Archives: January 2008
East Coast Grill "Disco" Hell Nights, the Rib Challenge Against Blue Ribbon and More
Last night concluded the latest 3-night run of Hell Nights at East Coast Grill (Cambridge MA), but it's never too early to start thinking of the next tripleheader for hot food fanatics.
Bob Marley Night - Next Wednesday, February 6, is Bob Marley's birthday, and East Coast Grill is honoring the legend with a special a la carte Jamaican menu featuring the likes of "stamp and go" codfish fritters, pepper pot soup with goat and Boston Bay style jerked pork.
Second Annual Inman Square Rib Invitational - On February 25, it's a battle against Blue Ribbon (Newton MA and Arlington MA) and the recently-opened Highland Kitchen (Somerville MA) for rib supremacy. The $35 prix fix event includes 3 rounds, 9 ribs and a vote to decide the winner.
Disco Hell Nights - Mark your calendars for March 17-19, when the pulsating Hell Night cuisine will dance in your mouth to the pulsating rhythms of disco.
more details and more events on www.eastcoastgrill.net
The Rest Room Image of the Week #5
I meant to post this Saturday but had to take care of something else. This photo, from the Cookhouse Cafe in East Hartford CT, shows the Connecticut BBQ mini-chain's mascot Fat Tommy. To find out if there really is a Fat Tommy, check www.thecookhouse.com.
Weekend Wrap-up: A Brooklyn BBQ Crawl
If it looked like yesterday's update was out of place for a Monday, it's because it was. I wrote it ahead of time, not yet knowing where I'd be eating in Brooklyn Sunday. I commuted straight to work from Brooklyn Monday morning, so there was no time to process the 100+ photos I took before loading the canned file.
But let's start at the beginning: On Saturday night my wife and I ate with two members of one of the area's top competition teams at KC's Rib Shack (Manchester NH). KC's is one of the few joints left that still uses big, meaty spare ribs.
Then on Sunday, I drove solo to Brooklyn, where I met two members of another top competition team and a barbecue judge for a Brooklyn BBQ crawl. Brooklyn had long been an untapped area for this site, primarily because of my fear of driving in the area. For a Bostonian, Manhattan is a piece of cake, with plenty of parking and streets arranged in an easy-to-navigate grid. But Brooklyn is more like Boston, where one wrong turn can get you lost and/or add 20 minutes to your drive.
We hit Waterfront Alehouse first. I had been to the Manhattan location but was looking forward to seeing the Brooklyn outpost. I also had not yet tried their ribs and brisket, so we shared those and a pulled pork sandwich, against a backdrop of weird Baroque organ music.
Next was the Smoke Joint, a small, over-the-counter joint with no sign outside to identify it. Here we sampled almost everything on the menu, with the beef shortrib the highlight and the sides very strong.
Our last—and best—stop was Fette Sau, where we strategically arrived for their 5:00PM opening. Here we shared babyback ribs, pulled pork, pork belly, beef brisket and beef shoulder. I'll save the food details for my review, but I can easily say that this was by far the coolest looking BBQ joint I've ever seen. The joint struck me as a hipper version of Hill Country (Fette Sau was open months earlier), with a market counter, self serve weigh-and-pay system and communal seating. It took me a long time to get here but it won't be so long before I come back.
Joints Directory Madness
It's that time again. Here's the latest batch of Joints directory activity, spanning four states. This time, there are three new joints and three into the dead pool.
Smokin' Q (New York NY) has been open a week now, offering a BBQ option for that area between Times Square and the Brother Jimmy's / Southern Hospitality tandem. Someone I trust who's already been there compares the caliber of the 'cue to those two joints.
Curtis BBQ (Chester VT) is the second location of the "8th Wonder of the World" outdoor barbecue joint in Putney VT. This one is run by Curtis's daughter. Unlike the original, this one is open throughout the year. Thanks to Chris for the info. www.curtisbbqvt.com
Eldorado Southern Bar & Grill has closed its Centereach location but is still open in Port Jefferson Station. Thanks again to Chris for the heads up. www.eldoradobbq.com
Oak Hill Tavern (N. Kingstown RI) not only has barbecue items but also grilled pizza, fries seafood and stuffies (a Rhode Island thing and one of my favorite ways to eat clams). Thanks to Don for the info. www.oakhilltavern.com
Pies 'n' Thighs (Brooklyn NY) has closed its doors—for now. Stay tuned to their website for news on the grand opening of Pies 'n' Thighs II in a new location this summer. www.piesandthighs.com
Premier Palette (Manchester NH) served its last meal Saturday. Stay tuned to their website for news on a new location with a new name in Philadelphia. www.eatwithyourpal.com
Supermarket review: Curly's Pulled Pork
I'm not sure about other cities and other radio stations, but on Boston's WEEI Sports Radio, I've been hearing a lot of commercials for Curly's pulled pork. The commercials first appeared a few months ago, when none other than Don Zimmer started by saying how much he loved the barbecue restaurants in Boston when he managed the Red Sox in the 1970s, and now you can get great barbecue by buying Curly's products at the supermarket.
The Zimmer ads had a short shelf life, more recently replaced by new copy with a new, slicker-dounding announcer, who warns us not to be fooled by those other "shredded" barbecue products. He notes that Curly's is always pulled, never shredded, implying that there's some sort of quality advantage here.
Last night I decided to give Curly's a try, more out of curiosity than out of any belief that—pulled, shredded or otherwise—it would be any good.
The first thing I noticed on the label was that the pulled pork received second billing to the barbecue sauce. This wasn't pulled pork, it was "barbecue sauce with hickory smoked pulled pork." So my expectation dropped a few notches.
The second thing I noticed was that the picture of the pork on the package looked a lot better than the pork—no, make that barbecue sauce with pulled pork—inside the container.
I do give the product points for the sturdy plastic tub and the easy-to-follow instructions for both stove top and microwave reheating. Getting it cooked was a breeze.
The finished product was disappointing, even with my low expectation level. I did spot one piece of bark, which had a little chew to it, but the rest of the pork was as limp as Chef Boyardee spaghetti. And the sauce was just as mild. I didn't taste any smoke.
The third thing I noticed was the nutritional information: 110 calories per serving, approximately nine servings in the 18-ounce tub. While the bowl might be more than enough for one person, I can't see getting nine servings out of it. At 1,000 calories for the bowl, I decided it wasn't worth it. After four bites, I was done.
Not the same as the package photo.
A gloppy mess.
Twirl the limp strands like Chef Boyardee.
The most satisfying part of the meal.
I should note that I ate the meat out of the bowl using a fork. Putting Curly's pork on a thick bun as pictured on the package would probably make it more palatable. Serving it on top of spaghetti would also be a good way of distributing the sauce and maximizing the number of servings. But I'll never know. Like I said, I'm done.
New York City BBQ: Smokin' Q Now Open
There's no letting up in the New York City BBQ renaissance, with Smokin' Q opening last Sunday on 206 E. 63rd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues). Getting covered during their first week of operation by the New York Times certainly can't hurt. The article talked more about the space than about the food, but I'm still looking forward to trying a new joint outside my usual Manhattan stops. Though not ready yet, a website is in the works, with the current menu now available on menupages.com.
The menu itself is fairly limited, with one kind of rib (St Louis pork) and the usual sliced and pulled meats. Fried green tomatos are a plus, and there is a $14.95 iceberg wedge salad.
Yesterday's New York Times article on Smokin' Q
Smokin' Q menu on menupages.com
New York City BBQ: RUB Las Vegas Reviewed
Open since late December, the "west wing" of RUB now has its first review. The 9,000 square foot, 230-seat restaurant located in Las Vegas's Rio Hotel evidently rubbed Max Jacobson of Las Vegas Weekly the right way:
Much of what you eat here is almost perfect, such as incredible bacon, what are called burnt ends and a deliriously smoky, tender pastrami that is possibly better than Carnegie Deli’s.
Read the whole RUB review in Las Vegas Weekly
Massachusetts BBQ: Boneyard Barbecue Review
Today I posted my review of Boneyard Barbecue & Saloon (Seekonk MA), the fourth review this month and the 131st review overall. See the review via the Reviews page or link to reviews using the red icons in the Joints directory.
With posts throughout the weekend, this weekend's eats are pretty self explanatory: Saturday at Premier Palette (Manchester NH), Sunday at Blue Ribbon (West Newton MA).
The silver lining to the news that Premier Palette is closing was that the legendary macaroni and cheese—which had slipped a little on my two previous visits—was back to its old velvety self. The excellence of the fried chicken has never wavered. One of the New England Barbecue Society's directors once described Premier Palette's fried chicken as "competition-caliber."
I made a minor update to the Premier Palette review, adding some photos and slightly revising some of the commentary. Tomorrow I'll post my review for Boneyard Barbecue (Seekonk MA).
Patriots and Giants Advance to Super Bowl
Congratulations to the Patriots and the Giants, and congratulations to all the restaurant pitmasters throughout the greater Boston and New York areas. Super Bowl Sunday is a great day for business anyway, but this is a nice bonus. Time to start adjusting that meat order.
Boston BBQ: Blue Ribbon Adds Beef Ribs
Whether it will stick as a regular item is still uncertain, but this weekend Blue Ribbon Bar-B-Q (West Newton MA and Arlington MA) introduced beef ribs as a special. Business was brisk in the West Newton outpost during my afternoon visit and many of the take-out packages included the beef ribs, which were publicized earlier in the week on a WCVB-TV news segment.
The new beef ribs are topped with a unique "Black Jack" BBQ sauce, which packs some light heat and some espresso for flavor. This sauce would also work very well on a brisket sandwich.
New Hampshire BBQ: Premier Palette Closing This Saturday
Premier Palette's Zelma McKinney with
her signature mac and cheese
Manchester BBQ and soul food fans have just one more week before Premier Palette on Elm Street closes its doors. As the signs on the windows claim, the business is being moved out of state. More specifically, Philadelphia, where an opportunity arose that owner Zelma McKinney couldn't refuse, though she calls the experience "bittersweet." The new restaurant will be located in Philadelphia's Center City area and have a different name, possibly Got Soul. The goal is to be open by April.
The Premier Palette web site will be continue to be updated, and will provide the Philadelphia restaurant details once they are known. www.eatwithyourpal.com
This is just the latest blow for Manchester BBQ, coming within a year of the closings of Santa Fe Smokehouse and Down 'n' Dirty BBQ and the conversion of Sausage Heaven from storefront to warehouse. Just a year ago, Manchester was a barbecue hotbed, with arguably more BBQ restaurants per capita than any city in the Northeast. Now the remaining joints, on opposite sides of the river, are KC's Rib Shack and City Flame Smokehouse.
The Rest Room Image of the Week #4
Here's a photo from Blue Smoke in New York. Technically, the sink isn't in either of the rest rooms but at the area that acts as the rest room "foyer." I like that you don't have to go into the rest room just to wash your hands.
Photos from Saturday's Smoking Session
I've got nothing to post restaurant-wise, although I have completed my Boneyard Barbecue review (Seekonk MA) for next week. Meanwhile, here are some photos from my own backyard on Saturday.
Still some snow left.
A new kind of wood. More on that later.
Ribs after one hour or so.
After 5 hours, including a wet Texas crutch.
Ribs on the plate.
Chicken, no skin, no bone, no sauce.
Saucing helped a little.
Long Island BBQ: Swingbelly's BBQ Reviewed
Today I posted my review of Swingbelly's BBQ (Long Beach NY), the third review of the year, the fourth from my December Long Island BBQ crawl and the 130th review overall. See the review via the Reviews page or link to reviews using the red icons in the Joints directory.
Brooklyn BBQ: Pies 'n' Thighs Closing Tonight
The Brooklyn eatery Pies 'n' Thighs is closing up shop with a farewell party starting at 8PM tonight. Depending on which version you read, they're either throwing in the towel or gearing up for a move to more upscale digs later this summer. I'm choosing to believe the latter, as indicated on their website.
Eater on Pies 'n' Thighs closing
Grub Street on Pies 'n' Thighs closing
Pies 'n' Thighs website
Thoughts on Saturday's Smoking Session
This Saturday the local temperatures were in the 40s, so I cooked some ribs and chicken on my Big Green Egg. There were some things I was pleased with and also some big areas for improvement. If I'm going to critique restaurant 'cue, I have to be equally critical of my own cooking.
Things that disappointed me:
For the ribs I tried a new rub that had what I thought was a good combination of ingredients, but in practice wound up rather dull. It was about 40% turbinado sugar—that’s significantly more than what I usually use, but not unusual. Chile powder (guajillo and chipotle) accounted for a little less than 20%, but in the end it tasted more like 10%. There was nothing unpleasant about the rub’s contribution to the final taste, but there really didn’t seem to be much of a contribution at all.
I did a less than stellar job removing the rib membrane. For restaurant volumes this is usually considered impractical, but removing the membrane for competition is a must. I usually handle this fine, but one out of every four or five racks seems to give me a problem. If I ever decide to compete on my own, my skills need to improve.
I procrastinated and didn’t order the external thermometer in time for this cook. The one that came with the unit hasn’t been accurate, so I’ve been relying on an oven thermometer that I rest on the cooking surface. This seems pretty accurate, but if I’m only checking it periodically, I run the risk of either checking too often and affecting the temperature or not checking often enough and not reacting soon enough to out-of-tolerance temperatures.
I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I knew this was a problem from the beginning, but my wife selected them, so I agreed. If it were up to her, we’d be eating at an upscale restaurant that night, so I let my gratefulness for the Saturday cook affect a decision that should have been made differently. Next time, it’s thighs with skin and bone. If she doesn't want to eat the skin, she doesn't have to.
It took three full hours for the chicken to cook. Despite temperatures ranging from 200F to 250F, it took much longer than usual to get the boneless thighs to the point of proper doneness. I’m going to chalk this up to both of the previous problems.
The ribs were juicy but the chicken was merely moist, with some dry meat at the surface. Good barbecue chicken should be juicy. I’ve achieved juicy before but not this time.
I’m usually a no-sauce guy, but I decided to finish the ribs with a thin coating of sauce to add flavor and crisp up the bark. Although there was a nice natural bark already, the sauce never caramelized, even after a half hour. This might be another fallout of the temperature gage problem. I’ll try this technique again next time and see if the results improve.
Things that pleased me:
Despite the temperature issues, I managed to make enough adjustments on my cooker to get both the ribs and the chicken cooked properly. Although there’s still plenty of room for improvement, I was pleased with the tenderness and the flavor.
The chicken rub, despite having no sugar, still supplied plenty of flavor. I used the same rub I used for Thanksgiving turkey parts, with celery seeds and coriander seeds two of the key ingredients.
The chicken marinade was also a sugar-free affair, and the mix of Diet Coke, Italian dressing, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and low carb maple syrup worked well.
I tried a new trick during the foiling process to sweeten the ribs, and this seemed to be a success. I’m still experimenting and will report my findings after additional research.
The chicken was merely moist but the ribs were juicy.
I concocted a cherry glaze for the ribs and a pineapple glaze for (just two pieces of) the chicken. Both worked well with the meat, both had plenty of other flavors and both were suffficiently within the confines of “traditional barbecue” to be at home at a competition.
Even though my new external thermometer should be arriving any day now, I found and ordered a dual probe thermometer online. This will provide constant remote readout of both the meat temperature and the smoker temperature.
What a strange few days: Saturday was warm enough for me to fire up the smoker and cook some ribs and chicken (I'll provide more details later); today, nearly a foot of snow is being dropped upon my neighborhood as I type this. As for BBQ restaurants, there's not too much to report. On Friday, my wife and I popped into Firefly's (Framingham MA) for some wings and drinks. Since I knew I wasn't going to be ordering barbecue, I left the camera in the bag. On Sunday afternoon, I joined a friend for some more wings and some spare ribs at the recently-opened Boneyard Barbecue (Seekonk MA). This review should be fairly easy to write, so I'll try to complete it within the week.
Long Island BBQ: Beer/Bourbon at Swingbelly's
On Wednesday January 16 and Wednesday January 30, Swingbelly's BBQ (Long Beach NY) will be offering special beer and bourbon dinners. The spirits will be paired with unique 5-course menus a little more upscale than their usual fare.
Here's this Wednesday's menu: Vermont smoked cheddar and ale soup (Honkers Ale, Jim Beam Black); chile-lime marinated shrimp and arugula salad (Shocktop, Buffalo Trace); wood grilled tenderloin of pork with fingerling potatoes and chipotle corn relish (Stella Artois,
Makers Mark); braised smoked beef short ribs with roasted cipollini onions and
spiced parsnip puree (Beck's Dark,
Knob Creek); chocolate macademia nut torte with
bourbon vanilla Anglaise (Winter's Cask Ale,
The Rest Room Image of the Week #3
Here's a photo from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in New York, where their "biker" theme even extends into the men's room. It's hard to tell how much of the graffiti was manufactured and how much of it simply evolved over time, but the artwork is impressive. The woodwork looks like something out of a Tim Burton film.
Some New Links
One of my ongoing goals is to incorporate other opinions into this site. With that in mind, I've made some additions over the last few days to the Links page:
Writing With My Mouth Full is a New York based blog that covers the whole restaurant spectrum, from high end to ethnic to barbecue. I posted sub-links to the six barbecue restaurant reviews I found so far, including the famous and not-so-famous in New York City.
BBQ Sauce Reviews is Massachusetts-based blog that reviews sauces in a scientific manner with very entertaining write-ups.
Home of BBQ is another NY-based blog that started out as the BBQ Sauce Blog and is still sauce-focused. But now it also branches out to include rants on competition barbecue, interviews and features on all things barbecue. There aren't any restaurant reviews yet, but I can see them coming.
The BBQ Brethren site and its Forum have been mainstays of the Links page for a while now, but today I added individual sub-links to some Northeast BBQ restaurant threads, mostly for joints in New York City and Long Island.
Hot Sauce Blog is a great review site for not just hot sauces, but BBQ sauces as well. Yes, I put the link under two different headings.
Boston BBQ: Bigger Ribs at Blue Ribbon
It's been in the works for some time now, and it involved several taste tests and weeks worth of experimentation, but Blue Ribbon (W. Newton MA and Arlington MA) now has a new rib. A few years back, it was strictly spares. Toward the end of 2006, they shifted to a smaller, leaner St Louis cut. Now the big ribs are back.
In late fall and early winter, owner Geoff Janowski taste tested four different brands of ribs and selected fresh, corn-fed, 3.25-lb custom-cut "Blue Ribbon style" St Louis racks from Hatfield as the new rib of choice. Janowski says the new ribs are "the perfect fit for Blue Ribbon. They taste like piggy and I love fresh pig flavr-flav."
Massachusetts BBQ: BT's Winterizes
Last week the temperatures dipped down to single digits, so a roadside BBQ stand where you have to eat outdoors might not have been ideal. That didn't rule out a visit to BT's Smokehouse (Brimfield MA), which now is winter-ready with a heated trailer attached to the original structure. There's another ordering counter inside the trailer, plus a table and chairs for insulated dining.
A new trailer attached to the original stand.
The inside counter.
Lots of wood paneling, 1970s style.
Your dining room awaits.
Long Island BBQ: Harbor Q Reviewed
Today I posted my review of Harbor Q (Port Washington NY), the second review of the year, the third from my December Long Island BBQ crawl and the 129th review overall. See the review via the Reviews page or link to reviews using the red icons in the Joints directory.
There's one more review coming from my Long Island BBQ crawl. As you might have guessed based on the right hand column's Recent Eats photos, I decided to save the best for last.
RUB, Route 7 Grill Named in 2008 Saveur 100
It's that time of year again. Saveur magazine's 2008 "Saveur 100" list is the cover story in their January/February 2008 issue. Of the 100 trends in food that they decided to spotlight, which one was number one? Barbecue.
#1: Right smack at the beginning of the piece is a photo of a table full of smoked goodies from RUB (Righteous Urban Barbecue) in New York City. The list leads off with "Most Beloved National Pastime" and that's competition barbecue. Saveur notes that in the last five years, the number of competitions held annually has tripled.
#10: Also named high among the list was the trend toward whey-fed pork. According to the piece, whey (a liquid byproduct of the cheese making process) gives the meat a "nutty, velvety quality." Saveur names Route 7 Grill (Great Barrington MA) as a restaurant that obtains whey-fed pork from nearby cheese makers.
read more at www.saveur.com
Sorry, not a lot of time to post today. The cold weather last week was ideal for chili, so I had two bowls at two joints I hadn't visited in a while: ChiliHead BBQ (West Bridgewater MA) on Thursday and BT's Smokehouse (Brimfield MA) on Friday. I'll have more info on BT's later in the week. On Saturday I joined a trio of BBQ competition cooks at Lester's BBQ (Burlington MA) for some ribs, wings, pork and brisket.
Robbie Richter Leaves Hill Country
According to a report on Grub Street, pitmaster Robbie Richter and Hill Country have decided to part ways. The report doesn't provide much detail, but does indicate that the arrangement was mutual and amicable.
read the Grub street article
The Rest Room Image of the Week #2
Last week's final Hill Country image of the week was taken inside their men's room, and that will segue us into the next theme. Here's a photo of the men's room door at Chili Head BBQ in West Bridgewater MA. You've gotta love the artist's attention to detail. And you thought only sculptors created fine porcelain art.
Andy Husbands, Steve Uliss Trading Cards
Here are some collector cards from a series issued in 2004 to raise money for charity. Card #1 in the series is Andy Husbands, then of Rouge (Boston MA; he also owned and still owns Tremont 647 in Boston). Card #21 is Steve Uliss of Firefly's (Marlborough, Framingham and Quincy MA).
Being the nut that I am, I decided to get them autographed. I started with Steve, since I bought the card set at Firefly's. Steve told me to tell Andy when I saw him that he taught Andy everything he knows about barbecue.
As you may recall from the Pigtrip Chris Schlesinger interview, Chris claims to have taught Andy everything he knows about barbecue. If you've read the Mike Mills book Peace, Love and Barbecue, you may have seen the quotation from Kenton "Jake" Jacobs that he taught Andy everything he knows about barbecue.
When I handed his card to Andy at the kitchen at Rouge, I passed along Steve's message. Andy told me to tell Steve that he taught Steve everything he knows about barbecue.
Joints Directory Madness, 2008
Here's the latest batch of Joints directory activity, spanning three states. This time, there are two new joints, three into the dead pool, one menu change adding barbecue items, one menu change removing barbecue items, and one closing that may ultimately be just a name change.
Big Ed's BBQ (Long Beach NY) closed sometime before Christmas, as reported here a couple of weeks ago. This Big Ed's was not related to the barbecue restaurants bearing the same name in New Jersey.
Bank Street Roadhouse (New London CT) was the third leg of my Connecticut crawl last Sunday, but I'm sad to report that they no longer have the ribs, pulled pork sandwiches and other "barbecue" fare that once graced the menu. They still have their Roadhouse Ladies gracing the bar, so I'd go back for a beer, especially in the steamy hot days of summer. www.bankstreetroadhouse.com
Raiders Roost & Kitchen (New London CT) is a new discovery not too far from that city's Chester's BBQ, whose building they originally manned. It turns out Raiders Roost only recently added pulled pork, brisket and ribs to the menu, according to a source at Chester's. We drove over to give them a try, but Raiders Roost is closed on Sunday.
Dave's Ribs (Harwich MA) is a Cape Cod BBQ joint that's open year 'round. Thanks to Matt for the find. www.davesribs.com
Sandra's Place (New Haven CT), the soul food tandem on Whitney Avenue and Congress Avenue, shut its doors in mid December, according to reports on Chowhound.com.
Southern Hospitality (New Haven CT) is a new (at least to me) soul food joint that has chopped BBQ and brisket. It's on Whalley Avenue, about a mile and a half east of Uncle Willie's.
Bendle-Beans BBQ (Pembroke MA) was still open when I checked several restaurants with dead websites in mid-December, but now they are indeed closed. Thanks to Ryan for the info.
Cherrywoods Barbeque (Norwell MA) has been closed and has had a dead website for a while, but all of the furniture is still in the restaurant and the phone still works (recording only, never a human). The sign in window, still up today, says that they are re-opening December 9. No, make that December 16. Maybe the 12th of never? There was a man in the building who I tried to speak with, but he was too busy on his cell phone to answer an inquiry from a potential customer. According to a neighbor, one of the partners pulled out and the remaining partner(s) may be re-opening under a new name. A lease is supposedly already signed. Stay tuned. Thanks to Jed for some investigative assistance.
Looking For Some Inspiration?
This time of year, most of us are renewing our commitment to lose weight, steer our diets toward healthier foods and improve our daily exercise regimen. Those of us who are fans of Jason Perlow's acclaimed Off the Broiler blog know that you don't have to wait for the New Year. On November 20, Perlow announced that he was taking OTB in a new direction. After two years of posting almost daily on barbecue, burgers, ice cream, ethnic and regional American foods, and after "being obese for 20-something years," he decided to do everything he could "to live and eat better." But that doesn't mean he turned his back on deliciousness. Today's Off the Broiler posts are proof that great tasting food and healthy food are not mutually exclusive. So if you're looking for New Year's inspiration, check it out.
Or have you checked out Valerie Bertinelli lately? She's now reached her weight loss goal, losing 40 pounds in eight months, reducing from a size 14 to a size 4. Five pounds a month. It can be done.
Connecticut BBQ: Chester's BBQ Reviewed
Today I posted my review of Chester's BBQ (New London CT), the first one of the year and the 128th review overall. See the review via the Reviews page or link to reviews using the red icons in the Joints directory.
This review is unique in that it's the first one with a link to another review of the same place based on the same meal. Last Sunday, I visited Chester's BBQ with Mike Boisvert, pitmaster of the Lakeside Smokers competition team and Ted Lorson, pitmaster of the QHaven team, both among the leaders in the New England BBQ Society Team of the Year standings. Ted also maintains the Ted Lorson's BBQ Blog, where in addition to his thoughts on cooking and competitions, he's become quite the BBQ joint reviewer.
Ted and I both took photos and planned to post reviews on the same day. While we did share a few thoughts during the meal, we agreed to not read each other's reviews until both were posted.
Doing a barbecue version of "Siskel and Ebert" was just a byproduct of the day out, not the goal. Our main focus was to hang out, shoot the breeze, and enjoy some beers and barbecue.
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