Went skiing up at Stratton in Vermont this past weekend. Had a great time, slopes were super crowded in the morning but conditions were great, especially once most of the people left after lunch. On the way home, we stopped in Hatfield, Massachusetts and met my friend Av Harris at Holy Smokes, a BBQ place in a former church.
Having read about Holy Smokes on Gary Goldblatt's BBQ site Pigtrip.net, I was really excited to try their beef rib. I was definately not disappointed.
We didn't go to Holy Smokes to review it, we were really just hungry and wanted to unwind for a while. It was also good to see Av, who may be known to some of you as a reporter for NPR on Conecticut and Massachusetts stations. But I will post some thoughts.
While this was not something that is a big deal, I feel it is worth mentioning, moreso as a former restaurant manager than anything else. We entered the restaurant and told them we needed a table for 6. Someone quickly set the table, and the woman at the desk said to me "do you want to have a seat?" I said yes, and went over with my brother's girlfriend to sit at the table.
After a minute, the woman came over and said that we coulnd't sit at the table until our entire party was there! So she made me and my brother's girlfriend Kim get up from our table and sit on the bench in the front of the restaurant! It was very embarrasing to us. The place was half empty at that moment, so there was no reason to treat us like that. We certainly would have ordered drinks and probably appetizers as we waited for Av to arrive. Instead, exhausted, we had to drag ourselves up front and wait for Av to get there. It was really pointless.
Once I identified myself as a fellow BBQer to pit boss/owner Louis Ekus, aka Papalou, we were treated very well. Papalou was really friendly and more than willing to talkabout his joint, his cooking processes and philosophies about Q. We really enjoyed him. He also bought us an order of wings. They were smoked, and had a great spicy honey glaze. Definatey try the wings if you visit.
Av, Cristiaan and myself all had the beef short rib. We each got a single rib, which was more than enough meat. It had a great smoked flavor, and was perfectly cooked. I got mine with sauce on the side, but Papalou recommends that you get it with sauce, as they finish it in the wood fired oven and it becomes like a candy crust. Will try it that way next time for sure.
Kim had the two meat platter. I tried the pork, which was sauced so I couldn't get a great read on the meat flavor. But it was good.
Av's two kids each had the kids rib platter. I got to take a bite of one of their ribs. They do St. Louis cut spares. I took one bite, and I found the rib meaty with a nice smoke flavor. The sides were good too, Cristiaan really enjoyed the roaster califlower. I had fries,which were just the way I like them, dark and flavorful.
They serve three different locally brewed beers, all of which were good. I also had some sweet tea, which was excellent.
Despite the rough start, we had a really nice time at Holy Smokes. Since it is so close to Interstate-91, we will definately visit again when returning from Vermont.