What can you really do on a trip to San Diego when your girlfriend is competing in a body building completion all weekend and you are left alone to your own devices? There’s only one answer on a Weekend Foodie blog.
So over the weekend, I accompanied my girlfriend to San Diego so she could compete in a body building completion. Unfortunately, there was very little time to scope out possible eateries from the car on our way down since our drive on surface streets only lasted an entire 5 minutes before we got to the hotel. But just across the street from the Lafayette Hotel I found a BBQ joint tucked in the corner of some shops called BBQ 81. How can you gol wrong with a sign that has “Pulled Pork” in big letters? It’s like it already knew what I wanted…
There is not much to notice when you walk into this restaurant: several tables, a couple of TVs hanging on the wall (not enough on sports), and a fascination with a former player on the LA Rams. The staff huddled around the bar and one waitress told me that I could sit anywhere is wanted. Since it was only 3 pm on a Friday, I sat watching the Washington Nationals game.
After being presented with a menu, I paused to take a look at what I had in store for me. The basics were there, pulled pork, tri tip, Mac and cheese, etc. Being that I was probably. not going to get another chance to be here for a while, I stocked up with a tri tip sandwich, onion rings, Mac n cheese, hot links, and something that I couldn’t resist trying, the smothered tots.
Whoever thought of putting pulled pork on tater tots is a visionary. We have all thought about doing it, but this guy is doing it AND selling it. He has got cajones
After the massive order, where i think I shocked a couple of the staff, I finally got around to flipping to the other side of the menu and read the story of the restaurant. It was a story of a heartfelt tribute to the owners father who played for the LA Rams dawning number 81. It’s one thing to go into a Michelin rated restaurant with a top chef, you know you are going to get a great meal, but I love places like this because it makes me feel like that there is love in the food.
So now it’s go time. As I looked up from reading the menu, all of my food arrives at once. It was BBQ heaven. I think I drooled a little, but I don’t think anyone saw me. I had to dig right into those smothered tot..
Pulled pork has always been a favorite of mine and layering the goodness over tots didn’t disappoint. I am usually a little leery of ordering tots in restaurants for fear they will be soggy, but not here. The crisp crunchy tots made the dish with the pulled pork smothered in a sweet BBQ sauce. It was a good mix of sweet and savory, that is could have almost has as a finished as a dessert. I know that sounds weird, but I have been known to have meat for dessert on occassion.
The tri tip was seasoned in the basics and slapped naked on a bun. No frills here. There was a nice bark on the meat, but it was a little dry, so I added a little bbq sauce to the mix which brought out more of the tasty goodness of the tri tip. But I was not expecting a slab of meat on a bun, rather more of something sliced. Needless to say, I enjoyed the dish, but I don’t think I would order it a a sandwich again because the bread was REALLY filling and I had another couple dishes to go!
My favorite of the all had to be the hot links. They were the kind that tasted a little hot on the front end, but got hotter a you got thorough the link. Me likey.
Overall I enjoyed the restaurant and thought it had good food, but in the grand scheme of BBQ, there was nothing that stood out to make me crave it.
Im going to give it a a 3 of 5 on my foodie scale.