Tag Archives: bbq

Sensory Overload at Honey Pig

Sensory overload is really the only way to describe Honey Pig, the popular 24-hour Korean BBQ restaurant in Annandale, VA. The second you walk through the door, Korean pop and Top 40 music blasts from the speakers. Waiters rush out of the kitchen with platters of raw meat and boiling pots of kimchi soup. Busboys clean off tables and throw dirty plates into carts at lightning speed, nearly crashing into the customers waiting for the table.  It’s loud, crowded, and disorganized, and there seems to be no rhyme nor reason to getting a table. (Even though there is a host who keeps a list, it seemed to me that he just chose at random who to seat–or the more savvy patrons just sat themselves while he wasn’t looking.) Through all the chaos, hungry diners can see, hear and smell the delicious sizzle of meats hitting the grill.

The main attraction at Honey Pig is the wide selection of Korean BBQ, expertly grilled at your table by one of the many adept Korean waitresses. This isn’t the refined, haute Korean-fusion cuisine you’d find at David Chang’s Momofuku Ko; it’s more the comforting, tasty food that Korean moms are so good at effortlessly whipping up. We started off with kalbi–beef spareribs marinated in soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. At $21.99, it was one of the most expensive dishes on the menu, but totally worth it. The meat was juicy and tender, and I found myself gnawing on the bones, trying to savor every last bite.

Next came the pork belly and pork neck ($12.99 each). Both were sparingly seasoned, but full of rich, smoky flavor. The pork belly was cooked to just the right crispiness, with a nice crunch at the outset that dissolved into luscious fat. I was a bit mortified to see just how much fat dripped into the pan (and didn’t even want to think about how much fat I had just imbibed), but hey, you have indulge once in a while, right?

Other dishes were less memorable. Dumplings ($6.99) were all right, but a tad to greasy for my taste. The meat-and-vegetable filling was also a bit bland. The scallion pancake ($6.99) didn’t stand out either. I found it starchy and just monotonous to eat. The meal also came with rice and banchan, which are traditional Korean side dishes. At some Korean restaurants, the banchan is the star, with tons of different offerings from spinach cooked in sesame oil to steamed sweet potatoes to kimchi that could constitute a meal in itself; that’s not the case at Honey Pig.

Next time I go to Honey Pig (which I hope will be very soon), I’ll stick with the meat offerings and perhaps one of the steaming bowls of kimchi jigae (kimchi stew with tofu). And of course, a couple bottles of soju (Korea’s answer to vodka) to wash it all down and get in the mood for some karaoke at the bar next door.

Honey Pig

7220-C Annandale Pike

Annandale, VA 22003

703-256-5229

Open 24 hours

Honey Pig (Gooldaegee) on Urbanspoon

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Weekend Round-Up

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Not many foodie events this weekend, so this week’s weekend round-up will be short:

Saturday

Beltway BBQ Showdown: I’ve already lamented about the lack of good BBQ in DC, which is precisely why I’m excited for this event. From noon-5 p.m. at Watkins Regional Park in Maryland, the best grillers on the East Coast will compete for a spot at the American Royal Barbecue Contest. Watch them in action, and maybe if you’re lucky, you might snag a sample of ribs, pork, and beef. See the Going Out Gurus for more info.

EatBar’s Beach Blanket Bash: Arlington residents don’t even have to leave the city to go to the beach this weekend. From 1-4 p.m., EatBar hosts its Beach Blanket Bash–complete with surf music (I’m thinking some Beach Boys?), beach balls, and a wine tasting featuring 25 wines. And of course, the menu will be beach-themed as well, with plenty of seafood. Go to The Washingtonian for more info or call the restaurant at 703-778-9951 for reservations. $25/person

Dance Africa DC: Free outdoor African dance performances and an African street market featuring food, crafts, art, clothing, and a children’s tent will be held on Saturday and Sunday at the Dance Place Studio. Sounds like a fun way to learn more about African culture! Click here for more info and thanks to Price of Petworth for pointing this out.

Sunday

Complimentary Brunch and Silent Auction Fundraiser: Who ever said there’s no such thing as a free meal? This Sunday from 11:00a.m.-2:00p.m., Stroga in Adams Morgan hosts a complimentary brunch and silent auction to raise money for volunteers heading to Haiti. Participation in the silent auction is encouraged, but not mandatory. Stroga has one of the largest and most beautiful spaces around, so it’d definitely be worth stopping by to see the sights, grab a muffin, and maybe help a good cause. See Free in DC for more details.

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Hog Heaven at Rocklands Barbeque

Ever since my friend Jen (over at freshcrackedpepper) brought her homemade pulled pork for lunch, I have  been craving barbeque. And like Jen, I too am quite spoiled when it comes to barbeque. I frequented Dinosaur BarBQue in Syracuse for their meaty ribs and stellar sauce. I visited Little Rock, AR for the sole purpose of trying their famed world champion Whole Hog Barbeque. And while in D.C., deprived of good smoky barbeque, I watch Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives to try to get my bbq fix.

But after a week of feeling empty and sad after that mere sighting of pulled pork, I decided enough was enough, and set out to find some decent barbecue places in the District. As it turns out, there are more than a few, including Urban Barbecue and Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company. Rocklands, being the closer of the two, was my destination on Friday night.

Rocklands has multiple locations, but the one in D.C. is on the main drag of Glover Park. The space is pretty small and cozy, with only about a dozen seats. An eclectic collection of hot sauce line the shelves on the wall. Pleasantly smoky aromas envelop diners–a preview of the meat-filled meal to come.

My boyfriend ordered the 3 meat platter ($10.99; pictured at the top), which included brisket, pulled chicken, and chopped pork (or pulled pork) with a choice of 2 sides. The brisket was tender and juicy, and was great even without any sauce. I loved the meat’s smoky flavor. The pulled chicken and pork were also delicious. The sides, however, were not to my taste. The baked beans were all right (but a little too vinegary and strong), but the coleslaw was a strange mix of peas, carrots, and cabbage. Maybe it is a regional preference, but I’ve never had carrots or peas in coleslaw before, and I found it a bit odd.

I ordered the Rockland Pearl, which the menu lists as Barbequed Baked Beans, Mac & Cheese, Chopped Pork, and Barbeque Sauce ($6.49). But the menu fails to include one major detail: that all of these components come slapped together in a plastic container. I was a bit disturbed at first, but the combination actually worked (once I separated everything onto a separate plate). The buns were an extra 75 cents, and were terrific with the pulled pork. For $6.49, it was a steal. The menu also features ribs and whole barbequed pigs, which both sound enticing.

We left Rocklands with barbecue both in our stomachs…and in our clothes. We absolutely reeked of smoke after, but to me, that is the true sign of a good barbeque joint. Not everything at Rocklands may be to my taste or what I think of as standard barbeque fare, but it will certainly satisfy any Washingtonian’s craving for barbeque–especially those who are on a budget.

Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company

2418 Wisconsin Ave. NW

Washington, DC 20007

202-333-2558

Rocklands Barbeque & Grilling Company on Urbanspoon