Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 13th
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
Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Hot in Here

This ain’t no Burning Man—the MAH’s GLOW festival flames on


Mercury Direct in Libra, Columbus Day, Libra New Moon

Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


The New Tech Nexus

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


Film, Times & Events: Week of October 9

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


Seoul Food

Santa Cruz’s new Sesame Korean is a great introduction to an ancient culinary tradition


Is there evil in the world?

Yes, some people don’t think right because they have been treated badly. Milo Robbins, Scotts Valley, Second Grade


Dos Aguilas Olive Oil

Aptos company is letting locals pick their own olives in October


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When people say they’re “going down” somewhere, and they’re actually traveling north. Julia Ragen, Santa Cruz, Psychologist