Beer and Barbeque. Two things that have become quite synonymous with Labor Day weekend holiday traditions. This Labor Day Weekend those two things came together in glorious fashion as our favorite Koreatown craft beer bar Beer Belly teamed up with Echo Park-based mobile caterers The Parks Finest for a BBQ pop-up.
The Park's Finest is a catering team that combines classic American BBQ cuts with Filipino spices and seasonings. The Park's Finest is planning on opening a brick-and-mortar later this year in Historic Filipinotown, and all proceeds from the BBQ went towards their start-up fund. Hungry BBQers turned out en masse to enjoy the feast. Despite the five-hour window alloted for BBQing, The Park's Finest managed to plow through all 200 lbs. of their meat in just two short hours. In fact, we were amongst the last few to be served before they ran out, and we were quite glad to sneak through the line before they ran out.
$10 scored us a plate full of chicken wings, tri-tips, pulled-pork and bibingka corn bread. The pulled pork may have been our favorite - juicy, with crispy edges, and not the littlest bit greasy, as pulled pork can often be. The corn bread - an invention of Park's member Ann Pajimula - combines American cornbread with bibingka (a Filipino rice cake). The moist, pillowy cake is made from corn meal and rice flour, and was served fresh from a bed of banana leaves. The Timuay tri-tip proved tender, flavorful and perfect for harboring excessive amounts of The Park's Finest's house BBQ sauce.
And their 'Backyard Boogie' BBQ sauce may just be the key ingredient in all of this. The sauce is thick and smoky like you'd expect a good BBQ sauce to be, but there's a distinct tangy, sweetness from the introduction of flavors like pineapple and coconut. Frankly, I wouldn't mind having a few jars of this stuff on reserve in my refrigerator right now.
And while Beer Belly may have given its own kitchen a day off for the event, its taps were still open for business, pouring choice craft brews (below). It's no real surprise that owners Jimmy and Yume Han were eager to offer support for another community enterprise. Every beer in house is local - a conscionable choice that helps support many young, southern California breweries and is demonstrative of the burgeoning craft beer community in and around Los Angeles. We helped celebrate the holiday with tasty pours like the Cismontane Antigua Caturra Coffee Citizen, the Eagle Rock Populist and the TAPS Irish Red Ale.
The Backyard Boogie may have been all about The Park's Finest on this day, but Beer Belly's menu, crafted by Chef Wesley Lieberher, is certainly deserving of its own post. When they don't have the day off, the kitchen has already won over many bellies with their Catfish n' Chips, duck fat fries and fried Twinkies. Just as impressive has been their decadent grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and maple syrup and a filet mignon tartare with chopped egg whites.
If you missed out on the event, you can still help support The Park's Finest by having them cater your parties, events or backyard barbeque. You can learn more about them and their dream of opening their own restaurant and even contribute directly to their goal here. We hope they meet their goals, because Angela still hasn't checked out Historic Filipinotown, and the promise of BBQ at The Park's Finest would be just the excuse to head on over.