EarthDog Cafe & Bar, Berkeley Springs, WV

Earthdog Cafe on UrbanspoonGuess what? We were on the road again. Many of these reviews start this way, but what the heck, we are trying to explore a little while we are on vacation. We took one look at this restaurant on our trip from home, and saw a smoker outside. Right then, we decided to stop in for lunch, if we were here somewhat close to lunchtime. We are glad we did stop and find a great traveling stop. Yes, this one is worth getting off the "big road" to visit.
This is an alphageek kind of place. From the outside, it is not fancy by any means. However, that smoker out front is a great advertisement. We stepped inside, and we saw that we had missed the lunch crowd. All the better to find a table with some good lighting, and take notes for a review.

I decided before we even stopped that I was getting some sort of BBQ.  Mrs. alphgeek decided that she wanted to read the entire menu, and then make a decision.  She finally decided on hash made with corned beef, eggs and some home fries.  I decided on Love Me Two Times Baby.  I got to enjoy brisket and ribs, and selected green beans and potato salad as my sides.  I really wanted to make some sort of Doors joke here, but I just don't have anything.  Can someone share a joke?

The hash is covered up by the eggs, which is a shame because it was pretty darn good.  The has had some nice chunks of corned beef in there, giving the hash a great taste.  I certainly like the sample I was given.

Earthdog Cafe
Hash, Eggs and Home Fries

Below is Love Me Two Times Baby.  The meats were well cooked, with just enough sauce for flavor, but not to cover up the fact that the meat was well cooked, and moist.  It was a pleasure to enjoy.  I would like a little more smoke flavor in the meat, but Mrs. alphageek says that I like meat to taste like tree bark, so maybe I am a little hard to please.  I also enjoyed the green beans being steamed, and not cooked until they were mush.  This meal was more "old school" barbecue, with more traditional sides.

Earthdog Cafe
Love Me Two Times Baby
We did notice that this restaurant was not as highly ranked as usual on urbanspoon. I can only tell you that we enjoyed our meals, and would stop by again, if we were in the area. Most of the complaints on urbanspoon centered on service, and seemed a little unfair. The complaints were along the lines of "I have eaten here ten times, and loved it. This time, the service was bad, so I am trashing them" which does not seem a good way to grade a restaurant.
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Rickard Ridge BBQ, Carryville TN

Rickard Ridge BBQ on Urbanspoon We were on vacation. We were in need of dinner after exploring some amazing arch formations. Check those arch formations out, by the way. So when we found a bbq place down the road a little way, we decided that we needed to check out this little bbq place in a state park, called Rickard Ridge BBQ.
The first thing we noticed was that this was your standard "state park" looking place. The alphageek sometimes wonders if the same company builds every state park in the United States. All state parks seem to have the same look and feel.  The second thing we noticed was that the restaurant was having live bluegrass night.  Because we thought we might want to chat, we asked to be seated in the back, and the staff happily accommodated us.  In the end, the level of the live music was just fine, and not so loud as to ruin a meal.  Live music must be pretty common here.  As the band was playing, members of the audience would join in for various songs, and the audience seemed to enjoy it.  Even though we are not bluegrass folks, we enjoyed it too.

We took some pictures, but they are just not up to standards, so this review is short and sweet.

It seems like bbq places these days are "new school" and "old school". New school seem to pay a lot of attention to changing the experience by adding some newer, more creative side offerings to the usual fries, hush puppies and cole slaw experience. Old school places are all smoked meat, with the kind of sides that are never going to out shine the main course. This place seems old school to me, in case you care about that sort of thing.

The menu mentioned several house specialties.  Picking from those specialties, we settled on ribs with green beans and sweet potato fries for me, with smoked chicken thighs, onion rings and a house salad for Mrs. ag.

When the ribs arrived they were good, but perhaps a little dry that day.  The tastes were excellent, and certainly still very good.  I fixed them up with a little sauce, which was smokey as well, with a touch of sweetness.  The green beans and sweet potato fries were good, but nothing other than a side to some good bbq.

How were those thighs?  If we are ever back there again, we will be getting those chicken thighs again.  They were smoked to perfection, and the meat was moist and tender. They were rubbed with a touch of seasoning as well. We made sure to get a to go box for those thighs, and mrs ag was nice enough to let me have them for lunch the next day.

We left satisfied, enjoyed the music a little before we left.  Certainly, Rickard Ridge BBQ is worth a stop in, rather than stopping at some boring fast food chain.

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