Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Southern BBQ in North County

Update 3/20/12:  As of a few weeks ago, ApeHangers is no more.  Unfortunately, the city wouldn't permit their smoker.

After spending college in the South, I love me some Southern BBQ.  Slow smoked, tender, juicy, meaty goodness.  But where to find non-barbacoa BBQ in San Diego?  Some will no doubt say Phil's, but once you've had real Southern barbecue, Phil's not-so-tender pulled pork and ketchupy sauce does not cut it.  Well last year Randy and Charli Brown filled the void, opening ApeHangers Grill in Oceanside.  Randy mans the smoker and Charli--a South Carolina transplant-- serves up some wonderful Southern-style sides and desserts, from fried okra to banana puddin'.

From the smoker, they serve up Carolina pulled pork, Texas-style brisket, Memphis ribs, and (of course) California tri-tip, all finished with a sweet and spicy KC BBQ sauce, which comes in three varieties: sweet, regular, and spicy.  The spicy sauce is perfect--enough kick to make you gasp, but sweet enough to go down smooth.  From the fryer, delicious fired okra and zucchini, awesome hot wings (including the deadly 100 mph wings), and my favorite dish, the fried catfish po' boy with aioili and slaw, which I've had on about 90% of my visits.  Wash it down with a great selection of mostly local craft beer and wine-based cocktails.

The name and decor might lead you to think that ApeHangers is a biker bar.  Though plenty of motorcycles may be parked out front, it is not.  The staff and regulars are a friendly as can be, even a Raiders-Chargers game is a good time.  So next time you're looking for BBQ in North County, do yourself a favor.  Skip the looooong lines at Phil's and give ApeHangers a shot.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Link Roundup

It's been an extremely busy couple of weeks, and I hope to get some posts done this weekend about Vincent's in Escondido, Ape Hanger Grill, and Sunshine Mountain Winery.  Until then, here's a few good links for a Friday:

Hope everyone has a good Friday and weekend!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Vegas, Baby!

To celebrate Mrs. Pegleg's after-Christmas birthday a tad late, we flew to Vegas last weekend.  Up at three thirty, in Vegas before eight.  Since hotel check-in isn't until noon, what's there to do?  That's right--breakfast, bloody Mary, and mimosa!  We headed to one of the three (!) Vegas locations of Hash House a go go, having loved the original back in SD.  The SD location is tiny; this one was huge, so no thirty minute wait for breakfast.

As you can see, the bloody Mary was huge, and garnished with an assortment of pickled veggies, just the way I like them.  I had mine with gin, and the waitress thought I was off my rocker.  What can I say?  I like gin.  Not having quite the appetite for one of their enormous benedicts, I had a scramble that was very good.  Mrs. Pegleg had the french toast, which she thought was a bit disappointing.  The bread is about a foot thick, and it was like pulling teeth to get some syrup.

We still had a couple of hours to kill, so we headed over to the Flamingo, where we remembered there was a Sin City Brewery taproom.  They had a very-good-for-Vegas early day/late night deal--two 48oz pitchers for $15.  The seasonal brew on tap was a nice IPA, less hoppy than most SoCal brews these days, but quite nice.

After a nice long nap, we were ready to hit the town again.  Dinner reservations were at Table 10, one of Emeril's Vegas spots.  Since I rarely cook seafood (Mrs. Pegleg hates it), I nearly always eat fish when out.  The salt and pepper crusted farm-raised striped bass did not disappoint, and the few bites I stole from the wife's suckling pig porchetta were absolutely phenomenal.  A bit more bar-hopping--we do more people watching than gambling--and I was beat.

Up the next morning, headed straight to Kerry's Gourmet Burgers (KGB), Kerry Simon's burger and vodka bar in Harrah's.  The USSR-themed decor was great, and the waitresses were dressed like someone's fantasy of a Russian femme fatale.  The menu is small, but the food quite good.  I especially liked the build your own burger option.  The waffle fry nachos were very good; reminded me a bit of the carne asada fries that are popular in SD, but the pulled pork made them even better.  We headed over to Toby Kieth's I Love This Bar & Grill for some gigantic southern-inspired drinks--served in mason jars, naturally--and to watch some football.  The guitar-shaped bar was pretty cool, and the decor was fun.

Off to the airport, where we discover our flight is delayed an hour...two...almost three hours.  We sit around a bit, then check the board to see that our gate has been reassigned, in another terminal.  Arriving there, I ask the gate agent why there was no change announcement.  She told me that there was, and she had just personally walked over after making it at the original gate.  Also, she promised a fifty dollar voucher for all passengers.  I head out for a smoke.  I return to find that our gate has been changed again, back to the original terminal.  I've heard every other airline making gate change announcements, but not one from Spirit.  Now I'm mad, and spend twenty minutes waiting for someone to come to the desk. 

The gate agent comes up, I ask for her supervisor.  She is the supervisor, and cannot reach anyone over her.  Finally puts me on the phone with another supervisor, and within two minutes I'm talking to the boss that's unreachable.  I get on the plane just in time.  And that fifty dollar voucher?  Never appeared.  When I asked a flight attendant about it, she looked at me like I was crazy and snottily asked, "Why would you get a voucher?"

In the future, I'll spend the extra few bucks to fly Southwest.