Carolina Smoke's pitmasters release bold, succulent taste bursts with a slow-smoked menu of down-home eats. All meats are hand-rubbed and eye-watched, never pre-cloaked in flavor-smothering sauces or frowny-face masks. Sink teeth into the tender beef-brisket sandwich ($10) or delve deep into the flavor furnace with a prime rib ($21). Diners can further slake smoky cravings with a half or full rack of baby-back ribs ($14, $22) or feed famished fingers a gratifying grip of hot wings ($10). The restaurant's policy of allowing eaters to add their own sauce permits patrons to customize flavoring and ink unique impressions on napkin and facial canvases. Behind the eatery's shingled sides and white shutters, dining-room guests can bookend bites with sips of Carolina sweet tea.
Purple, green, orange, and white—N'Joy Sushi's so-called "Crazy" roll is a veritable explosion of colors. Its rainbow-like appearance is made possible by an ingredient list that includes tuna, cream cheese, and crab, all of which are wonderfully deep-fried. But this is just one of the specialty rolls at N'Joy Sushi, and it may not even be the most creative. The Heart Attack is also in the running, thanks to its winning combination of shrimp, spicy tuna, and jalapeños. And then there's the BSC, a standard California roll that's generously topped with baked scallops. The menu doesn't end with sushi—back in the kitchen, chefs cook entrees of grilled steak, short ribs, and salmon.
The aroma of smoked pork belly draws guests into Butcher Shop Café, a butcher shop that sells fresh cuts of meat as well as café food such as sandwiches, burgers, and barbecue ribs. A case containing foie gras, duck confit, and Nueske's bacon rests next to a café, which serves a menu of burgers made with fresh-ground American Kobe Beef, hot dogs, and Carolina-style pulled pork shoulder. With advance notice, butchers can fulfill customer requests by smoking suggested meats and carving beef slices into birthday messages.
Third-pound burgers of char-grilled ground chuck. Flame-kissed steaks accompanied with Yukon gold mashed potatoes. Slow-cooked, hand-pulled pork slathered with homemade barbecue sauce. The menus at Maddox Grill and Bar read like the great American cookbook. For a bit of regional variation the chefs prepare everything from Dungeness crab cakes to spicy, Cajun-style gumbo. All of this warm, homespun cooking complements the dining room's cozy ambiance. Exposed ceiling beams and polished wooden tables gleam in the light of the red-domed pendant lamps that dangle overhead. To keep patrons warm on the inside, the bartenders pour tipples of single-malt scotch or amber-hued tequila and diligently mix specialty cocktails using the bar's private hadron collider.
The story of Brown's Coffee Café begins in Europe during World War II, where the wartime experiences of Virgil Brown, owner Neal Brown's father, motivated him to seek a peaceful, provincial life. In the 1960s, Virgil moved the family to the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia in search of this tranquil existence. But although the Brown clan found life on their 400-acre dairy farm fulfilling, the hard economic realities of dairy farming drove the family back to urban living.
Years later, when happenstance flung Neal into the world of coffee, his days on the farm filled him with sympathy for coffee farmers who harvested beans for menial wages, out of sight and out of mind for the coffee drinkers abroad enjoying the fruits of their labors. Neal therefore resolved that his shop would use only fair-trade beans that were free of chemicals and pesticides and capable of providing an honest wage to hard-working farmers. Eventually, like a popcorn kernel under an interrogation lamp, the café expanded, and it now includes a menu of chorizo burritos, cuban pulled-pork sandwiches, and other fare that represents the traditions of numerous nations, just as Neal's story does.