Friday, July 27, 2012

Chasin' the Q

by Gp

Stephen King in the November 2011 issue of Wired magazine was interviewed about time travel in a piece called “The Time Keeper.”  The Grand Master of sci-fi and horror opined that if you’re going to go back in time, preparation is everything.  The further back you go, the more the complications set in the author of 11/22/63 noted.  His book as I’m sure you know is a time travel novel revolving around the Kennedy assassination.  Sharon Fallon, the interviewer stated a truism of time travel stories, “The more the potential a given event has to change the future, the more difficult that event would be to change.”
 
Now all I want to do in preparation of the Criminal Minds summer potluck is go back eleven years ago to my old South Central neighborhood to Gadberry’s Bar-B-Que - the greatest emporium of West Texas Q in Los Angeles there ever was.  The joint was sandwiched between a VFW hall and the Shell gas station.  I grew up eating Gadberry’s.  For years after I moved out of the old neighborhood, I’d make a semi-regular trek back to get some links, sliced beef (brisket they call it in other parts of the country) ribs of course and even their heavenly smoked chicken – the meat literally melting off the bone. 
 
And then the horror.  About ten years ago I was in the ‘hood on another matter and seeing it was around lunch time, I swung by Gadberry’s.  Like in a King novel, my jaw went slack at the sight of the closed-up restaurant.  No, maybe I wasn’t seeing right.  I parked, got out of the car and like a somnambulant staggered up tot eh door only to confirm my worst fears…Gadberry’s was no more. I nearly cried I tell ya. 
 
How good was Gadberry’s?  Words fail but here’s what a cat I know, Pulitzer-Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold wrote about Gadberry’s in his February 7, 1991 column, Counter Intelligence, entitled “Smokin’!” in the L.A. Times:
 
“The front inside wall of Gadberry's is the most amazing thing, a life-size, pale-green plaster frieze of a forest scene that includes finely wrought 3-D leaves, singing birds, and a textured brown tree trunk that extends down to include most of an employee's entrance. The sylvan effect is almost enough to make you forget that you are in fact standing in a bare, harshly lit lobby, the only furniture a couple of ashtrays, the tile floor scrubbed clean, in a part of town not known for trees at all. That wall is kind of the Ghiberti doors of early-'50s barbecue kitsch. (The Bear Pit, a mediocre Ozark-style barbecue joint in Mission Hills, is barbecue's Sistine Chapel.) Customers pace back and forth as if they were expectant fathers outside a maternity ward. Anticipation of great spareribs can make a person feel that way. Gadberry's has been in business since 1953.”
 
I’m heading out to Lowe’s now for some parts I need to finish my time machine.  What possible complications could transpire just picking up some Q?  Surely the universe wouldn’t hinge on whether I got more links versus ribs for the potluck…could it?

9 comments:

Meredith Cole said...

What a tragedy! I wonder if they opened somewhere else or are doing private catering. I was hoping I'd just stumbled on the perfect place to eat when I visit LA in September...

Gary Phillips said...

Meredith,

There's still Bludsoe's BBQ, JRs in Culver City (featured on Adam Rich's show on the Travel Channel) and beleive it or not, Phillips' BBQ -- no relation.

Alan Orloff said...

Well, I was going to have a salad for lunch, but after reading this post, I'm thinking I need to find me some BBQ. And fast!

Reece said...

If it wouldn't warp the space-time continuum, bring back some of that Q for the Criminal Minds potluck!

Gary Phillips said...

Possibly too many beef versus chicken links will distrupt the space-time continuum..I bet Mr. Spock would know and he'll be objective as Vulcans don't eat meat.

Tony said...

Hey, if you get your machine up and running, let me know and I'll join you with a cashier's check for everything I can leverage, made out to a trust for myself.

As thanks, I'll throw in a letter to buy up Gadberry's when they're on the brink of collapse. Problem: solved.

Gary Phillips said...

Excellent idea, Tony.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I'm reading this at 5:45 am and now want some Q for breakfast. Thanks, Gary! Think IHop has it?

Gary Phillips said...

Heh, Sue Ann, I don't think IHop has B-B-Q per se (maybe a grilled chicken sandwich they pour barbeque sauce on but that ain't Q) though they do have some damn fine seasoned fries I've found out.