36hrs (or so) of eating / Food Travel America / The South

36 hours (or so) of eating & drinking in Asheville, NC

After the wonderful whirlwind of Charleston, I was looking forward to moving east for a couple of quiet days. I had chosen Asheville, North Carolina as my stop before Nashville because I’d heard it was a great little food/beer town  nestled beside the Appalachian Mountains. It seemed like the perfect place for me to eat, drink and wander on quiet little hikes for a few days.

When I looked at accommodations for Asheville, I got it in my head to find a B&B that had great touches of Southern charm. I chose perfectly with Black Walnut B&B which was not only charming but I was also taken in with their amazing Southern hospitality.

I had arrived during Black Walnut’s afternoon tea where wine was flowing and lovely hors d’oeuvre were being served. The hosts and guests sat together on the porch, watching the afternoon turn to evening and easily slowed down as I sat back in a rocking chair.

 

Even before I brought my bags to my room, I had a glass of wine poured and a plate full of treats to help me unwind on the porch.

Even before I brought my bags to my room, I had a glass of wine poured and a plate full of treats to help me unwind on the porch.

It was food and beer that drew me to Asheville and when I started researching places to go, I found that there was much more than 2 days worth of deliciousness to choose from.

I chose Curate, a Spanish tapas bar, purely out of curiosity. Sure it gets rave reviews, but I am a Spanish tapas purist. But when I heard that in this small (albeit hip) town of Asheville there was a Spanish restaurant run by 2 El Bulli alumni, I had to go.

Sparkling sangria... 2 of my favourites combined in one.

Sparkling sangria… 2 of my favourites combined in one.

Pan con tomate is so simple, but hard to do properly. This had all the components of "just right".

Pan con tomate is so simple, but hard to do properly. This had all the components of “just right”.

Albondigas con jamon - meatballs with cured Iberico de bellota ham in a tomato sauce

Albondigas con jamon – meatballs with cured Iberico de bellota ham in a tomato sauce

I rarely order the patatas bravas, but couldn't deny my potato craving after seeing these delivered to the diners beside me.

I rarely order patatas bravas, but couldn’t deny my potato craving after seeing these delivered to the diners beside me.

Asparagus with Romesco sauce

Grilled asparagus with Romesco sauce

Everyone raved about the fried eggplant drizzled with honey so I had to order it. I'm glad it came last because it acted as a dessert to end this delicious meal.

Everyone raved about the fried eggplant drizzled with honey so I had to order it. I’m glad it came last because it acted as a sweet dessert to end this delicious meal.

One of the reasons why I chose Black Walnut B&B was I heard that their breakfasts were amazing. They were incredible, but what I didn’t anticipate was how big they’d be.

First course was a fresh scone with Devonshire cream and berries, followed by a large cup of fresh fruit, followed by a huge plate with waffles topped with caramelized apples and walnuts and a side of bacon. It was way too much food. All of it was so delicious, but I just don’t have a stomach large enough to handle a meal of that size with enjoyment. It was one of those moments where I wished I had 2 stomachs…

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I had planned some great little hikes in the mountains surrounding Asheville for the few days I’d be there, unfortunately I injured my big toe the day before I left Charleston and my hopes of walking quietly, gazing out into the vast Appalachians were dashed.

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But Vacation Sus is rarely defeated, so I looked into what I might be able to accomplish without a lot of walking. I found that I could take an elevator to the top of Chimney Rock, which was one of the places on my list to check out.

In pure Susy form though, even though there I was an elevator to take me to the top of the rock, I wanted to get a better vantage point and away from the crowds so I hobbled my way up to the top to get away from the

In pure Susy form, even though there was an elevator to take me to the top of the rock, I wanted to get a better vantage point away from the crowds, so I hobbled my way up to the top to get this photo.

The area surrounding Asheville is beautiful and I’m happy I got to see glimpses of it. I definitely pushed my injured foot too hard and knew the best way to get my mind off of it would be by sampling with a glass (or 2) of Wicked Weed’s craft beer.

Wicked Weed Asheville

Downstairs at Wicked Weed was busy on a Monday afternoon. I wished my tolerance were higher because I would have liked to sample more of their delicious brews.

A quick nap followed by more delicious treats at the Black Walnut followed by another quick nap. My foot injury was forcing me into the slow and easy I was hoping for in Asheville.

I must admit, I hummed and hawed over my choice to go to the Admiral for dinner. Recommendations for the place came from all angles, but I couldn’t get in to their menu. I didn’t know if I felt like eating that night at a place some refer to as “dive bar chic” and I just couldn’t get excited about their most recommended dish, the PEI mussels. Really, was I going all the way to North Carolina to eat PEI mussels?

I’m glad for once I trusted what others were telling me over my gut feelings, because my meal at the Admiral, once I got over the fact that the place felt like it was lit by neon lights,  was great.

PEI mussels, San Marzano, bacon, hickory smoke, PBR, chimichurri with toast.

PEI mussels, San Marzano, bacon, hickory smoke, PBR, chimichurri with toast. Described as “bbq sauce mussels”, this was a fantastically unique bowl of mussels and I drank the broth to the bottom of the bowl.

One of the most creative tartare presentations I've ever seen.

One of the most creative tartare presentations I’ve ever seen.

As the sun set, I found my way to Wedge Brewing where I was able to enjoy a pint out back as the sun set on my time in Asheville, North Carolina.

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 Black Walnut B&B: 288 Montford Ave, Asheville, NC

Curate Tapas Bar: 11 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC

Wicked Weed Brewing: 91 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC

The Admiral: 400 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC

Wedge Brewery: 37 Paynes Way, Asheville, NC

 

 

 

 

 

 

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