Joe Caribé Bistro & Café

13470 Lincoln Way, Auburn, 530-823-5333, A target="_blank" href="http://www.joe-caribe.com">joe-caribe.com

Photo by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.

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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.

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