LTH Home

Asheville, NC and thereabouts

Asheville, NC and thereabouts
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
     Page 1 of 2
  • Asheville, NC and thereabouts

    Post #1 - September 7th, 2005, 11:25 am
    Post #1 - September 7th, 2005, 11:25 am Post #1 - September 7th, 2005, 11:25 am
    We're heading to Asheville, NC and nearby for a few days. My search of this board turned up two recs (Salsa Mexican Caribbean Restaurant and a pizzeria called Marco's)--am wondering if anyone has more suggestions within an hour or so of the town?

    (We'll also be traveling to Campbell Folk School near Murphy, NC and north to Penland School.)

    Thanks!
  • Post #2 - September 7th, 2005, 11:40 am
    Post #2 - September 7th, 2005, 11:40 am Post #2 - September 7th, 2005, 11:40 am
    In the old days when I commuted monthly between Richmond and Nashville, the Biltmore Dairy was a frequent stop.

    Biltmore Dairy Bar
    115 Hendersonville Rd
    Asheville, NC 28803-2868
    (828) 274-1501

    I beleve that the Biltmore Estates are now more interested in promoting their winery.

    http://www.biltmore.com/special/press/nr_general_04.shtml
  • Post #3 - September 7th, 2005, 12:01 pm
    Post #3 - September 7th, 2005, 12:01 pm Post #3 - September 7th, 2005, 12:01 pm
    There are too many awesome restaurants in Asheville to just recommend a couple.
    As for surrounding area, you've got the town of Black Mountain to the east which is a great little town. To the north, is Hot Springs, NC which is worth a day. Horseback riding, and the hot springs are fun. Appalachian Trail runs right through town. Just to the east is my favorite place, Bat Cave, Chimney Rock, and Lake Lure.
    The whole area is rich with scenery and interesting things to see and do.
  • Post #4 - September 9th, 2005, 9:05 am
    Post #4 - September 9th, 2005, 9:05 am Post #4 - September 9th, 2005, 9:05 am
    Too many awesome restaurants in Asheville, hmmm.

    Salsa is pretty good. And the Biltmore Dairy Barn has very good milk shakes, and otherwise decent hamburgers, etc.

    If you want a drive-in along the route from Asheville to Murphy, I recommend the "Cardinal Drive-In" on the west side of Brevard. Nothing really special food-wise, but an old-fashioned drive-in.

    You will be driving through my summer aerie of Highlands, which has a lot of mountain shops, although no restaurant that would be a must visit. However, you can get very nice take-out for picnics at the Rosewood Market on the corner of US 64 and NC Highway 106 on the west side of town. (I particularly recommend the Tomato Basil Soup).

    The BBQ this far west in NC is not to be recommended (some is OK); better is mountain trout.
  • Post #5 - July 27th, 2009, 8:03 pm
    Post #5 - July 27th, 2009, 8:03 pm Post #5 - July 27th, 2009, 8:03 pm
    Madison's (Old Edwards Inn) - Highlands, North Carolina

    About five years ago, the Old Edwards Inn in Highlands was renovated, transformed into a four-star (or five-star or however many stars mean really, really fancy) inn, resort and spa. In the course of this transformation from an old-timey inn on Main Street, they opened a fine dining restaurant, Madison's. In its first iteration it attempted (somewhat bizarrely, and without much grace) to borrow from molecular cuisine and also incorporate a set of rather bizarre flavor combinations. Different is not always better. Back then the restaurant was rather too taken with itself, and my first meal was not a success - quite the contrary with a check that suggested that the owners felt that the food was more sparkling that it was.

    However, over the past two years, I have had several improved meals at Madison's, culminating with an excellent dinner last night. The chef de cuisine (at the restaurant for two years now and now in charge of the menu) is Chris Huerta, who worked with Guenter Seeger in Atlanta (at Seeger's, which, until it closed in 2006, was Atlanta's premier restaurant - Seeger is attempting to open a New York restaurant) and who was a stage at Per Se. Huerta is a serious young cook with a serious blog ("Chipped China"). My friends and I were very pleased with the style and assuredness our meal. In strictly culinary terms Madison's is - by some distance - the most accomplished restaurant in the area (go to On the Verandah for the view and good food). Madison's has a quite pretty space and in contrast to some area restaurants is light and airy and is relatively quiet. They also have an ideology of "Farm to Table Dining," which they are expanding - mostly vegetables and pork at this point.

    I began with Huerta's Apple and Bacon Hushpuppies (ah! bacon!), which were the best hushpuppies I have ever eaten. Granted claiming that one found the world's best hushpuppies may be akin to picking low-hanging fruit, but they were delicious. A friend had a very creamy (and nicely composed) vidalia onion soup and another companion had a salad of Chilled Local Carolina Shrimp Salad, Florida Citrus, Winter Greens, and Vanilla Citrus Double Cream. Let us ignore the "local" shrimp as we are several hundred miles from the sea in the western Carolina mountains, but the Vanilla Citrus Double Cream was a very becoming complement to the fresh shrimp.

    For entree I chose the compelling (although not visually remarkable - unless one likes a symphony of gray and brown) Braised Duck Leg, Celery Root Ravioli, and Stewed Hand Harvested Mushrooms with Natural Jus. It was a luscious combination with perfectly moist duck leg and properly cooked ravioli with its intriguing celery root stuffing. If not quite worth a photo, it was the most polished entree I have had in these mountains since the grand Frog and Owl closed fifteen years ago.

    Dessert was an assured smooth vanilla-bean panna cotta with butterscotch sauce and crumbled espresso biscotti and a cornet of vanilla bean (I think) ice cream. Another appealing and modern presentation with a mix of flavors that were delightful, if not quite startling.

    Madison's also has an extensive wine list and well-selected wines by the glass.

    But for one who spends a month in the mountains each summer, Madison's poses a problem. Should every dinner out be a dinner at Madison's. Is everything else just slumming?

    Madison's
    Old Edwards Inn
    Fourth and Main Street
    Highland, North Carolina
    866-526-8008 or 828-526-8008
    http://www.oldedwardsinn.com/

    Vealcheeks
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #6 - July 29th, 2009, 10:50 am
    Post #6 - July 29th, 2009, 10:50 am Post #6 - July 29th, 2009, 10:50 am
    I've heard good things about Fig if you're looking for a nicer place.

    One of the great things about Asheville is the wide variety of local beers. In fact, Asheville tied Portland, OR for top beer city in the US recently. When I go to Asheville, I usually end up eating at Barley's, a pizza place. Barley's is the epicenter of the beer scene.

    Ed Boudreaux's BBQ next door is OK, too, but nothing stellar.
  • Post #7 - July 29th, 2009, 11:51 am
    Post #7 - July 29th, 2009, 11:51 am Post #7 - July 29th, 2009, 11:51 am
    What WNC beers do you recommend? Up here in Highlands, there is certainly not a beer culture.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #8 - July 29th, 2009, 7:08 pm
    Post #8 - July 29th, 2009, 7:08 pm Post #8 - July 29th, 2009, 7:08 pm
    GAF wrote:What WNC beers do you recommend? Up here in Highlands, there is certainly not a beer culture.


    Pisgah
    Foothills
    Duck-Rabbit
    Highland

    Go to Bruisin Ales, an awesome beer store
    66 Broadway Street, Suite 1
    Asheville, North Carolina, 28801
    United States
    phone: (828) 252-8999
    http://www.bruisin-ales.com/
  • Post #9 - July 31st, 2009, 8:21 am
    Post #9 - July 31st, 2009, 8:21 am Post #9 - July 31st, 2009, 8:21 am
    the wimperoo nailed some of my favorites in his post above. I'll try anything Pisgah makes. They've opened a couple of new breweries since I was last there. The Wedge is a brewery that may have food. I tried their IPA at Barley's and it was outstanding. The Lobster Trap is also brewing beer, which is intriguing on a number of levels.
  • Post #10 - May 19th, 2010, 9:32 pm
    Post #10 - May 19th, 2010, 9:32 pm Post #10 - May 19th, 2010, 9:32 pm
    Any updates on Asheville? I'm heading there for a long weekend.
    Thanks
  • Post #11 - May 25th, 2010, 10:34 pm
    Post #11 - May 25th, 2010, 10:34 pm Post #11 - May 25th, 2010, 10:34 pm
    My in-laws live there--so I have been going for @ 20 years. I still love Salsa and the owner's other restaurant which is Mexican (called Chorizo) has a nice place to eat outside and very nice fare--good breakfast. Tupelo Honey is a good southern breakfast spot, but be prepared to wait. The Chocolate Fetish has, for me, the most delicious dark chocolate you can buy. Go buy one of their very simple "discs"--nothing fancy, just unbelievable blend and flavor.
  • Post #12 - May 27th, 2010, 12:53 pm
    Post #12 - May 27th, 2010, 12:53 pm Post #12 - May 27th, 2010, 12:53 pm
    So, we just returned from a long weekend in Asheville (thanks for the recs nancy--unfortunately we returned Tuesday but I did enjoy a few truffles at the Chocolate Fetish). My sig. other signed us up for a culinary tour weekend which had some hits and misses. Overall, it was a great weekend in a beautiful part of the country.
    We had a couple really good meals there (one I would call truly 'great').
    i got to have shrimp and grits for breakfast twice (a childhood fave--my grandmother was from the low country in South Carolina) at Tupelo Honey Cafe and Early Girl Eatery (the former was my favorite).
    We like our meal at Table more for the environment and attention to detail on the plate. The food was good but not great, although I loved the dessert: a goat cheese cheese cake with rhubarb compote and honeyed walnuts. I got the most pics there because it had the best natural light.


    The table at Table

    Image

    Hangar steak at Table

    Image

    Soft-shell crabs (good but not ground-breaking) at Table

    Image

    Goat cheese cheesecake with rhubarb at Table

    Image

    We really liked Rezaz in the Biltmore village which is sort of middle eastern/meditaranean-inspired but the culinary tour set us up with a 'chef's table' (read:dinner in the kitchen) which was lame. We should have moved to the main dining room (it was hot in the kitchen!). My favorite dishes where a lamb chop/hangar steak duo, a trout/scallop duo and a local strawberry dessert trio which featured a little tiny strawberry pie (delicious and adorable).

    We had a nice lunch at Fig (though dinner is apparently the best time to go with a more extensive, inventive menu) and enjoyed a pizza and salad at Cucina 24.

    Arugula, strawberry, pecan salad, ricotta at Cucina 24
    Image

    Mushroom, truffle oil, goat cheese pizza at Cucina 24
    Image

    The highlight for me was a cooking class at the Biltmore. I thought it was going to be a letdown when we were directed to the kitchen at one of the Biltmore's banquet facilities. But it turned out, they had just gotten a new chef named Damian Cavicchi who was really terrific. We had been told it would be a hands-on class but it was actually set up as a demo. Upon hearing we wanted to have a hands-on class (well, I did), Damian handed me an apron and showed me how to properly clean/shuck oysters. Basically, it was three hours of cooking/eating with an incredible personable, enthusiastic and experienced professional chef. He showed off all kinds of cook stuff from the walk-in fridge--a tray of duck confit, a big slab of braised pork belly (pic below). I had a blast. And the meal was one of the best I've had in a long time. Highlights were the Berkshire pork belly with maple carmelized onions and corn pudding, a seared bison with pickled asparagus (I will definitely be making/posting on these), blue point oysters Rockafeller (sort of hated to bury the delicious oyster, but it was good), a dessert of a goat cheese fritter on grapes tossed in olive oil and rosemary. Really amazing experience--highly recommended if you have a spare day in Asheville (though I'm not sure how to set it up if you don't go through the whole tour)

    Braised Pork Belly Slab at the Lioncrest, Biltmore Estate (beautifully marbled, the pic doesn't do it justice)
    Image

    In summary, Asheville is a great long-weekend destination. I'll definitely be back.

    Triple Falls, Dupont State Forest

    Image
  • Post #13 - May 27th, 2010, 12:56 pm
    Post #13 - May 27th, 2010, 12:56 pm Post #13 - May 27th, 2010, 12:56 pm
    Forgot to add that the Biltmore Dairy was closed to make way for the Biltmore Winery. We didn't stop at the winery but the wines we tasted from Biltmore weren't so hot.
  • Post #14 - June 2nd, 2010, 2:24 pm
    Post #14 - June 2nd, 2010, 2:24 pm Post #14 - June 2nd, 2010, 2:24 pm
    Wow! What a great description of your trip--was so glad to hear about what you did. What kind of culinary tour were you on--your own or organized? How was the day at Biltmore arranged? Glad you got to Tupelo Honey and it satisfied...it is a great town...but, a lot of people have discovered it which has brought good eats but it is congested....Cheers, Nancy
  • Post #15 - June 2nd, 2010, 11:38 pm
    Post #15 - June 2nd, 2010, 11:38 pm Post #15 - June 2nd, 2010, 11:38 pm
    any chance your trip arranged by mark rosenstein?
  • Post #16 - June 4th, 2010, 8:49 am
    Post #16 - June 4th, 2010, 8:49 am Post #16 - June 4th, 2010, 8:49 am
    nancy wrote:What kind of culinary tour were you on--your own or organized? How was the day at Biltmore arranged?


    nancy wrote:any chance your trip arranged by mark rosenstein?


    The trip was actually a gift so I'm not sure of all the details. I know that it was set up through Epitourean.com. We had a very nice time but I'm not sure I would recommend the entire package of the tour. The highlight was really the Biltmore cooking class (really due to the chef teaching it and I'm not sure he does all the classes--I think we may have just lucked out). There may be a way to set up classes directly through the Biltmore--I'm not sure.
  • Post #17 - July 8th, 2010, 12:51 pm
    Post #17 - July 8th, 2010, 12:51 pm Post #17 - July 8th, 2010, 12:51 pm
    Has anyone eaten at The Admiral in Asheville? Is it a strong restaurant for the region?
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #18 - July 29th, 2010, 10:02 pm
    Post #18 - July 29th, 2010, 10:02 pm Post #18 - July 29th, 2010, 10:02 pm
    Another year, another dinner at Madison's, the flagship restaurant at the Old Edwards Inn (the high-end resort/spa/hotel on Main Street in Highlands, North Carolina) that at its best really hits a groove. I have great admiration for the chef Chris Huerta, who is a serious student of what is known as modern American cuisine. Although we are now finding very creative restaurants in rural areas that are serious dining destinations (Town House in Chilhowie, Virginia; Volt in Frederick, Maryland; Revolver in Findlay, Ohio; June in Peoria Heights, Illinois), Madison's doesn't quite fit this model. As a hotel, it caters to many well-heeled guests who prefer well-cooked mainstream cuisine (my wife ordered a Caesar Salad and a Seared Ribeye - she enjoyed both of them, but both could have been had at most well-chefed upper-middle strata restaurants). Madison's must balance the desire of their customers not to be surprised, and the desire of the chef to spread his wings. Someday I would love to see Chef Huerta open his own place in Atlanta, Chicago, or Brooklyn.

    Of the three dishes that I ordered one was truly superb, one had considerable potential (slightly limited by the cut of striped bass), and one, the dessert, was quite tasty, but aiming for a general audience. Part of Madison's strategy - and they are not alone in this - is to constitute themselves as farm-to-table cuisine, permitting them to avoid some of the excesses of modern cuisine in the name of authenticity. As I have stated elsewhere, I am skeptical that I would be able to taste the difference between local ingredients and distant ingredients if the menu did not advertise the fact. When I see a reference to, say, field mushrooms from Cowpie Farms, I don't know whether this is the same farm from which the fungi have always come, but now a publicist has crowned the farm with a name. (The Old Edwards Inn has a farm garden and grows some of its own food).

    The appetizer, Pancetta Wrapped Palmetto Quail with Roasted Apples, Dates, Swiss Chard, and Natural Jus, was a distinguished dish. Confident, subtle, complex, moist, and exquisite. Dates, it must be pointed out, are not known to be native to North Carolina and it might be a bit early for apples. I assume that quails are somewhere about (South Carolina?), but I am no hunter. But philosophical quibbles aside, it was as glorious a dish as might be desired.

    Image

    The entree, Striped Bass with Truffled White Asparagus, Poached Peaches, Spinach, and Lemon Creme Fraiche, was well-conceived (it is a little late for asparagus, which unlike its sunlit green cousin, tends toward the mushy). But the accompaniments matched well, and it was a pretty plate. The fish, while not over-cooked was not translucent, and in talking with Chef Huerta after dinner, I learned that they received a bass that was of a larger size than desired, requiring some extra cooking to avoid toughness. The spiced crust on the fish was exceptionally flavorful as was the Lemon Creme Fraiche.

    Image

    As mentioned, the dessert - Warm Banana Cake with Rum Raisin Ice Cream in Dark Myers Rum Sauce - was sweet and good, but no challenge to the senses. It was well-made, but owing more to tradition that to innovation, although the puck-like cake was nicely moist and well-textured.

    Image

    There are many restaurants in this resort community - On the Verandah, Wolfgang's - where one can eat a well-cooked meal, but it is only at Madison's where there are flashes of brilliance. Granted these flashes are particularly evident in the specials, but that is why they are called specials.

    Madison's
    Old Edwards Inn
    Fourth and Main Street
    Highland, North Carolina
    866-526-8008
    828-526-8008
    http://www.oldedwardsinn.com/
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #19 - May 3rd, 2012, 4:22 pm
    Post #19 - May 3rd, 2012, 4:22 pm Post #19 - May 3rd, 2012, 4:22 pm
    went on a weekend road-trip to Asheville last month with my girlfriend, such a great city.

    wanted to "second" positive reviews for Early Girl Eatery (I'm still enjoying Tupelo Honey Cafe but this time I was more impressed with Earl Girl for brunch), and Table where we had a delicious dinner that wouldn't have been out of place at, for example, the Bristol.

    Also the area is fantastic for local beers, my favorite of which is Pisgah, a small all organic brewery in Swananoa, you can only get the beer in the area and its fantastic.
  • Post #20 - May 7th, 2012, 5:11 pm
    Post #20 - May 7th, 2012, 5:11 pm Post #20 - May 7th, 2012, 5:11 pm
    Admiral is the best place in Asheville for fine dining. It gets better after you drive up and get inside.

    http://theadmiralnc.com/
  • Post #21 - May 7th, 2012, 5:25 pm
    Post #21 - May 7th, 2012, 5:25 pm Post #21 - May 7th, 2012, 5:25 pm
    Since I asked the question about Admiral, I have eaten there, and I agree that it is excellent and worth a trip. It has a roadhouse feel to it in ambiance, but the cuisine is Southern modernist, served with panache. I prefer Curate slightly, but Admiral is an important contribution to the region and is more attuned to the region than Curate (an exceptional tapas bar).
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #22 - May 8th, 2012, 11:50 am
    Post #22 - May 8th, 2012, 11:50 am Post #22 - May 8th, 2012, 11:50 am
    I moved to just outside Asheville three years ago and while the food choices here are nowhere near what's in Chicago there are some gems.
    The Admiral, Sunny Point Cafe, Corner Kitchen, 12 Bones, White Duck Taco, and Tupelo Honey are all worth visiting.
    We're even getting some food trucks like Gypsy Queen for Lebanese, The Pink Taco with Indian fry bread bowl tacos, and The Lowdown which has great Banh Mi among other choices.
    All these places have locally grown ingredients as the main focus for their food which alone wont help a bad dish, but really makes good ones shine.
    Along with the huge local craft beer scene and some small batch whiskey startups marketed as moonshine we aren't going thirsty down here either.
    I don't mean to sound like a chamber of commerce ad, but Asheville is slowly coming along as a place with some exciting food.
  • Post #23 - February 2nd, 2013, 1:06 pm
    Post #23 - February 2nd, 2013, 1:06 pm Post #23 - February 2nd, 2013, 1:06 pm
    On a trip that fell this New Year's Eve day, we passed through Asheville very briefly. As the downtown area was crowded, with zero parking, and a loud-speaker-assisted rant from a man lamenting equally passionately the limitations of our health care system and the disappointments of his dating life, we decided to head to the outskirts of town. My husband uses this strategy to find taquerias, and it often works. His reasoning has to do with affordable rent and the availability of former fast food restaurant buildings that can be easily adapted to new and better use. I was very glad to bypass the chain options at the intersection where we found Cocula.

    For reference, here is the sign and a picture of the exterior:

    Image
    Cocula Sign by Josephine2004, on Flickr

    Image
    Cocula Exterior by Josephine2004, on Flickr

    We had our Labrador with us, and the nice owners were very accommodating. They served us on the patio in spite of the cold weather. It may be that they were geared up with their best offerings for the New Year's Eve crowd. It may be that the everyday tacos would not measure up to the delicious barbacoa, lengua, al pastor and carnitas tacos we ate during our stop there. But if you are in the area, give them a try. These were some of the best tacos I had all year, being moist, properly seasoned, and generously filled with high quality meat.

    Cocula
    1297 Tunnel Rd
    Asheville, NC 28805
    (828) 299-1255
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #24 - February 26th, 2013, 10:24 am
    Post #24 - February 26th, 2013, 10:24 am Post #24 - February 26th, 2013, 10:24 am
    I'd rank The Admiral among the top tier of restaurants in the Southeast. I've been several times and drive out of my way to eat there.

    That said, the chef is leaving and opening a new place that also looks exciting:
    Seven Sows Bourbon & Larder
    www.sevensows.com

    I'm looking forward to checking this place out!
  • Post #25 - October 14th, 2014, 10:03 pm
    Post #25 - October 14th, 2014, 10:03 pm Post #25 - October 14th, 2014, 10:03 pm
    Took an end of summer roadtrip down to Asheville on a somewhat last second whim. I'd been hearing good things about both the atmosphere and also the food and since it was a spot within the time limit we set forth we decided to go check it out. I was happy we did as I found it to be a really eclectic city that would fit perfectly somewhere in Northern California. I did some good eating as always and wanted to share a handful of the favorites. Aside from the food and wonderful brews (they have a high concentration of micro breweries in the area), I also loved the surroundings with the highlight being a two hour ride up the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's definitely one of the more scenic, and at times nerve rattling drives in the lower 48.

    Image
    Scenic Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

    As always I went to quite a few spots and squeezed a daytrip in when as mentioned we rode the Blue Ridge Parkway up into the artsy town of Spruce Pine where there was a highly spoken of spot using fresh local ingredients with a cocktail bar next door. The ride there was over two hours on the Parkway without stops but only about 40 minutes back on the state highway. We also enjoyed the much lauded 12 Bones BBQ where the baby backs we're very tasty but the fried green tomato BLT was King. Sides were also very good. Biscuit Head was a hip concept spot serving crazy concocted biscuit sandwiches damn near as big as a newborns head. They had a line of locals for a reason, excellent homemade sauces and jams to go with them. Meanwhile Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack is making some of the best fried chicken I've ever come across, no bull, we went twice to this Nashville style spot serving cheap local brewed beer and perfectly seasoned/fried wings. Curate is a Barcelona style tapas bar ran by a lady who used to work in the Kitchen of El Bulli before settling on Asheville with her husband. It was almost as good as some of the similar spots in Barca and maybe even better if not for the fact we weren't in Spain. Feel free to check out the complete report with some other spots and a little more in depth coverage over at da ole blog right HERE.

    Image
    Manute Bol Mural in the Rivers Arts District
    _____________________________________________________________________

    12 Bones Smokehouse

    Image
    Located in the River Arts District

    Image
    Baby Backs with a Brown Sugar Rub

    Image
    Taste of Pulled Pork

    Image
    Fried Green Tomato BLT with Candied Bacon
    _____________________________________________________________________

    Image
    Ham Biscuit with fried green tomato, and cheese eggs served with a side of red eye gravy from Biscuit Head

    Image
    Mildium Wings from Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack

    Image
    Grilled 100% Iberico Pork "Skirt Steak" with Rosemary and thyme at Curate

    Image
    Char Grilled NC Trout with roasted peppers, tomatoes, leeks, basil and fumet at Knife and Fork
    _____________________________________________________________________

    12 Bones Smokehouse
    5 Riverside Dr
    Asheville, NC 28801
    (828) 253-4499

    Biscuit Head
    733 Haywood Rd
    Asheville, NC 28806
    (828) 333-5145

    Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack
    1455 Patton Ave
    Asheville, NC 28806
    (828) 575-2260

    Curate
    11 Biltmore Ave
    Asheville, NC 28801
    (828) 239-2946

    Knife & Fork
    61 Locust St
    Spruce Pine, NC 28777
    (828) 765-1511
  • Post #26 - October 19th, 2014, 5:59 am
    Post #26 - October 19th, 2014, 5:59 am Post #26 - October 19th, 2014, 5:59 am
    Curate is amazing. Wandered in for dinner a few years ago, just picked it out while strolling around downtown. I was just stunned by every course, perfection
  • Post #27 - October 20th, 2014, 4:01 pm
    Post #27 - October 20th, 2014, 4:01 pm Post #27 - October 20th, 2014, 4:01 pm
    As usual, that's a great report, Beef! I'd add Isa's Bistro to your list of places not to miss. I stopped in at lunch time and had a burger, which very much reminded me of the one being served at Au Cherval (double patty wise), but theirs is served with pickled Vidalia’s, American cheese, Sriracha aioli and smashed fingerling “fries”. It was one of the better (and messier) burgers I've had in a while.

    For dinner, they are much more ambitious with the menu, serving small and large plates of locally sourced food. I really liked this place a lot.

    Sorry, no pictures, but you can see the burger on this page along with some of their other food http://www.isasbistro.com/food/page/2/.

    Isa's Bistro
    1 Battery Park Ave
    Asheville, NC 28801
    (828) 575-9636
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #28 - December 6th, 2014, 3:39 am
    Post #28 - December 6th, 2014, 3:39 am Post #28 - December 6th, 2014, 3:39 am
    The Chow Poodle and I just got back from a week in Asheville. Asheville is a very interesting town situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

    Image

    Despite having a population of only 90,000 people, they manage to support an extensive culinary scene. Farm to table isn’t just a catchphrase there. The town is literally surrounded by farms and small artisan producers supplying the good people of Asheville with fresh produce, fish and meat as well as a host of other handmade products. This extends to the restaurants and the general vibe of the town as well. It reminds me of Northern California in the 70’s.

    If you’re a beer lover, Asheville boasts more breweries per capita than any U.S. city (roughly one brewery per 8,000 people). Asheville is home to 20+ craft breweries, a moonshine distillery and not one, but two sake producers.

    But if you know me, you know I’m into the food, not the booze; so here is a little recap of what I ate.

    Upthread, Da Beef mentions Curate, which is an outstanding tapas place, but they are not the only game in town. Zambra is another tapas restaurant. Instead of limiting themselves to traditional Spanish tapas, they take advantage of the area’s bounty and stretch into non-traditional territory, with a menu that changes daily depending on what the chef finds at the market.

    Zambra’s Gnocchi
    Image

    Here is a shot of some house made gnocchi with roasted butternut squash, currents, spinach and Three Graces chevre. This was an excellent dish. The gnocchi were quite small and had a perfect texture.

    Zambra also boasts one of the largest dining rooms in Asheville. This gives them enough room to host large parties and have live music several nights a week. They also have a decent cocktail list and offer some nice non-alcoholic drinks as well.

    Image

    Someone recently asked about breakfast in Asheville in another thread. This is one area where the town really shines. Here are a couple of places that served outstanding breakfast. Both of these places are in West Asheville, a very bohemian type of neighborhood.

    Biscuithead serves good southern breakfast along with (or on) some really large scratch made biscuits. As with every place I’m mentioning in this post, thy use very high quality farm fresh ingredients top to bottom on the menu. If you order a plain biscuit, thy have a butter and jam bar similar to Baker Miller (but considerably more extensive) to top your biscuit. I went for the brisket biscuit.

    Biscuithead’s Brisket Biscuit
    Image

    The brisket itself had a really good smoky taste. It could have easily stood on its own as an entrée in most any BBQ joint north of Texas (had it not been shredded for the sake of this dish). The poached egg added just the right amount of rich moisture to flavor the biscuit. I finished every bite of this.

    Another breakfast joint, and my favorite of the trip, is Sunny Point Café also in West Asheville. I liked it so much, we ate there twice.

    Sunny Point Café
    Image

    Sunny Point not only sources local eggs and meats, they also have their own garden and grow as much of their own produce as possible.

    Sunny Point Café Garden
    Image

    Image

    They serve both breakfast and lunch, but breakfast is served all day and appeared to be the way most people went.

    Sunny Point Café MGB
    Image

    This is my MGB (Mighty Good Breakfast). Two over easy with sausage, a biscuit and stone ground chipotle cheese grits. Let me tell you, those grits were something special, and the eggs were so fresh, it seemed like the yolks were more orange than yellow. On my second visit, I ended up ordering the exact same thing for breakfast.

    The Chow Poodle also had a MGB. Hers was scrambled eggs, Benton maple bacon and herb tossed potatoes.

    Sunny Point Café MGB #2
    Image

    The biscuits here were outstanding. Here’s a close-up showing the layers of flaky goodness.

    Sunny Point Café Biscuit
    Image

    We had a couple meals that didn’t get photographed, but are worth mentioning. One was a burger at Farm Burger, an Atlanta mini chain with additional locations in Berkeley, CA and Asheville. They claim to be a “Farm to Fork” burger stand, although no forks were necessary to eat my burger. ;-) It was very much like one of the new breed burger joints (5 Guys, Meatheads, Smash Burger, et. al.), with the difference being house made pickles, buns and (some) condiments as well as cooked- to-requested-temp grass fed Hickory Nut Gap Farms beef for the burgers.

    Another meal worth mentioning was Thanksgiving dinner at the Grove Park Inn. This was a spectacular buffet that filled three rooms and featured everything from shellfish (oysters, clams, shrimp and snow crab legs), to a charcuterie and cheese room to carved to order turkey, country ham, city ham and beef and all the salads and trimmings you could imagine. Chances are if you can think of a Thanksgiving side dish, it was available.

    The Grove Park Inn is also the site of the world championship gingerbread contest, and some of the winners were on display, including this gingerbread soldier in a moment of reflection. The hotel itself can be seen in the background.

    Image

    Driving into town when we first got there, I passed Rocky’s Hot Fried Chicken. Remembering Da Beef’s mention of the place, I vowed to return that evening.

    Rocky’s Hot Fried Chicken
    Image

    Image

    Image

    Nashville hot fried chicken in Asheville…sure, I’ll give it a try! This is some great stuff. It’s now almost 10 days since I got back from this trip, and chicken from Rocky’s is the one thing I continue to crave. Like Prince’s in Nashville, this is some seriously hot stuff. The Chow Poodle ordered hers plain, while I went for medium, knowing that even the medium is seriously spicy.

    Rocky’s Plain Hot Fried Chicken
    Image

    Rocky’s Medium Hot Fried Chicken
    Image

    In true Asheville fashion, they use locally raised, pastured chickens and brine them overnight before frying them up. These “natural” chickens tend to be on the large side and because the pieces are so big, the outside crust tends to the dark side by the time the chicken is fully cooked. This is just an observation on the color. Flavor wise, the chicken is perfectly fried and very juicy, not to mention flavorful and hot as hell. It wasn’t just heat for heat’s sake. There was some well-balanced flavor in there, too.

    Here’s a shot of the white bread that was under my chicken. The hot sludge was pretty good with the bread, and the Chow Poodle, after deciding she liked my spicy version better than her plain, ended up smearing some of the sludge on her chicken to wake it up a little bit.

    Image

    A word to the Wise on the Bathroom Door
    Image

    Besides Sunny Point Café, this was the only other place that we visited twice. They have two locations. One is in West Asheville and one is in Arden. We went to the Arden location.

    One afternoon, we went on a little food crawl. Here are some of the places we hit:

    Chestnut
    House cured country ham with sweet potato hash
    Image

    Strada Bruschetta Romantica
    Grape tomatoes, ciliegini, grilled bread & local basil, drizzled with balsamic reduction, garlic olive oil & baby arugula
    Image

    Laurie’s
    Kale Salad and Veggies with Feta Cheese
    Image

    Laurie’s was sort of a prepared foods deli. They do a lot of catering, but had an eat-in area as well.

    The Gourmet Chip Company
    Image

    Pressed Italiano
    Image

    Gourmet Potato Chips
    Image

    Chocolate Gems
    Champagne Truffle
    Image

    Vanilla and Pumpkin Gelato
    Image

    Chocolate Gems is nearly next door to Gourmet Chip Company. They make a great one two punch if you need a sweet and salty fix.

    This crawl was a great way to spend an afternoon. We walked between all of these places, which are all located in the compact and architecturally beautiful downtown area.

    We made plans to have dinner at Chef John Fleer’s Rhubarb one night. John Fleer is considered one of the strongest proponents of the “eat local” movement in the south. He is the one responsible for bringing such southern products as Benton’s bacon and ham to the attention of the public while he was the chef at Blackberry Farm in Walland, TN. He now lives in Asheville, where he has opened Rhubarb, yet another farm to table restaurant. Rhubarb reminded me very much of Nightwood, where the menu is chef driven and changeable, depending on the season or the ingredients available on any given day.

    Rhubarb
    Image

    Our meal was great, but let me apologize in advance for the pictures. We were seated in a particularly dark part of the restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very nice table…just a little dark for taking pictures. Next time, I’ll sit at the kitchen counter and get some better shots.

    Rhubarb Pickled South Carolina Shrimp and Fried Green Tomato
    Fried green tomato relish, preserved lemon remoulade
    Image

    We started out with this stunner. Pristine shrimp lightly pickled and set off by the tart fried green tomato. I licked the plate on this one.

    Rhubarb Fall Vegetable Crostada
    Butternut squash, ricotta, swiss chard, local mushrooms, GG turnips
    Image

    I forgot to get a shot of this until half of it was gone. This was good, but truth be told, the shrimp was my favorite appetizer.

    Rhubarb Charmoula Grilled Bavette Steak
    GG turnips and carrots, grilled fingerling potatoes
    Image

    Perfectly cooked to the Chow Poodle’s specified temp.

    Rhubarb Glazed Duck Confit
    Sweet potato anna cake, coffee cured duck ham, swiss chard, sweet garlic, butternut squash-leek salad
    Image

    Detail of Duck Ham
    Image

    Perfectly confitted (is that a word) duck. Tender and succulent. The duck ham was something I’ve never had before. It had just the right amount of saltiness. This was a killer dish. The chef told me that the duck is a staple on his menu and is there in one form or another most of the time. That’s welcome news to a duck lover like me.

    Last, but not least, let me talk for a moment about French Broad Chocolate Company. They are a bean to bar chocolate producer located in Asheville. They are so into the whole chocolate production process that they have recently bought their own cacao plantation in Costa Rica to better control the entire chocolate making process including the harvesting of the cacao pods. Besides the factory, which offers tours, they also have a chocolate lounge where they sell items made from their chocolate as well as bars and homemade ice cream. The chocolate lounge moved into a new, larger space while we were there, and we went on opening day.

    French Broad Chocolate Lounge
    Image

    Image

    The lines on opening day were extremely long. Our wait to order was 45 minutes. Normally I would never wait that long for anything, but since we were unlikely to be able to return, we stuck it out.

    French Broad Chocolate Lounge Quintessential Chocolate Cake
    devil’s food cake featuring Carolina Ground flour, whipped ganache, dark chocolate glaze and curls
    Image

    French Broad Chocolate Lounge Hot Chocolate
    housemade ganache melted with organic milk (choice of ganache flavors)
    Image

    That seems a sweet ending for this trip recap. Asheville turned out to be a great eating town and I recommend a visit to anyone passing through North Carolina. It’s a completely different vibe than eastern North Carolina and worth checking out. And, oh yeah, there’s the whole Biltmore Estate thing to see as well.

    Image

    Curate
    11 Biltmore Ave
    Asheville, NC 28801
    (828) 239-2946

    Zambra
    85 W Walnut St
    Asheville, NC 28801
    (828) 232-1060

    Biscuithead
    733 Haywood Rd
    Asheville, NC 28806
    (828) 333-5145

    Sunny Point Café
    626 Haywood Rd
    Asheville, NC 28806
    (828) 252-0055

    Farm Burger
    10 Patton Ave
    Asheville, NC 28801
    (828) 348-8540

    Grove Park Inn
    290 Macon Ave
    Asheville, NC 28804
    (828) 252-2711

    Rocky’s Hot Fried Chicken
    1455 Patton Ave
    Asheville, NC 28806
    (828) 575-2260

    Rocky’s Hot Fried Chicken
    3749 Sweeten Creek Rd
    Arden, NC 28704
    (828) 676-3222

    Chestnut
    48 Biltmore Ave
    Asheville, NC 28801
    (828) 575-2667

    Strada
    27 Broadway
    Asheville, NC 28801
    (828) 348-8448

    Laurie’s
    67 Biltmore Ave
    Asheville, NC 28801
    (828) 252-1500

    Gourmet Chip Company
    43 Broadway
    Asheville, NC 28801
    (828) 254-3335

    Chocolate Gems
    25 Broadway
    Asheville, NC 28801
    (828) 505-8596

    Rhubarb
    7 SW Pack Square
    Asheville, NC 28801
    (828) 785-1503

    French Broad Chocolate Lounge
    10 S Pack Square
    Asheville, NC 28801
    (828) 252-4181
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #29 - December 7th, 2014, 5:45 pm
    Post #29 - December 7th, 2014, 5:45 pm Post #29 - December 7th, 2014, 5:45 pm
    Tnx for the nice report, Steve! Makes me want to go back again to visit.

    Although I know your focus was on the eats, I hope that you tried two other things: first, the huge Tops shoe store, where I bought a memorable pair of shoes; and, secondly, the wine from the Biltmore—it's awfully good!

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #30 - December 9th, 2014, 8:30 am
    Post #30 - December 9th, 2014, 8:30 am Post #30 - December 9th, 2014, 8:30 am
    Geo,

    I've heard very mixed reports on the Biltmore wine. Your endorsement makes me wish I had at least tasted some. I went for some of the prepared jams, jellies and put up veggies at the estate instead (my gift exchange item at the LTH Holiday Dinner was a pair of jellies from there).

    On the shoe front, I didn't go to the Tops shoe store, but I did spot a branch of Austin's SAS shoes, which is my preferred brand of everyday footwear.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more