Craft by Smoke and Fire's mouthwatering bacon in the heart of Anaheim

Thien Le/Vietnamese

ANAHEIM, California (NV) – Craft by Smoke and Fire with American-style bacon is the new restaurant in downtown Anaheim by the team of chefs who own Smoke and Fire Social Eatery in La Habra. I visited La Habra in June, and was very pleased with their bacon dishes.

Craft by Smoke and Fire’s bacon varieties. (Image: Thien Le/Vietnamese)

They opened this new restaurant on October 8, and it still features dishes familiar to many of the diners who’ve been to La Habra, but sells a wider variety of bacon.

The Craft by Smoke and Fire restaurant is located right in the heart of Anaheim, with spacious seating inside, and plenty of cool outdoor seating.

Restaurant signage and outdoor seating. (Image: Thien Le/Vietnamese)

Since I wanted to try different types of bacon, I ordered a portion with a variety of meats for the whole group to try. Meats include beef bucket, turkey, boneless beef ribs, shredded beef ribs, grilled lamb chops, sausages, and beef pastrami. This meat also comes with four side dishes, so I ordered pasta cooked with cheese, “chili,” mixed corn and mashed potatoes.

I also ordered a quesadilla filled with bacon. This is the dish I used to eat at the restaurant in La Habra so I had to order it to compare. I also ordered an extra “smashed” hamburger which was enough for the whole group.

Seating inside. (Image: Thien Le/Vietnamese)

The first is the quesadilla, a familiar dish in Southern California, with tortillas sandwiched in the middle and then deep fried on both sides. Craft by Smoke and Fire does the opposite, sandwiching bacon with BBQ sauce in the middle, and leaving the cheese on top of the tortilla. Cheese is deep fried, fragrant and has a fatty aroma. The tortilla is lightly crispy, while the beef bucket is soft, fragrant with smoke and permeated with the sweet and sour taste of BBQ sauce. Served with the quesadilla are pickles and sour onions, with the sourness reducing the fatty taste of the beef.

Next up was the “smashing” hamburger. This dish is so named because of the way the meat is fried. Chefs place a ground beef ball on the pan, then flatten it into hamburger pieces, doing so, the meat will be thinner, will be more crispy and cook faster. Hamburgers also have cheese, pickles, sautéed onions and a mayonnaise-based ketchup sauce.

The meat is fragrant and crispy, completely not dry, seasoned very well, and still retains the natural flavor of beef. The sweetness of the onions and the fat of the cheese go well with hamburger meat. The sauce has the fatty taste of mayonnaise and the sweet and sour taste of ketchup is impeccable. When eating, it is impossible to ignore the pickles because the sour taste makes the beef taste stronger.

A quesadilla filled with smoked beef bucket. (Image: Thien Le/Vietnamese)

Finally, there is a tray of bacon with a variety of attractive meats, served with sour onions, pickles, bread slices and BBQ sauce.

Smoked beef bucket is left whole and there is no BBQ sauce mixed in so diners can taste the natural flavor of the beef. The bacon is so tender that it can be cut with a fork. The meat melts in the mouth, and the fat when biting into it also melts, making the mouth full of beef fat. Beef bucket meat is only seasoned with salt and pepper outside, so it only has a mild salty taste, not overpowering the natural flavor of the beef.

Smoked turkey uses the breast. I don’t like to eat turkey because it is often dry, but this way of smoking makes the meat not dry at all. Smoked is a way of cooking that uses low heat and cooks for a long time so there is no loss of water in the turkey. The chicken is lightly scented with smoke, seasoned with only salt and pepper, so it needs to be dipped in BBQ sauce.

The “smashing” hamburger. (Image: Thien Le/Vietnamese)

The sausage was a bit dry on the inside, but well seasoned with the fat of the cheese and the spiciness of the chili. The outer layer of skin is slightly crispy, you can hear a “tapping” sound when biting in, and the sausage must have such a skin.

I took a break from eating meat to try the side dishes.

Mashed potatoes use a very unique purple color, and the potatoes are mixed with garlic, and a variety of herbs. The sweet taste of potatoes blends with the passionate aroma of garlic, plus the gentle aroma of delicious herbs.

Noodles with cheese are delicious, but must be eaten immediately because the cheese thickens as it cools. While still hot, the noodles are boiled to absorb the rich flavor of cheese. On the top is a little bread crumbs to create the crunchiness for this noodle dish.

Smoked beef jerky. (Image: Thien Le/Vietnamese)

The “chili” dish has minced beef cooked with tomatoes, beans and a variety of spicy and aromatic spices, then topped with a little sour cream. This dish has a strong beef flavor, has a natural sweet and sour taste of eggplant and has a mild spicy taste from spices. Sour cream brings fat to “chili” and the sour taste goes well with the spicy flavor.

My favorite dish is grilled corn because it is made in the style of Mexican street corn, very familiar in Southern California. Instead of leaving the fruit whole, the roasted corn is scraped off, then placed in a bowl, then mixed with mayonnaise, lemon juice and a little cheese, then a little cilantro. Craft by Smoke and Fire restaurant also put fried onions on top. Each kernel of sweet corn, baked with a burnt smell, soaked with the sourness of mayonnaise and the salty taste of cheese, is no different from Mexican street corn. The fried onions are crispy, adding sweetness to the mixed corn dish.

Cheese noodle dish. (Image: Thien Le/Vietnamese)

Back to the meats, pastrami is a bacon that originated in Eastern Europe. Beef bucket is marinated with many spices and covered with a layer of black pepper then smoked. Pastrami is also soft, just a slight pull to break, intensely peppery, and has a stronger salty taste than bacon.

Minced beef ribs are mixed with a South American chimichurri sauce, consisting of oil, vinegar, lemon and minced herbs. The beef rib is fatty, has a faint smell of smoke, soaked in a sour sauce and has a strong natural aroma of delicious herbs.

Grilled lamb chops are the only meat on the tray that is not smoked. The lamb ribs are grilled to perfection, not dry, rich in the natural fatty aroma of the lamb, but cleaned so there is no bad smell that many people do not like to eat. This dish is also served with a strong herb-flavored chimichurri sauce.

Mixed grilled corn. (Image: Thien Le/Vietnamese)

Finally, smoked beef ribs left on the bone. The outside meat is dry and hard, and has a spicy pepper aroma very similar to beef jerky, while the inside is still soft, still has the fatty aroma of beef, just adding a little BBQ sauce is enough.

A plate of Craft by Smoke and Fire bacon costs $95, plus four additional dishes, enough for three or four people to eat, so it is very affordable. Spacious inside seating and cool outdoor seating. Therefore, the restaurant is worth a try every time you come to downtown Anaheim.

Smoked beef ribs. (Image: Thien Le/Vietnamese)

Craft by Smoke and Fire is located at 195 W Center Street Promenade, Anaheim, CA 92805. [qd]

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