Tag Archives: Rusty Keyhole

Ribs Ribs Ribs

A very happy EJ

A very happy EJ

I think everyone who reads this blog knows how fanatical we are about meat on the bone. So when I found out that  Sharky’s was running their 1st ever ribs cookoff, it was an easy decision to join the masses for some meat.

9 competitors vied for the “Piggie” award and with three professional palates taking care of the judging, it was going to be a tough competition!

We were getting hungry and a bit impatient for the ribs to come out, so we ordered some nachos to stave off the hunger until the main event. I have always loved the nachos at Sharky’s. I think it has to do with the copious amounts of cheddar cheese sauce and jalapenos on the plate.

Demolished nachos

Demolished nachos

The judges got their portions of ribs all at once which made practically everyone in the bar (well at least at my table) stare hungrily at all the white styrofoam boxes littered on the judging table. What made it even worse was the announcement from the management that turnout was larger than expected and they may not have enough to go around!

The judging table

The judging table

Fifteen minutes later, the all you can feast of coleslaw, corn on the cob and potato salad was unwrapped, ribs started coming out in white styrofoam boxes and we finally got to eating!

Ribs contestant number 1: Conner

Ribs contestant number 1: Conner

Ribs contestant number 2: Rory's Restaurant

Ribs contestant number 2: Rory's Restaurant

Ribs contestant number 3: Jake from Sharky's

Ribs contestant number 3: Mike from Sharky's

Ribs contestant number 4: Ebony

Ribs contestant number 4: Ebony

Ribs contestant number 5: Chona Correa

Ribs contestant number 5: Chona Correa

Ribs contestant number 6: Lone Star

Ribs contestant number 6: Lone Star

Ribs contestant number 7: Rusty Keyhole

Ribs contestant number 7: Rusty Keyhole

Ribs contestant number 8: Ross

Ribs contestant number 8: Ross

Ribs contestant number 9: Dallas from Alley Cat

Ribs contestant number 9: Dallas from Alley Cat

Ribs contestant number 10: Al from Sharky's

Ribs contestant number 10: Al from Sharky's

I don’t want to go into detail about the ribs except that they were all very good and portion sizes were ample. Also, number 10 was not given to the judges but given to the crowd for the People’s Choice vote.

We were completely stuffed and totally ribbed out when number 10 rolled out. In our group of 10, 8 picked the ribs from Rusty as the clear winner with one vote going to Number 3 and to Number 9 respectively.

In the end, the People’s Choice Award went to Rusty Keyhole in Kampot.

And the winners are:

3rd place: Number 9 which came from Dallas at Alley Cat Cafe

2nd place: Number 3 which came from Mike who owns Jake’s BBQ restaurant located in NYC

1st place: Number 4 which were beef ribs that came from Ebony (no restaurant affiliation)

I have to admit that when I tasted the ribs from Ebony, they were impressive. I  thought they were lamb ribs and the sauce was excellent. Not too sweet and had a subtle roasted garlic taste to it. I tried to get the recipe from Ebony but I think she is keeping it secret for next year!

Many thanks to the Sharky’s crew for organizing this event and I hope to see more of these cookoffs in Cambodia!

Just some more images from the night.

Jake dishing out the goods

Mike dishing out the goods

Bringing out the next contestant

Bringing out the next contestant

Ribs from Dallas

Ribs from Dallas

Someone came prepared!

Someone came prepared!

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Kampot tales

The view at the Rusty Keyhole.

The view at the Rusty Keyhole and I am not just talking about the ribs.

Kampot is my favorite long weekend destination when a bit of countryside life is needed. Considering its small size (40,000 population), this quirky little riverside town has a large amount of culinary options to choose from.

If I had to make one stop in Kampot for some food, it would have to be the Rusty Keyhole. I have been coming to the Rusty Keyhole for over 5 years now and what keeps me coming back isn’t only the Jurassic sized ribs order but the great hospitality by the owners Kristian and his wife Com. Kristian is a fountain of information if you are into dirt bike riding and with the addition of their 2 year old daughter Kanika, the Keyhole has a great family feel to the place. Over the past year, the Keyhole has moved to a location just outside Kampot town that gives you a slice of countryside life. For those who want to stay in town, Kristian is planning a new location in town and it should be open a couple of weeks from now Its open now!

Okay back to the ribs. They aren’t your typical ribs as Kristian keeps the loin with the order but manages to keeps the meat moist by a closely guarded par-boiling process. The ribs are then grilled to order, a choice of starch is added along with some fresh cut veggies on the side. Heaven on a plate. $6 for a small order, $8 for a large.

Ribs grilling at the Rusty Keyhole in Kampot

Ribs grilling at the Rusty Keyhole in Kampot

Another place that demands recognition is Mea Culpa. A guesthouse located just 5 minutes walk from the center of town, their wood-fired oven pizzas are the goods.

Getting the oven ready for some pies

Getting the oven ready for some pies

Probably the best pizza in Cambodia, the pizzas only take 3 minutes to cook in the 650 degree oven. You can see how much care Ben takes into his final product, inspecting every single plate coming out of the kitchen.I asked Ben, the owner of Mea Culpa, why his pizzas are so damn good and he answered simply “Its all about the crust”.

The crust on the Margherita pizza at Mea Culpa

Nice and firm

I ordered the Margherita pizza ($5.50 for a Medium) which had a generous amount of cheese that didn’t overpower sauce. I also had the feta cheese, tomato and basil dip ($3.00). The punchy tomato sauce was tempered by a generous portion of feta cheese. Homemade melba toast accompanies.

Feta and Basil dip at Mea Culpa in Kampot

Feta and Basil dip at Mea Culpa in Kampot

Some other noteworthy places in Kampot:

Blissful Guesthouse for their amazing duck egg omelettes.

Bamboo Light for Sri Lankan dishes.

Bar Red for their gargantuan late night samosas.

Epic Arts for their gooey chocolate brownie and other pastries.

Rikitikitavi for their 1st floor deck with stunning views of the river. Best place in town for a sunset drink.

Ta Ouv Restaurant for some fresh seafood.

Addresses: Kampot has no street names but it’s a small enough town to get around.

Just ask any tuk tuk driver. Even better, rent a bicycle and do some exploring.

Vinh

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