The first full day of our vacation involved waking up in El Segundo, having another trip down into Manhattan beach for a breakfast at Uncle Bill’s (you can read a previous review here), and then driving East to Phoenix. That’s not a short drive (it’s around 7 hours counting basic stops and the like), and that usually leaves one looking for lunch around Blythe, which is pretty much the only real “civilization” for about an hour in each direction. And I’ll be honest, most of the options in Blythe aren’t that great, mostly chains (Denny’s and Pizza Hut, for example), and a few local places (La Casita Dos is pretty good Mexican, and probably should get a review visit from me sometime). But there’s one place in town that does indeed serve up an excellent lunch, and that’s Rebel BBQ. I always have a bit of a hard time writing two types of reviews: Pizza places and BBQ places. The reason is that both of these types of food have both a substantial number of regional varieties, and both of these also have, in my opinion, a much wider spread of quality. There are a lot of mediocre pizza places, but there are a few places that are truly head and shoulders above the rest (like, say, Pepe’s Pizza in CT, or Pizzeria Bianco in AZ). The same goes for BBQ: there are a huge number of BBQ places out there, but the very best (like, say, Franklin) that are in a very different league than most, quality-wise, leading to a surprisingly large gap between “best” and “really good”. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about Rebel BBQ.
Where Offbeat Eats has been:
Well, our third day in Austin ended up primarily being BBQ: one visit to a new place for me (Black’s) and two visits to favorites from last year (Kreuz and City Market). After all that, and a quick refreshment break at Dairy Queen in Lockhart (another part of the annual Austin tradition), we headed back downtown for some more food truck action. The interesting thing about the food truck scene is that it’s always in a bit of flux. Indeed, almost every food truck I had visited in 2011 had either relocated to a new spot (indeed, the two major “food courts” from 2011 had both been sold for development, in what’s likely going to be an ongoing phenomenon in the mobile food business, so Gourdough’s and Love Balls found themselves uprooted), turned into a brick and mortar restaurant (like Odd Duck), or just plain gone out of business (I’ll miss you, Bits and Druthers). So we ended up going to a new (for us) food truck venue, the South Congress Strip. I went to South Congress with one particular food truck in mind: The Best Wurst, which sells all sorts of great sausages and such from the South Congress Strip. They get great reviews and people like them. They also sell out early, they had finished up for the day at least an hour before I got there. However, I found myself lured in by the sights and smells of the nearby Coat and Thai food truck.