Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with Provence.
I happened to be in L.A. when Anthony Bourdain’s new TV show, Layover, aired, on where to eat in L.A. when you have a 24 hour layover. It features him driving around in an open-top car, spilling food into his lap and talking with his mouth full. I was watching it with my friend Julian Davies of Irregular Wine tastings (who the character Miles was based on in the book and film Sideways) and it seemed he knew every place that Anthony and his crew went to. None of the locales were very surprising and a lot of them were even predictable, the usual suspects of the latest trendy must-go-to- wine-bars and street-food-eateries.
However it inspired me to do my own Layover post and to write about a little place I have just discovered which is practically a stone’s throw from Burbank Airport. It is called Swingin’ Door Texas BBQ, 11018 Vanowen, CA 91605 (818) 763 8996 and if you have an hour or two between flights, I can’t think of a better way to spend them than coming here and you won’t even need to rent a car (in theory, this is L.A. after all!)
It is also over the road from Western Costumes, where I am working this week and when the actor I was fitting wandered over there for lunch last Thursday and came back saying how good it was, I decided I had to try it myself. My friend Vikki (who was working out of another costume house right next door) knows it well and so we agreed to meet there today for lunch.
It is literally within the forecourt of a gas station and were it not for the smoker outside, there would be nothing to tell you that this place was special in any way (I presume the smoker is far away enough not to be a hazard to the petroleum, elf and safety and all that).
When we arrived the chef, Hector, was chopping up garlic to glaze the bread rolls with, it was unusually empty, which we put down to people being on holiday this week.
Vikki ordered the pulled pork sandwich and I had the baby back ribs with a side order of barbeque chilli beans which were cooked in a bbq sauce with chipotle, bell peppers, onions and bacon fat. They were spicy hot and delicious, Hector explained that the Texas style bbq sauces are tomato based and not sweet like the Southern ones, it was definitely fiery rather than sticky. The ribs were unbelievably tender but not falling apart or charred, the meat was juicy with a strong smokey taste and smothered in home made bbq sauce with more on the side. I can’t say I’m the biggest rib aficionado, but I’m sure they would come pretty close to the top of the list if I were.
I had some of Vikki’s pulled pork sandwich and that was pretty good too.
Afterwards Hector showed me the smoker outside. He told me how he comes to work at 8 every morning to start the fire. He rubs the meat with a dry rub and then cooks the ribs for 3 to 4 hours and the brisket for 16 hours.
Inside the restaurant they have a huge selection of hot sauces, including their own which you can buy, along with their bbq sauce. I know where I’m going next time I host a bbq in L.A.!
Hector said he’d like to go to France to study cooking (he’s already been to cooking school here in North Hollywood), I suggested he should open up a Texas Bbq restaurant in Paris instead, I’m sure it would be very popular! Come to think of it, the French don’t do much smoking, not food anyway, maybe he could teach them a thing or two about it whilst he’s there.
After lunch Vikki and I went back to work feeling happy and contented, ready to face the rows of costume racks awaiting us.
Here’s a lemon and basil pie that Vikki cooked for an Easter Sunday party, please leave a comment asking her to post the recipe, it really was very delicious……(the meringue was my idea she usually tops it with whipped cream but had bought milk by mistake).