Asheville: Homegrown, Tupelo Honey, Early Girl, Zambra (sic?)
Just back from a long weekend in Asheville.
1. Homegrown: Had their breakfast. Outstanding cheesy grits, good and crispy homefries. Grits were light and fluffy
2. Early Girl. Really small but packed for breakfast. I had the pork bowl breakfast: Pulled pork atop grits, some homefries and all of it under a delicious, smoky gravy. Tasted as good as it sounds. Very nice. My wife had an egg dish with a few kinds of mushrooms. She loved it, but dubbed it "a little heavy"
3. Zambra. marketed as a tapas place. The results were mixed. The shrimp was fine, but had that weird pre-frozen flavor. Chickpeas were okay, but the lemon was a bit overpowering. The springrolls were an interesting attempt, but reminded me more of PF Chang's than Spain. Curiously enoughh, our favorite thing was the ginger beer (Barritt's, I think it was).
4. Tupelo Honey. Was supposed to be the highlinght. my wife had the shrimp and grits. She loved the spicy sauce fopr the shrimp, but the grits were underwhelming. I had the rootbeer marinated pork tenderloin. It was served under a very sweet bbq sauce. Too much sweet going on. The pork was also a bit overdone. I was sooooo hoping to love TH, but it just wasn't happening.
Instead of Tupelo Honey, for shrimp and grits try the New Orleans eatery, Mayfel's, next door. I liked it so much I got it twice.
We had brunch/lunch at Early Girl today. Long wait and didn't get seated until 1:30pm. Very packed and I thought it was weird seating ... tables scrunched wayyyyy too close together where we were seated.
I got the cheeseburger and the BF got a chicken sandwich (I know, crazy choices!). The reason was I was really craving breakfast/brunch and neither of us really saw anything on the breakfast portion of the menu that really tempted us in that regard.
The fries were outstanding. Loved them.
The BF said the mayo on his sandwich had a really off-putting taste, but otherwise was good.
My cheeseburger was very tasty, but I will say the meat itself had a subtle, weird flavor. Not that it tasted spoiled or anything like that, but there was an odd flavor to the meat.
Also, there are not bathrooms in the restaurant itself, you have to take keys tethered to big ladles and walk down a hallway to a locked bathroom (hello creepy gas station feel)
Went to Homegrown while enrolling son at UNC-A. Great home cooking! I had the fried chicken with mushroom gravy, collards, and cheese grits. The fried chicken was right up there with Dame's Chicken & Waffles in Durham-- some of the best I've had. Other dishes were fried trout sammy, redneck Cuban, and fried catfish. All were excellent and reasonably priced.
Thanks for the report.
Just for the record, I think Early Girl is over rated and Tupelo Honey is WILDLY over rated. IMO, much better breakfasts can be had at Sunny Point in West Asheville and Over Easy downtown. They don't get the press the first two do, of course. If you go to Sunny Point, be sure to get the snow creek sausage. AT Over Easy, the fresh juices/smoothies and house made hot sauce do it for me. Good pancakes and veggie dishes. It has a serious hippie vibe and no A/C. My husband will eat there anyway! ;-)