BFD: 'Q (AKA Smokey Delirium)
Joey's Bar-B-Q, Chino - A Quickie

May 27, 2002 at 23:58:51

Since it was Memorial Day the Mrs. expected BBQ, and since it
was Memorial Day, I did not relish doing all the work to organize
BBQ in our backyard. So instead I obligingly made a run to Joey’s
Bar-B-Q, which is only five minutes away from the old
homestead, as long as Herman is doing the running.  Joey’s
was packed, and take out orders were running 45 minutes from
order to take out. So after placing my order I installed myself
outside in Joey’s “Backyard”.

I picked up a Budweiser long-neck at the window in the
Backyard, found myself a bench, and enjoyed the ambiance of
the little kids running around, climbing on the outdoor furniture
and jumping around (the Budweiser assisted in my enjoyment of
the little kids), and the setting sun peaking through the leafy
umbrella formed by three big old shade trees. The only thing
missing was Joey’s usual singing cowboy, he must have been
memorializing somewhere else today. Too soon (and another
beer later) the 45 minutes were up and my order was ready and I
had to clamber up the back stairs and back inside for my order
pick-up.

I brought home a mess of pork spare ribs, beef ribs, brisket,
potato salad and beans. A foil lined bag full of Joey’s garlic
bread, which consists of split French rolls slathered in garlic
butter with some dried parsley, came with the ribs. The spare
ribs were meaty and most of them were falling off the bone
tender. The beef ribs were also meaty, and not overdone, so you
could tell the ribs once were a major structural member of a
standing rib roast. The brisket was cut thick and was nice and
tender. Everything had a mild smoky flavor. Joey’s finishes their
ribs and brisket slices on a grill, so they get grill marks and
some nice char on the edges. Not too much char, just enough to
give you a nice sense of the fire they have been over. Joey’s BBQ
sauce is tomato based and slightly sweet. When I got home I
slathered some sauce on my meats and then spiced it up with a
little Stubb's Inferno Wing Sauce to liven it up.

The potato salad was very good. It seemed homemade,
definitely not tasting like it came out of a carton. I think I even
found some chopped up red pepper in it, or maybe it was
pimento. The beans were not bad either. I have not been
impressed with the beans in some of the BBQ places I have
visited lately, but these were pretty good, even had little chunks of
bacon in them.

I had not been to Joey’s in a long time. My recollection was that I
had liked their brisket and loved their baked yams. The brisket
was as good as I remembered it, I should have brought home a
couple of yams today.

Now that all that good ‘Q is settling in, I think it is time for a visit to
the refrigerator for some of that killer cheesecake that was
shipped in from Petaluma this week. The only questions are 1)
will the cheesecake last a week, and 2) will the Mrs. forget the
cheesecake ever existed, so that when she opens the
refrigerator and does not find any cheesecake, it won’t “click” with
her, and I will be home free.

Joey’s Bar-B-Q
3689 Riverside Dr
(Riverside & East End)
Chino, CA 91710
(909) 628-1231
Robin's BBQ - Worth A Taste If It Is Not Out Of Your
Way

October 14, 2002 at 16:41:52

Ever diligently in service to ‘houndom, LBQT and I rendezvoused
at Robin’s in Pasadena. We sampled Robin’s spareribs, baby
back ribs, link, tri-tip, beef ribs and chicken last Saturday.

I felt the baby backs were the best of the ribs and the tri-tip was
flavorful, however, not as tender as it should have been. The
spareribs seem to also have suffered on the tenderness scale;
these were definitely not cooked low and slow enough. At
Robin's they smoke the meats using hardwoods and then finish
them over a flame. So all of the ribs had a char-y tinge and there
were grill marks on the slices of tri-tip.

I thought the baby backs were tinged just right, a little char on the
edges, and perfectly cooked porky-ness on the bone. These
were by far the best; they were almost falling off the bone tender. I
also enjoyed the tri-tip, other than its being a bit too tough, it had
a nice smoky-beefy taste.

The chicken was pleasant to look at, but on the dry side, which
usually seems to be the case, except at Love’s or from my own
Weber kettle.

The link was not hot (to my taste) and was very mealy, tasted
more like grain than meat.

As sides we had coleslaw, onion rings, fries. There was a small
chunk of corn on the cob also, but we did not bother with it.
Robin's has “regular” coleslaw and “house” coleslaw. The house
coleslaw is supposed to be made with blue cheese and pecans.
We ordered one of each, somehow I think we only got regular
coleslaw for both orders, as I sampled both, and they both tasted
like plain coleslaw, and nothing remarkable at that. Again, in the
world of BBQ joints, Love’s is (in my opinion) the standard of
excellence in coleslaw. And again, I make better coleslaw than
Robin’s just using some bulk slaw vegetables and bulk coleslaw
dressing I can get at Smart & Final.

The onion rings were coated in a beer batter (I presume), which I
usually do not like, but this was a very thin coating, and was not
bad. They were, however, a bit greasy. The fries were not greasy,
they were the kind with a bit of potato skin still on them (similar to
the fries at Chili’s) and I enjoyed them. My daughter, who was
with us, scarfed them all up.

We were supposed to also get blueberry corn bread with our
food, but after I got home I realized the corn bread never
appeared at our table.  (Note, that was a real shame, as I have
subsequently learned that the "corn bread" is killer!  More like a
coffee cake with crumble topping, I could eat whole sheet trays of
this for breakfast.)

We sampled all four of Robin’s sauces, “Robin’s Tangy Original”,
“Carolina Sweet Mustard”, “Smokin’ Spicy Mad Dog”, and
“Memphis Red Vinegar”.  All four sauces were of a thin
consistency. I thought the tangy original did not have any tang.
The mustard sauce tasted like thinned out honey mustard, and
the Memphis stuff did nothing for me. I stuck with the “spicy” one,
which had a slight, enjoyable bite I felt in the back of my throat
when I first sampled it, but then on further tastes seemed to have
lost its kick, (maybe my taste buds adapted to it) but at least, to
my taste, it was far better than the other three sauces.

My only other visit to Robin’s had been in its former life, when it
reminded me all too painfully of Dinah’s in Culver City. I enjoyed
the bar-b-queue much better than their former coffee shop fare.
In terms of ambiance, it seems that Robin’s is opting for the
theme experience, rather than the classic, no frills, BBQ joint.
Lots of bright paint, tin signs and beer signs inside, and we
spotted a barrel of peanuts surrounded by a carpet of shells on
our way out.  Kind of noisy, and definitely busy on a Saturday
night, but that might have been because of the review in the L.A.
Times the previous Thursday.

All in all, I did enjoy the Q, especially since I accompanied it with
two 24-ounce glasses of Moosehead. I would recommend
Robin's for anyone who happens to be in the Hastings Ranch
area of Pasadena and has a taste for bar-b-que, but I would not
recommend that anyone go out of his or her way to visit this
place.   I will return, if I happen to be in the neighborhood and
have a craving for baby-backs or tri-tip.

Robin’s Woodfire BBQ & Grill
395 N. Rosemead Blvd.
(About two blocks north of Foothill Blvd, between the Hastings
Theater and Mann’s Theaters)
Pasadena, CA, 91107-3043
(626) 351-8885
Redhill Bar-B-Que - Inland Empire - Here Is The Report

November 15, 2002 at 20:20:51

So after discovering Redhill Texas Style Barbeque had opened
an outpost in Montclair I knew where I was going to get my late
lunch from today. Twenty minutes up from Chino, five minutes
waiting for the order, and another twenty minutes back down to
Chino and I was consuming ‘Q while Baxter the cat was sniffing
things out on top of the kitchen table.

I brought home one brisket dinner and one half slab of spare
ribs. There was a generous amount of beef accompanied by a
miniscule little plastic container of coleslaw (the other choice
was potato salad) and a miniscule little plastic container of
beans, about a third of an ear of corn and a couple of
commercial bakery dinner rolls. The rack was about six or seven
ribs, I did not remember to count while consuming them, and I
am not going to dive in to the trash now to confirm the exact
count, so you will have to trust me on the rib count.

The meats were all very good. The brisket was thick cut slices,
tender enough to cut with my fork (albeit a stainless steel fork,
not one of the plastic forks furnished by the ‘Q joint). Both the
brisket and the ribs had a very black outer layer, then were tinged
pink on the inner edges, then their color went to the gray, well
(long and slow) cooked color of barbequed meat. The meat was
smoky tasting and very enjoyable. Some of the brisket slices,
though, were pink about half way through (top to bottom, when
looking at a slice from one of the two sliced sides), as if only half
of the whole brisket was fully cooked. But they tasted just fine.

The ribs were very tender, the meat did not fall off the bones
when you picked them up, but it practically slid off when you bit in
to it.

Both the beef and ribs came slathered in so much barbeque
sauce that the sauce leaked out of the foam containers on the
way home. To my taste the sauce was nothing out of the
ordinary, kind of sweet tasting, and I punched it up with a few
drops of Dave’s Total Insanity sauce. After I had finished eating, I
noticed that the sauce left over in the containers seemed to have
coagulated, something not very pleasant to the eye or the mind
(after having consumed some of the pre-coagulated sauce).
Next time I am going to order my meat with the sauce on the side
at this joint.

The coleslaw had nice bits of green and red cabbage, was kind
of watery and after 20 minutes nestled up with the brisket in the
foam container, almost warm to the tongue. The beans were
also a bit too watery for my palate, however, they had bits of long
cooked onion and green pepper, and the green pepper
especially imparted a sweet, green pepper flavor to them, which
was kind of nice. I don’t think there was any added sugar, and it
was not necessary.

The corn was still hot after the ride home, fresh, and too little.
The rolls were obviously not baked fresh for today.

Of course the meat is the real point with any ‘Q joint, and I
thought this was pretty good stuff, so I definitely will try it again,
but sans sauce.

The location of this establishment is in the center of a strip mall
about two minutes from San Biagio’s Pizza (in Upland). It actually
shares space with a store selling smokes and candles (no that
is not where their meat gets its smoky flavor from). You will not
smell smoke approaching this place, because I was told when
they were actually doing the barbequing out back when they first
opened, the backdoor neighbors (trailer-park people, no less)
complained. (Sounds like they need to figure out how to get
some different neighbors.) So all the ‘Q is done at their original
location a few miles away in Rancho Cucamonga and then
apparently carted in every day.

Also on their menu, beef ribs, chicken, rib tips, baby backs,
Louisiana hot links, ham. They also have shrimp dinners, catfish
dinners, catfish and shrimp Po’ Boys, hamburgers, baked
potatoes stuffed with beef, pork, chicken or hot links, Spaghetti
(?!?!), top sirloin steak, macaroni and cheese, collard greens,
red beans and rice, black eye peas, fries, fried okra, hush
puppies, chili, gumbo, peach cobbler, sweet potato pie, pecan
pie, ice cream, Coke, Diet Coke (ugh!), Sprite, Barq’s RB, Minute
Maid orange soda, pink lemonade, iced tea, hot tea, coffee. Daily
specials – Monday: fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green
beans, Tuesday: jambalaya and green salad, Wednesday:
chicken fettuccini and green salad, Thursday: smothered
chicken and grave with rice and green beans. Having seen all of
that on their menu, it kind of makes me leery, but the ‘Q was the
real deal at least.

Lunch today was $25.84, with left over brisket chillin’ out in the
refrigerator.

Redhill Texas Style Barbeque
5470 Moreno Street
(East of Central Ave)
Montclair, CA
(909) 982-5744
Closed Sundays.
Joey’s Bar-B-Q
3689 Riverside Dr
(Riverside & East End)
Chino, CA 91710
(909) 628-1231
Joey'sbbq.com Web Site

Woody’s Bar-B-Que
11897 Foothill Boulevard, #B
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
(909) 291-8125

Robin’s Woodfire BBQ & Grill
395 N. Rosemead Blvd.
(About two blocks north of Foothill Blvd,
between the Hastings Theater and Mann’s
Theaters)
Pasadena, CA, 91107-3043
(626) 351-8885
Robins bbq We Site

Redhill Texas Style Barbeque
5470 Moreno Street
(East of Central Ave)
Montclair, CA
(909) 982-5744
Red Hill BBQ Web Site

Gerald Wilhitte’s Spices  BBQ
(sign on the building says “Spices Café”)
In The Mini-Mall at Haven & Lemon
(A block north of the I-210)
Rancho Cucamonga
(909) 948-9854

JJ’s Fish & Bar-B-Que
814 South Mountain Avenue
Ontario, 91762
(909) 460-7727
Gerald Wilhitte's Spices BBQ

November 22, 2002 at 19:53:34

The Mrs. needed me to pick her up from the car dealer in
Ontario while they were working over Melanie, so I told her I
would pick her up and take her out to lunch. After I did pick her
up and then headed north on I-15 she asked me if I knew
where we were going. I said, “Sure.” She looked over at me and
then said, in that tone of voice that means it was not a question,
“Are we going chow dogging?” Of course we were. I had just
head about Gerald Willhite’s Spices BBQ in Rancho
Cucamonga and was simply doing my ‘houndly duty.

This is a very small place with about four tables inside and a
couple of tables on the sidewalk outside, a refrigerated case
and an order counter, and one wall is decorated with Gerald’s
pro-football memorabilia. We ordered one three rib lunch plate
that came with a side of potato salad, one combo dinner plate
that came with three spare ribs, a couple of hot links and some
brisket, with a side of potato salad and side of beans. We also
ordered an extra side of corn bread and cabbage and one
peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

The spare ribs were well smoked and initially I felt they were not
very remarkable. The ribs and brisket came sauced, the sauce
was very thick and red, with some sweetness, and then a little
bit of a spicy after bite. I ate the first two ribs with the sauce on
them, but with some added Tabasco. For the third rib, I scraped
off most of the sauce, did not add any Tabasco, and enjoyed
this rib much more than the first two. The last rib had a nice
pink tinge to the meat (not as if it were under cooked pork, but is
rather more of a nice pink piggy color) and the meat was very
pleasant and sweet tasting. So the next time I am going to have
the ribs “neat”.

The brisket was served as if it had been pulled apart, like pulled
pork. I think this was a mistake because I believe that caused
the meat to dry out. I was not very happy with the brisket, but I
am reserving final judgment until I have an opportunity to
sample Gerald’s brisket when it has just been freshly sliced,
but not pulled.

The hot links were fine, but not nearly hot enough for my taste,
the Mrs. enjoyed half of a link. Initially she wanted only a small
bite of a link, but after taking the first bite, she decided she
would finish off the rest of it.

The potato salad was good, it had mustard and mayo in it, and
seemed too “wet” looking, but it tasted very good, and definitely
homemade, not out of some industrial container. I did not care
for the beans, they were little black colored beans in a very thin
liquid. They are called “spicy beans” on the menu, but I did not
taste much of anything. I did not try the cabbage or the
cornbread, this is comfort food for the Mrs. and I think she
enjoyed it, but I think she was a little concerned about the
potential atmospheric after affects of the cabbage, so she did
not eat it all.

This was the first cobbler we have had since our recent visit to
Woody’s in Rancho Cucamonga. The cobbler here is far
superior to Woody’s. It had a good crust, nice slices of peaches
and a nice, thick “syrup”.

Service was efficient and friendly, Gerald’s partner in this
establishment, Robyn served us, and I understand Robyn’s
mother bakes all of the desserts. We were in about the time
school was getting out, and it seems as if some of the local
kids like to come there after school for a snack and to hang out.
Robyn and Gerald seemed to know all of the kids who came in.

I talked with Gerald for a few minutes and asked him if he put a
rub on his ribs (I was wondering if the rub might have included
brown sugar, because of the sweetness of the meat). He told
me that he does not rub the ribs, he only puts a rub on the
brisket, but that he puts the rub spices in his sauce. Gerald
also told me that he starts his meats with a combination of
fruitwoods (like orange, apple, cherry, etc.) and finishes with
some mesquite.

I want to try his ribs again, unadorned, and his chicken. I also
plan to try the shrimp, catfish and red snapper. He had gumbo
today, but we did not try that. The young fellow at the next table
was raving about the hamburger that he had just consumed.
They also have macaroni & cheese on the menu, fries, buffalo
wings (Spicy, BBQ, Teriyaki); lemon cake, chocolate cake and
sweet potato pie. Drinks are canned sodas and punch. All
beverages are free with any meal order, and coffee is free with
any dessert order.

So the jury is still out on Gerald’s, but I believe it has potential,
and it is just nice and relaxing in the friendly atmosphere of this
place.

Lunch today was $28.00.

Gerald Wilhitte’s Spices  BBQ
(Sign on the building says “Spices Café”.)
In the min-mall, northwest corner of Haven & Lemon
(A block north of the  I-210 extension)
Rancho Cucamonga
(909) 948-9854
Gerald Wilhitte's Spices BBQ (Redux)
July 13, 2003 at 01:05:32

A brief update:

After Herman's seat belt extender could not be found, the Mrs.,
daughter, mother-in-law and yours truly all piled in to Melanie
tonight and headed up to the "high country", Rancho
Cucamonga. The Mrs. wanted 'Q, and while Joey's is five
minutes away, she does not care for Joey's (unless she is
really hungry and desperate for 'Q). So Gerald's it was.

Gerald's place was about the same as it was when we visited
last year, except there were a hell of a lot more photos on the
wall. The only other difference was that he now has a fountain
dispenser instead of canned sodas - the bad news is that it
does not dispense strawberry soda.

Between the four of us we had a rib plate with potato salad,
greens and corn bread on the side. A full slab of ribs, a pound
of brisket and large sides of macaroni and cheese and
steamed cabbage. One sweet potato pie, one peach cobbler,
one lemon cake; one chocolate cake.

I think Gerald might have tinkered with his sauce since our last
visit, and in my opinion, it is better now. Either that or it's just a
difference in the batch. Last time he seemed to have some
spices in it that just did not work for me. This time I did not
detect those flavors. The sauce seems to be tomato based and
has absolutely no kick. It is kind of thick and it you are not
careful it will really mask the flavor of the meat.

The ribs were meaty and had that pink 'Q tinge and did not taste
of smoke - which is OK. I know Gerald smokes his meats with
a variety of fruitwoods and appreciated that the meats did not
have that overpowering smokiness that can be found in some
other 'Q joints' product. The ribs were tender and flavorful and
the Mrs. and I scarfed the rack.

Gerald chops his brisket. So it is served chopped on the plate
with a big dollop of sauce slathered on top of the chopped up
bits of meat. I much prefer my brisket sliced thick. I like the
mouth feel of putting a chunk of meat in my mouth that I have
sliced off of a thick piece of brisket. Part of enjoying brisket is
the sensory pleasure of biting down and chewing on a nice
thick slice of meat. I also feel that by chopping the meat, its
degree if tenderness, or possible lack of tenderness is
completely masked (in other words the meat is "cheated"). I
don't want my brisket tenderized by being chopped in to little
pieces, I want to experience tender beef that is intact as nice
thick slices - that is the real test of outstanding brisket. So as a
brisket entree, Gerald's brisket does not do it for me, however,
his brisket would probably be more tolerable to me if it were in
a bun, maybe with some decent coleslaw on top of it.

The macaroni and cheese did not taste like it came out of a
blue box or from a frozen food container, but, thank goodness,
more like it was homemade. The Mrs. thoroughly enjoyed it and
I thought it was pretty good, basic mac and cheese. The
cabbage was tasty (i.e. cabbage-y).

The lemon cake had a funny initial taste, it conjured up in my
mind "artificial flavoring", or more accurately, "petro-chemical
industrial complex". The Mrs. liked it though - I know, I know, I try
to educate her palate, but you have to understand, at her core,
she is still a Der Weinerschnitzel person.

The chocolate cake was devil's food with white icing that
possibly was cream cheese based. I thought the chocolate
cake was pretty good, still had moisture in it, although the icing
seemed a little thin. The mother-in-law, who has probably been
baking sweet potato pies for 65 years, was not impressed with
the sweet potato pie. The daughter enjoyed her cobbler, even
though they were out of vanilla ice cream. To me, the cobbler
just looked like a container of soggy cardboard.

Please don't get me wrong. You can get some decent ribs here,
some of the sides are very homey, and the atmosphere is
friendly - and it beats the hell out of the plethora of chains you
will find in Rancho C.

Gerald Wilhitte’s Spices  BBQ
(Sign on the building says “Spices Café”.)
In the mini-mall, northwest corner of Haven & Lemon
(A block north of the I-210 extension.)
Rancho Cucamonga
(909) 948-9854
JJ's Fish & Bar-B-Que - There Is Hope For The
Inland Empire

February 23, 2004 at 02:13:26

Every once in a while I catch the local public TV restaurant
review program. Yes, even in The Dining Wilderness That Is
The Inland Empire, we have restaurant reviewers. While maybe
not as glamorous, sophisticated, or well traveled among the
temples of dining that are described in other precincts, we do
have local personalities who do their best at seeking out and
tipping the rest of us local yokels, to what we might want to
have for dinner in these parts. So the other evening I catch our
local duo giving a report on a Thai establishment in LaVerne
and a Q’ emporium in Ontario.

Having a strong hankering for barbeque, probably because I
missed the recent big L.A. ‘Q tasting, and then was
antagonized by a recent report on Backwoods BBQ by Russkar,
I made it my mission to do some recon at JJ’s Fish & Bar-B-
Que, the place that was sniffed out by our intrepid, local TV
dining duo.

So around seven o’clock Saturday evening the Mrs. and I
repaired to Herman and rolled down our local byways, heading
northeast. Along about the time that we were on Mission
Boulevard, following a large commercial aircraft on its
approach from the west to Ontario airport, the Mrs. and I
realized that where we were headed was the same place that
the Mother-In-Law of Chino Wayne has her ‘Q brought in from.
This could have portended a good thing, or a bad thing – you
always gotta be a little wary when the Mother-In-Law of Chino
Wayne is involved.

One of the reasons the Mrs. was willing to try this new (to us)
barbeque venue is because, from my observation of the
television report, and as confirmed by the fact that the Mother-In-
Law of Chino Wayne gets her ‘Q from there, JJ’s barbeque is
produced by a pitmaster of the same ethnic background as the
Mrs. and the Mother-In-Law of Chino Wayne.  As opposed to
Backwoods BBQ, which from my perusal of their web pages
led me to the understanding that it is staffed by honorable
people of the same ethnic background as Chino Wayne, which
is to say, just possibly, although not for want of good effort, not
quite as adept at producing a certain, comforting, reminiscent
of home, barbeque taste sensation. So an earlier plan to take
the Mrs. and the Mother-In-Law of Chino Wayne to a sit down
barbeque restaurant in Corona had been shelved. Instead the
Mother-In-Law of Chino Wayne stayed at her house, fending for
her own, and Chino Wayne, and Mrs. Chino Wayne went
sniffing for some take out. (So already Chino Wayne had
scored a big win, by not having to bite his tongue for a couple of
hours in the presence of the Mother-In-Law of Chino Wayne.)

Though Herman is big iron from Detroit, and has a nice V-8
Corvette engine under his hood, he was no match for the jet
aircraft, which faded and dipped lower, and lower, and then left
our sight altogether, before we reached the corner of Mission
and Mountain Avenue, in Ontario. On the tip of the southwest
corner is a brand new Jack-In-The-Box, behind it is a tired, kind
of run down strip center. Sandwiched between a mariscos joint
and a storefront church, we found JJ’s. A small, hole-in-the-
wall storefront with “FISH” and “BBQ” painted in big letters on
the window, inside a counter and a few plastic chairs for
waiting.

We ordered two St. Louis rib dinners, one hot links dinner, a
side of hush puppies and a sweet potato pie. We were told that
the hush puppies are fried to order, so it would be a while. I
reassured the counter person that as “OK”. Almost all of the
available seating was taken by other ‘Q aficionados who were
regulars, or who apparently had seen the report on TV, and
also came out in the rain to check out the barbeque. So not
able to stay on my feet for very long, I returned to Herman and
took a seat behind his wheel. Eventually everyone who had
come before us left with their orders as I lolled in Herman,
listening to the patter of rain drops and observing my
surroundings. It was about seven thirty in the evening. The
mariscos joint next door was all lit up, but it looked like only
one party was dining inside. The storefront church was dark.

There were a few cars about in the lot behind me, and the lot
was dark, the only light coming from JJ’s and to a greater
extent, the mariscos joint. A couple of men walked by, one
pushing a bicycle, the other holding a tall can of Budweiser and
they loitered in front of the church. (This wasn’t the best
neighborhood in the area, but not the worst either). The men
with the beer and the bicycle then walked back in the direction
they came from. The paint on the concrete walls of the strip
center was faded and needed a fresh coat. There was a raised
concrete planter bed right in front of JJ’s that just had dirt in it,
no plants, not even a weed growing. It was all giving me just a
little bit of an edgy feeling.

That edginess was great, I was sitting there thinking, this little
hole-in-the-wall ‘Q joint in this scruffy little strip mall may be the
real deal. I was getting really excited. By that time I had been
waiting in Herman for about 10 minutes, the Mrs. was sitting
down inside (the proprietor/pitmaster had found her a chair)
reading one of those free newspapers, and the proprietor
started packing it in, turning away a couple of different potential
customers, apparently telling them he was closing up. All the
while I am sitting in Herman working up my taste buds in
anticipation. What a great overall feeling, that feeling that a
‘hound gets while on the hunt!

Finally, after a total of about 15 or 20 minutes, the Mrs.
emerges from JJ’s carrying two bags of booty, Barely able to
control my excitement, I start Herman’s engine and turn on his
headlights. My heart rate increases, my throat gets dry. It’s
raining harder, the Mrs. has to pull the hood of her coat over her
head before she can make her way over to Herman. She
opens Herman’s right rear door and places the two bags on
the back seat.  My nose is immediately assaulted with the
aroma of smoke. I briefly consider asking her to throw the lap
blanket over the ‘Q, just to keep it warm on the trip home, and
to keep that aroma from torturing me, but don’t, because the
Mrs. is standing there in the rain after having just brought my
food to me, and I know she wants to get herself in the car. The
Mrs. gets in the front seat next to me, before she is buckled in I
am backing Herman out of the parking slot.

We get about a tenth of a mile down the road before the Mrs. is
over the seat and removing the sweet potato pie from one of
the bags. She removes the plastic wrap from a little, mini,
individual sized sweet potato pie. It was about four inches or so
in diameter. With her fingers she grabs a hunk of pie crust and
filling and puts it in her mouth. She asks me, “Would you like
some?”

Barely able to stifle myself, I say, in a low, composed voice,
“Yeah, I would”.

Breaking off a portion for me, she remarks as she puts it in my
waiting open hand, “You usually don’t like this”, as I think to
myself, “Oh, but I know I am going to like this.” My ‘hound
senses screaming as an endorphen rush goes through my
brain. And it is good. The crust is very fresh, very light, just crisp
enough, just sweet enough. The filling so not like all of the bad
sweet potato pie I have had in my time, dense, but not too
dense, tasting of sweetness and sweet potato, but not
overpowering potato, with a flavor layering of nutmeg. It is cold,
apparently just out of a cold case or refrigerator, and I can only
imagine how good it would be if allowed to warm up a bit. But
that would never happen with this mini-sweet potato pie, the
Mrs. and I consumed it in about 60 seconds. I am normally a
pumpkin pie man, and I normally always pass on sweet potato
pie, but I vow I will never pass on JJ’s pie.

We proceed on the road towards home. The aroma from the
backseat permeating everything in the car. I run through two
stop lights that are closer to red than they are to yellow, just
intent on making it home and tearing in to the ‘Q. The Mrs. is
alarmed, but somewhat tolerant, because she has not eaten
all day.

We make it home. The first item I sample is the hot links. Each
dinner comes carefully wrapped in sectional foam containers,
with foil around the meats, which seems to help with the heat
retention. In the hot link container the large section is filled with
coin sized slices of links, swimming in sauce. The two smaller
sections hold potato salad and beans. A baggy with a couple of
slices of bread, a napkin and a plastic fork round it out. I grab
the fork and start forking in links. These are the best local links
I have had in a very long time. These hot links actually had
some heat to them, I was able to experience a very nice, slight,
mellow burn in the back of my throat. The meat was flavorful,
fine grained and dense, the casing snappy, and the sauce on
the sweet side, with, what else, a hint of nutmeg. I understand
that JJ’s does have a spicy version of their sauce, and that is
what I will ask for next time.

We asked for greens as one of our sides, but by the time we
got to JJ’s they had run out. So in addition to the standard
potato salad and beans, we had one side of cabbage. The
cabbage was OK, nothing very memorable. The beans also
were OK, I have had worse and I have had better, and yes, the
beans had a slight nutmeg flavor to them. The potato salad
was terrific. It was a less cubed but more mashed rendition
than I prefer, but it was good. It was made with celery, pickles,
mayo and mustard. On my next trip to JJ’s I will opt for the
potato salad as both of my sides.

The ribs were very meaty and smoky. I believe JJ’s uses
mesquite, the Mrs. was not as enamored of the ribs as I was.
(She would have preferred baby backs, and probably hickory
smoked). The meat was tender, but not so tender as to fall off
the bone, which is the way it should be. It was tender enough
that it was very easy to bite in to, but still hefty enough so that
you knew you were chewing a piece of meat, not some meat
scraping from a bone. I enjoyed the ribs. They came bathed in
the sauce (I forgot to specify sauce on the side, as I intended),
but the smoky meat stood up very well to the sauce. I really
enjoyed the ribs, and even though that nutmeg theme was
present in the sauce, I forgot all about it as I enjoyed the
smokiness of the meat.

In addition to what we brought home. JJ’s also has rib tips and
brisket. Fried catfish and fried snapper. A few other side
dishes, peach cobbler, and a cold case full of soda.

Oh, and those hush puppies that took 20 minutes, they will not
be coming home again. They were ‘OK’, but certainly not worth
20 minutes.

As I said, JJ’s is a hole-in-wall with just a take out counter. If
you want to eat their food you will either have to do it over the
hood of your car or take it somewhere. So while not a
destination restaurant, if you happen to be in the area, or
passing through on I-10 or the 60 and need a ‘Q fix, give it a
shot.

They are open Monday through Friday from about Noon to 7:00
P.M., Saturdays till 8:00 P.M. (or maybe only until the proprietor
decides its time to close). Closed on Sundays.

As to the Mother-In-Law of Chino Wayne, perhaps the wife,
daughter and nephew and I have been a bit too harsh when
talking amongst ourselves about her. Prior to the Mrs. and my
excursion to JJ’s, we learned that the Mother-In-Law of Chino
Wayne, when she gets her ribs home from JJ’s, puts them
under the kitchen faucet and rinses them off. She then gets out
her bottle of Bulls Eye and pours that abomination on the ribs.
Maybe, just maybe, she has something there, getting that hint
of nutmeg off, but we gotta get her to use something other than
Bull’s Eye for crying out loud.

Two rib dinners, one hot links dinner, one side of hush
puppies, one sweet potato pie, $30.03.

JJ’s Fish & Bar-B-Que
814 South Mountain Avenue
Ontario, 91762
(909) 460-7727
Joey's Bar-B-Q (Redux)

March 04, 2003 at 22:55:45

The Mrs. finished up with a client tonight and called me from the
road, "Want me to pick something up".

"Sure" I replied.

"What do you want?"

"Oh, I'll eat anything." (No kidding.)

"I feel like bar-b-q."

"OK, why don't your stop at Joey's."

"OK, I'll call you when I get there and you can tell me what to
order."

Forty-five minutes later: Two green salads, each with slices of
beet and carrot, and a scallion. Generous containers of Italian
and Thousand Island dressing. A bag of garlic bread. One pork
rib dinner with a corn cobette and a very generous side of potato
salad. One sliced beef dinner with a side of beans and a baked
yam. One side of two beef ribs.

The salad was fresh, and full of nice green lettuce. More than
enough dressing. The Italian tasted like Wishbone. I did not
taste the Thousand. The bread was sliced white sub
sandwich-rolls studded with sesame seeds and slathered in
butter and a bit of garlic, then toasted. As bread, fulfilling, but in
the continuum of garlic bread, nothing  to write home about, and
who goes to a Q joint for the garlic bread anyway.

The beef consisted of generous, thick slices (probably about
1/4 of an inch thick) of brisket that had been smoked, then the
slices finished over a fire. The beef was fork tender and tasty.
The ends of the slices were rendered as nice little burnt bits.
Sauce on the side. Joey's sauce is a rich, thick dark red, almost
mahogany color, kind of mellow. I spiced it up with a few drops
of Dave's Total Insanity.

The yam was almost creamy and came with two big hunks of
butter and a container of marshmallow cream. (I just used the
butter, thought the white stuff was sour cream, but the Mrs.
sniffed that out, I think she had it for dessert).

The potato salad was good, made with mustard and mayo, had
some celery bits and pimento bits. The corn was pronounced
perfect. I snagged a pork rib, very meaty, nice flavor, came with
just a touch of Joey's sauce, and did not need any more.

The two beef ribs turned out to actually be three ribs. Very meaty
and tender, came with some sauce, but again, the sauce is not
overpowering or cloying. Beans were good, little pinto beans in
a brownish almost red sauce, with little bits of bar-b-qued meat.

About forty bucks, with plenty of leftovers for tomorrow. Very tasty
and satisfying. Usually in Q joints they do one or two things well,
everything else seems to be an afterthought. Joey's execution of
everything was very good.

The Mrs. said they must have just remodeled inside, not as
tacky as before.

Ahh, life can be so sweet when you are a 'hound and you have a
'hound honey (although she would never admit it).

Joey's Bar-B-Q
3689 Riverside Drive
Chino
909.628.1231

Also at:

1964 W. Foothill Blvd
Upland
909.982.2128

117 W. 2nd Street
Pomona

Tip: Order a rib pack and a pound or two of sliced bef to take
home.  You get a full rack of ribs and a bunch of garlic bread in
the rib pack, the garlic  bread is perfect for making wam BBQ
beef sandwiches.
Woody's Bar-B-Queue - In The Inland Empire!

September 29, 2002 at 16:03:08

After a rough half day of getting her hair done, having a
manicure, and a pedicure, and then scoring some bargains, the
Mrs. returned to the old homestead hungry. So off we went in
Herman, in search of something different than the plethora of
fast food and chain operations that choke The Dining
Wilderness That Is The Inland Empire. We ended up on Foothill
heading east from Central and passed up Joey's BBQ because
we have been there and done that. We also passed up Buffalo
Inn, because there was no way I was going to get the Mrs. to
come willingly into an establishment named after an animal.

Further east we passed what looked like four defunct
independent restaurants on that strip of Foothill between
Mountain and Euclid in Upland, and of course the northwest
corner of Foothill and Mountain where El Gato Gordo, an
independent Mexican restaurant formerly resided was now
taken up by a recently arisen Walgreen's.

On the eastern edge of Upland we cruised by a little place
called The Deli, which appears to be a sandwich joint, but I was
not sufficiently moved. A little further on we passed Vince's
Spaghetti, that local bastion of cheap spaghetti and meat sauce
that smells like warm dog food.

Then we cruised past Redhill BBQ at the corner of Redhill and
Foothill. There was real firewood stacked outside the
establishment and there were a couple of oil-drum BBQ’s going
in the front of the place. We thought of stopping and trying the
place, especially after we passed and got downwind and could
smell that wonderful wood smoke, but something compelled us
to continue on.

On the Mrs., Herman and I cruised, ever deeper in to the
wilderness of east Foothill Boulevard, passing all of the chains
arrayed east of Vineyard, and somehow Herman ended up in a
right turn only lane at the corner of Foothill and Rochester. So
rather than trying to continue further east in to the Fontana
dining desert, and eschewing the 15 freeway, I let Herman take
us around the corner on to Rochester when the Mrs. again
demonstrated her growing ‘hound-liness as she spoke the
words, “want to try Woody’s?”  My brain almost did not process
the words, and almost kept the Mrs. and I and Herman heading
south on Rochester, then the words did register in the old
noggin, “...try Woody’s?”  In an instant, quicker than the speed of
light, the brain processed the thoughts: “No it can’t be the real
Woody’s.  But won’t hurt to check it out.”

So there we found ourselves, in the Rancho Cucamonga
branch of Woody’s Bar-B-Que. Yes an offshoot of the real,
original Woody’s of Slauson Avenue, L.A. fame. Turns out there
are actually three Woody’s, number 1 on Slauson in L.A.,
number 2 on Market in Inglewood, and glory be, hallelujah,
number 3 in the midst of The Dining Wilderness That Is The
Inland Empire.  Unlike the original Woody’s, this branch actually
has tables and chairs in a bright storefront, with copies of
modern art on the walls. The modern art seemed a bit
incongruous for a real, authentic Q joint, but upon reflection it
makes perfect sense. All of the great modern artists obviously
were inspired to do their best work when they were “starving
artists”, deeply in need of and craving truly masterful Q.
Thoughts of smoky pig heaven is what drove these artists, that
once their talent was recognized by the public, and the money
started rolling in, they would be able to eat bar-b-que every day if
they wished!

So rather than being slightly disturbing, that copy of Edvard
Munch’s “The Scream” on the wall above the Mrs. and I was an
affirmation that we had made the right decision by continuing on
our quest until we found Woody’s, tucked away in a small
shopping center. The woman in “The Scream” was in agony,
yes, but in the agony that precedes ecstasy, because she was
jones'n for Q!

I bellied up to the counter where there was that essential
condiment of real Southern bar-b-que, loaves of Wonder bread,
and ordered one rib (short end) dinner and one sliced beef
dinner.  The meat portions were generous and included small
sides of baked beans and potato salad, and the requisite two
slices of Wonder bread.

The meats were good, and unlike when the chow team last
sampled the output of the original Woody’s, the sides were
quite good. My only quibble was with Woody’s sauce, to my
taste much too tomatoe-y, without any bite. So I kicked it up a bit
with the Louisiana Hot Sauce that was on the table, and made a
mental note to bring along some Dave’s Total Insanity the next
time I visit Woody’s.

The Mrs. really wanted some dessert so went back to the
counter to fetch some peach cobbler. The cobbler was served
very warm, but it was way to watery and the dough was nothing
special. Woody’s also has sweet potato pie, however I would
recommend sticking with the Q at Woody’s and going to the
nearby Krispy Kreme at Ontario Mills for dessert.

Woody’s in “Rancho” is conveniently located for all ‘hounds
heading to or from Las Vegas. The intersection of Foothill and
Rochester is less than ¼ of a mile west of the 15 freeway.
‘hounds heading east on the 10 that need a Q fix, only need to
jaunt a couple of miles north of the 10 on the 15 to the Foothill
exit, then go west on Foothill.

Woody’s Bar-B-Que
11897 Foothill Boulevard, #B
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
(909) 291-8125

Also at:

3446 W. Slauson Avenue
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 294-9443

475 S. Market Street
Inglewood, CA
(310) 672-4200