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Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ – Kansas City, KS

If there’s one thing I love the midwest for it’s their damn good BBQ!  (And all my friends who live there too:))  On my first trip out to Kansas City, my brother-in-law, whose’s originally from Wichita, took us to this fine establishment.  Actually, it’s in a gas station but once you get inside it’s not scary at all.  The menu is huge and it’s a little overwhelming but I finally narrowed down my selection to the Carolina Style Brisket Sandwich  – served on a bun with spicy slaw and Bubba’s Sauce.   We also got a side of beans and coleslaw.  There’s plenty of extra BBQ sauce on the table which I used liberally.

Let me just tell you that I loved this sandwich so much that when I was back in Kansas City for a wedding this June, yes…twice in one year, we had our friends pick us up sandwiches and had them waiting for us when we flew in.  I think it will be a new tradition when I go to Kansas City…and it might just be the reason I go there:)

Not only am I a fan but so is Anthony Bourdain.  In fact, he wrote in an article for Men’s Health which included Oklahoma Joe’s as on of the 13 places to eat before you die.  Also on that list were El Bulli and The French Laundry.  Here’s a quote from the article:

“People may disagree on who has the best barbecue,” he writes. “Here, the brisket (particularly the burnt ends), pulled pork, and ribs are all of a quality that meet the high standards even of Kansas City natives. It’s the best barbecue in Kansas City, which makes it the best barbecue in the world.”

*My husband gets The Z-Man Sandwich – brisket, smoked provolone, topped w/ two onion rings on a kaiser bun.  I’ve had a bite and it’s pretty tasty.

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Revel – Seattle, WA

For those of you who don’t know the background behind Revel…here it is in a nutshell…

Iron Chef America husband and wife team, Seif Chirhi and Rachel Yang, are the chefs behind this 7 month old restaurant in Fremont which has gotten an unprecedented amount of press since opening in mid-December 2010.  First it was the New York Times mention, then the taping of The Best Thing I Ever Ate for the Food Network due to Frank Bruni’s visit and now love for the asparagus rice bowl, next it was the Wall Street Journal and most recently Revel was named the Best New Restaurant in Seattle for 2011 by Seattle Weekly.

The concept is Korean street food.  Salads, dumplings, pancakes, rice bowls and noodles.  The menu changes appropriately according to the season so don’t get too attached to one thing.  It’s refreshing to know that even if you go often you’ll always find something new.  During the summer you’ll find the BBQ smoking on the deck and a whole animal being served up a number of different ways.  One week it might be a goat, next a whole pig!

Next door (attached to the restaurant) is Quoin (the architectural term for cornerstone), Yang and Chirchi’s bar.  There’s a spacious deck off the back with a great fire pit and plenty of seating around.  For those that can’t get in or don’t have the patience to wait for a seat at Revel, the full menu is served inside and out at Quoin.

If you haven’t been, what are you waiting for?  The wait can be long but I promise the food is worth it!

Corned lamb salad with mizuna and spicy nuoc cham

Pork belly pancake with kimchi and bean sprouts

Lamb dumpling with goat yogurt and cucumber

BBQ of the week – whole cow

White gulf shrimp, cilantro pistou and coriander noodles

Spice cake ice cream sandwiches with salted caramel dipping sauce

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