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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Dive Into High Culture in Ashland

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2. Where to Eat

It's a nose-to-tail feast at British chef Neil Clooney's Smithfields.  

Wake up with the locals at Morning Glory, a converted house with a bright blue-and-yellow hardwood interior and houseplant-covered patio, within walking distance of the Shakespeare Festival. Chatter over the great people-watching—theater majors in capes abound—and eavesdrop on Shakespeare hounds while chowing down on the sweet and savory bacon Belgian waffles ($11), date-studded Moroccan oatmeal ($7.50), or vegetarian hash served with an addictive chipotle-cilantro cream sauce ($13.50).

Sip an award-winning local brew at Standing Stone Brewing Company. Located in the airy former Whittle Garage of 1925, the craft brewery makes its own ales and lagers on-site in ten-barrel batches using organic grains. Try the Hop Night ($5), a Cascadian dark ale with notes of pine and citrus, and watch the brew-masters at work: The dining area has a clear view of the brewing floor, where stainless-steel tanks are tended to with care. The food here matches the quality of the drink, especially the stout-infused Standing Stone cheeseburger ($11) and the charbroiled five-spice ginger-teriyaki ribs ($18), made with sustainably raised Oregon pork. Visit on Sundays at 3 for a prix fixe beer and food pairing ($25 per person) led by a member of the brewery staff; the five-course menu changes according to what’s in season and might include Steel-Cut Stout with spicy barbecue-chicken pizza, Amber Ale with deep-fried Brussels sprouts and basil aïoli, or Twin Plunge Double IPA paired with blackened fish tacos.

Get in touch with your inner carnivore at nose-to-tail destination Smithfields. The menu’s variety is a testament to the creativity of the English expat owner and chef, Neil Clooney (a two time “Oregon Iron Chef” winner), who cut his teeth at the famous luxury liner QE2 before being named executive chef at Isabel Cruz’s Cantina in San Diego. Start at “happy hour and a half” with the house-made charcuterie board, which includes rabbit rillette and chicken-liver parfait ($10), along with a Tetley’s English Ale ($5), one of the ten “British brews” on offer. For a gloriously meat-centric dinner, try the roasted bone marrow with capers and sourdough ($10), move on to the cider-braised pork belly with bacon-braised collard greens ($25), and close the evening with local Rogue Creamery cheeses ($15).

Published on Feb 20, 2014 as a web exclusive.

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