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For Labor Day weekend, we're going to drive down the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville, NC. Has anyone been, and can suggest anything? The egullet threads were a bit old. Nothing too fancy-- unless it's a must-go.
(On the way down, we're stopping in Roanoke for the night, and on the way back, stopping in Charlottesville for dinner. If anyone has recommendations for either of those places, that's appreciated too, but we've already got a few places for C-ville, and Roanoke is really just a pit stop.)

Thanks!

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Had a tasty microbrew with above average bar apps at Jack of the Wood pub back in April. And I *think* we had a nice meal at Tupelo Honey Cafe, but I'm not 100% sure that was the place we went. Rachael Ray did a show on Asheville which somehow confused me.

The food at our B&B was fantastic but I assume you can only eat there if you're staying... let me know if you want the name and I'll dig around.

Have a great trip! Lovely part of the country. Just gorgeous.

Jael

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Along the Parkways, not sure. But if you venture off the Parkway onto I-77, at the NC/Virginia border there's a BBQ joint called Wallace Bros.

From VA, exit at the last VA exit, go under I-77 and turn right and right again. You cannot see the restaurant from the Interstate.

From NC, take the first VA exit (Exit 1, I beleive), turn right and right again.

Its the real deal NC style BBQ pork, chopped or sliced. The slaw is a Lexington style (vinegar and red pepper) and the hush puppies worth the stop alone.

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We had two great meals in Asheville-

Tupelo Honey Cafe for brunch. Extremely affordable and casual place. I had shrimp and goat cheese grits, which were so tasty and had a cajun kick and was only $10! My husband had catfish with a green salsa over grits. He loved the salsa. Meals came with homemade biscuits. All in all, a fabulous meal.

Zambra for dinner, which is a Spanish tapas place. We were both very skeptical, and the menu wasn't that inspiring. To our surprise, everything was very well prepared and tasty! Medium-rare hangar steak that was nice and red inside; portabella mushroom with a nice olive tapenade; cornmeal-crusted oysters; and warm olives (only $3!!). The only negative was the mashed potatoes accompanying the steak....I had a very strong suspicion that they were out of a box, and even if they weren't, it was not a good sign that they tasted as such. It had a casual and eclectic vibe. Also, very reasonably priced. (the couple next to us, also from out of town, also privately expressed their plesant surprise at how good everything was.)

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I had dinner last night at Tupelo Honey Cafe. I started the meal with a house salad ($3.50), that was nice and fresh, with sunfower seeds and a tangy housemaid spicy tomato dressing. I then had a plate of the shrimp and grits($13.00). The grits were creamy and infused with pepper and cheese. the shrimp cooked just right and a spice mixture that was a perfect contrast to the grits. Accompied with a nice reisling, the meal was perfect and i got a outside table to boot. The resturant does not take reservations and by the time i left, there was a large line at the door. The bisquits were fluffy and the jam seemed to be homemade. A wonderful meal! Service was great too.

Tupelo Honey Cafe

Brian T Sinoskus, Executive Chef

12 College Street

Asheville, NC 28801

828-255-4863

http://www.tupelohoneycafe.com

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A friend of mine was down there recently and raved about a place called Savoy.

We ate at Savoy, but were blown away only by the dessert--a chocolate caramel tart with Guiness ice cream which was seriously delicious. I had the Carolina trout, which was very good, but the potato-apricot "risotto" that accompanied it was weird--strange texture and practically no flavor. Jonathan's salmon was overcooked and the roasted cauliflower on the side was ordinary. A bit disappointing for a place that is supposed to be the best restaurant in Asheville, and which charges DC prices.

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We ate at Savoy, but were blown away only by the dessert--a chocolate caramel tart with Guiness ice cream which was seriously delicious. I had the Carolina trout, which was very good, but the potato-apricot "risotto" that accompanied it was weird--strange texture and practically no flavor. Jonathan's salmon was overcooked and the roasted cauliflower on the side was ordinary. A bit disappointing for a place that is supposed to be the best restaurant in Asheville, and which charges DC prices.

Table is an outstanding restaurant which, if in D. C., would be one of our best. Perhaps on par with Palena and Vidalia. I cannot rave about this place more. (Chocolate dessert called Budino is the single best chocolate dessert I have had in my life! Serious.) Zambra was good for what it is; comfortable, soft dimly lit ambience. Good food but less about food and more about ambience and very reasonable pricing (as are most of the restaurants we went to in Asheville; I thought Table was a real bargain for its excellence! I cannot rave about this place enough!) Tupelo Honey had excellent breakfast along with good soup and dinner salads-pan fried potatoes are delicious as are the pancakes. Chocolate Fetish has remarkably good chocolate truffles for the U. S. Still, Table (along with Greenville, SC's Sobe's (best cream of crab soup I have ever had) and Savannah's Sapphire Grille (best fried calamari) is one of my favorite restaurants in an area that more people should experience. All three are serious dining experiences representative of each city's best.

I should also note here that we stopped in Chilhowee, VA at the Towne House Grill. Remarkable. Just remarkable. Literally, a Twilight Zone kind of experience. The definitive comments for this place are from "Estufarian" on Chowhound.

Our trip through Asheville, Greenville, Savannah and Hilton Head Island ended up with several restaurants worthy of a journey.

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Two days in Asheville is hardly enough time to gauge the food scene of even a small city like this one, but based on the other recommendations here, I managed to get three good-to-excellent meals here this past weekend. The raves about Table are by and large well earned. The space is informal--butcher block tables, wood floors, one wall that is mostly glass blocks, the other walls mostly bare--to match a menu that emphasizes locally sourced ingredients. Rather than go for the appetizers, which averaged $8-12, we went for two of the "tastings," $4/5 each, which were more than enough as starters. The "Devils on Horseback" were dates stuffed with almonds and wrapped in bacon; the salmon rillettes were served on red pepper pancakes. These went well with our nicely made cocktails--a potent Old-fashioned and a martini with elderberry liqueur (a bit sweet at first, but it went down well).

For entrees, Bob went for a sea bass on olive mashed potatoes with baby octupus and a vegetable I can't recall. My taste suggested that the fish and potatoes were an inspired combo, and the fish was perfectly grilled, though Bob was more enamored of the sides than the bass. Exact opposite for me--the thick Hickory Gap pork chop was perhaps the most flavorful and juiciest of that cut I've had; next to this spectacular piece of meat, it's no slam to say thatthe apple/fall vegie hash and molasses sauce were relative bit players. We each had nicely sized pours of an Oregon pinot and a Spanish blend, shared a chocolate/orange tart with elderberry ice cream for dessert. At about $65 apiece with tax and 20% tip, we felt we had a solid and delicious bargain.

Breakfast at Tupelo Honey on Sunday was worth the 50-minute wait, but primarily for the extraordinary coffee and fluffy biscuits with homemade blueberry preserves. The entrees were good, but would have been better if they hadn't been left too long under the heat lamps due to the place being slammed. Bob had a grilled pimento cheese/cheddar sandwich with tomato soup and a side of mashed cauliflower with cheese; I had "Eggs Betty" (like Eggs Benedict, but with ham and biscuit), which came with a huge side of home fries, and an extra of very good bacon. This is a place I'd like to try again during the evening, but at the very least we came away stuffed.

Given our relative fullness, we decided to try Zambra for dinner, with its tapas menus, which would allow us to control portions easily. I have to admit, I was skeptical of the menu, since it seemed to be a sort of fusion of Spanish, Asian, and Southern influences. But the skillful execution and fine flavors won us over. We started with a negroni, made with fresh OJ instead of vermouth, and a "Pimms Taza," a fantastic drink with Pimm's #1, ginger brew, and a cucumber infusion. Truly refreshing. The kitchen seemed to be way backed up that night, so the food came out fairly slowly, but each dish was worth waiting for: merguez and rice croquettes, a lamb taco, wild mushrooms with sweet potato wontons and edamame, and a mix of patatas bravas, baby octopus, and caper berries. Again, a pair of good-sized pours of a 2004 Montecastro, Ribera del Duero, and a final bill of about $70 with tax and tip.

Again, I have no idea if there is much more depth to Asheville's restaurant scene than this. But these were three places that would sit high in just about any city, and I'd gladly return to them all.

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Meals in Asheville over the last two weeks:

Breakfast at Tupelo Honey-great biscuits, homemade black raspberry jam, entrees were HUGE, tasty, and did we mention HUGE? I ordered the kid's little sweet potato pancakes for my two year old and what he got were two eight inch wide, half inch thick rounds of yumminess.

Dinner at Early Girl Eatery- you need to get the braised local lamb shank, so awesome. I'd skip dessert though, we were not impressed with the slice of German chocolate cake we got to go.

Dinner at Lexington Ave Brewery-good beer, okay not great food.

Two dinners at Bouchon, one with the kids and one without.-they were very sweet to our kids but the menu was a bit of a bust for my kids. Great frites and lots of stuff on the menu that we loved though. African Queen dessert is not to be missed and Mon-Wed are all you can eat moules nights. Really fun casual place.

Thai Basil-okay Thai but not great by DC standards. It scratched our itch for something with rice though.

Chocolate Fetish is locally acclaimed but I must be missing something, it was just okay.

A little north of Asheville in a town called Weaverville is the Well-Bred Bakery. Go there. Order a bunch of desserts. Eat while enjoying their free wi-fi. Repeat every other day until your whole family is gloriously fat or your two week vacation is up, whichever comes first.

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Five of us did a tasting menu at Table at the beginning of the month. Overall, I'd say the food was (for Asheville) good tending towards outstanding. For the DC area, i'd have to go with mediocre. Nothing was extraordinary or really stood out, everything was okay. I think I've been spoiled by too many good chefs in the DC area. Next trip to Asheville, we'll go to Cucina 24 and Savoy (again). Savoy has been very good every time we've dined there. (and if you like BBQ, try 12 Bones. Hard to find, short hours for the in-town location, but the take-out is open late and the BBQ is very good).

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12 Bones is still serving very good ribs and everything else. GPS highly recommended for the river side location.

Biltmore outrageously expensive at $54/person for a basic tour! We turned away in disgust and opted instead for a very nice afternoon in the NC arboretum ($8 per car).

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Cucina 24 is great. Three of us had a 4 course tasting menu that was extraordinary; on the other hand, Zambra was mediocre at best. Paella listed on the menu as Rice with Seafood or Rice with Chicken came with no saffron. A tomato base for paella. Most strange. A glass of Lan Tempraniillo was on the menu for $8/glass. Wasn't my choice or I would have been at Cucina 24 or Savoy.

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Following are two semi finalists for this year's James Beard Award for their respective categories. I should note the Rising Star nomination is a national award. I believe there were about 15 semifinalists for each category. There were five finalists for each category but just making the semifinal cut is a real honor.

Rising Star Chef of the Year - Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, NC http://www.curatetapasbar.com/

Best Chef, Southeastern U. S. - Elliott Moss, The Admiral, Asheville, NC http://theadmiralnc.com/

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The Admiral and Curate were both excellent. Two nights of good eating.

Curate is a tapas place, very much in the Jose Andres vein (the chef worked at El Bulli and also under Andres). No molecular gastronomy that we noticed (wondered if the El Bulli credential meant we'd have some), but delicious and creative flavors. Everything was well prepared. Fried marcona almonds were unusually delicious, as was the butternut squash soup. Various grilled meats were tasty and well-seasoned. Desserts were devoured.

The Admiral would be our top choice, if you only have one place to go. Truly inventive food, with flavors that all sing together. I had green tea gnocchi with rich meaty mushrooms, fried tofu, burnt miso, candied orange, and a smoked hard-boiled egg that held up a sheet of nori. Every taste led to a sigh. My husband had a perfect and satisfying cioppino, and started with an almond and cauliflower soup, not at all his usual sort of thing and he loved it. Son had a pork chop with incredible roasted fennel tapenade, cannellini that were somehow deeply flavorful, and gorgeous arancini.

Dessert was amazing, just luscious. I had ginger rice pudding with mascarpone and coconut flakes and ginger beer syrup. Husband had chai brulee -- I thought I was completely over creme brulee, but my one bite made me want more and more. The chai flavor completely permeated it and suited it. Son had chocolate mousse with ganache and hazelnuts and spiced mango, when asked whether he preferred Curate's chocolate / raspberry / hazelnut dessert (which he liked very much), he said the Admiral's, most definitely.

The house-made ginger ale, by the way, is a don't miss, with fresh ginger, some citrus, and a little cayenne.

Note that the Admiral appears to be a dive bar in an unprepossessing part of town (not dangerous, just not appealing). Curate is much more attractive, so if you're with someone to whom that matters, go to Curate. Otherwise, if you have only one night, go to the Admiral.

and in either case, book ahead. We got same-night and next-night reservations by going at off hours (early and late), but for regular hours, these places fill right up.

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Highlights from Asheville:

Wicked Weed Brewing - Calamari, Arugula salad, Weed Burger (pimiento cheese, cheddar flavored pork rinds, onion jam.) The salad, with julienned apples, pecans and feta was actually the highlight. The honey and acid in the dressing really complemented the peppery arugula. The burger was good, but the bun could have been better. It fell apart towards the end and was bigger than the burger patty, which is one of my food pet peeves.

Although food was our primary focus, the beer is legit. We tried: Milk & Cookies Stout, Zealot IPA, 1st Anniversary Barleywine, XXV New Zealand Saison and Bliss Belgian Tripel.

Biscuit Head - Special benedict which included roast pork and poached eggs topped with a chipotle sauce on a biscuit; grits and a gravy flight including the pork sausage, red eye and sweet potato coconut gravies. (It's not entirely clear from the menu, but the gravy flight comes with a biscuit and a half.) Everything was really good. My only complaint might be that the chipotle sauce on the benedict was a little overpowering. The gravies were all really good. The red eye was probably my least favorite, as it was thinner than I've seen. The Dining Partner thought the sweet potato coconut gravy was a little too sweet, but I really liked it. Almost like a (not spicy) Thai curry. Don't forget to check out the butter and jam bar! I fell in love with the candied jalapeno butter.

No food (bring your own or have it delivered), but Burial Beer is amazing.

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By happenstance I have found myself in Asheville for the weekend with my 4 year old son. Where to eat? Thankfully there is Don Rockwell's Intrepid Traveler!  While he is a pretty good diner for his age I didn't think I could take him to the Admiral even if I could get into the restaurant (which, for the record we couldn't, I tried.) Instead we've booked brunch reservations at Curate tomorrow and tonight tried Chai Pain (http://www.chaipaniasheville.com)  tonight.

Indian is a cuisine that my son loves so I assumed if they had naan and a decent chicken tandoori he'd be set. Well this place far exceeded my expectations. The restaurant is fun and youthful while maintaining its Indian street food character. Unfortunatly, my husband wasn't with me to eat his fair share so I only had room to order two items and a cocktail but all were amazing. There were at least 5 other small plates I was regretting I wasn't able to try. The Bhel Puri ( a favorite of mine) was perfect. (photo is too large to upload) Crispy, slightly spicy and perfectly balanced. I also ordered the Kale Pakoras (attached photo) which I hesitated ordering in fear of it being overdone and with out the Indian flavors I was hoping for but the waitress assured me it was a good pick. And it was. There was little heat to it which means even my son loved it. They weren't overly fried and just enough Indian spices to give flavor with out overpowering the kale. I can't remember the name of the cocktail I ordered but it had rum, cumin, some other hot spice and fresh lime juice with soda water. It was a perfect match.

Another bonus is the part of town Chai Pain is in. Its quirkily, creative, lots of outdoor restaurants, art shops, singers on the corners and unique stores. We walked around a bit and even picked up some sweet treats next door at a local chocolatier shop.

post-1781-0-64647700-1408838037_thumb.jp

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Asheville is amaziing.  My wife and I were there last weekend for 4 days and lets just say it kicks butt.  On a par with Charleston but half the price, over 30 breweries in town and a great college vibe.

Beers- We stopped by Wedge, LAB and Wicked Weed.  The IPA at Wedge was so good that my wife wantedto return.  And prices around town are $4 a pint, $12 Picther for amazing beer.  Much better then what I paid $11 for at Penn Commons a week ago.

Breatfeast at Tupelo Honey Cafe is great, truely an institution.  This is the sort of brunch you can only eat once in a while, honest great wooe.

Dinners included Bull and Beggar, Curate and Rhum.  Would return to all and will just say that Curate is better then any Tapas place in DC at a lower price point.

Direct message me if you need more details, otherwise google one of their beer festivals and get down there.

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We're visiting Asheville over President's Day weekend and it sounds like there are too many food options to have time to eat at all of them!

We're thinking we'll do one "nice" dinner while there over 2.5-3 days, and also do the "Eating Asheville" food tour to try some others. Based on recommendations from a bunch of people we're thinking either Table or Limones for dinner. Table has a lot of love on here. Has anyone tried Limones?

Our list of casual possibilities continues to grow - 12 Bones, White Duck Taco, Chai Pani, Pizza Pura...also Nine Mile and Salsa.

We're staying at a B&B so want to eat breakfast there probably 2 out of 3 days, but are sad to miss what sounds like so many good brunch and breakfast options. Tupelo Honey is highly recommended, but some locals have advised that it's too touristy and there are other better options - Early Girl and Sunny Point.

Any advice?

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We're visiting Asheville over President's Day weekend and it sounds like there are too many food options to have time to eat at all of them!

We're thinking we'll do one "nice" dinner while there over 2.5-3 days, and also do the "Eating Asheville" food tour to try some others. Based on recommendations from a bunch of people we're thinking either Table or Limones for dinner. Table has a lot of love on here. Has anyone tried Limones?

Our list of casual possibilities continues to grow - 12 Bones, White Duck Taco, Chai Pani, Pizza Pura...also Nine Mile and Salsa.

We're staying at a B&B so want to eat breakfast there probably 2 out of 3 days, but are sad to miss what sounds like so many good brunch and breakfast options. Tupelo Honey is highly recommended, but some locals have advised that it's too touristy and there are other better options - Early Girl and Sunny Point.

Any advice?

Four words for you though not a restaurant per se.

French Broad Chocolate Lounge

https://frenchbroadchocolates.com/the-chocolate-lounge/

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French Broad recently moved to new, much bigger digs and it still has lines around the block (at least it did the weekend after Christmas). We absolutely loved Wicked Weed for lunch (went there unexpectedly after we found that 12 Bones is closed on weekends). Seven Sows had some really inventive, delicious food...their fish sauce caramel wings are the best wings I've ever had. They also have a great whiskey selection (and cocktails) and terrific fried chicken. Curate was incredible, but since you didn't mention it I'm guessing you were shut out for a reservation there given its popularity. If you have a chance to try and pop in at the bar for a drink and dish or two, by all means, go. One of the most satisfying meals we've had in a long while.

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We're visiting Asheville over President's Day weekend and it sounds like there are too many food options to have time to eat at all of them!

We're thinking we'll do one "nice" dinner while there over 2.5-3 days, and also do the "Eating Asheville" food tour to try some others. Based on recommendations from a bunch of people we're thinking either Table or Limones for dinner. Table has a lot of love on here. Has anyone tried Limones?

Our list of casual possibilities continues to grow - 12 Bones, White Duck Taco, Chai Pani, Pizza Pura...also Nine Mile and Salsa.

We're staying at a B&B so want to eat breakfast there probably 2 out of 3 days, but are sad to miss what sounds like so many good brunch and breakfast options. Tupelo Honey is highly recommended, but some locals have advised that it's too touristy and there are other better options - Early Girl and Sunny Point.

Any advice?

On a relatively recent three-day weekend, I went to Tupelo Honey, Early Girl, and Sunny Point.  Sunny Point was definitely my favorite, although it's a bit out of the way from the downtown area.  The other two were still good, though I'm not sure if they were worth the one-hour wait.

One of my favorite dinners was at Wicked Weed--they're brewing some of the best beer in town and the food was pretty good.  If you like sour beers, their new Funkatorium establishment is incredible.

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Thanks, all. Curate was totally booked (from a month+ out), and although we may be able to do a bar seat there, we decided to do reservations at Limones. Also found out you can make reservations at Tupelo Honey's South Asheville location, so I think we may go in that direction and avoid having to wait for brunch.

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Had a great long (and cold) weekend in Asheville. Certainly recommend a visit (or two) to the Biltmore (the Downton Abbey costume exhibit they have now is pretty cool), but lots of good eating to be had.

If anyone is looking for something different than a downtown hotel, I highly recommend our B&B - Applewood Manor in Historic Montford. If it had been nicer out we certainly could've walked downtown easily (about a mile/20 min). With the cold we ended up either driving (pretty cheap parking in the garages) or taking an Uber (for $6-7), so it worked fine for us. Nice room, excellent 3 course breakfasts, and social hour every evening with wine, cheese, etc included.

Our first dinner we went to Nine Mile since we'd read good things and it was the closest place to us (in Historic Montford). We had to wait maybe 30 min or so for a table (place is small and was packed). It was ok, but neither of us were particularly wowed, and ended up taking home two huge portions of pasta that we didn't even end up eating. Green curry hummus was good, as were the salad dressings (jalapeno lime cilantro), but entrees were just ok (Raggy Road and Negril Nights).

Saturday instead of lunch we did the Eating Asheville High Roller food tour. This was a lot of fun, great food and drinks, and I think a pretty good value for everything we got.

-Battery Park Book Exchange - Really cool dog-friendly used bookstore/champagne bar
-Zambra - eclectic tapas restaurant (more fusiony than strictly spanish)
-Strada - Italian with family meal options on Sunday and Monday. Apparently a good brunch as well.
-Sovereign Remedies - unique cocktails and local sourcing for a small menu
-Bomba - tiny coffee, breakfast, and lunch spot on one of the busiest corners in town. Our guide claimed it as his favorite breakfast.
-Seven Sows - creative Southern cuisine
-Nightbell - inventive American small plates from James Beard award winning chef/owner of Curate. Delicious bites on the tour, and then we went back for dinner later that night. Highly recommend.

Of the food tour places (noting we only had a food plate and drink at each), I think our favorite was Nightbell, followed by Bomba, but all of them were really very good and I'd go back to any for a full meal.

We did brunch at Tupelo Honey South (which is a few miles south of downtown, but a) takes reservations and B) has plentiful parking). It was definitely good, filling, indulgent, Southern comfort food, but I was a bit hungover, so didn't fully appreciate it. Fresh, complimentary biscuits with blueberry jam were stellar. My sandwich had fried green tomatoes, bacon, ham, havarti, pimento cheese, and caramelized onions. Ridiculous.

We had lunch at Chai Pani and this might've been our favorite meal of the trip. Super unique, delicious, and pretty cheap. I HIGHLY recommend this. We had Bhel Puri, Samosa Chaat, Bombay Chili Cheese Fries, and the special chaat of the day. You can order 1/2 portions of most of the chaats, which lets you try even more things. I would love to have some place like this in DC. I love traditional Indian food, but this was just a cool place.

Dinner at Limones had been highly recommended by friends and on TripAdvisor. It was definitely really good. We had the lobster nachos, pork tenderloin al pastor, and beef and shrimp burrito. The pork was ridiculously tender and flavorful (and apparently we got the last portion of the night before it was sold out). Churros with Mexican hot chocolate and caramel for dessert.

Lots and lots of eating. Not quite enough walking to make up for it.

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Had a great long (and cold) weekend in Asheville. Certainly recommend a visit (or two) to the Biltmore (the Downton Abbey costume exhibit they have now is pretty cool), but lots of good eating to be had.

...

Lots and lots of eating. Not quite enough walking to make up for it.

Asheville is a great town. We were last there for a wedding at the Biltmore (in Spring/early summer when it was warm!). Just thoroughly enjoyed the long weekend there.

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Had a great long (and cold) weekend in Asheville. Certainly recommend a visit (or two) to the Biltmore (the Downton Abbey costume exhibit they have now is pretty cool), but lots of good eating to be had.

 Thanks for the tip on the Downton Abbey costume exhibit!

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Last week we were in Asheville for 24 hours staying downtown, but we managed to eat well! This town has great eats. I second French Broad Chocolates - kids had delicious dark chocolate ice cream, wife enjoyed her salted caramel hot chocolate, but I chose best with the Liquid Truffle (think thicker, richer hot chocolate) wih smoked salt.  Hmm so good and indulgent.  I'll also second Early Girl Eatery for a wonderful breakfast (we went earlyish on Friday morning with no wait) - the Early Girl Benny (poached eggs, light tomato juice/salsa, veggies on top of fried grit cake and topped with slice avocado) was unusual and awesome. The grit cake was really good and the whole thing melded flavors nicely. The pancakes were good (not too special) but got better with a douse of the fresh berry jam in squeeze bottles on the table.  Even better baked good was the banana bread with the same jam.  Wife loved her special of morning salad - spinach, blackberries, strawberries, and granola with balsamic dressing. Also a pretty good biscuit too. One new one to add to the thread which is really worth going to is Salsas.  All of these places were recommended by a cousin who used to live there and visits each year so the consistency seems to be good too. At Salsas we over-ordered tremendously. The portions are huge and easily shareable by 2-3 people for any entree or even an app.  Great fresh made corn tortilla chips slicked with green herb oil and come with your choice of about 7 different salsas.  For entrees, kids had chicken fajitas which were good but not special. Grownups had some good eats. I had the Mocolajete (which is the typcial lava stone bowl but filled with a hominy sauced, tons of sauted vegetables, and choice of protein - I went with salmon- and then topped with some raw vegetables for crunch). It comes out bubbling and stays hot the whole meat for a great stew like dish.  Also had their _____(can't remember the unusual name) which is a tall wooden vessel with similar mix of vegetables and food but not the extra broth so it is more like a hearty salad.  Different sauce though and chicken.  Both of these were great and huge.  On the way out we happened on a bakery more north in town called Dough.  Excellent grilled vegetable/cheese melt sandwich and buttery challah.  I highly recommend all of these places!

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On 2/18/2015 at 3:56 PM, New Foodie said:

Had a great long (and cold) weekend in Asheville. Certainly recommend a visit (or two) to the Biltmore (the Downton Abbey costume exhibit they have now is pretty cool), but lots of good eating to be had.

If anyone is looking for something different than a downtown hotel, I highly recommend our B&B - Applewood Manor in Historic Montford. If it had been nicer out we certainly could've walked downtown easily (about a mile/20 min). With the cold we ended up either driving (pretty cheap parking in the garages) or taking an Uber (for $6-7), so it worked fine for us. Nice room, excellent 3 course breakfasts, and social hour every evening with wine, cheese, etc included.

Our first dinner we went to Nine Mile since we'd read good things and it was the closest place to us (in Historic Montford). We had to wait maybe 30 min or so for a table (place is small and was packed). It was ok, but neither of us were particularly wowed, and ended up taking home two huge portions of pasta that we didn't even end up eating. Green curry hummus was good, as were the salad dressings (jalapeno lime cilantro), but entrees were just ok (Raggy Road and Negril Nights).

Saturday instead of lunch we did the Eating Asheville High Roller food tour. This was a lot of fun, great food and drinks, and I think a pretty good value for everything we got.

-Battery Park Book Exchange - Really cool dog-friendly used bookstore/champagne bar
-Zambra - eclectic tapas restaurant (more fusiony than strictly spanish)
-Strada - Italian with family meal options on Sunday and Monday. Apparently a good brunch as well.
-Sovereign Remedies - unique cocktails and local sourcing for a small menu
-Bomba - tiny coffee, breakfast, and lunch spot on one of the busiest corners in town. Our guide claimed it as his favorite breakfast.
-Seven Sows - creative Southern cuisine
-Nightbell - inventive American small plates from James Beard award winning chef/owner of Curate. Delicious bites on the tour, and then we went back for dinner later that night. Highly recommend.

Of the food tour places (noting we only had a food plate and drink at each), I think our favorite was Nightbell, followed by Bomba, but all of them were really very good and I'd go back to any for a full meal.

We did brunch at Tupelo Honey South (which is a few miles south of downtown, but a) takes reservations and B) has plentiful parking). It was definitely good, filling, indulgent, Southern comfort food, but I was a bit hungover, so didn't fully appreciate it. Fresh, complimentary biscuits with blueberry jam were stellar. My sandwich had fried green tomatoes, bacon, ham, havarti, pimento cheese, and caramelized onions. Ridiculous.

We had lunch at Chai Pani and this might've been our favorite meal of the trip. Super unique, delicious, and pretty cheap. I HIGHLY recommend this. We had Bhel Puri, Samosa Chaat, Bombay Chili Cheese Fries, and the special chaat of the day. You can order 1/2 portions of most of the chaats, which lets you try even more things. I would love to have some place like this in DC. I love traditional Indian food, but this was just a cool place.

Dinner at Limones had been highly recommended by friends and on TripAdvisor. It was definitely really good. We had the lobster nachos, pork tenderloin al pastor, and beef and shrimp burrito. The pork was ridiculously tender and flavorful (and apparently we got the last portion of the night before it was sold out). Churros with Mexican hot chocolate and caramel for dessert.

Lots and lots of eating. Not quite enough walking to make up for it.

Lots of good info. here (& in other posts).  Looks like we're gonna be in Asheville for 3 nights later this month.  Any new or updated info. would be appreciated.  Definitely will try to get into Curate &/or Nightbell and maybe Tupelo Honey.  Thanks.

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I just moved here last summer, so can hopefully help out. 

Curate is still the best place in town and Nightbell is great as well. Rhubarb downtown is great for upscale Southern--their chef and owner John Fleer was the longtime chef de cuisine at Blackberry Farm. Limones is still great as well. 

Buxton Hall has fantastic whole hog bbq and was named a top 10 best new restaurant in the country by Bon Apetit last year. Their fried chicken sandwich is also great, and I recommend the BBQ hash and green beans (cooked under the hogs in the smoker so they get the drippings) as your sides. They can sometimes have a wait but fortunately share an entrance with Catawba Brewing so you can go next door and have a beer while waiting for them to text you. 

For breakfast, we always take people to Biscuit Head for fantastic biscuit sandwiches. If you like your biscuits unadorned they have a butter and jam bar. They have two locations, but we always go to the Biltmore Ave location. The line can get long but once you order a table wil be available. 

Sunny Pointe Cafe is another fun brunch spot and if it's a nice day a pleasant place to wait for a table. And you can never go wrong with Tupelo Honey.

Beer is the name of the game in Asheville. A few favorites of ours our: Wicked Weed (good restaurant) and their Funkatorium around the corner for sours and barrel aged beers, Burial has probably our favorite beer in town and they specialize in Belgians, Brahmari for very interesting beers (think lots of fruits, herbs, and other flavorings), and Sierra Nevada for the equivalent of beer Disney World. Sierra has a great restaurant and has a beautiful back deck. Other good breweries are Asheville Brewing, Wedge, and Hi Wire (among many others). Urban Orchard is a good cidery and I don't even like cider. 

Top of the Monk has good cocktails and is located above Thirsty Monk which brews a few beers of their own and otherwise has a fantastic beer list. 

French Broad Chocolate lounge is a requisite dessert stop for anything chocolate. A tip if the line is long: they have another entrance if you just want ice cream or chocolates (and not pastries, cake or drinks).

There are still a lot of places we haven't been, but those are just some of our favorites. Have fun! It's a wonderful town.

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It looks nice from what I've seen and is right by Battery Park Book Exchange and Chanpagne Bar. 

Oh damn! Forgot one of our favorite restaurants: Admiral in West Asheville. Super creative and delicious food in a totally nondescript building in an increasingly trendy neighborhood. Hint: the "small plates" are like small entrees so getting a few of those an an entree would be overkill. The hors d'oeuvres are like more traditional small plate size. 

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Thanks again to all.  Moving right along, we've booked into the Haywood Park Hotel for 3 nights (3/26,27&28) and now have dinner res. at Rhubarb for their Sun dinner 3/26 & at Nightbell for Tues 3/28.  Think that we'll leave Mon open for now, although I get the feeling that we may wind up at Buxton Hall so I can see what Eastern NC whole hog BBQ is all about.  Or maybe Table or The Admiral or White Duck Taco Shop or....

At any rate, the Eating Asheville High Rollers Tour is only Thurs-Sat so that's out, although it'd probably be out anyway given how much we'll be eating on our own.  Maybe a non-culinary walking tour of the city and a good country hike will keep me from gaining 10 pounds on this ride home to NYC from Florida.  Then again, probably not.

Thanks again for all the input.  And if any of you are around during our days there and want to get a drink...

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Notes on our 3 nights in Asheville last week:

-The Heywood Park Hotel is excellent.  Perfect location, very friendly, extremely large rooms & parking/breakfast included.  Highly recommended.

-The Biltmore is a great way to spend the day.  Yes, the basic admission is $65/person, the Guided Tour (better than headphones) is another $19 and the Upstairs/Downstairs tour was $19 more.  That's a lot but you get a lot and the place is worth seeing.  Comes with a nice long drive thru the estate, including gardens (where the tulips were in bloom) and a winery where the tastings were free (even though they purchase grapes from various places throughout Sonoma & Napa, with only maybe 20% local grapes).

-Went to Rhubarb on Sunday eve for their communal dinner, where we sat at one of three designated tables for 8 & met both local & other "passing thru" diners. The food was excellent & Chef Fleer came out to speak with all of us about the concept of sharing a dinner table & his cooking for this type of event. It was all excellent -- genuine & well executed. The bar area (where we spent a 1/2 hour before dinner) was a mixture of cocktails, local beers (both on tap & in bottles) & good wines by the glass & the restaurant proper (the communal tables were in a middle room) was full of diners both at tables and at a chef's counter watching the kitchen cook. If we ever get back to Asheville, I wouldn't hesitate returning here. Everything was both homey & professionally done, including the room itself.

-Buxton Hall was ehh.  I've decided that E.Carolina whole pig bbq is not my thing and the "mop" of it I got was just ok.  The fried chicken was better, my wife's St.Louis style ⅓ rack of ribs was better (good bbq sauce slathered on) & all the sides were good as well.  However, in my opinion, nothing to dislike, not much special either.  Especially since its a line operation and everything is easily made in advance and just plated with scoops by the open kitchen.  I'll stick with Franklin BBQ.

-Then we went to Nightbell.  The chef was busy preparing for the re-opening of Curate, which had been closed while being renovated into twice its original size, so she was not in the house.  Doesn't seem to me that she needed to be, as the kitchen couldn't have been more spot on.  Now, anyone who knows me understands that this is not my type of place.  Its an American foods tapas-style small plates place where every dish comes with a long explanation of every ingredient (quite a few in each dish) and every process (quite a few in each dish) used.  Clearly a very ingredient and labor intensive method which, in several other places I've been to, have not resulted in a better tasting dish.  Well, Ginny likes this kind of place so there we were.  And as grumpy as I'd like to be about it, each dish was excellent, with flavors/ingredients contributing to a coherent whole -- very enjoyable.  Even the explanations were done without the solemn, officiousness found elsewhere -- friendly, sincere and interested in what we'd like.  So, bottom line is that I still don't understand why any chef/kitchen would choose to spend 10x the time on creating these dishes but, since they were damn good & the price point was very, very good (we left full without spending $100pp all in), I won't complain and will recommend it.  Not a place I'd run back to, but Ginny won't have to push much if she wants to return.  

-Also made it to Sante, a nice wine bar in downtown & Skybar, a great little bar on several levels of what were probably fire escapes & overlook the setting sun & the open expanse of the area.  And took a "hop on/hop off" trolley (something we never do elsewhere), where the driver was entertaining, informative and, well, did the driving.  And did I mention the Thomas Wolfe Museum and House Tour.  Not my favorite author and not my favorite tour, but nice enough.

We really liked the vibe in Asheville and will probably make sure we return next year on our way down to or back from Florida.  Quite a few other places looked good and the city is fun.  Reminds me of my '60s "Woodstock Nation" roots.

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