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Asheville for solo diner interested in local ingredients?

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JeremyEG Jul 19, 2011 08:48 PM

Hi All,
Thanks in advance for your help. I'm from NYC so will probably avoid ethnic foods that NYC does well like Japanese and Italian but I'm really up for anything you guys recommend. I am very interested in tasting the amazing foods from this region and I look forward to hearing your advice!
JeremyEG
HomeCookLocavore.com

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  1. k
    kathleen purvis RE: JeremyEG Jul 20, 2011 05:47 AM

    Asheville is a great food town, and the list of good places is too long for one reply. But I'd highly recommend The Admiral. It's small and I'd suggest a reservation, but there is space at the bar if you're alone. And since the cooking is mostly done behind the counter, the skillet-dance is entertaining. (I did a blog post on a recent meal there. I'd include a link, but Chowhound doesn't like it when newspaper writers do that.)

    Early Girl and Tupelo Honey both also focus on local ingredients with a more Southern-/mountain-inspired feel. There also are a number of tailgate markets that are worth trolling through for local ingredients, especially this time of year.

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    Tupelo Honey Cafe
    12 College St, Asheville, NC 28801

    1. Jeff C. RE: JeremyEG Jul 20, 2011 06:10 AM

      The Admiral. (No memorable Japanese or Italian in our area anyway!)

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jeff C.
        danna RE: Jeff C. Jul 20, 2011 07:03 AM

        no italian...that's for damned sure!

        I agree w/ kathleen. A trip through the City Market on Charlotte street on saturday morning would be the BEST way to enjoy local goodies. You should hunt and gather yourself a lunch, at least.

      2. i
        ickymettle RE: JeremyEG Jul 20, 2011 10:17 AM

        I concur re: The Admiral. Just sit at the bar and eat some amazing food. Make sure you go in hungry so you can try at least a couple things.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ickymettle
          danna RE: ickymettle Jul 20, 2011 11:34 AM

          I just noticed the Solo diner part. Oh yeah, the bar at the Admiral is so lively and interesting...it's perfect for a solo. And there usually more apps than entress, so you should be able to get several things.

          How many meals will you have? (Normal people would ask "how many days are you staying in asheville?")

          1. re: danna
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            JeremyEG RE: danna Jul 20, 2011 05:12 PM

            Thank you thank you! I am actually working in Hendersonville for a few months but as an actor, I have few nights off to dine in restaurants. How's this: Let me know what you think I must try and I will clear the appropriate number of nights off to dine in Asheville. : )
            Thanks again to all!
            JeremyEG
            HomeCookLocavore.com

            1. re: JeremyEG
              danna RE: JeremyEG Jul 21, 2011 06:09 AM

              well, while you're in H'ville, you should eat at West First. And the their sister restaurant Flat Rock Village Bakery , repeat. Head and shoulders above everything else in H'ville. Make sure you have the goat pizza and the shrimp tagliatelle and get some of their bread.

              In Asheville, the Admiral as many times as you can. Other places I like are Zambra, Storm, the Junction, Sunny Point, Curate, Chorizo. But the Admiral is in another class.

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              Village Bakery Cafe
              125 Pitt St, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

              1. re: danna
                Jeff C. RE: danna Jul 21, 2011 07:48 AM

                Agree with all of Danna's recommendations except Chorizo, which was awful last time I was there. Let me also add that the eggplant parm. at West First is the best I've had anywhere and that if you're into BBQ, the ribs at 12 Bones are not to be missed. (Sorry, lunch only on that one, but they are open on Saturdays at the south location.) Looking forward to trying White Duck Taco in the river district as well.

                1. re: Jeff C.
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                  Zeisel RE: Jeff C. Jul 21, 2011 11:59 AM

                  And I'd highly recommend Table in downtown A'ville--we've had some great meals there lately. Biltmore Village, a couple of miles south of downtown, also has some places worth trying--Rezaz (sometimes under peoples radar) and the Fig. And In return for our suggestions, you need to promise to talk up Asheville to anyone in the Big Apple looking to open a Chinese or Vietnamese restaurant :-)

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                  Big Apple
                  715 E Oglethorpe Hwy, Hinesville, GA 31313

              2. re: JeremyEG
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                leahinsc RE: JeremyEG Jul 22, 2011 10:44 AM

                Curate - Spanish Tapas, The Junction in River Arts District...and then drive UP the mtn and go to one of the best restaurants around Knife and Fork in Spruce Pine

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            JeremyEG RE: JeremyEG Aug 1, 2011 10:32 AM

            Had a great dinner at Admiral! Thank you all. They had run out of their peach gazpacho and instead offered a fennel soup. Cream base, sweet and wonderful. I moved onto the shrimp from there. God, we just cannot get shrimp that good anywhere up north (except perhaps during sweet shrimp season in Maine). The fries under the shrimp were cooked perfectly but I found them oversalted, and I love salty foods. I should have stopped there but I had already put an order in for the beef tartare. What a dish. What they did with that '64 degree' egg yolk was spectacular. The meal was great but I found the portions very large for small plates/apps and I will try to go with a group next time. That shrimp dish was larger than most entrees from my neck of the woods. I wish I could have ordered more. I loved the space as well and had a Wedge IPA (amazing) and an Argentinian pinot which I had tasted before. It's the only pinot by the glass right now and if you haven't tried it, it's a treat. It's full bodied like a Malbec but still delicate and earthy without too much fruit. Unusual and special.

            While I have you guys here, my wife and I will be staying in Asheville on a Sunday and want to eat well that night. I noticed Admiral is closed as are a couple other recs of yours. Do you think Table might be my best bet? I also ran into a farmer from whom I've been buying wonderful tomatoes and greens who supplies Cucina 24 and said they're the real deal. I said I didn't want Italian but that quickly changed as soon as I read the words 'pasta' and 'seasonal.' Lastly, where do you recommend as a place for us to sample local beers. Even the mediocre places around here seem to have great beers so perhaps no special trip is needed.

            Thanks again. I'm working on getting a Vietnamese chef from NYC to move down here. I'll keep you posted. : )

            JeremyEG
            HomeCookLocavore.com

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            Cucina 24
            24 Wall Street, Asheville, NC 28801

            8 Replies
            1. re: JeremyEG
              Jeff C. RE: JeremyEG Aug 1, 2011 11:34 AM

              Since the Admiral is closed, I would recommend Curate, the excellent new tapas place on Biltmore Ave. downtown. (There's another thread on this board with lots of reviews.) The chef trained with Ferran Adria at El Bulli, although she offers more traditional spanish fare (no molecular gastronomy). Pricy, but worth it...and romantic if you book a table. (They're on Open Table.)

              Jack of the Wood on Patton has a pretty decent local beer selection and a nice pub atmosphere. (Warning: Irish jam session on Sunday afternoons.) Wedge Brewery in the River Arts District has good beer but atmosphere-wise is on the shabby end of rustic.

              Vietnamese: Yes!

              1. re: JeremyEG
                danna RE: JeremyEG Aug 1, 2011 12:05 PM

                I don't care for TAble, so I'd say yes, better Cucina 24. I was medium on Cucina...some really good stuff, some misses. You might take a look at the menu for Storm Rhum Bar and see what you think about that, it seems to be open on Sunday. Service is mildly spotty, but no where near bad enough to impact the enjoyment of the food, IMO.

                Beer : 12 bones always has a bunch of local beers on tap, but that won't help you on a Sunday night. You should check into the breweries themselves. http://wedgebrewing.com/Wedge_Brewing...
                http://pisgahbrewing.com/

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                Cucina 24
                24 Wall Street, Asheville, NC 28801

                1. re: danna
                  z
                  Zeisel RE: danna Aug 3, 2011 03:32 PM

                  The last few times I've been to Table the food has been fantastic/inventive/fun. The menu changes daily and I frequently see the chef at our local farmers market. You can check out their daily menu on the website: http://tableasheville.com. I'm always wanting to like Cucina 24--I love the space. But it's been consistently inconsistent.

                  1. re: Zeisel
                    danna RE: Zeisel Aug 4, 2011 06:50 AM

                    It drives the obsessive foodie in me CRAZY when I have such a different experience from other hounds. I've given Table two tries, albeit both at lunch, and I was sorely disappointed both times. In particular , I felt like their sourcing was poor. The last time I went, the cheese plate really stands out. It was the same quality cheese you'd get at the Grove Park...in other words...I expected to look out and see a Sysco truck.

                    I love the look of the place, and the menu always looks interesting. Have you been for lunch? Could it be that different?

                    1. re: danna
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                      Zeisel RE: danna Aug 4, 2011 09:11 AM

                      I've been to Table for lunch and I agree--lunches there have been pretty ordinary. They apparently save their creative juices for dinner--and they do go all out for that. They've also added more less expensive dinner options.

                      I hope you give them another chance--this time for dinner. I'd love to hear what you think.

                      1. re: Zeisel
                        danna RE: Zeisel Aug 4, 2011 10:45 AM

                        shoot. We should have held out for dinner.

                        So much food, so little time! And Asheville is having a mini-renaissance lately food-wise, IMHO.

                2. re: JeremyEG
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                  mojoeater RE: JeremyEG Aug 3, 2011 03:53 PM

                  Barley's Taproom has something like 40 beers on tap, many of which are local/NC brews. As you are from NY, I can't recommend their pizza, though I love being able to custom order by the slice.

                  We are huge fans of Salsas. Not romantic, but absolutely delicious food, especially anything done with local pork. And the habenero margaritas are fantastic!

                  1. re: JeremyEG
                    k
                    kathleen purvis RE: JeremyEG Aug 4, 2011 05:50 AM

                    For local beer? Barleys! Definitely Barleys. One of the great beer selections of anywhere in the Southeast. They also have some interesting choices of their own. Last time I was there, I had their coconut beer, which sounds freaky (and is a little freaky). But it was bizarrely tasty.

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