No offense to the residents of cities like Medford, but typically when a semi-world-travelled-band-dude hears that our "halfway point" for our day off/travel day is Medford - we don't know what to except… we usually fear for the worst. Ashley and I were pretty sure our options would be limited to the "family-friendly" chains of strip-mall America on this day… boy were we wrong.
Writing this now, I have since had another trip to Medford with even more amazing food (but that's for a later episode).
We checked in, got prepped for dinner - and headed out to 38 Central; a place that sounded quite promising by all the sources we'd been checking in to. We had a very odd cab drive come by in a car that was a little too nice to be considered a cab. It was one of those… almost-Bentley-looking things. He told stories of how he used to work with this band, that band, etc. Always fun…The menu had all the right things I want to see: local, free-range, organic, and other albeit-trendy terms… but things I feel necessary in restaurants. We should eat seasonal, we should eat local - we need to be sustaining our communities, our local farmers and producers and butchers and workers and chefs and cooks and food stands/trucks - not people thousands of miles away.
I start with the Southern Oregon Porter - a great, hearty local porter. Having recently become such good pals with Anders (singer of In Flames) I was I had him around to describe the beer. That man can describe in the most accurate of details what you're tasting in a beer/scotch/bourbon - I will be interviewing him one day for his secrets and knowledges.
Since only being Ashley and myself, we opt for the 1/2 Mac: Rogue creamery aged-cheddar, parmigiano reggiano, hardwood smoked bacon. Crumbly, delicate, and try was the top - creamy and cheesy inside. The bacon added a good amount of tasty saltiness - mac and cheese mentally throwing us back to childhood.
Expecting a small portion of the 38 Central Quesadilla (since typically with Duck confit, portions are usually a hint smaller) - 38 Central delivered a massive portion of Duck confit, smoked fontina, plum BBQ sauce Quesadillas. Not unlike the mac and cheese, it was a fun throwback to the familiar fun foods of youth. This thing was massive - I'm assuming the full size of a burrito-tortilla; the flavors were a smidge harder to pick out in the quesadilla - and the texture maybe a hint smooshier than it shoulda been - but still a fun take on the quesadilla.
38 Central's thing with their soup was something along the lines of "it's made a day or so before" to truly allow the flavors to mix in nicely. We had their soup of the day - the corn chowder - decent stuff. The main was the 38 Burger (all natural angus beef, aged cheddar, caramelized sweet onions, fries, house made bun) - a really solid New American burger. It was just right for a burger… it's hard to really pinpoint exactly the details of a burger done right… you just sort of know. 38 did it right.
If you find yourself in Medford - get to 38 Central for dinner with pals or a loved one. Definitely the right pick.