Where there’s smoke
Café au Crème4340 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95820
Are there any two foods with more opposite connotations than barbecue and espresso? The former is all about slow smoking, lazy days and gnawing ribs at hot-weather picnics; the latter is steam pressure and moving fast. And yet you’ll find them both in the same place at Café au Crème , a likeable if unusual barbecue joint/espresso bar on Stockton Boulevard. There’s a smoker and a haze out front, and a short but worthy barbecue menu. For us, the three-way dinner with choice of ribs, chicken, hot links and tri-tip, and two sides (we had brown-sugary baked beans and tasty mac and cheese) was plenty for two adults plus a kid. It had all the smoky flavor you could want—I especially liked the chicken, an oft-neglected piece—and a mild yet tangy clove-scented barbecue sauce. I’ve tried the espresso drinks and they’re fine, too, but in the dog days of summer, I prefer lazing about with some ’cue.