered the deluxe dutch fries. These were french fries with a drizzle of homemade gorgonzola sauce and crumbled gorgonzola cheese. I did not like this dish at all. The fries came out nearly cold, leaving the fries soggy and soft. The gorgonzola sauce didn’t help stiffen them up either. It was just a mash of limp fries and fatty sauce, with not a lot of crumbled blue cheese. I think if this was made perfectly on the spot, it would be perfect. Imagine perfectly crisp and crunchy fries, warm cheese sauce and gorgonzola. This perfect recipe for deliciousness was just a disappointment.

The night was saved by the main dish. I ordered the flank steak picanha. The flank steak was cooked nicely to a medium rare, but the side items were what made this dish exciting. The white rice and black beans were simply cooked and gave the dish balance. Eating everything with the salsa made everything pop. The most interesting thing on the plate was the yucca flour. It had a very crunchy texture, almost like eating granulated glass. I know that may sound unappetizing to some, but it had a very mild flavor which and added the crunch. Everything was perfected by the fried plantains. The sweetness helped give my taste buds diversity. This was a well balanced dish and wouldn’t go with anything else.

I saw a lot of people order pizzas and pastas, but I wanted to reserve that for next time. I felt like I owed myself to have Brazilian BBQ that wasn’t all you can eat. This meant no filling up on pao de queijo and It wasn’t about eating a years worth of meat. This experience was more casual — pay for what you eat. For that, the food tasted better in some way. After my meal, I was beyond stuffed. I wondered how I could ever and why I would eat more. The price was affordable and everything was exactly as expected. No frills. Just good food. Bossa Nova is a popular spot amongst Angelinos. Next time around will be pizzas and pasta, Bossa Nova style.

Bossa Nova Brazilian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

{ 0 comments }

When you are in Santa Monica seafood comes to mind. BBQ, let alone, good BBQ isn’t one of the first things you think of. On a random weekend trip to Venice Beach / Santa Monica, I stopped by Baby Blues BBQ. After reading glowing reviews on this joint, I had to see for myself. Just the rarity of a barbecue restaurant near the beach got me intrigued. Situated on Lincoln Blvd., I wasn’t expecting anything gourmet. The rugged interior and simple decor made this place a very casual spot. There was a little wait for a table, but the anticipation made me hungry — not a bad thing.

I ordered their pulled pork plate. A barbecue restaurant is only as good as its pulled pork. Baby Blues BBQ made some amazing pulled pork. It had the right amount of fat and meat — it was tender and not dry at all. Per their recomendation, we added some of their spicy vinegar sauce on the meat. This brought the dish to a whole new level. The tang from the vinegar went perfectly well with the fatty pork. Slathering the meat with 1 of their 4 sauces was awesome. My favorite was the original. With a side of mac and cheese and mashed sweet potatoes, I was in carb load heaven. The mac and cheese was amazing, hands down. Baked from a large batch, the mac and cheese was rich and cheesy. This was southern cooking at its best. The mashed sweet potato was perfect. A little bit of sweet helped keep my taste buds excited. This was a southern style plate that impressed.

My all time favorite at Baby Blues BBQ is their tri tip sandwich. The meat was a soft and the best part is their marinade. A little sweet and robust like that of teriyaki, the meat had a nice barbecue taste — kind of like an Asian barbecue sauce marinade. The brioche bun soaked up all the flavor and was a perfect vessel for the goodness. The cole slaw on top gave the sandwich enough crunch and texture. I feel good cole slaw is important in a pulled pork sandwich and Baby Blues’ doesn’t fall short. The sandwich was so simple and the tri tip really shined. With a side of a pickle spear and this meal was perfect.

Who would have thunk an awesome barbecue joint would be situated near the beach? Their simple menu and decor really brought them down to earth. The quality of the meat was memorable and their barbecue sauces were no joke. How perfect was it to eat some great authentic BBQ and then relax at the beach? Something about eating seafood at the beach is so cliche and normal that it doesn’t seem exciting. Barbecue on the other hand is always a win win situation. Adding the beach to the equation just sweetens the deal.

Baby Blues BBQ on Urbanspoon

{ 0 comments }

Fogo de Chão translate in Portuguese as “Fire Ground”. Such a fitting name when you are talking about meat cooked with direct fire. When you think of Brazilian BBQ, Churrascaria in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills to be exact, Fogo de Chao comes to mind. If you put endless quality meats together with Beverly Hills, you know its going to be expensive. Taking advantage of the Dine LA menu, you save nearly 20 bucks a person. Not only do you get to eat all the meat you want, but well, I guess that’s it. Bottom line, its a buffet, but nothing like the cheapy-deapy stuff. I tend do eat everything and anything that is served at buffets, so I had to strategize. Not a lot of carbs, just meat. You and your green on one side, red on the other coaster, and your meat. My coaster was on green for a while, meaning, bring on the meat! The servers made sure I had the cut of meat I wanted. Servers with swords came by and carved away at the perfectly cooked meats — think meat skewers for a T-Rex. I got lucky and always had the outer crust — that’s where all the flavor is. Green means go — I was ready to eat.

Speaking of strategy, the restaurant has their own game plan — get guests full on breads and carbs. As am appetizer, they serve some pão de queijo, the bread. Freshly baked and warm, they were so chewy and gooey in the middle with a nice milky flavor. You can easily eat too much of these and leave no room for the meat. Be careful. To add to this carbohydrage stomach filler, they give three sides — garlic mashed potatoes, crispy fried polenta, caramelized bananas. They even offer more sides of rice, beans, and forofa upon request. Wanting the meat, I forewent the extra sides. My favorite were the crispy polenta. It tasted like large sheets of french fries with a crunch like no other. The caramelized bananas were great in between meats — It helped keep the taste buds alive, going back and forth from savory to sweet. The sides were delicious and plenty, but I made sure not to over do it.

Brazilian Barbecue restaurants have a lot of signature meats. Bellow are some of the popular meats served:

Picanha: This is their Top Sirloin. The meat is very tender and lean with a nice fat layer encapsulating the meat.

Alcatra: This is also their Top Sirloin. This had a strong beef flavor, probably the most of the group.

Filet Mignon: Of course, this was one of my favorites. Not wrapped in bacon like other Churrascarias, this one was the purest and cleanest beef of the bunch. Though very lean, it was very juicy. It was the softest of them all and it melted in your mouth.

Ancho: This is the Rib Eye. One of my favorite cuts of beef, this was one of my favorites. It had a good balance of fat and meat. It was cooked perfectly.

Fraldinha: This is the Bottom Sirloin. The meat was tender as well but had more marbled fat within the meat. I liked this far more that the Picanha.

Cordeiro: This is the Lamb. I am not much of a lamb fan. They cooked it well enough to make it juicy and not so gamey.

Frango: This is the Chicken. On the bone, the flavor was clean and of the highest quality. It was cooked nicely with a tasty seasoning on the outside. It was a nice pair with the Linguica.

Linguica: This is the Sausage. It had a nice snap with the natural casing. The sausage was salty and not too fatty. It was perfect with the chicken.

Fogo’s salad bar was impressive as well. Ranging from vegetables, salads, cheeses, salumi, sauces, and more, they were perfect pairings with the meat. Some of the things that stood out were the endive, cheeses, and bacon. Yes, they had a whole bowl full of fried bacon. Any buffet with a large bowl full of bacon is fine by me. Another thumbs up for me was the whole Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese wheel. This was the real stuff, from Italy. It was great with the prosciutto and the meat. All of the vegetables and cheeses were great with the meat.

The Dine LA menu has changed since the past. Fogo was a few bucks cheaper and gave dessert at the end of the meal. Though the dessert was taken off the menu, it was still a great deal. The meat was amazingly tasty and generously seasoned. The sides and salad bar was fresh and good quality. When you dine at Fogo, you are eating like Kings. Thanks to Dine LA and Restaurant Week, I could do it for cheap(er). Any carnivore like myself can appreciate Brazilian BBQ, but at the end of the day, it’s a buffet, a mega chain that exists all over Brazil and United States. At the end of my meal, I got my money’s worth and felt I needed to take a shower. Covered in meat sweat and filled with grease, I was satisfied.

Carnivores 1 / Vegetarians 0

Fogo de Chão on Urbanspoon

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

{ 0 comments }