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Capers wins top award at Smudge Pot Stroll

Capers took the overall prize at the annual Smudge Pot Stroll, a tasting tour of downtown Medford that is part of the Pear Blossom Festival.

The restaurant at 35 N. Central Ave. earned the top spot at Friday's event with beignets in a caramelized bacon-bourbon sauce, paired with cafe ole featuring Downtown Grounds coffee and Immortal Spirits rum.

The people's choice award went to Wok Star, a food truck that served ahi tuna tataki sushi.

Restaurants earning a gold medal in the competition included: Capers, Elements, Habaneros Mexican Restaurant, Larks, Misoya Bistro, Porters, Rocky Tonk Grill & Saloon and Spoons. Those earning silver medals included Berg's Bakery, Wok Star, Howiee's on Front and Sunrise Cafe. Bronze medal winners included The Bohemian Club, Cheesesteak King and Fired Up Gourmet.

The event distributed $8,000 to youth programs, including South Medford High School's band, metalworking, ceramics and culinary arts departments; North Medford High School's band and culinary arts program; the Sodexo Future Chef program, Boy Scouts and Jackson County 4-H. Some proceeds also benefit scholarships for students at Umpqua Community College's Southern Oregon Wine Institute, chefs continuing their education and the Pear Blossom Court.