The Park’s Finest (Echo Park)

The Park's Finest - Echo Park

Due to my own self-imposed rules of not posting more than one media event per week, I get a little behind. Back-logged with media invitationals is not a terrible aspect of ones life, though I do feel guilty for being unable to have a quicker turn around time. However, bloggers posting about their “freebies” is a sore spot for a lot of people, one that I have not addressed head-on as of yet (and don’t worry, I will) and adhering to the “one media event per week” is a rule I am going to stick to for the time being.

All right, enough with the idle rambling – onto the food! Back in October, I was invited to The Park’s Finest, a barbecue joint in Echo Park owned and operated by the Concordia family, along with their life-long neighborhood pals, the Bautista’s, Pajimula’s, and the Araquel’s, who tell their story in better words than I can ever do justice:

“Established in 2009 as a small-scale catering company, the family business has grown each year. With support from family, the block, and community, The Park’s Finest was able to open its doors to the public in January 2012. The Park’s Finest now functions as an eatery near Downtown L.A. that provides fast casual convenience with a sit-down dining experience.”

We all sat family style, cozying up to strangers; familiar faces in the home grown food scene of L.A., bloggers, Yelpers, journalists and family friends alike. In fact, I invited my big brother to accompany me this evening, which deepened my enjoyment of the evening as I could relate to the feelings of family that The Park’s Finest wanted to emphasize.

As if their enthusiasm and passion for their food and business wasn’t clear enough, photo albums were made (pictured above) for every guest to help underline the message of family and community which The Park’s Finest stands for. I still have my copy, and I intend to keep it as long as possible. Detailed touches like these are soul-bearing, and I respect the level of vulnerability these good people showed a handful of strangers by sharing their story.

The Park's Finest - Echo Park
Coconut Beef
smoked chuck roll, cubed, and stewed in a coconut cream

My. God. I want it. All of it. I really could have had this dish all night long and been a happy camper. I’m not going to lie; it doesn’t look significant in the least, but this dish packs a hell of a wallop in flavor.

The Park's Finest - Echo Park
San Pablo Pulled Pork
sixteen-hour slow-roasted pork shoulder

Though I am generally not a fan of pulled pork, once I experimented with the two sauces available to us – a sweet and tangy vinegar sauce and a savory slightly sweet sauce – this heap of pork was transformed. Secret is in the sauce!

The Park's Finest - Echo Park
Smoked Banana Leaf Salmon
olive oil, lemon pepper, pink himalayan salt, house pepper blend, house garlic blend

Salmon will never be my favorite. Unless it is in raw sashimi/sushi form, I am not a fan.

The Park's Finest - Echo Park
Ann’s Cornbread Bibingka
Cornmeal/Rice flour mix, baked on a banana leaf

As I prefer cornbread to be on the sweet side, this was a home run for me. I especially enjoyed the sugary crusted top.

The Park's Finest - Echo Park
Eagle Rock Brewery Manifesto Wit

I think the description of this is so incredibly fantastic that I cannot top it: “Belgian-style ‘wit-bier’ or white ale has a light wheat base and is typically spiced with coriander and citrus peel. for a unique twist, we add rose petals as well. manifesto wit is pale straw-colored and slightly hazy in appearance, with invigorating citrus, floral, and spice aromatics.the light body and subtle sweetness of this beer accentuate the peppery flavor produced by the yeast.these lively flavors, combined with the slight tartness in the finish, create a crisp and refreshing experience. it’s sunshine in a glass!”

Aside: I want to get paid to write these kinds of descriptions. I don’t know if I truly tasted that many levels of awesomeness, but it was a mighty tasty beer nonetheless.

The Park's Finest - Echo Park
Ligaya Veggie Medly
zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms and red pepper

My brother was just about dying from meat overload when these arrived, satisfying his desire to balance out his meal.

The Park's Finest - Echo Park
Mt. Malindang Pork Ribs
seasoned, slow-smoked St. Louis style pork ribs and rib tips

A touch too fatty for my liking. Ribs are tricky, and I’m particular about them.

The Park's Finest - Echo Park
Beef Tri-Tip
tender, deli-thin season-crusted sirloin beef paired with homemade horseradish sauce

When tri-tip is done well, as these were, it can be positively magical for the tastebuds. This sampling as one of my favorites, along with the horseradish sauce.

The Park's Finest - Echo Park
Candy Coated Ham
coated with signature BBQ sauce every half hour for 12 hours

Quite easily, the best ham I have ever eaten. Tender, juicy ham with a richly sweet sauce…it will convert all of you “Honey Baked Ham” purists in a heartbeat.

The Park's Finest - Echo Park
corn off the cob served with mayo, fresh parmesan cheese & cayenne pepper

When I taste something like elota and my first thought is: “Oh, Jeebus, how do I replicate this glorious dish?” I know someone in that kitchen is doing something right. I really need to gussy up my corn dishes.

The Park's Finest - Echo Park
Beef Short Rib
a smoked, seasoned, meaty beef rib paired with house own crema horseradish sauce

Unless it’s lamb, ribs really aren’t my thing. I find them to be prone to dryness and all-too easily caught in ones teeth. I only had the smallest of bites of this beef rib, and cannot truly comment on it.

The Park's Finest - Echo Park
Gabi Greens

I wasn’t into these Filipino tubers, as they tasted like bitter collared greens, but my brother heaped them onto his plate. Dig in, bro.

The Park's Finest - Echo Park

I’m not one for turkey outside of the obligatory Thanksgiving holiday, but I would dig into a stack like this one with no problem. Every piece was moist and bursting with flavor of its own natural basting. I imagine this turkey is the kind of turkey Ben Franklin envisioned for our great country when he suggested the noble beast be our avian representative.

The Park's Finest - Echo Park
Cornbread Pudding with Salted caramel top

The dessert was provided by friends at Crème Caramel LA, known for their gourmet approach to bread pudding. This gorgeous dish left me curious to want to explore more of CCL’s offerings.

It was at this point the good folks at The Park’s Finest realized we could no longer consume any more of their fine fare. In a stroke of mercy and genius, they packed up the two remaining meats and passed around doggy-bags to take home. In them were the hot link medley (smoked, sliced spicy sausages with sweet filipino longanisa) and chicken wings. These, along with candied ham were taken home and enjoyed for my lunch the next day.

My Top Picks: Coconut Beef, Candied Ham, Cornbread, Tri-Tip and Elota. I could have died from the food coma this night gave me, but after having tasted these five items in particular, I would have gone with a smile on my face. I have every intention of recommending The Park’s Finest to all who ask, and returning in the (hopefully, soon) future.

The Park’s Finest
1267 W. Temple St.
Los Angeles, CA
Phone: (213) 481.2800

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