Filling Up at Phil’s BBQ

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Last week was unofficially dubbed “My Birthday Week”.  Talk about a great way to usher in a new year: my best friend visited for a few days, had a couple of dinners out with friends, went to Laguna Beach for a brief trip and to see the Pageant of the Masters, got in one last trip to the beach before Summer ends, had a super fun group run throughout downtown San Diego, and spent a spa day with friends at Loews Coronado.  Because of all of that, I was unable to sit down and write about my visit to Phil’s BBQ until now.

When I moved to San Diego, I heard about Phil’s BBQ ( which, at the time, was located in a small space in Mission Hills.  Phil is a fellow Ohioan, and he believes in giving back to the local community.  He sounds like a great guy and he cooks a tasty piece of meat.  Now that’s my kind of guy!  Check out this article from the San Diego Union Tribune for more on this restaurant owner:

For whatever reason, it took a couple of years before I went back to Phil’s.  My in-laws were in town and we headed over to the new location in Point Loma.  We were excited to be going back.  We had heard about the long lines (no reservations accepted), but we were ready.  We got there and the parking lot was kind of empty.  We forgot that Phil’s is closed on Mondays.   We were so bummed!  I went a small hand full of times with friends only to see the line and we’d walk away.  It wasn’t until the other day, I finally returned to Phil’s and actually went through the front doors and grabbed a seat.  I’ve been on the email list and had received the “Jump to the Front of the Line” email.  It allows you and 3 guests to skip the line, go right up to Rhonda, hostess extraordinaire, and walk right up to the cashiers to place your order.  There are a couple of options if you want to check this place out.  1) You can call ahead and place a carry out order. You bypass the long line of customers who are waiting to eat there and find the pick-up order line (much shorter).  2) You can bypass the long line and go to the bar area.  I don’t believe anyone under 21 is allowed, so if you have kids, this is not an option.  Or maybe it is??  Just kidding.  It’s a very small bar, and there’s only one large table for larger sized parties.  There’s a low seating option attached to the bar that is handicap accessible.  You place your order with a bartender or a server, have a Stone Arrogant Bastard, and wait for the lick smacking ribs.  The only wine served is Fallbrook Winery.  I’ve never had it so I can’t speak to the taste, so if you are someone who prefers wine with your BBQ, just keep in mind there’s only this option.  Also, you can’t drink alcohol outside of the bar.  3) The last option: wait in the line. Even though I had the “free pass” email, we opted to sit in the bar.  It seemed a little chaotic throughout the restaurant, and the bar area seemed a little more tame.

You may have heard about Phil’s BBQ even if you live outside of California.  It was recently on Adam Richman‘s Best Sandwich in America on the Travel Channel and was the West Coast Regional Winner for the El Toro, a deli sliced tri-tip sandwich.  Courtney and I ordered the popular El Toro (6.95 each), and Franz ordered Baby Back Ribs because he prefers pork ribs to beef ribs.  We shared a large order of onion rings, and small sides of coleslaw and macaroni salad.  The tri-tip sandwich is packed with meat.  I am a very big eater, and I couldn’t finish it.  Keep in mind all of the sides though!  The meat has a great smoky taste, and is a little on the sweet side, but not in a bad way.  There was zero fat in my lovely pile of meat.  Franz really enjoyed his ribs, but he wished they weren’t as fatty as they were.  He said the flavor was great, and he would order them again. My favorite side was the macaroni salad.  I know it’s really hard to screw up this dish, but it’s possible!  Ah, creamy mayo goodness! It’s so rare that I have it.  My most memorable macaroni salad was with my plate lunch in Hawaii .  Man, that stuff is good.  If you ever visit the Big Island, make sure to order a plate lunch (!  But getting back to Phil’s!!  I would highly recommend checking this place out.  I know the line can be intimidating, but remember you have a few options on how to get your BBQ fix.  I think my favorite way to eat this yummy food in the future will be placing an order to go.  But once a year, for my birthday, I will definitely go in so I can get a birthday hug from Rhonda!!  Thanks to Phil, Rhonda and the entire crew for a tasty and fun birthday BBQ celebration!

SPECIAL NOTE:  Phil isn’t the only “do-gooder” around here!  Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned my friend, Jeannine, who is raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill in Mission Valley?  Well, that time is only a few days away.  Click on this link: RubiosFundraiser 8.2012.  All you have to do is print out the flyer, go to the Rubio’s in Mission Valley on Saturday the 25th between 11am-9pm, place your order and hand the flyer to the cashier.  20% of your transaction will go to Jeannine’s fundraiser.  Rubio’s, thanks for helping out a great cause!

Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

Take Care and Happy Eating!

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