Gorilla BBQ – Pacifica

Gorilla BBQ Storefront

Rated: ♣♣♣♣

One Friday after work, K and I were craving some barbeque and decided to head down to Pacifica. I remembered seeing Gorilla BBQ on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Network once, so I suggested we try it out. The motto by the front door read, “If it’s smokin’, we’re open.” I looked up and saw the smoke piping out of the roof of their train car shaped restaurant.

Gorilla BBQ Ribs

We were warned that the portions were huge, so K and I shared a 2 item combo with pork ribs and pulled pork and sides of beans and rice, mac n cheese and a corn muffin. It required a lot of self-control to not sneak a taste in the car, but I managed to hold on for the 20 minute ride home. Once home, K and I ripped open the box and dug in. The pork ribs were so tender, smokey and succulent. It had a good bark and the meat fell right off the bone. The pulled pork was very tender and packed with lots of sweet sauce. Gorilla serves their meat dry and packs a few containers of their BBQ sauce with every order. The only disappointment in the meal was the sauce. It tasted almost like a fruit sauce; it was missing it’s tang. As for our sides, the corn muffin was moist, the mac n cheese creamy and the beans and rice soft and warming.

Although the barbequing of the meets were executed perfectly, I’m going to knock off one star for the sauce.

Gorilla Barbeque
2145 Coast Hwy
Pacifica, CA 94044
(650) 359-7427

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Sumika Grill – Los Gatos

Sumika Grill Skewers 2Sumika Grill
236 Central Pl
Los Altos, CA 94022

Rated: ♣♣♣♣

The rave in Japan is all about yakitori (skewers). And it’s not your typical beef, mushroom and bell pepper skewers. It’s more like heart and liver skewers! Don’t be scared. If you’re less adventurous, there’s also the usual chicken, shrimp and veggie options. So, a group of friends and I got together to try Sumika Grill in Los Gatos for their… you guessed it! Yakitori!

The scene:

Sumika Grill is very traditional Japanese. They have pictures of sumo wrestlers on the wall and the master Japanese chefs are working the grills at the center of the restaurant where the kitchen is situated.

The caveat with yakitori is that portions are small, so it takes a lot to get full. The skewers start off at $3.50 each, but you’d be surprised at how much it adds up. For a table of 8, we each paid about $30.

The food:

Veggie Tempura – I didn’t get much of this, but I do remember it not having much of a crispy skin. The tempura was swimming in a light sauce, making the veggies soggy. I wouldn’t order this a 2nd time around.

Chicken Karage – I’m a huge fan of chicken karage, Japanese fried chicken. Some how, Japanese restaurants are able to make fried chicken that’s incredibly tender and juicy. The karage at Sumika Grill was exceptionally mouth-watering. The pieces are larger than your typical karage, but I won’t complain about the size.

Fried Garlic – This, on the other hand, was amazing! Fried garlic – who wouldn’t love that? The cloves were so soft, creamy and sweet. Not a hint of sharpness from the garlic in sight. The bulb also came with a creamy and tart sauce. I have no idea what’s in it other than Kewpi (Japanese mayo), but it’s good.

Yakitori – We had an array of yakitori – chicken thighs, shitake mushrooms, scallops, hearts, livers, shrimp, bacon-wrapped asparagus and bacon-wrapped enoki mushrooms. All were very good, but I liked the enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon the most. The saltiness from the bacon and the juices from the mushrooms made for one tasty skewer.

Grilled Rice – I was so full at this point, but I had to try the grilled rice. These rice patties are super crispy on the outside and is packed with sticky soft rice mixed with sweet seaweed. A little sweet and a little salty. So good. I could eat these and the fried garlic all day.

I am a fan of this place and I’d definitely come back again. A well deserved 4 stars! By the way, I have not tried their famous sister restaurant, Orenchi Ramen in Santa Clara, but I’ve heard it is the best ramen in the Bay Area.

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The Best Burger Tips

Courtesy of Flickr

Now that we’re in Spring and Memorial Day is right around the corner, TheCultureBite wanted to share some tips for making some Awesome Burgers for your next outdoor BBQ.

The Meat

  1. Grind Your Own Meat. Or have the butcher grind it for you. For juicy burgers, make sure you use coarse ground burger patties.
  2. Your Burgers Need Fat. No fat, no taste. Keep fat to about 20%.
  3. Add a Dimple. Press your thumb in the middle of the burger to minimize bloating
  4. Salt And Pepper. That’s it. Adding other ingredients increases the chance that a burger will fall apart.
  5. Form, then Salt. Form the Burger before adding Salt. Preferably, salt right before grilling.
  6. Beef… it’s what to Grill. Turkey and Buffalo are alright, if you are lame, but if you are awesome, then you’ll use Beef.
  7. Keep Meat Cold. The worst thing for your burgers is to allow them to warm in your hands.

The Technique

  1. Do no Press the Burger. You don’t like it when your Dad/Boss/Spouse, stands over you while you are working on something important, and neither does your meat.
  2. Flip Once. Build those Grill Marks, then Flip.
  3. Flip, Then Cheese. Cover the Grill to evenly melt the cheese.
  4. Toast, not Roast, the bun. Nobody likes to eat burnt bread. Lightly Toast it and keep the center nice and moist.
  5. Hot Grill, Good. Make sure the Coals are well heated, not heating. When you are getting a good heat, burgers should just spend 4 minutes on each side.
  6. Use a Thermometer.
  • 120°F and below for rare (red/raw in the center)
  • 130°F for medium-rare (pink and warm)
  • 140°F for medium (totally pink, starting to dry out)
  • 150°F for medium-well (grayish pink, significantly drier)
  • 160°F and above for well done (completely gray, very little moisture)

Add your own Tips in the comments!

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