First of all, let me apologize for the quality of this photo. The room was dark, the BBQ kings were in the dining room, Roy Choi was near and I was sitting next to Drew Barrymore. I didn’t really want to disturb those around me with a flash.
Last Monday, I was lucky enough to snag one of the last reservations for the #AustinMidnightDinner pop-up at Animal in Los Angeles. Adam Perry Lang, who frequents the Jimmy Kimmel backlot in the warmer months, teamed up with Aaron Franklin of the famed Franklin BBQ in Austin, TX. They were both going to be at Animal in Los Angeles for a pop-up event thanks to Roy Choi’s movie Chef. The success of the movie has spawned several pop-ups in the last year, but this one was definitely the best to date! The fact that I didn’t have to go to Texas to experience Franklin BBQ is still so surreal! People wait hours and hours for his smoked creations, and I only had to drive an hour. My BBQ palate has expanded exponentially in the last couple of years, and I’m glad because I think it allowed me to fully appreciate this experience.
The meal was served family style. The tray placed between my boyfriend and I contained a flavorful potato salad with the most perfect hint of dill, a pickled veggie slaw, baked beans, the most perfect spiced corn-on-the-cob, and delish pickles! Most importantly, it also contained meaty sausage, moist pulled pork, and the best brisket I have ever had in my life. Seriously.
Believe me, I didn’t want to love it as much as I did. I wanted it to be hyped. I wanted to come out of it being like ‘OK, that was good. I’m glad we got a res.’ Instead, my thoughts were more along the lines of, ‘Wow. I can never eat BBQ anything from anywhere else again. Cool.’
If you have an opportunity to attend any future pop-ups involving Roy Choi, the guys from Animal, or any aspect of the movie Chef, I highly recommend it!