Asheville: Chocolate Lounge,Sugar Momma,Chorizo
I eat a lot. All these are in one day, and we went to Sugar Momma twice!
Chocolate Lounge: I had been watching this place get ready to open and was excited to go. It has a nice atmosphere and comfortable chairs. As mentioned in the other thread, it has all the food groups. The dark beer on draft looked great, the ladies I saw drinking wine looked happy and stemware was very nice. I had a press pot of coffee and it was delicious. My experience w/ French Press is not broad...I'm not sure if all French Press coffee is this close to espresso, but at any rate, I loved it, and would get a pot for two if I had it to do over again.
I had intended to get (no, really dreamed of getting) some hot chocolate. Went so far as to order it when the owner asked he what flavor, and starts naming off various truffles. At that point I realized the hot chocolate is several actual truffles, melted, and stirred together w/ half and half. I had to cancel the order. It's 4 OUNCES of that, I was afraid I'd die of fat overload, since I just ordered a big piece of chocolate cake and I knew I had lots of eating ahead of me. I'll save up my fat grams and order it some day.
The cake was quite good, but not great. I make a mean chocolate cake, so I'm a tough audience. I did not try any of the truffles, but I got several types of mendiants. they are beautiful and have clever flavor combinations. Unfortuantely, I was not impressed by the chocolate quality. Chocolate fetish is WAY better. I also got a couple of dark chocolate covered caramels w/ sea salt. Now those were delicious. It's kind of a shame that at a place called chocolate lounge, the actual chocolate would be the weak point.
Regardless, it's a charming place, and I'll be back.
Sugar Momma part 1: I still have the same opinion of their cookies I had the last time I went. They suck. This time they were warm and the place smelled outrageously good. But the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie was full of peanut butter chips, a fouler baking ingredient I know not.
Chorizo: We were planning to go to Zambra or try the new(to us) Vigne, but when we walked by Chorizo we saw Hector cooking and that makes all the difference. I started w/ their fantastic margarita, and then we ordered the fried calamari and red snapper ceviche to start. Both were fantastic. The calamari just barely had any breading on it...that's how I like it. My husband was less enthused, he likes more of a New York street fair calamari. The ceviche was delicious, perfectly clean tasting fish, just the right amount of heat. Put LImones ceviche to shame. The portion was huge.
For mains, my husband got seared tuna with which had a spicey crust. It was fantastic, the tuna was sashimi quality according to our server. I take that sort of thing with a grain of salt, but I tend to beleive him after eating this. I got the chocolate pulled pork w/ pumpkin puree, black beans, various salsas. Fantastic. I got to eat about 1/5 of it and was full at that point. It awaits my pleasure in the office fridge and I'm excited about it.
Sugar Momma part 2: We returned, to get some Ultimate ice cream. The selection was very limited. My belgian chocolate was of course delicious, but poorly tempered and served on a stale sugar cone. I think it's worth my time to drive to Tunnel Rd. in the future.
Sorry so long, thanks for reading!
Thank you. I think the ceviche was like 9 or 12 or something. two apps, a margarita, a wine, two entrees...I think the bill was $77 or so. don't quote me. as noted, I had two drinks.
Funny you should ask. I got a little scoop from the server. He said Hector spends most dinners in Chorizo and most lunches at Modesto. HOWEVER, he also said that they thought the "cuisine was suffering" at Salsa, and that Hector was soon going to be headed back over there to spend more time in the kitchen and educating his staff.
I think that speaks to the problems (and successes) that Hector has always had. When he is behind the stove, the food will make you weep. But it seems he is not super talented in the human resources department. Everyone knows that service has always been the weak point at Salsa...and I think that stems from Hector not being able to hire and/or manage and/or train his staff well. That said, with Asheville being such a ...ahem...free-spirited town...getting staff to show up at all may be quite a challenge.
FWIW: our waiter Sat night was very good and made good recommendations.