Hours of slow smoking over birch-wood flames unlocks the succulence of chicken, ribs, and beef plated at Killer Smoke BBQ, where patrons can pick up their finger-licking fare to go or sit out on the patio furniture next to emergency bottles of Shout. A mobile catering service totes a whole hog smoker to offsite galas, and the shop also outfits fans of the flame in Killer Smoke logo gear such as shirts, hats, and mugs.
Smokin Joe's BBQ hands off freshly made breakfasts and barbecue fare to on-the-go diners at its speedy drive-thru-only location. Homemade breakfast burritos blend cheese, potatoes, and eggs, and barbecue lunches showcase succulent morsels of pulled pork and spare ribs. All of Smokin Joe's meats flaunt smoky flavors and tender textures thanks to their prolonged exposure to applewood, hickory wood, and character actor James Woods.:m]]
All meats, sauces, rubs, and sides are made from scratch at Boss Hawgs BBQ Express, where Texas–style dry-rub barbecue is cooked slow and served fast. Chef Tom Slagle's more than 30 years of culinary experience is evident in the hearty menu, from the hand-pulled pork sandwich, sporting meat smoked for more than 18 hours ($6.75), to sliders, reducing a protein-packed barbecue love note to a short, sweet limerick ($3). St. Louis–style ribs are served with boss sauce on the side ($14/half-rack) and arrive accompanied by a range of homemade accouterments, including Grannies Mac salad ($2.25/half-pint), Sweeties coleslaw ($2.25/half-pint), and a fresh-baked corn muffin ($0.50 each). Boss' beef-brisket sandwiches—also slow-cooked for more than 15 hours—are rubbed with secret spices, whispered to cooks in ongoing games of telephone ($6.75 each).
Chef Richard Balajadia’s food presentation can be dazzling—in his hands, green apples become swans and ahi tuna piles atop rice and vegetables to create gravity-defying sculptures—but he relies on seasonal ingredients to ensure that the dishes taste as good as they look. If organic arugula and free-range chicken don't sound like standard sports-bar fare, that’s precisely the intention. Lifelong friends and owners Michael Hoover, Todd Bardwell, and Bill Hutchins told the Register-Guard that they hired Balajadia because they wanted a menu that would appeal to their own "foodie tastes." Accordingly, even the bar’s burgers transcend their simplistic origins with jalapeño barbecue sauce, grilled portobellos, or house teriyaki sauce.
Even the bar’s drink menu rotates seasonally, with specialty cocktails that change to incorporate fresh summer fruits or entice tipplers with autumnal spices. The mixologists create their medleys of rosemary-infused Gentleman Jack whiskey, silver-agave tequila, and guava nectar at a bar where flat-screen televisions keep the atmosphere lively by showing Ducks’ games instead of documentaries about watching paint dry. The patio's red and yellow triangular shade sails for sunny days, and outdoor heaters fire up on chilly ones. DJ Reddfox transforms the vibe by spinning live on Saturday nights.
Question Ambrosia Restaurant & Bar chefs on how their pizzas acquire a rich, smoky flavor, and they'll point you toward the wood-fired oven that burns brightly near the restaurant's main entrance. Inside its superheated walls, pans of crusty crostini, lasagna, and thin-crust pizzas bake at high temperatures that seal in juices and bring out flavor. After checking on pizzas, chefs return to the kitchen, where they fold fresh herbs, premium meats, and fresh seafood into the pastas and regional Italian classics lauded by reporters from Ethos magazine.
Diners at Ambrosia await their meals amid the high ceilings, exposed-brick walls, and rustic accents of a multilevel dining room. Behind an antique wood bar, servers blend specialty cocktails and uncork bottles from the restaurant’s extensive Italian wine list, which was honored with a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. On the first Wednesday of the month, staffers host a wine event in their private tasting room, where guests intent on honing their wine skills can learn about different varietals or practice juggling water balloons filled with fine champagne.
A Craigslist ad for vegan entrepreneurs first connected Sheree and Kristy, which led to them launching a vegan food cart in January 2010. After a successful year with the food cart, the duo focused on creating their own restaurant. Sheree and Kristy opened the critically acclaimed Cornbread Cafe in 2011, and with it came even more delectable vegan spins on classic comfort foods. In lieu of pulled pork, for instance, they toss shredded seitan into sandwiches with slaw and barbecue sauce, and a cashew-based “unCheese” sauce smothers their mac and cheese. Along with making 95% of their menu in-house with organic fixings, the café’s cooks remain committed to local ingredients, as well as whipping up myriad gluten-free options.