I returned here with some friends for the happy hour specials, where appetizers are half off.
There are also deals on beer and house wines, $3 wells, and $2 off the specialty cocktails and specialty shots, which are normally $8.50 and $7.50, respectively. So, YES, Killer B’s now has a full liquor license.
I tried the Sunset cocktail, which seemed similar to a Cosmopolitan in ingredients. Vodka, lime, cranberry, triple sec I think. One thing that surprised me was the size. Elegant, no. Big, yes. Weak, probably, but not to me since I am a lightweight. I had to nurse my drink for nearly two hours. Serving it up in a pint glass is quite popular to the hungry crowds, the manager hinted. They also hinted of cocktail experiments taking place, trying to incorporate some of Killer B’s unique sauces with say, a signature bloody mary. Sounds good to me.
As for food, it was a share-fest. We shared a platter of sweet potato fries (yum!) and the slider trifecta, getting a chicken slider, a pork slider and a beef slider, all dressed with coleslaw and served on little toasted buns. Finally, we shared an order of deep fried mac and cheese balls. Deadly and delicious, thank goodness we were sharing.
With my cocktail, 1 well drink and 3-4 beers, plus sliders and mac and cheese, the bill was $25, quenching thee people. Not bad!
Now for other deal news: lunch specials!
I picked up a flier for their latest lunch deal, called the Express Lunch Menu. The dealio is that the food will come in 30 minutes or less, or it’s free. The fine print: valid Monday-Friday from noon-3 pm, excluding holidays. Does not include alcoholic beverages. Dine in only, and most notify server prior to ordering that you’re “in a hurry” ya know.
So what’s the food?
BBQ Chicken Salad
All meals include a soda and one side. Starting at $7.99 and nothing is over $10. Whattadeal, you penny pinchers, tightwads, frugal gourmets, and lunch rushers. Plus, BBQ!
Killer B’s BBQ and Bar
I don’t know about you, but I’m still a little upset over JR’s BBQ closing several years back. JR’s turned beef ribs into tender meat velvet on a bone and they had great sweet potato fries. But I’m at a good point in my grief cycle and it’s time to move on.
A good way to dabble in what they offer is sampling the happy hour menu. Appetizers are half off up until 7 pm, and you can try the trio of sliders for about $3.50. That’s what we got, and it includes a bbq brisket slider, a pulled bbq chicken slider and a pulled pork slider. They come on lightly toasted rolls, with a generous dollop of cole slaw sweetened with pineapple. They were all good, but with the sauces dominating the flavor spectrum it’s hard to tell which is which.
Speaking of sauces, most items already come seasoned and lightly sauced, but you can add more bbq sauce and there are several to choose from. A sweet sauce, a honey chipotle and a habanero sauce. I’m like goldilocks, I like the one in the middle.
Another item ordered from the appetizer list was the deep fried mac and cheese balls. If you’re a deep fried fan, this is a fun one to try. The cheese has a good tang to it. It comes with a spicy mayonnaise for dipping. Normally $5, and $2.50 at happy hour.
We also tried a half rack of baby back ribs, which were great, very tender while still holding structure on the bone. These came with two sides and I went for the deep fried goodness of sweet potato fries and onion rings, all tasting fine. It’s $11 for the half rack and two sides.
This was a lot of food for three people, so it’s not surprising we had some leftovers, which the folks at Killer B’s were happy to provide a takeaway box for. Aw, what a cute little slider in a big cavernous box.
People who’ve had Memphis style bbq, or Kansas City bbq in Memphis or Kansas City grouse that Killer B’s is not either, but I doubt that Killer B’s is trying to be just like those places. Hey, I don’t say your fried rice is bad because you don’t make it like my mom’s fried rice. The guy working the smoker has his way of doing things, and the fact that there *is* a smoker on site to barbeque the meat is pretty cool, and I like the food that came out of it.
At the time I visited, Killer B’s could serve beer and wine. But soon they’ll have a full bar license with proper cocktails. Technically, they consider themselves a sports bar, which isn’t really my thing, but the convenient location, the access to bbq made on site in a large smoker and the temptation of a cocktail would keep me coming back.
Killer B’s BBQ and Bar
There was a time when I was under the impression that this little Japanese hole in the wall was much like the Japanese hole in the wall near my home. Maybe there was shared ownership at one time?..
Anyway, I was working remotely on this day and went to the harbor, initially in search of fish and chips. Well, the fish and chips restaurant was packed with a 30+ minute wait, so that plan was scuppered and there was no way we were giving up our awesome parking spot in the Marina. So, Sushi GoGo it was!
I got the Korean BBQ beef bento, which was a lunch special, at a good price. About $7. The food was filling, but a little underwhelming. What you get in compensation, outside of the price, is eating in the Marina. Personally, I’m not that cuckoo for a view of the ocean (prefer the mountains or gardens myself) so I wasn’t hugely enthused. The Korean beef, like just about all Korean food in Santa Barbara, was disappointing. But the remaining items were perfectly adequate.
The winner item was the eel bowl. This had a higher price, and was less food, but did taste more interesting. It’s hard to go wrong with the sweetness of eel sauce. Unfortunately, I don’t really recall exactly what all was lurking underneath all the bonito flake. Rice, eel, eel sauce, flying fish roe…and other mysterious items.
Our greatest entertainment of the lunch was the tourist couple dining next to us. They were Australian and the guy was a bro and the chick had big big fake boobs. It’s reassuring to know that white trash isn’t confined to just Americans.
We came here on a whim while in the area. My own town’s bbq is slim pickings, most don’t even qualify as bbq, it’s more grilling.
It looked to be run entirely by two fellows who moved back and forth between the firepit grills and the service counter. Plus the queue for Just BBQ is the longest of any vendor in this food court, and that’s a testament to the business’ popularity, not just because the second wait to pay for the meal is stacked with patrons while the bbq guys leave the counter to tend to the grills.
My issue is mainly the sauce. We ordered one mild sauce, and an extra serving of sauce as hot. Just to try both. What we received may have been two hot sauces, because I could not for the life of me discern a difference – they’re just, simply, ridiculously hot. The kind of hot that masks any potential flavor because all there is is hot. Someone out there can proudly piss the farthest, and eat the hottest of hot sauce because it provides a sense of self-fulfillment, or pride, of WINNING, I guess. But maybe, just maybe, someone would like to eat without burning their face off – myself perhaps – so please, make a mild sauce actually mild.
Maybe they gave me the wrong sauce. However, there’s a sign posted claiming the hot sauce is hot, and if you get the hot sauce and find it too hot, you cannot exchange it for the less hot. So, first, I’m giving the benefit of the doubt that what I ordered was indeed what I received – in which case the mild sauce is too hot and no dangling carrot of cheap eats will compel me to return for another round of that. And second, what’s a girl to do upon finding the hot sauce is too hot.
It’s also pretty easy to grill a tri-tip and babyback ribs. When the bbq style can turn a pile of beef ribs into some kind of fall-of-the-bone tender goodness, that will get my attention. Unfortunately these beef ribs required enough gnawing with strings of connective tissue stuck to my teeth it was almost like I was back in junior high with braces. Not pretty.
Anyway, Just BBQ was also lots of grilled bread, and beans, and big cups of coke, and macaroni salad, coleslaw, potato salad and sweet potato pie. It’s a gutbuster of a meal and its patrons spill out across the entire food court as much as they spill out of their own chairs. It’s really popular and cheap, absolutely devastating the competition in the florescent-lit food court.
Does anyone remember the “secret” restaurant in the Calle Real shopping center that was a French deli during the daytime, and at night became a wonderful little Korean restaurant, with a sweet grandmother patiently cooking and chopping all sorts of fragrant kimchi, soups, short ribs and plates of banchan? It was sometime in the late 80s or perhaps early 90s. My family loved it. It was before the internet went mainstream so I guess the secret truly remained a secret and the restaurant eventually closed.
These days, Santa Barbara’s version of Korean food comes from businesses that offer a general range of asian food or cater to poor, hungry students. Or both. What I’m getting at here is that the offerings are limited.
Korean food…tacos. Hmmm.
Well, down in the LA area, a fellow named Mark Manguera hit upon an idea to offer a fast food option by fusing Korean with Mexican food. Korean food flavors, wrapped up in tacos and burritos, sold from roaming food trucks and called Kogi BBQ. It’s insanely popular and helped blaze the trail for an explosion in gourmet food trucks. I once spied the Kogi truck at a park in LA and the queue was several hundred feet long, even with other trucks parked nearby offering good cheap eats as well. I didn’t have a spare three hours to stand in that queue, but I have thought about what I missed.
Anyway, with few exceptions, food businesses in Isla Vista come and go. Located at 956 Embarcadero is…I can’t even keep track. Berrilicious, then Sushilicious? Well, it’s Kogilicious now. In the same building is another eatery called Korean BBQ. At the Korean BBQ window you can get the bowls of meat and vegetables over rice, or as combination plates including some greens and macaroni salad. But that’s a different story. The Kogilicious side is a separate section of the building with a very simple menu. Korean style chicken, pork, beef and tofu, offered in a burrito or a taco. Easy. Handy. Fast.
AJ tipped me off that Kogilicious was offering a grand opening special so I went to check it out with McMarko. I ordered one each of the chicken, beef and pork tacos, and a spicy pork burrito.
If you eat to live (rather than live to eat) you might stuff the food in your mouth and not notice the difference between this and any other burrito or taco, because there’s still rice included in the flour tortilla wrap, and there’s still onions and cilantro and “salsa” on the corn tortilla. But the thick sauce seasoning is different and there’s a crunch to the cooked kimchi inside. They’re also very juicy. I liked it!
Their grand opening special was that all burritos are $4 and all the tacos were $1. The deal wrapped up this Sunday, 8 August, so if you go before then you’ll get the introductory prices AND you’ll avoid the Fiesta crowds while still getting to eat a burrito or taco. After Sunday the regular prices are $6.25 for the burritos and $1.45 per tacos. Still a good deal.
Kogilicious – riding on the coat tails of the Kogi BBQ craze, down to the flame in the logo, but a unique offering in this town.
Solid 4 stars for food, price, late open hours, and the extra star for really nice people working there.
My exceptional situation was seeking Korean food after 10 pm. Most other places around Convoy had closed. Props to Do Re Mi for the longer hours.
Props for endless banchan, about a dozen different dishes, with people asking several times if we needed more.
Props for the spring onion steaming salty egg banchan, which was so yummy and when we said so the kitchen sent out another one.
Props for yummy beef ribs, bubbling tofu soup, cold noodles.
Props for the cinnamon pinenut sip of cold sweet tea as our post dinner digestif.
Props for the price. $36 before tip for three large dishes, 2 drinks and yummy banchan. Feeding three to the gills.
And the folks there, who kept bringing the food, explaining what every nibble was, asking how we were doing, adding to the dinner conversation, thank you!
Do Re Mi House (Kearny Mesa)
John and Clarissa were in town over the weekend and we had a meal with them, with good grillings out on the front patio.
We had Korean style grilled beef, and mixed green salad. Also a rice pilaf made with assorted true rice and wild rice. The spotlight item of the meal was a commemorative bottle of wine from a family friend’s retirement dinner. It was a cabernet sauvignon, with a photo of the proud retiree on the label.
Santa Barbara sure does have great weather for grilling and eating outdoors.
I’ve gotten over my shock at the enormous portions of fat, starch and sugar-laden food and am slowly honing down the menu to a few key items.
However, with each new visit, I do try something new and each time I am still horrified by the portion and gluttony of it all.
2nd visit: I learned this time that it’s best to share the mixed bbq combination, so I ordered this for two people. But then I thought it would be a good idea to sample the misubi, and there was a combination misubi plate, so I ordered that, too.
I was under the misguided impression that an item like spam misubi would be somewhere between the size of nigiri sushi and the size of one slice of spam from the can. WRONG. The rice billowed out far beyond the spam, barely contained by a wrapper of nori.
Here’s how we dealt with it all: cut all the misubi in half, so there’s one half for each of us. Poke out half to two-thirds of the rice, and eat the remainder.
We only ate about half of the bbq plate as well. This was 3-4 kinds of sweet bbq’d meats, two scoops of rice and one scoop of macaroni salad. I took home the bbq leftovers, which then provided two more meals. My lunch buddy took home all the surplus rice and made fried rice for two additional meals.
3rd visit: our cholesterol has dropped to normal levels again, and a couple friends admit to being oddly drawn to the misubi. Lessons learned: this time we only order two misubi to share between us. The chicken katsu and bbq chicken is the way to go. They effectively are little burritos of chicken and rice, wrapped in nori. A nice compact meal.
But THEN I think I should sample something new, and those 10 malasadas for $3.99 seem innocent enough. Like doughnut holes, right? WRONG! They’re bigger, and hot, and fresh and completely drenched in sugar with sugar on the side. They completely filled a large styrofoam takeaway box. Who orders this stuff for just one person?! One order should feed a satisfactory portion to, like, five people.
So I’m trying to manage expectations here. By the third visit I should have learned that anything I order will not *ever* have a sensible portion. In the future I will eat here with maybe a group of four, to help ensure we can share a variety of items without having our guts busted.
Chicken katsu misubi ftw.
Heyo, it’s Michael’s graduation party! Good times, good friends, good food.
Heather made this hummus combination dip that had the folks going gah-gah for it. Half standard hummus, and half hummus with peas and mint. Delicious! The hosts also made a batch of sangria that could sate the thirst of many many people. I heard a comment that it wasn’t that strong, but that’s probably why I liked it. Me no high alcohol tolerance.
She also grilled some lovely figs, stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in prosciutto. This was my favorite of the evening. I can’t stop thinking about them now.
There was way more food than I could possibly photograph and still eat and be social. I didn’t take the last photograph here, either Kia or Ted did.
Later, a pinata was smashed open by the children. I was told that the following sugar high was a fascinating sight. But I’d left by then, for one more food event to wrap up the lovely day and night.
The afternoon’s nocino making session merged into an evening dinner with friends in Heather and Sarita’s garden.
There was plenty of beer, wine and spirits, but the low-alcohol tolerance chick in me gravitated towards the Trader Joe’s Blueberry Juice. And who could say no to it, with the enthusiastic sommelier we had offering the sweet beverage around.
There were plenty of hot dogs and sausages, and of many varieties. Tom, the resident vegetarian, brought out some mighty fine yams for the gang. Getcher hot yams! It was hard to pick the winner of all the wonderful things to eat available. Then again, some pickin’s weren’t entirely socially approved. I didn’t mind.
But if I did have to select a few items of key tastiness, it would have to be Kia’s homemade pinquito beans, made with Rancho Gordo beans, a fantastic company in Napa Valley that specializes in heirloom beans. Her pinquito beans bring a tri-tip dinner together, alongside thick handmade flour tortillas and fresh salsa.
Kia also brought homemade ice cream: strawberry and burnt sugar. Heavenly.
It was no camping, like my traditional memorial weekend, but it was darn fine.