Joe Caribé Bistro & Café
● By Style
Photo by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.
I’ve encountered many Joes in my lifetime, but none quite as memorable as Joe Caribé.
We met about a month back when I was homeward bound from Lake Tahoe, feeling gluttonous and grumpy. Family and friends were raving about the eatery’s fish tacos and pork ribs glazed with passion fruit and brown sugar, so I knew a visit was long overdue.
The inviting island-esque décor – accented by bamboo furniture, floral-motif tablecloths and tropical artwork – and Caribbean-inspired menu, which Chef Joe Gleason describes as a “mix of ethnic influences,” momentarily made me forget I was in the Gold Country.
To whet our appetites, my lunch mate and I enjoyed a Fire-Roasted Artichoke. Stuffed with garlic and marinated in Sherry-shallot vinaigrette, the meaty ’choke was steamed then roasted on an oak-fired grill, ensuring an irresistible smoky flavor. Dipping each leaf into the accompanying side of garlic aioli was palate perfection.
Continuing our culinary escapade, I ordered the Veggie Curry. Toasted cashews, sweet potatoes, golden raisins and winter squash mingled in mild yellow coconut curry gravy and sat atop a fluffy bed of nutty quinoa. My taste buds gave it two thumbs up. We also devoured the Pork Mojo Burrito – layered with tender pork (cooked with garlic, lime and allspice), island slaw (a bright blend of thinly sliced green cabbage, cilantro, salsa, bell peppers and zesty vinaigrette), jack cheese, and the perfect ratio of black beans to rice. Every bite – kicked up a notch with a dollop of house-made habanera sauce – was tastier than the last, and the tangy accompaniment of ginger-pickled carrots was über addictive.
To finish our feast, we indulged in the Blackberry Tapioca. Each spoonful of velvety scratch-made pudding was brimming with blackberries, chewy tapioca pearls and freshly whipped cream; as silence set in, we licked the bowl of textural delight clean.
For a taste of the islands, pack your appetite and set sail to Joe Caribé. Bon voyage!
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