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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