Monthly Archives: September 2011

Asheville Part II – FOOD

Finally finished writing up the second part of our Asheville trip!

Day two of our Asheville whirlwind trip started out with a delicious breakfast at the B&B.  The main dish was some sort of Spanish quiche, and there was also a fresh fruit salsa and a berry parfait.  And I know it was bona fide (how am I just now finding out that bona fide is two words?) fresh because the innkeeper headed to the farmer’s market as part of her weekly ritual as soon as breakfast was over.  I should have taken a picture of my plate but since you eat with strangers when you stay at a B&B, I thought they might think I was a weirdo. Gotta get over that!  After breakfast, we headed to Asheville River Arts District, which was awesome!  There are so many open studios there and you just walk in while the artist is working away.  One of our favorite artists that day was Jonas Gerard (google him) so we took home one of his prints on a 8×10 tile.  I’m sure it will make an appearance on this blog when we hang it although we aren’t sure where its new home will be just yet.

River Arts District Studios

After seeing lots of AMAZING art, it was time to get back to the real purpose of our trip–FOOD.  When we were looking for stuff to do in Asheville, we found the Asheville Food Tour, and it had gotten rave reviews.  For $35 apiece (we got a discount through our B&B), hubs and I got to visit Asheville restaurants, talk to the chefs, owners, or managers, and sample a bit of the goods.  I was kind of unsure about doing a tour–I don’t like doing typical touristy things and it sounded like something old people do.  But it was our favorite part of the trip (well, tied with the drum circle).  I did not take pictures of the dishes(again, we were eating with strangers) so I apologize, but here are the places we visited.

We tried the Ecstasy Blossom Truffle (described on their website as dark chocolate with lemon zest, ginger, and saffron, topped with a candied violet) and then a sea salt caramel dipped in milk chocolate.  It was then that I realized I’m a simple girl and I don’t need a candied violet atop my chocolate truffle.  The sea salt caramel was probably the best piece of chocolate I’ve ever put in my mouth.  We met with the owner, who was quite charming, and he told us how he was retiring and his daughter was taking over the business.  She has a  fine arts degree and he told us how she comes up with the formulas and designs for the chocolate.  The place has really grown in the last few years and now they ship all over the country.  We will definitely be revisiting.

At Green Sage, we tried a veggie wrap and some lentil soup.  Both very good.  My favorite part of this place, was its green philosophy.  Natural, local, organic ingredients.  Solar panels.  Compostable take out materials (to go boxes made from potatoes!).  Bicycle for deliveries. It had separate recycling bins for different materials and even a compost bin!  How many restaurants have compost bins?!

Next we went to Fiore’s where we had some delicious gnocchi with white wine.  Yummmm.  Definitely will be revisiting.  I really liked the atmosphere as well:

  


For our next stop, we went to a barbecue joint— 



There were over a dozen sauces to try and we sampled quite a bit.  We had bbq sandwiches and cole slaw.



Next we stopped at this cute little shop, called “Olive and Kickin’.”  They gave us samples of olive oils (which you drink straight out of a little paper sample cup and it was so good.  I never thought I would enjoy drinking straight olive oil, but I’m a fan.

see my cute hubby back there?



Here is the balsamic vinegar buffet–flavors like pomegranite, espresso, and jalepeno.  I had no idea there were so many options.  You could mix and match and I could have stayed there for several hours.  Next time, I will be bringing some home.



Next we went to a fancy-shmancy restaurant called Restaurant Solace.  The head chef here buys produce from local farmers and sells to the public whatever he doesn’t use in his kitchen.  It’s his way of supporting local farmers.  I wasn’t that impressed with the fancy chicken over a potato cake, but the Arnold Palmer we had with the sample was delicious.



Our second to last stop was The Soda Fountain, where we had some lime sherbet ice cream.  The Soda Fountain is located at Woolworth Walk, a venue full of local arts and crafts.

The Spice & Tea Exchange was our last stop and is another shop where I could have spent hours. No samples, but wall to wall spices to sniff.  Makes me want to cook more.  (If you look closely, you can see the jerkwad in the reflection that asked if Hubs was my spouse OR MY SON.  Talk about a blow to my ego!  Now, I know my husband does look extremely young even though we are only a year apart, so I know I shouldn’t listen to this Kramer look-alike, but it stung nonetheless.  People, think before you speak.  That would never be a smart question to ask.  It ranks right up there with “Are you pregnant?” and “Why don’t you have kids yet?”)   


So, needless to say, we were stuffed and content by the end of the food tour.  It was great to try so many of Asheville’s flavors and talk to the shop owners.  Asheville is a beautiful and interesting city and we can’t wait to go back.   

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Fall is here…at least for now

Today I have the pumpkin candles out, still in my pjs, with this on the TV:

Now I am a summer girl in my heart, but I can’t help but get excited when college football season rolls around and I can break out my boots and scarves.  And even though my Clemson Tigers typically let me down and probably will again today, I love my alma mater and I will keep cheering my heart out for them until the day I die.

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Healthy AND Yummy

This weekend, Hubs and I tried a new recipe that I found on Pinterest.  That site is crack y’all.  (P.S.  I know true Southerners spell it ya’ll and get all fired up about it, but I am a grammar nazi that firmly believes the apostrophe is supposed to take the place of the missing letters).  Okay, that got way off topic really quickly.  Anyway, the recipe is from a website I had never visited before, called Tasty Kitchen.
http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/main-courses/cheesy-chicken-and-rice-bake/

It’s called cheesy chicken and rice bake, and it was delicious!  The only changes we made were leaving out the can of green chiles (just a personal preference) and using two of the frozen cubes of cilantro that you can buy at Trader Joe’s instead of fresh cilantro.  We just can’t seem to use cilantro before it turns brown in this house so we’ve resorted to cheating.  (The cubes say not to defrost before using but I didn’t know how to spread it evenly otherwise so I was a rebel and let it melt in a cup before spreading it on the top.  It seemed to work fine).  Since we cheated on the cilantro, we made real brown rice instead of minute rice as the author suggested.  Not because we are snobs, but because that’s what we had.  The dish was great, although we did have to add a good bit of salt (and some Cholula hot sauce–yum).  Here’s a picture, although the picture on the Tasty Kitchen website makes my picture look like a science project.

Kind of broccoli casserole-ish?  Luckily, we don’t care how things look in this household, as long as it tastes good.  And it did.  After this dish, Hubs and I decided that we will never go back to sour cream; we loved the Greek yogurt.  I know I’m late getting on that bus, but I love my sour cream, folks.  And here’s a picture that’s not orange and green:

Although it was delicious, we are trying to simplify recipes, eat more vegetarian meals, and reduce costs so we discussed cutting out the chicken next time and doubling the beans and corn.  YUMS.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

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Oh Baby!

A few of us ladies recently planned a baby shower for our friend Erin, who may quite possibly be the most adorable pregnant lady I’ve ever seen.  See proof here:

Lynnie B and Pregnant Erin

A friend of a friend let us use her RIDICULOUSLY SPECTACTULAR home for the shower.  I can’t begin to describe how amazing this place was.  See proof here:

Our husbands hard at work grilling the burgers and dogs. 
It was extremely hot and humid that day, but the ceiling fans installed under the pergola helped a little.  If you look closely, you can even see the bracket mounted on the beam behind my super cool husband that is used when the family wants to hang the ol’ flatscreen so they can watch a football game while they cook out.  Crazy.
With a house as beautiful as this, we really felt that we didn’t need to do a whole lot of decorating.  Most of the ideas came from stalking Pinterest.
cheap lantern 3-pk from Hobby Lobby; paper pom poms via Martha Stewart tutorial

milk jug, sand, twine bow, branch from yard, yellow tissue paper flowers

tutorial here: http://www.oncewed.com/10489/diy-wedding/flowers/diy-tissue-paper-garden-wedding-centerpiece/
dessert table…yum.
pennant banner from fabric scraps hot glued to rope

circle garland inspiration: 

http://www.love-the-day.com/lovetheday/wordpress/?p=2117 (although we used double-sided tape)

and my favorite part…
Each host made a onesie using fabric scraps and fabric glue, which doubled as decoration for the shower and clothes for the new baby.  I wish I could give credit to my internet inspiration, but the website is no longer up and running.

Here’s a closeup of two of them…I did the guitar one on the left, but I do adore the singing owl.
And this post wouldn’t be complete without pointing out that the home had some very interesting places to explore on the property.  Someone had a very interesting hobby:

Good times.

Update:  I linked this post up at Home Stories A to Z here:

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