Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Baby Blues BBQ, Venice, California

Jason Johnson once told me that we all need to be "tourists in our own towns."  I am endeavoring to be just that in the greater Los Angeles megalopolis now that our freshman football season is over, the holidays are starting and our return to Sicily is only two months away.

The first stop on this new backyard adventure just had to deal with food so I went to the cable television station known as the Food Network to check out information about their show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" hosted by Guy Fieri.  I'd watched the show on several occasions and as he travels all over the United States in search of eateries worthy of the show's title, I have always been entertained, curious and hungry.

With that as a background, I got into the old Chrysler for the one hour drive down the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu and Santa Monica before arriving at the BBQ dive that Guy Fieri had given rave reviews to in an episode entitled simply "BBQ."

Baby Blues BBQ
444 Lincoln Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291

The Baby Blues has a simple,
unassuming storefront on a busy corner in Venice.

Of course, the "No fat Added" sign next to my al fresco table seen here made my dining experience all the healthier!

The Kitchen

The Command Center for all the good things that were about to happen... the Texas Style Beef Rib

The Menu and a WARNING!!!

Let's do the warning first for the sake of your sanity.

When a BBQ dive says a sauce is "XXX" it means don't even think about trying it.

I, of course, did not listen to my own advice but fortunately I had enough corn bread and a large Diet Coke to get me through the ordeal!

The menu had over 20 "Platters", 7 sandwiches, 8 a la carte items, 14 "fixins", i.e., side dishes and 4 desserts to pick from.

Now I had a problem in making my choice.  I spent a week in the Spring of 2007 in the Memphis, Tennessee area when I travelled to Delta State University in Mississippi to visit Ron Roberts and his staff for a week to learn more about the 3-5-3 defense.

I made it a mission on this trip to hit every BBQ place I could find for lunch and dinner in search of the perfect set of BBQ ribs.  The Rendezvous in Memphis was hands down the best I found on this pilgrimage.

The problem was that ever since I had returned from this Southern food and football orgy, I had discovered that ribs were no longer appealing.  I WAS RIBBED OUT!

I had tried ribs in several of my favorite California BBQ spots but they just didn't cut it anymore...I was ruined and devastated at the same time.

I decided to trust the Food Network and Guy Fieri's judgement and enthusiasm and ordered the "Memphis Queen" Platter.

The Memphis Queen

On top, 1/2 rack of Baby Back Ribs
Underneath, 1/2 rack of Memphis Style Ribs
Fixin #1, Baked Beans
Fixin #2 Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Corn Bread

I started with the Baby Backs... Sweet Carolins sauce, meat falling off the bones, TREEEEEEMENDOUS!!!

The Baked Beans and the Corn Bread were both solid to say the least but the Mashed Sweet Potatoes were more like a dessert than a side dish... AWESOME!

The spicy Memphis Ribs were next and they were VERY good.  I think they suffered in comparison to the Baby Backs but would have been great in their own right had I not eaten the Baby Backs first.

Danny, the Baby Blues BBQ's Owner

Danny was GREAT!  He came out to my table and struck up a conversation with me about BBQ, what else.  I told him about the Rendezvous and how it had spoiled me.

When he checked on me after Amanda the waitress brought out my order and I told them how incredible I found his food, he responded by saying he would bring me out something special.

The next thing I know I'm eating some of his delicious Collard Greens and a grilled BBQ Tiger Shrimp!

If you are in the Venice area (Craig Slavin, THIS MEANS YOU!), by all means go to the Baby Blues BBQ, you will be VERY glad you did!


Brandon said...

I've been to Baby Blues once, it was really good. That XXX sauce is amazing. I just was watching a Travel Network show about ribs that did a spot there and then I read your post. It must be a to LA and eat there, today. Yeah, right.

George said...

The GREAT ones would do it in their quest for BBQ perfection!