Eating Out in Ashland, Early 2011
If this post seems rushed, it is. I’m trying to get this in before the Ashland Independent Film Festival strikes town next week; somehow, this can’t be an “early 2011” report if it’s past that.
Executive summary: Lots of changes, a couple of remarkable additions and a couple of bad losses. A net gain in dinner options, but a dead loss at lunch.
- Allyson’s Kitchen. They never recovered from the ill-timed expansion into Bend. This means no good place downtown to buy a sandwich to carry into the park. The space they were in appears to be being broken up into five shops.
- Lela’s. Not officially gone, but not open and on the market. They were our close-in go-to spot for lunch. Now we must walk the extra three blocks to the Plaza. Horrors! We really will miss them, and hope a new owner takes over soon.
- Coquina (542 A St.) Replace Palace Cafe, R.I.P. See my review here. This is now our regular neighborhood spot. We’ve worked out how to eat there expensive or not so expensive. Note that the menu changes regularly; the fried quail is no longer fried, but still excellent. This has replaced Amuse for us as “best food in Ashland”, although we still like Amuse if we want more formal service. But this is where you will most likely find us if we are out to dinner.
- Smithfield’s (36 S. 2nd St.) Replaces Harper’s, which we enjoyed but never had a chance with Morning Glory down the street. The vibe for Smithfield’s was all about the meat; the back wall is decorated with the very large phrase “meat-centric” and a diagram of the primal cuts of a steer. But it’s not a steakhouse–you’ll still need to go to Beasy’s or Omar’s or Lark’s for a big hunk of beef. It is very good snout-to-tail food, which means you get things like a beef heart amuse or oxtail ravioli. We worked out that on one occasion there we had eaten from five different animals.Chef Clooney is ex-Dragonfly; this is his out-on-his-own effort, and we like it a lot. My review here. Highly recommended.
- Thai Pepper (84 N. Main St.): Howard Hanson Galleries moved over to Oak Street, and Thai Pepper has taken over the whole vacated space for a new lounge. It looks like it will be a huge extension of the old, tiny bar they’ve had forever. Opens soon.
- The various regulars–Pangea, Tease, Kobe, Larks, Sesame Asian, Hana Sushi, Agave–all seem to have survived the winter. No signs of life at former Motif/Kat Wok.
That’s all. Get out there and eat!