Bob McPhail 6 a.m., May 23
The Olympics are over. Now what am I supposed to do? I still want to root for people based on nothing more than the fact that we hail from the same place. Luckily, the opportunity for me to do that will come later this week, and it’s for a competition that speaks more to my personal interests than swimming, archery, or weightlifting. One of our local businesses will be pitting its specialty of the house against others from around the country on national TV.
Earlier this year, Phil’s BBQ scored some air time on the Travel Channel show “Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America.” For this program, Adam Richman of “Man Vs. Food” fame selected 30 U.S. businesses offering interesting and tasty sandwiches. Over the course of the season, he visited them all, breaking down the methods, ingredients, and finer points of each specialty creation, before crowning champions in ten regions (Northeast, Great Lakes, Gulf Coast, etc.).
The sandwich that brought Richman to Phil’s Point Loma location (3750 Sports Arena Boulevard) was the El Toro. Stuffed with mesquite-smoked tri-tip and slathered in Phil’s signature barbecue sauce, it was good enough to nudge out contenders from the West Coast region: a pulled lamb sandwich from Wexler’s in San Francisco and a pulled pork sammy from JR’s BBQ in L.A.
Now, it’s time for the finals, where Phil’s will vie for gold against a roster of contenders that includes all of the regional winners as well as two wild cards who narrowly squeaked in. That field includes a seared beef tongue sandwich from Austin; a stacked shrimp po' boy straight out of New Orleans; and a "big ass" roast beef, frite and cheddar bechamel-packed Goliath from Portland. Can something simple as well cooked meat and flavorful sauce on bread beat outside-the-box, behemoth, and beloved regional classics? I guess we'll find out on the one-hour finale Wednesday, August 15 at 9 p.m.