Restaurant Review: smoke BBQ in Harrisburg, PA

Every month, a group of us check out a different BYOB restaurant in Central PA – it’s a blast! Last month we hit up smoke BBQ, a recently opened purveyor of hickory smoked goodness!

The atmosphere is inside is laid-back and welcoming, and the decor is the perfect blend of modern and rustic. The menu was had a lot more options than you might expect from a barbeque restaurant, with a number of options for people who aren’t meat-eaters. The small plate options – while still inspired by traditional BBQ fare – felt more upscale (think bacon-wrapped dates, smoked gouda mac&cheese, pork belly).

Comeback Special Tacos

House Salad Bailey’s Take!
The thing that I like the most about smoke BBQ is how unique it is. Lately a lot of BBQ places have opened up in this area, and they are all similar. smoke BBQ, however, has an artisan flare that I appreciate. From their use of local ingredients to the real sugar soda in the fountain. On our trip to smoke I shared two delicious appetizers, homemade mini corn dogs with honey and mustard and the jalapeno-bacon glazed pork belly. For my main course I regained my (mostly) gluten-free bearings and had the large house salad. It is topped with roasted peppers, tomatoes, and the coup de grace: A cornmeal crusted crispy goat cheese ball. I like any excuse to eat goat cheese and this is a good one. My salad was also topped with smoked chicken and an amazing smoked tomato vinaigrette. I could eat this salad any day!

Megan’s Take!Boss Dawg with Slaw
Mmmm….BBQ. Nothing screams comfort food like a big ol’ pulled pork sandwich. Add some bacon, grilled onions, cheddar, slaw, and a bacon + chile reduction? I’m in heaven! The culinary masterpiece of which I speak is the Boss Dawg! The flavors in this sandwich layered beautifully, I was very impressed! I also tried the Animal Fries, which were smothered with aged cheddar, fried onions, bacon, and BBQ – they were also delicious!

The portions size of most of the small plates were perfect to whet your appetite without filling you up. The sandwiches were HUGE, so I was a little too stuffed to try dessert this time around… just means I’ll have to go back to try more!

You can find more information about all the deliciousness that smoke has to offer by visiting


Restaurant Review: Rice and Noodles in Lancaster, PA

We are a big fans of Vietnamese food so we were very excited to check out Rice and Noodles in Lancaster for the first time!

When we entered the restaurant we were seated quickly and given their extensive menu to peruse. They even have a large selection of beverages, our friend got the Tra Da Chanh, an iced jasmine tea with sweetened lime juice and it was amazing. It begged to be spiked and enjoyed on a porch some summer afternoon. The menu is large and creative, veering away from the expected pho dishes and into sandwiches, lettuce wraps, stir fries and other creative offerings.

Bailey’s Take!
I find with Vietnamese restaurants that I usually don’t like to go into them. Though I love the food, in our area, many of them don’t seem very well kept. With Rice and Noodles I did not have this reaction. I started out by going to their website. It is well designed and fashionable, showing that the owners know how much a restaurant’s web presence can help it’s business.

I decided to be adventurous and order the Vermicelli Noodle Patty Wraps. It was basically the Vermicelli noodle bowls but deconstructed so the diner can assemble them into lettuce wraps. I ordered the fried tofu and it came with the noodles topped with green onion and crispy shallots, basil, marinated cucumbers, carrots and onions, as well as peanut sauce. The flavors were delicious but I think I should have just ordered the bowl instead of the wraps.  They used green leaf lettuce instead of a Bibb lettuce, so it was very hard to wrap and the wraps kept falling apart on me.

Photo 2013-05-17 10.34.50 AM Photo 2013-05-17 10.34.23 AM Photo 2013-05-17 10.34.42 AM

The Veggies with the Wraps         The Fried Tofu                   The Peanut Sauce

Megan’s Take!
I’m a sucker for pho – I absolutely love it, and I usually judge a Vietnamese restaurant by the quality of their pho. Combine my pho obsession with the fact that I was fighting a cold and craving some soup, and I couldn’t *not* get my pho on!

I was not disappointed with my order! I chose the Pho Tai, which is medium rare beef pho. I loved that I could choose how my meat was cooked – I’ve gotten overly cooked beef pho before that was very leathery, this was tender and cooked to perfection. The broth was flavorful and satisfying, and the accompanying sprouts, basil, lime, and peppers were perfectly portioned to the size of the serving. I liked that I didn’t have a mountain of sprouts leftover when I was done, since it always makes me feel wasteful!

photo 4         photo 3
The Pho Tai                                                         The Accoutrements

Overall, we felt that the portions were large and the prices were very reasonable. The interior of the restaurant was clean and modern furniture kept the place looking simple and fresh, much like the food. Rice and Noodles would be a great choice for someone new to Vietnamese food or someone who is a seasoned veteran. We will definitely be going back!

You can find Rice and Noodles at