If you ever eat great barbecue, it is akin to your first kiss: You never forget it.
So it is with great anticipation and fingers crossed that I am hoping Hogan's Hickory House BBQ will be like my first kiss.
The eatery, at 3100-A U.S. 17 Business in Murrells Inlet, is a down-home place with picnic tables as well as retro barbecue ads, aprons and utensils on the walls as decor.
Jason Hogan's barbecue smells awesome and looks good. I wanted to eat some, but I was still too full after a late lunch of Chinese food.
"One lady came back three times in one day," said Hogan, who opened the restaurant Dec. 13, after working eight years as a time share sales manager for the Marriott.
As a barbecue lover, he decided to make what he deems good barbecue available to folks who appreciate barbecue that makes them lick their lips and their hands.
"Good barbecue must have a nice crust or burn on the outside," said Hogan, whose wife, Jessica, and mother-in-law, Susie Dietz, did a dynamite job on decorating the place. "It should have a crust crunch and be juicy in the middle and tender. The smoke flavors should go through the meat. Good barbecue should be able to stand on its own without a drop of sauce."
Now before some of you go getting all mad because you (like me) prefer sauce on your barbecue, please don't fret.
Hogan has made five homemade sauces for your meat of choice.
The original is described as mustard-based sauce that is slightly spicy, although I didn't think it was when I tasted a bit on my fingertip.
The red is a St. Louis-style sauce that is mild and tangy. The red hot is a spicier version of the red. On the menu, Hogan said it is "sure to make your forehead sweat." I didn't taste that one.
The sweet and smoky, my personal favorite, is a dark, sweet sauce with a nice smoky flavor that is a bit rich.
The Carolina vinegar sauce is the traditional sauce you and I have seen in these parts, although I didn't try that one.
You can put whatever sauce or sauces you like on pulled pork, chicken, ribs, beef brisket, smoked sausage and other meat we liked barbecued.
There are a variety of dinners, mix and match samplers, family "pig out" packages for large groups of six to 16 people. There also are sides, a few sandwiches and desserts.
Pork and chicken sandwiches start at $3.79. You can add fries and large drink for an additional $2.99. A whole chicken is $9.99. A full slab of ribs are $14.99. Dinners start at $7.99 and come with two sides and Texas toast. There is even something called Hogan's Hickory Hero. It comes with a pound of sliced or pulled pork or pulled chicken on a toasted foot long roll. Melted mozzarella cheese, coleslaw, onion rings and a special creamy barbecue sauce are put on top. The hero costs $11.99.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Call 947-0562.
Ethiopian eatery is back
Redi-et Ethiopian Cuisine opened its doors to customers on Feb. 12, when snow fell from our skies.
A small crowd even showed up the next day when the snow was at its worst.
The eatery, at 746 Main St. in Myrtle Beach, was formerly open near Surfside Beach near the intersection of S.C. 544 and U.S. 17 Business.
Prices range from $3 for the shorba (vegetarian soup) to $12.50 for the lamb entrees including beg alicha wat, which is lamb stewed with onion, ginger root, garlic, spiced butter and secret spices.
Please read my take on Redi-et's tastes and new look in Featured Dish in Friday's edition of Kicks!
Croissants gets sushi
Croissants Bistro & Bakery is known for its scrumptious desserts, wonderful breakfasts, lovely lunches and divine dinners.
Now, sushi is on the menu every Monday starting at 5 p.m.
Heidi Vukov, the owner, has joined forces with Emi Sushi Connection. It is an operation powered by the reputations of Ben Cachila and his father-in-law, Shozo Sakata, who has nearly 40 years of experience in the art of making sushi.
The eatery is at 3751 Robert M. Grissom Parkway in Myrtle Beach.