So yeah. I think I’ve said about a dozen times now to anyone that would listen that I wanted to try to get away from restaurant reviews. No real reason other than that I was starting to feel obligated to say nice things, drag my camera everywhere, and annoy my friends and dates by getting pictures before anyone touched their meals. It’s cumbersome you know!
But here’s the thing. Sometimes restaurant adventures are definitely worth mentioning. If it’s particularly delicious, or especially fun, or something a little different it might warrant dragging my bigass camera out for the night.
Case in point: a Tweetup of food loving Victorians at a newly reopened local BBQ joint. Smoken Bones Cookshack.
I’m pretty sure the rest of the world thinks Victoria is full of West Coast hippies that eat a lot of granola, and kale, and fresh fish…but oddly enough our little city has become home to a wide variety of barbecue these last few years. We have multiple places to get our hands on pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, and macaroni and cheese.
Smoken Bones has recently moved from their suburban home in a strip mall to a spacious new location downtown in The Hudson building…and has taken to social media in a grand fashion. All it took was a handful of tweets and overnight a Tweetup for Meat was born.
Here’s a tip. You want great service and special attention at a local eatery? Arrange a party with 25 other food lovers who like to tweet and blog their faces off. Scott and his staff looked after us like we were rock stars.
He arranged a few pre-dinner snackies for us and brought us a round of bacon cocktail shots. Yep, bacon cocktails. They make their own bacon vodka, mix it with roasted pineapple puree and a weeeee bit of serrano pepper and call it a margarita. The C’moniwannaleia. And it’s delicious.
He also took us for a tour of the rest of the construction zone under The Hudson and told us a lovely rumour that next to the new 2% Jazz Coffee there just might be a local bakery going in.
And then we dove into dinner.
This ain’t no dainty dinner spot. Bring your short sleeved shirt, your ponytail, and your appetite. You are going to have BBQ sauce on your nose and meat stuck in your teeth. And you are going to love that. I opted for the pulled pork sandwich because that’s my favourite barbecue joint meal to try…and for something completely different I ordered up the pan-fried cabbage as my side.
That sammich was LOADED. Pulled pork was falling out from every side…to the point where I was eating up the meat with a fork. Then I rolled up my sleeves and dove in for the first greasy bite and was whisked off to juicy, flavour heaven. I’d call it the second best pulled pork I’ve ever had.
And that cabbage. It created a mess of butter in my dish and made me feel guilty for eating my vegetable this way but it’s a fun and tasty option for sure.
As for portion and pricing I thought this meal was just right. My basket was $10, it wasn’t ridiculously overfilling, nor did I feel like I could eat more. Paired with a beer it’s a good meal. Sure, it’s not healthy but if your are heading to the Cookshack I suspect you weren’t hoping for kale salad and quinoa now were ya?!
While we stuffed our faces we also kept our fingers clean and tweeting during a round of #Cookshack BBQ Trivia. Scott posted rounds of questions for us to answer and the player with the most points won a gift certificate to the restaurant. Second runner up got themselves a pair of tickets to a Victoria Royals hockey game.
Of course, no restaurant tasting would be complete without trying out dessert. Especially when the dessert is what got us all talking about going to Smoken Bones in the first place. Bacon Ice Cream. WHAT? You thought the Bacon Cocktail was the crazy item on the night’s menu didn’t you?
Caramelized bacon wrapped around vanilla based ice cream. I think my friend Jen described it best when she said the bacon reminded her of that almost-burnt-marshmallow-taste. You know, when it’s thisclose to overcooked and damn near perfect? That was the bacon. Smoky, candied, super fun.
So yeah. Now you can see why I just had to haul James Dean with me and report back to you all on this particular restaurant. A great time was had by all, the staff looked after us well, the food was delicious, and the cocktail is worth a second visit.
Note: The Tweetups will likely become monthly events so if you missed this one, follow @smokenbones411 on Twitter and watch out for the next one.