Miss A Columnist

Melissa Curtin covers charity and style related events and loves to cover LA's best in beauty, fashion, and culture. She is an educator who recently returned to the classroom to motivate and inspire third graders at a private school in Pacific Palisades. In 2012, she launched an educational T-shirt line called Wear2learn. When she is not working out, hiking a canyon, or at the beach, she is writing. Her latest dream come true has been travel writing for Johnny Jet.

After teaching in the Maryland public school system for almost a decade, she left the conservative East Coast environment in Washington, DC for West Coast living. Eager for adventure, inner growth, and a new environment, she packed her car and took to the open road on her own landing in her new home - Hollywood, California. As a Connecticut Yankee at heart, she has now lived in Los Angeles for six years surrounded by the stars.

Melissa graduated from Gettysburg College with a double major in psychology and art history. Soon after, she earned a Master's Degree in education. Melissa traveled around the world on Semester at Sea, and earned a Fulbright Scholarship which enabled her to teach in England. A lust for travel and learning has fueled her globe trotting ever since. Some of her favorite destinations are Costa Rica, Thailand, Fiji, Morocco, Vietnam, Belgium, Italy, Sicily, Prague, Egypt, Australia, Greece, and Paris.

Los Angeles has won over her heart. She is constantly taking advantage of what LA LA Land has to offer - new boutiques and restaurants, finding great deals, discovering new hikes and beaches, music, and West Coast fashion.

Pork Belly’s Sandwich Shop In Venice For The Best In Barbecue

The signature sandwich called the Belly Up at Venice's Pork Belly Sandwich Shop. (Photo credit: Melissa Curtin)

The signature sandwich called the Belly Up at Venice’s Pork Belly Sandwich Shop. (Photo Credit: Melissa Curtin)

I have been trying to eat really healthy since my return from the rainforest land of Costa Rica where my diet consisted of fruit and fish daily, but sometimes a girl just craves some meat. Pork Belly’s Sandwich Shop In Venice calmed my craving as I ‘Oooohed’ and ‘Aaaaawed’ with every bite I ate.

I started with the delectable ribs that fell right off the bone, then my next 10 bites consisted of perfectly sauced smoked brisket called The Chop. Who knew brisket takes 16 hours from start to finish? Truly amazing! Smoky and sweet. To calm my meat palate down a bit, I was presented with sweet potato tater tots and fried pickles or “frickles.” Both were given in little bags in a generous amount. As I drank my cherry vanilla cola from the retro soda machine, I moved on to the signature sandwich called the Belly Up, a pork belly sandwich with their own barbecue sauce and homemade cole slaw on a brioche roll. The 12-hour process to create this juicy feast from start to finish includes their own injection, a  two-hour spice rub and a cooking time of  6-10 hours. I have not seen a barbecue sandwich done like this anywhere in LA. Perfection! What I also loved is they snuck a tiny chocolate chip cookie in the wrapping.


Photo credit: Melissa Curtin

I was able to see the 300 pound capacity smoker in the back of the shop that they brought in from Tennessee. Other items you may want to try are the PBLT (thick sliced pork belly) or the Abbot Joe, similar to a Sloppy Joe with a fried egg on top. They even have Slop Tots and Chop Tots, like chili cheese fries but better. Their formula consists of brisket on top of tater tots with Parmesan and aged cheddar cheese melted on top.

Located on a convenient corner spot in Venice, what was deemed the coolest neighborhood in America last year. I loved standing and eating at their outdoor street table chatting with new friends who were also ‘Ooooohing’ and ‘Aaaaahing’ at the meat perfection. To learn more about the chef, Co-owner John Swire, the cooking process and food, as well as watch the creations come alive, check out the Joe Eats LA video on their site. All sandwiches are under $9.


Pork Belly's in Venice, CA (Photo credit: Melissa Curtin)

Pork Belly’s in Venice, CA  (Photo Credit: Melissa Curtin)

Pork Belly’s Sandwich Shop
1146 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA  90291
Ph. 424-777-8875

Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Monday – Thursday: 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 10:30 a.m. – 2 a.m.



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