Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2nd Annual Korean BBQ Cookoff

A parking lot in Koreatown was the scene of the 2nd Annual Korean BBQ Cook-Off on Saturday. Thousands of hungry korean bbq aficionados attended the free event, in which many of the top local korean bbq specialists competed for the title of champion. Park's BBQ was overall winner as the Judge's Selection, selected by a panel that included Chef Ludo Lefebvre of Ludobites, LA Weekly's Pulitzer Prize winning restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, actress Sandra Oh, and diplomat Consul General Jae Soo Kim of Korea.

Some of the longest lines of the day were for Park's BBQ (above) and Kalbi Burger (below). Each dish was priced at one ticket ($5). The Park's line moved excruciatingly slowly in the hot sun. The crowd was patient and good natured while waiting for their bowl of beef. The beef was very good but perhaps not worth waiting 45 minutes in line for. I recommend the restaurant wholeheartedly, where the experience is much more comfortable and delicious, although considerably more expensive than $5.

Kalbi Burger's line was long, but they kept it moving quickly, and folks were served in well under half the time of Park's. The physical Kalbi Burger location opened in mid June at 4001 Wilshire Blvd, at Wilton Place. The burger is a Korean take on the American classic with a kalbi aioli sauce and a Korean vinagrette on the patty made outof ground short ribs and chuck.

Ironically my favorite taste of the day came from Scoops Westside and its owner/operator Matt Kang. (pictured below) In addition to some Korean flavors such as kimchi and red bean, Scoops was serving a roasted corn flavor that was sensational. It should be the signature flavor of Scoops Westside when it opens later this year on Overland.

Other dessert options included the Coolhaus Truck and Sprinkles, which also sent a truck. There was a beer garden, which was tented and proved a popular attraction for beating the heat.

In addition to the Korean BBQ cooking competition and the general food tasting, there was a Soju mix-off cocktail competition. The winning drink, the K-Town Cobbler, was made by Joel Black (pictured above), formerly of Cana Rum Bar.

The recipe for the winning K-Town Cobbler is:

3 oz jinro soju
1 tbl spoon pear chutny
1/2 oz lemon juice
2 pecans
1 tbl spoon honey
10 drops Ginger juice
1 1/2 oz apple juice

Put all ingredients into a mixing can and muddle.
Shake cold and strain into a double old fashioned glass.
Top with crushed ice and a dallop of the pear chutney pecan mash.

Recipe courtesy of Joel Black

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