Bo Coup (Bo's Barbeque -- Lafayette, CA)
I'm in the process of writing the Cyrus post, but with these meals of a thousand courses it takes me awhile. Thought I'd give you a tidbit to hold you over.
The first time Jon and I went to Bo's Barbecue was in the summer of 2002. It was tiny, with an ordering counter, and, if I remember correctly only one indoor table. There were about three more tables outside. We walked in and ordered. From Bo. Our food was prepared. By Bo. Our money was taken. By Bo. One man show it was back in the day.
So on our way to some outdoor theater, we decided to grab some Bo's so we could do it picnic style. It was 7:20. The show was at 8:00 about 8 minutes away. No problem.
When we arrived at Bo's, however, we were shocked. There was a line out the door. And the restaurant and patio were both HUGE. The restaurant itself looked to be about eight times as big as before. There were folks playing blues in the back, tables filled with people and a waiting area with couches for to-go orders. Clearly Bo has done well for himself.
Shit. I don't know if we'll make this show. Oh, well, let's get in line anyway (side note: I just typed "wine" instead of "line." I need some help). So we got in the long ass line and waited. And waited. And waited. We watched little children hop around and elderly folks help each other out the door.
Once we were in the door, Bo's cooler was visible. This cooler has the best beer selection I've ever seen ANYWHERE. From all over the world. It was fascinating. And then there is the wine. Dozens of bottles lined up on the counters -- everything you could want or need to go with your barbecue. In fact, we spotted a few bottles of Opus One at the EDGE of the counter. As in one-toddler-swipe-away-from-a-very-expensive-disaster.
And then there's Bo. An enormous, bearded, jolly, LOVELY man. You see him and you smile. His good spirit permeates the space he's in. And the moment he enters your line of vision, you are overcome with an overwhelming urge to hug him. This man has the best of hearts.
This is evident when he sees the line and begins pouring wine for the people waiting. I was confused at first, thinking he wanted to hand it to someone who had actually PAID. He said, "Go on, sweetheart, don't be scared. I won't poison you." So I drank it. And then he poured me more.
When we congratulated him on his success and told him how long it had been since our last visit he said "Thank you, thank you so much. You guys demanded it so we made it happen. And it's good to see you're still together." Which was funny, charming and touching all at the same time.
The food is simple and great. The ribs are where it's at, served with tangy BBQ sauce. You can get the short end or the long end and I think the short end is worth the extra buck. There's also links and chicken. You can also do it combo style. Everything comes with really great corn on the cob, potato salad and bread. All meats are Niman Ranch, bread is Acme. Local, organic, and fucking tasty -- what more can you ask for? My only complaint? Not enough bread or corn comes with the whole deal. But you can order extra if you want. The ribs are so irresistible that Jon and I must have looked like we had never seen food before as we gnawed on the bones. We got a few stares. Fuck 'em -- it's great.
And for dessert? Little sweet potato pies, pecan pies and nectarine cobblers (seasonal). On our recent visit, we went with the sweet potato and I ate so much of it that I felt sick. It was so good, though, and reminded me so much of childhood that I kept picking the fork up.
We made it to the show (barely) and enjoyed our barbecue for the entire duration (3.5 hours, much to Jon's chagrin).
Bo's got great barbecue, no question, but he's just as much a reason for going there as the food. Sometimes I ask myself what it is that appeals to me so much about restaurants -- is it that I'm lazy? Curious? Who really knows? But one thing I recently realized is that part of what appeals to me so much is that a lot of really good restaurants have a lot of love behind them. And getting to spend a few minutes with someone like Bo, who is so dedicated to making people happy, makes an impact on me that stays there for a good long while. And I would never have had that chance unless I had a hankering for a little barbecue. Thanks, Bo.
"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."