The Smoke Joint moved to the Catskills from downtown Brooklyn. The chef/owners Ben Grossman and Craig Samuel have won accolades for their culinary ventures. The tiny place is on the banks of the Willowemoc River and they are open from spring to fall. Here they offer a variety of sandwiches, barbecue by the pound, fried chicken, hot dogs, a variety of sides and beverages (full liquor license). They have a few tables inside but most of the dining was on the picnic tables right out the door. The tables were set with napkins, flatware and hot and regular sauces. You order and pay at the counter and then your food is brought out to you. There were cans to dispose of your trash when you are through. The people working there were pleasant and helpful and judging by the crowd we decided it was the place to grab a snack. I’m no expert on barbecue as is John Tanner who publishes a restaurant blog you’d enjoy, johntannersbbqblog.com but I think he’d appreciate the flavor of the brisket. Check out John’s blog for not only barbecue but also Washington DC, the eastern USA coast and lots of other places. You’ll enjoy his wit and writing style and add to your list of places to go and eat. Continue reading →
We visited The Fitzgerald in 2018 and much has changed at the Eagle River Inn where it is located. The dining room is the same but the menu seems smaller. They still have the whiskey bar but the 12 rooms have now become 6 and they are (you guessed it) twice as big and have air conditioning. The waves of Lake Superior are still right off the dining room or any room at the inn, so the scenery is excellent. The dining room is wood-filled with lots of light from the windows. The crowd is casual and they did have specials for the night. Service was excellent, friendly and helpful. They still specialize in barbecue and you can see evidence of adding-on to the kitchen in front of the building, so not sure what will be added. Portions are generous and combined with the beautiful scenery, this is a lovely place to spend a meal and then retreat to your room to sleep with the sound of the waves. It’s out of the way but go if you get the chance, especially if you’re a whiskey lover. Continue reading →
Cold Spring Tavern offers lunch and dinner at a stagecoach stop that dates from 1868, on the San Marcos Pass near Santa Barbara. The place is filled with history and an amazing amount of detail is on their webpage <coldspringtavern.com> about the various buildings on the property and the furnishings within. You can’t miss it as the cars are parked on both sides of the winding road for some time before you hit the place. On weekends they have live music, a stand where you can buy their barbecue Tri-tip sandwich as well as an outside bar. If you prefer table service there are a number of outdoor and indoor tables. Lunch has a smaller menu than dinner, so I’ve included photos of both lunch and dinner menus. Service was enthusiastic and efficient which really enhanced the dining experience. The A/C is ‘open windows’ so we left smelling of barbecue smoke, which was no problem. The onion rings are worth a trip alone but I would love to be able to try some of their dinner options too. Continue reading →
Love That BBQ is a family run, small casual place serving housemade barbecue and sides. It looks to be in an abandoned gas station with the restaurant inside and a number of huge smokers under the awnings where pumps would have been. You order at the counter and then pick up when ready. They had seating inside but most seemed to pick up bags to go. It was heavily patronized by the workers in the area, as seen by the number of labeled trucks in the parking lot. Inside the large tables were covered with oilcloth and the walls and shelves held lots of photos and memoriabilia. Christian music played fairly loudly in the background. The counter person turned out to be the one who does the smoking and he wasn’t particularly friendly or helpful at first. He got more chatty after there was a break in the stream of customers. However, he didn’t bother to tell us that ribs come with hushpuppies and let us order a side of them. He said he’d been cooking barbecue for 40 years and in this location for 12 years. It is not worth driving out of your way for. Continue reading →
Pappy’s Smokehouse opened in 2008 serving Memphis style BBQ that is cooked daily. They slow smoke their meats for up to 24 hours over sweet apple or cherry wood and offer 4 sauce varieties to add to your meat. It is really popular with ribs being their main claim to fame as they were named the best ribs in America by the Food Network. It is a large place with a dedicated tent outside for take out pick up. You enter in the side of building as the front of the building is lined with smokers and that door shares an entrance with another restaurant. There is a small parking lot and otherwise it’s street availability. There was a line down the hall as we entered that mostly ignored the mask mandate posted on the door. Many in line were regulars and also there were other first timers, like us. When you finally get to the front of the line there is a small desk where you make your order and pay for it and then you are led to a table. They seemed to be slowing the entry because there were a number of empty tables. The number at your tables signals a service person to bring you your food. A drink area is available for non-alcoholic beverages. Lots of photos are on the walls and the small room beyond the drink area is a shop full of merchandise to take with you. Continue reading →
Fitzgerald’s is most commonly known as ‘The Fitz’ and is the restaurant in the hotel of the same name. It is located on the shore of Lake Superior where you can watch boats in the distance or wind surfers right out the windows of the restaurant. The hotel only has about a dozen rooms but it’s the way to go where the sound of the waves will lull you to sleep after a heavy meal and a trip to the bar that offers a huge selection of Scotch and other whiskeys. The bar is on a slightly raised level from most of the small dining room and there are tables outside. A lower ceiling, lots of wood, a few photos and some music in the background make up this casual dining room. The bare tables were set with paper napkins and based on the food, the server should have brought extras to the table. The check in counter for the restaurant and hotel are at the entrance to the room. The menu is a la carte and while it has some sandwiches it is all about the barbecue. One special note is that they do not accept American Express, so have cash or another type of credit card. The plates are served with fresh vegetables but a side salad or soup will cost you an extra $5. Continue reading →
Mac’s Bar-B-Que has been a regular spot in my Dallas dining scene and somehow I forgot to take Frankie and photograph. So when we last visited I got some photos to include on this series of Dallas posts. Chef and owner Billy McDonald put Mac’s up for sale (2015) but that’s been a while and based on the crowd it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast. The restaurant opened in the mid-50’s and moved to this spot, very near the main Baylor Hospital, in 1982 when his dad and mom still had the place. It’s a plain little place that you’d easily drive by but there is parking on the side and in back. Inside the tables are good sized and spaced nicely. Customers line up at the window and the menu is posted on the wall beside you. While your order is being prepared you can chose from a nice selection of condiments, including pickle relish, onions, lemons, banana peppers, dill pickles and jalapeños.