Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Break Edition: Asheville Nice Town, Weird Folk, Good Eats

I know Spring Break is supposed to be all about the beach, but I'm more of a mountain girl, and any chance to visit my best buddies in Asheville, is one I'm going to nab.

Asheville is one of my favorite places to visit. It's a "nice town, weird folk" as the saying goes, but good eats should just as well be tacked on to the end. After living there for six years (the longest I've lived anywhere thanks to college and grad school,) I have quite a few favorite places where I always like to make my rounds when I visit. I'll share a few old favorites and some new places I tried on this most recent jaunt.

Asheville Top Picks

Doc Chey's Noodle House -  My perennial favorite. Cheap, fresh, and delicious. I almost don't want to spread this around, because the wait for a table in this tiny place is already insanely long.  My favorite pick is the Szechuan stirfry.  The sauce is incredible, the vegetables varied and crisp.  I could live on this (and in fact I was eating here once a week for quite awhile.) If they took reservations it would be a no brainer, but years later the word's gotten out and you better be prepared to wait an hour.

Marco's Pizza - The best Pizza in Asheville bar none.  It took awhile to find good floppy thin crust New York style Pizza in Asheville, but thank god I did.  This place has the goods.  I like mine straight up cheese (I'm a total purist when it comes to good pizza.)  The Greek salads and particularly the homemade greek dressing is the stuff Mediterranean dreams are made of.
12 Bones - A pork lovers fantasy land.  Pork smoked out back with an array of gourmet sauces (blueberry chipotle ribs anyone?) homemade sides, and local beer all at a reasonable price.  This is western Carolina style barbeque country, so stick with the tomato based sauces and let the vinegar based ones stay back East. My male friends are obsessed with the hogzilla (a monster of a sandwich towering with pulled pork, bacon, a homemade sausage and cheese) to the point where it has become a much loved right of passage.  I'm partial to the equally caloric, but slightly less guilt inducing pork plate with jalepeno cheese grits, cornbread and bacon cooked collards.  The freshly smoked turkey, bacon, and brie sandwich with pesto mayo is similarly a taste sensation.  Even the salads here are amazing (I would eat the spicy ranch dressing on literally anything) and have to the option of being pork laden.  If your avoiding meat, as I was this summer, don't let yourself within a five mile radius of this place (you can smell the pork smoking from about that far out) it can make even an ironclad veggie's will crumble.  Am I gushing?

Smoked Turkey Bacon Brie Sandwich
Pulled Pork Plate with Collards and Jalepeno Cheese Grits
Early Girl Eatery - There are a mindblowing assortment of good places for brunch in Asheville, but Early Girl has always been my top pick.  They use farm fresh produce, cheeses, eggs, and meats.  The food is consistently amazing, but you have to be a pretty early girl indeed to get a table.  This place fills up fast!
My favorite pick is the Sausage and sweet potato scramble with a biscuit and local Berry Best jam.

This Trip
Sunny Point- An excellent place for breakfast or brunch if you are willing to wait.  They use local hormone antiobiotic free meats which is music to my ears.  Some great picks are the breakfast croissant, the amazing stuffed French toast available in savory (with cream cheese, cheddar, and crumbled local sausage) or sweet versions, and the award winning huevos rancheros with blean bean cakes, eggs,chorizo, salsa verde, roasted potatoes, tortilla slivers, and cilantro crema.  I've been trying to replicate this dish at home ever since I first had it.  This time around I tried a special dish about to be entered in a food competition.  The Tomato Napoleon, with layers of local heirloom tomatoes, homemade pimento cheese, fresh basil, and a flaky parmesaen pepper biscuit.

Tomato Napoleon
White Duck Taco - A new hotspot for underfinanced foodies in Asheville located over in the River Arts District.  Homemade soft tacos in unique combinations like Lamb Gyro, Banh Mi Tofu, Duck Mole or Jerk Chicken, run around $3.50 or so each. Surprisingly, I was advised against ordering the duck taco, strange considering the name.  Popular opinion convinced me to try the Bangkok shrimp tacos which were loaded with crunchy shrimp, fresh lightly pickeled cumcumber slices and a creamy sweet, spicy thai sauce.  The margaritas were made with fresh juice and super yummy, but could have benefited from some additional tequila. 
Steak and Cheese Taco on Left, Bangkok Shrimp Taco on Right.

Yo Lo Local Frozen Yogart- Going out for fro yo is a tradition with my best friends in Asheville.  While we used to hit up TCBY, the addition of a local frozen yogart place called Fro Lo convinced us to mix it up.  I LOVED the new springtime additions of Key lime and Creamy Coconut.  Yum!  My friends went to town on the toppings bar favoring the Girl Scout Thin Mint peices.
12 Bones Smokehouse on UrbanspoonEarly Girl Eatery on UrbanspoonMarco's Pizzeria on UrbanspoonSunny Point Cafe & Bakery on UrbanspoonDoc Chey's Noodle House on Urbanspoon

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