Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Full of SmoQe

dining_SmoQeThe new SmoQe brings BBQ and wood-fired pizzas to Aptos
The warm smell of smoke mingled with the scent of simmering barbecue sauce.  At SmoQe, food is prepared the way our ancestors cooked it—over a wood fire. And if the mostly full house on my last lunchtime visit is any indication, they are going to need a bigger parking lot.
Conversation echoed off the cement floor in the refurbished pizza parlor building. We took a seat and studied the menu, which posed difficult decisions, creative spelling aside. Although orders are placed at the counter, diners are treated to cloth napkins and real silverware, and the “plastic” soda cups are 100 percent compostable.
Our six meals were delivered sporadically, but all within a few minutes. A half pound of peel-and-eat Hot ’n’ Spicy Shrimp ($11) was seared in the wood-fired oven and seasoned with both chipotle and smoked paprika, giving them a depth of hot spice.
The iceberg Wedge Salad ($5) was crisp, with crunchy house-made croutons, and included a welcome twist of sweet, roasted garlic.
Options for the wood-fired pizza include regular or gluten-free crust, dairy-free cheese, grilled and then wood-fired, or entirely wood-fired. The colorful, thin-crusted Pesto Pizza Napolitano ($12) was topped with alternating spoonfuls of tart herbed red sauce, dollops of ricotta, aromatic garlic, fresh mozzarella and rich basil pesto, and topped after cooking with fresh basil. The heat of the Italian pizza oven, coaxed a nuttier flavor from the sprinkle of tanned pine nuts.
In addition to house-ground beef burgers, SmoQe offers a Bison Burger ($11). On a poppy seed bun, it included grilled onions, Irish cheddar, and a choice of fries. Thin sweet potato fries, lightly dotted with salt crystals, were light with crisp exteriors.
Other sandwiches, made with thin, grilled focaccia bread, are called tacos ($7 to $8).  Each comes with a choice of house-made thick, BBQ-seasoned potato chips, maple beans, or crisp coleslaw, unusually dressed with tasty vinaigrette. The hormone-free beef brisket was dry-rubbed and smoked for 18 hours. The smoked chicken breast taco included arugula, avocado and cheddar cheese. Regular and spicy BBQ sauces are also available.
The plate of Pulled Pork ($10), smoked over apple wood for 14 hours, came heaped in a large, square bowl. Soft threads of tender meat and rich, chewy end pieces were flecked with red peppers. I enjoyed the tart and piquant vinegar-based sauce. There was enough left over to make two sizeable (and delicious) sandwiches at home.
On my next visit, I’ll make sure to save room for dessert. SmoQe offers cookies, carrot cake, lemon meringue pie, and caramel apple dumplings with ice cream. Sure to be family favorites are the S’mores ($9), which include a sampling of house-made ingredients that you cook at your table.

SmoQe, 10110 Soquel Dr., Aptos, 662-2BBQ. Beer and wine. Open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed Monday. Visit smoqe.com
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Reflecting Glass

Composer Philip Glass’ first trip to Big Sur was by motorcycle; little did he know that he’d establish a music festival there six decades later.

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wurst Case Scenario

Venus Spirits releases agave spirit, Renee Shepherd on planting garlic, Sausagefest 2014, and wine harvest in full swing

 

Do you think you are addicted to technology?

Santa Cruz  |  Unemployed

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”