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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Archive for the ‘BBQ’ Category

Monday, July 9, 2012 @ 05:07 PM

026Wow…it’s hot! It’s pretty safe to say summer is will upon us and although I could definitely use a break from this heat right now, it has given us an opportunity to take advantage of the more “outdoor foods.” What am I talking about? Well, if you have read any number of PCC’s posts on the topic, you know that I love good barbecue; and if you if you missed two of our stand out favorites you can read them here and here.

Since moving away from Texas and the wonderful availability of BBQ there, I think I have become a little less picky, since I don’t have the accessibility to options as I once did. That being said, I’m still picky enough to know what I deem good and even over the top! We have been happy to find a local place that meets our standards for the “best bbq we can get right now,” but we know that it will likely never surpass some of the better spots. Still, this doesn’t mean I’m going to stop trying all the other Que meccas out there. I mean… I have to give them all a chance don’t I? Winking smile

Well, if you have read my other posts on barbecue, you know that I am a total ribs girl at heart. But, what actually drew us into this next place wasn’t any of your typical bbq dishes at all, rather it was their wings in an ‘Alabama’ bbq sauce that intrigued us, mostly because it was something we were used to seeing, namely….IT’S WHITE! I mean who’s ever heard of white barbecue sauce? Well, not us until we saw Guy Fieri from The Food Network’s “Diner’s, Drive-In’s and Dives,” and we figured if he was a fan…we had to give them a shot…

Source:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ufruwns0mNI

 

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint is a fun and funky little urban smokehouse located in Noblesville, TN, a suburb of Nashville. We are lucky enough that my little brother lives there with his wife, so when we get the chance to visit, we like to try and hit up as many PCC worthy places as their town has to offer, and let me tell you there are A LOT! So when we decided at the last minute to take a little vacation down to Nashville for Memorial Day weekend and spend time with Chris, Amy, and our nephew Jack, Adam knew that Martin’s was for sure at the top of our PCC list!

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Although it was almost 100 degrees that Saturday at lunch time, people seemed to be out and about, and we were lucky we hopped in line at Martin’s right when we did (because by the time we left the line was out the door!). It’s a really cool sight to see when you’re standing in line getting ready for some bbq and you’re mouth begins to water cause you can see the smoker and smell that smokey flavor. Needless to say, the atmosphere only heightened our hunger and anticipation and by the time we got to the counter, we wanted to order about ¾ of the menu! 😀 Well, we opted to share a large sampler platter so we could get a taste of their staple items (pulled pork, brisket, and ribs both wet and dry rub) and also added an order of those yummy looking wings. Our meal came with a couple of side options, so we went with the cornbread, coleslaw, beans, and potato salad.

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Our food was out to us quickly, we hadn’t even got our drinks! That’s fast, and when you are craving the que, that is good. So we dug right in. I was pleasantly surprised to see that their cornbread looked like a huge pancake, which I was happy about cause it was totally right up Betta’s alley. She may be small, but she devoured all the bites I would give her. But, enough about the bread, cause what we really wanted was the meat, more specifically the ribs and wings. We both first tried one of the wings and I was floored… it was SO GOOD! Not only was the wing a decent size and meaty, but that white sauce is delicious. Although kinda indescribable, it’s close to the best BBQ sauce I’ve ever had. It isn’t really creamy but it isn’t really runny either. Also, it’s not like a vinegary Carolina sauce, but it does have a really nice tang to it. Regardless, we all went around trying to decide what all we thought was in in, but whatever it was I am now a fan!

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Our meal pretty much turned into a huge free for all with all of us grabbing bites of this and that, but we still managed to go home with 2 huge boxes of leftovers. While this wasn’t my first barbecue rodeo, nor will it be my last I’m sure, I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and having now been introduced to the rare and illusive white bbq sauce, I will continue to be on the lookout for where I can try it again.

 

SIGNATURE DISH: While I would say they are really known for all of their smoked meats, what really stood out to us as new and different were their wings with the Alabama White Sauce. They were not only delicious, but a unique item we hadn’t really encountered before, so I was glad to discover them!

TASTE: Their meat was all very tender and flavorful. Adam really enjoyed the dry rub on their ribs, where as usual I preferred the sauced ribs. We thought their ‘cue was definitely some of the better we have had, but the piece de resistance were those wings… man, what a winner!

AMBIANCE: I loved the feel when you walked in…lots of corrugated metal, wood, and concrete. It’s just bare bones, urban and cool, yet still had a really open, friendly, and family type atmosphere. I didn’t feel out of place having a baby along, nor did you feel bad if she made noise or dropped food on the floor. Also, there is a huge garage door that opens up to the pit and adds to the overall down home feel of the place. It’s a really fun feature.

PRICE: I’ve come to the conclusion that BBQ is trendy right now, and for that reason, it’s expensive. While I wasn’t really paying attention to price, I think our platter meal was around $20-25 and coupled with our add ons probably brought our meal closer to $40 or $50. But given the amount of food we got and that it was a ‘left-over’ snack later for the guys, I thought that was pretty reasonable for good bbq.

SERVICE: This is an order at the counter kind of joint, but the girl who took our order was super friendly and everyone else we encountered was also really helpful and friendly. We even spoke to the owner real quick and he was very appreciative of our visit and thanked us for coming.

Although on our next trip to Nashville we will probably have list of new places to try, I may have to find a way to sneak me some of those Alabama-Wings. They’re worth the trip alone, which is why I have no problem awarding this BBQ joint a fitting 4 1/2 ‘Little Piggies’

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012 @ 08:01 AM

Well another year has come and gone and Pop Culture Cuisine is officially a two years old!  This year our lives have changed dramatically in many ways, including the addition of a new family member.  We also may not have traveled as far as in the past, but Adam and I still love finding new ways to seek out culinary hot spots wherever our travels take us.  We have compiled a list of some of our favorite and not so favorite spots to share with you with links so you can read our reviews for yourself.  We STILL love food and hope to continue to share lots of great finds with you all along the way.

Signature Dish:

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1. Al’s Beef’s “Italian Beef Sandwich” – Chicago, IL

2. Kim & Scott’s Café Twist’s “Twist Your Own” – Chicago, IL

3. The Varsity’s “Chili Dog” – Atlanta, GA

 

Taste:

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1. Hot Doug’s – Chicago, IL

2. Al’s Beef – Chicago, IL

3. The Depot American Diner – Chicago, IL

 

Ambiance:

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1. The Walnut Room – Chicago, IL

2. Slow’s Bar-BQ – Detroit, MI

3. Lynn’s Paradise Café – Louisville, KY

 

Service:

1. Tufano’s Vernon Park TapJoe and his staff – Chicago, IL

2. KouzzinaJohn – Orlando, FL

3. Emeril’sSpencer – Orlando, FL

 

Price:

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1. The Varsity – Atlanta, GA

2. Al’s Beef – Chicago, IL

3. South Side Soda Shop – Goshen, IN

 

Overall Top 5:

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1. Al’s Beef – Chicago, IL

2. Hot Doug’s – Chicago, IL (A VERY close 2nd place)

3. The Walnut Room – Chicago, IL

4. Kouzzina – Orlando, FL

5. Emeril’s – Orlando, FL

Top 5 Biggest Letdowns…Not worth the Hype:

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1. The Whale’s Rib – Deerfield Beach, FL

2. Brennan’s – New Orleans, LA

3. Camp Washington – Cincinnati, OH

4. Graeter’s – Cincinnati, OH

5. The Loveless Café – Nashville, TN

Best of the Rest…Honorable Mention:

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Most Fun Kim & Scott’s Café Twist – Chicago, IL

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Most Memorable Kouzzina – Orlando, FL

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Most Worth the Wait Hot Doug’s – Chicago, IL

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Most Outrageous Dish Bub’s Burgers – Carmel, IN

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Best Excursion Epcot International Food and Wine Festival – Orlando. FL

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Best Sandwich (Burgers Included) The Depot American Diner – Chicago, IL

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Best Sweet Treat Emeril’s – Orlando, FL

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 @ 08:11 AM

And I’m back…is anyone still reading?  It’s kinda hard to believe how quickly time with our little girl is going already. 8 weeks have flown by and while it hasn’t been all roses and sunshine, I am loving every minute of being a mommy to our little “Betta” as she is affectionately known to us; and although I promise this blog is not going to turn into all about my baby, being a food blog and all, I couldn’t go on without a shameless picture of our adorable little pea pod on Halloween…I mean how cute is she?

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Ok, now back to our scheduled programming…and where we are headed next is a bbq joint in a place where you wouldn’t think would bring good Q. We’re going to the Motor City….D-Town…Detroit.  I know what you might be thinking…, bbq from Detroit, how can that be good?  But what I am quickly learning is that you can find really outstanding bbq just about anywhere so long as those creating it have passion for the meat and approach it with good smoking technique.

So what took us to this unlikely tourist destination? Well, we just so happened to win tickets to a Detroit Tigers game and with being only a few short months away from welcoming that little one above, we thought it might be a fun and easy getaway for just the two of us; and although Detroit isn’t necessarily what you might think of when you think of a romantic weekend getaway, we knew that the time away, a little baseball and a few pop culture worthy hot spots was all we would need for a fun adventure.

As we typically do before any trip, we researched which places we definitely wanted to hit up, and one place kept showing up.  Slow’s  Bar-B-Q, located in a very urban part of downtown Detroit, popped onto our radar when we happened to see it on an episode of Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food.” As you know, we are avid bbq lovers, so the thought of being able to get some possibly decent “Q” since leaving Texas without venturing too far definitely made it a high priority.  So we planned that our first night would be enjoying some food and atmosphere and this local hot spot.

When we ventured out we were quickly taken aback by just how deserted the city of Detroit is. It is definitely not Chicago…or even Dallas for that matter. After 5, it was so quiet…almost like a ghost town right in the heart of the city. Slows is located a bit on the outskirts of downtown in an area that seems to be being renovated….sort of a rebirth section of the city where a lot of up and coming establishment are located. Right now there is not a whole lot that surrounds it as far as other businesses. It’s sort of a unique urban setting; and although it’s not the most upscale area, it does not seem to deter many from venturing out for some great food.

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The first thing we noticed…or didn’t notice that is….when we first walked up is the very cool front façade. You would almost walk right on by the door if you weren’t paying attention.  It blends in so seamlessly we were hard pressed to even figure out where the door was exactly at first.  However…, and I’m not exaggerating at bit, we simply followed our noses to find our way inside.

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(Disclaimer: Looking back I didn’t feel HUGE at this point during my pregnancy, but this picture sure makes me look it haha)

This place is VERY popular, so we had to put our name in a wait a while. However, while the restaurant was very crowded, we were able to squeeze in near the bar and enjoy a drink (non alchy for me) while we waited for a table.

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Once we got seated, we quickly looked over the menu and decided upon “The Big Three” (pulled pork, pulled chicken, and sliced brisket) and a “Baby Back Ribs” platters to share amongst the two of us.  Each of our dishes came with two sides so we went with cornbread, mac and cheese, and green beans.  While we waited for our food, we decided to taste test their 4 sauces, and of course I can’t remember what they were each called, but they had a wide range from sweet, to spicy, tangy, and more classic. There was one that was even apple based…not my favorite.

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It wasn’t long before the heaping plates of meat were placed before us and we were allowed to dig in…this was a meal I certainly relished and hated being 8 months pregnant at the same time.  I was so excited and hungry and ready to enjoy the meal, I just wished that at that point I didn’t fill up after 2 bites, so I tried to keep that in mind and take it slow so I could enjoy trying everything.

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We both really enjoyed the ribs, but agreed it was the pulled pork that was really super duper out of this world!  And unfortunately, although I had heard rave reviews about the mac and cheese, it wasn’t really my favorite.  Now that being said, I am a picky mac and cheese person, and if I don’t like the texture…forget it.  Adam, on the other hand, still enjoyed it, but really…are we surprised?

For me, the corn bread was to die for; and I promptly ate the majority of that right up.  All in all we truly enjoyed every morsel of our food and had a lot leftover we were so full. Still, while my super pregnant belly was too full for dessert, Adam dug into some of their homemade banana pudding (a favorite of his). I tried a bite and both of us agreed that it was not very good.

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Overall, we really had a blast hanging out at this cool spot; and had I not been pregnant, we probably would have hung out in the bar longer. I guess it just makes it a place we are going to have to hit up again sans pregnancy.

SIGNATURE DISH: While they don’t have any particular meat they are more known for than the others, they have done a great job of really honing in on all the regional bbq favorites and how to prepare those in their own unique manner.  If you like fish, chicken, pork, or beef, they have it all for the taking.

TASTE: While we have been hard pressed to find many bbq places that beat some of the wonderful places we had in Texas (boy were we spoiled!), this was a wonderful way for us to enjoy some of those flavors again and in a much closer vicinity.  Lucky for us, Detroit is only a few hours away, so although I can’t see us hopping in the car to make that trip weekly, we at least know that some good Q is a within our reach again.

AMBIANCE: The interior designer in me always has a keen eye for places that clearly take the design into account.  Sure…, I love a good hole in the wall place as much as the next person and many times that adds to the overall feel, but I also love places that truly find an aesthetic that complements their food.  What I thought Slow’s had done so well was with their use of textures and tones they really created the feel of an outdoor barbecue but upscale and without actually being outside.  It felt very clean, modern, and special without being stuffy or over the top fancy.

PRICE: Their entrees ranged in price from$12 – $25 which for barbecue really isn’t unheard of.  On a side note… what is so funny is really for those cuts of meats you are really not talking about pricey…but bbq has become so trendy and special that these places can easily charge more.  But as far as Slow’s was concerned, I was not shocked by their prices one bit and we actually got a fairly decent amount of food considering we had some to take home.

SERVICE: I thought both the bartender we encountered and our waitress were super friendly and helpful.  The bartender was kind enough to make up a fruity non-alcoholic concoction for me while we waited so that I could still enjoy a fun drink.  And our waitress not only helped us with our food decisions, but chatted with us about Detroit itself and some of the things we may want to check out…, overall super friendly.

So although Detroit does not scream “Babymoon” or romantic getaway, we certainly had fun checking out this city and were glad that we ventured out to the Motor City in search of some great barbecue.  While it was not better than my beloved Texas BBQ, I really did love me some Slow’s and I give it 3 ‘Little Piggies.’

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