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Mar 15, 2014 07:12 PM

Asheville itinerary consultation

My husband and I will be on our first visit to Asheville in about a month. I'm starting to put together our dining options, and I could use input!

Some details:
-We'll have from lunchtime Saturday through lunchtime Wednesday.
-We'll be staying in between the center and the Montford area. We're planning to spend Saturday in the center and RAD, and one day at the Biltmore. On the other days, we'll likely kayak on the river, drive and hike somewhere along the Blue Ridge, and see where else we end up.
-We're not beer drinkers.

So far, I'm thinking (in no particular order)...

Up to 4 breakfasts (or brunch) -- but probably fewer, since we'll sometimes just grab something light/quick from a cafe.
-Sunny Point
-Early Girl
Any of these to prioritize?

5 lunches:
-12 Bones
-White Duck
-Corner Kitchen on the day we go to the Biltmore (Or we could stay on the property for Deerpark or the Stable Cafe or...? For this one, we do want a good lunch, but a convenient one is more important than a fantastic one, and we're only up for $$$ if it's really worth it.)
-Red Bridges BBQ Lodge on our way back to Charlotte airport
-??? on Sunday (12 Bones and White Duck are closed Sundays and it's not our Biltmore day or our departure day. What's open, not pricey, and a good idea?)

4 dinners -- we're thinking two nicer places and two cheaper ones:
-The Admiral
-Seven Sows
(I keep reading about Curate, but the menu just isn't doing it for me.)
-Nine Mile (closest restaurant to where we'll be staying)
-??? Where else? Prefer <$20 entrees for this one, and we live in Boston, so we're more interested in uniquely Asheville or southern spots, and less so in particular, ethnic cuisines that can just as easily be found here.

So, thoughts? Anything you'd sub in or out? Anything else we should know?

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  1. I'd add Over Easy to your breakfast list...and Homegrown or Dough if you want something on the simple/quicker side (great biscuits, etc). Tod's Tasties in Montfort also good for a quick/good breakfast. I like all of the breakfast places you've mentioned, my personal order being: over easy, tupelo honey, sunny point, early girl. Posana also serves a lovely brunch.

    Your lunches sound great. You could do Curate for brunch on Sunday - they have a special brunch menu as well as the regular - that way you could try it without committing to a dinner. Wicked Weed would be another fun, casual spot - good food even if you don't drink beer. The Junction in the RAD would also be worth a look. Corner Kitchen would get my vote over the Biltmore restaurants.

    Limones, Bull and Beggar and Zambra would be good "nice" dinner choices (love SS and The Admiral too although their menus may be too alike? PS - make your reservations for The Admiral soon). Nine Mile is cool. Other less expensive dinners could be Tupelo Honey (if you didn't get there for breakfast) or Plant. Plant is vegan and most definitely uniquely Asheville - and it's fantastic. Or any of the lunch spots you missed outside of 12 Bones.

    That's a lot of eatin'! Have fun!

    1. I agree with miss piggy that The Admiral and Seven Sows may be a bit similar. I would choose The Admiral above Seven Sows, and maybe recommend Zambra in place of Seven Sows.

      1. Thank you! Using your feedback so far, here’s v.2. I think v.1 had too many big meals - this one still might, but it’s a step closer...

        Up to 4 breakfasts:
        -Tod’s Tasties - This is right near where we’re staying, and I think grabbing a couple of lighter breakfasts is more likely than having all full ones.
        -Sunny Point
        -HomeGrown (or could be an alternate for a lunch)

        5 lunches:
        -12 Bones
        -Biscuit head - newly added. Thoughts?
        -The Junction’s Sunday brunch
        -Corner Kitchen on the day we go to the Biltmore
        -Red Bridges BBQ Lodge on our way back to Charlotte airport

        4 dinners:
        -The Admiral - We liked miss piggy’s idea of shifting places we’d considered for breakfast & lunch to dinner. Between that and ickymettle’s agreement that the two nicer dinner places we’d picked are similar, we’re thinking just one higher-end dinner. Any more opinions on The Admiral after the chefs left vs. Seven Sows? (ickymettle, is your pro-Admiral vote from after the chefs left?)
        -Nine Mile (closest restaurant to where we'll be staying)
        -Tupelo Honey
        -White Duck

        7 Replies
        1. re: fleenshop

          On a recent weekend trip to AVL, we ate well. Our top meal was at Chai Pani. Great bindi. It was also highly reasonable. We ate brunch at Curate where the potato wrapped sausage dish blew my mind. Excellent bloody Mary's, too. Seven Sows was really good, too.

          1. re: fleenshop

            My pro-Admiral vote stands regardless of the changes in chefs. I don't think the quality has dropped at The Admiral at all. While a I like Seven Sows very much, I like the food at The Admiral a little better and I like dining experience at The Admiral much more. For what it's worth, my wife loves The Admiral but is not sold on Seven Sows.

            While I don't think you can go wrong at either, I think
            The Admiral should be tried first. Trying Seven Sows first would be like watching The Godfather, Part II before ever watching The Godfather.

            1. re: fleenshop

              Good call on Sunny Point. I also like Over Easy, i think Tupelo Honey and Early Girl are both way over rated.

              I really like Biscuit Head, in particular the fried chicken biscuit w/ sriracha (sp?) slaw. The jam/butter bar is the bomb, i've been known to order an extra biscuit just for additional dessert experimentation after my "lunch" biscuit.

              12 Bones is a good call, don't forget they aren't open on the weekend at the in-town location. Junction could possibly be a wait if the weather is too bad for outside tables, you might want a reservation there. I disliked Corner Kitchen on my one visit there so that's what I would skip if since you've decided to do a lunch inside Biltmore.

              I would not waste a dinner on nine mile, tupelo or white duck (do white duck for a casual , quick lunch and be sure to get the Bangkok shrimp taco). Yes, the Admiral is still great post-drew and post-elliott. I'd vote Zambra for dinner, Seven Sows, Bull & Beggar, Junction, Rhubarb. (surprised no one else mentioned Rhubarb) If you want a more casual dinner, what about the El Kimchee food truck parked in front of the Wedge on a Saturday evening? Now THAT's a local experience!

              1. re: danna

                Agree with most of what Ms. Danna says. Chef Ivan is still kicking it at Admiral, but let me add that advanced table reservations are more important than ever as the newer bartenders are surly, forgetful, and dress like homeless people. In other words, do NOT eat at the bar if you want the full Addie experience. Brief thoughts on the others:
                Seven Sows--yes
                Sunny Point--yes, breakfast
                Early Girl--yes, breakfast
                Over Easy--yes, breakfast
                12 Bones--yes, lunch
                White Duck--yes, lunch
                Bull & Beggar--yes
                Curate--yes, for quality ingredients and purity of flavors
                Zambra--solid small plates but not very imaginative
                Rhubarb--yes, but order carefully (stay away from beef dishes)
                Junction--wildly uneven the three times we've been

                1. re: Jeff C.

                  I can't figure out how to start a new discussion from my mobile - I apologize for posting here, but I need a dinner reco for tonight and the Asheville posters seemed to all be tied to this thread! We come here often, have been to Seven Sows and Curate - can't get into The Admiral tonight - instead looking for a good, laid back spot for dinner. Have been to Wicked Weed, may go there but wouldn't mind trying somewhere new. Good beer list, open to anything from pizza to bbq to southern. Ideally downtown or not too far from Grove Park. Thoughts??

                2. re: danna

                  I just got back from a weekend in Asheville, and had a fantastic dinner at Cucina24 downtown. We did the Chef's tasting menu, and they just kept brining out courses - had great food and wonderful service. We also did dinner at Admiral, after seeing all of the props on Chowhound, and was underwhelmed. It wasn't bad, but just so-so. Maybe my expectations were too high. Did Sunday breakfast at Biscuit Head, and I agree - do the second plain biscuit just so you can try some of the butters. Also did a lunch at All Souls Pizza in RDA - it was quite good too.

              2. agree with most of what's already been said.

                I would actually recommend staying on Biltmore property for lunch that day. Cedric's is good near the winery. To me, it just takes too long to come and go off the property to do lunch outside. Of course, that also depends on how much you are trying to fit in at Bitlmore. If not too much, then going to Corner Kitchen would be fine and we have had great meals there.

                White Duck is super casual, so unless you are looking for a very casual very cheap dinner (which is fun too!), I'd probably do it for lunch instead (we love the Duck!).

                I liked Biscuit Head but I only went once. I just don't get over that way too often.

                The biggest problem with Asheville is there are too many great places to get to! We live here and we still can't seem to get to them all. It's a good problem to have. :-)

                1. Just wanted to address the Biltmore day. Between the leisurely driving pace, the distance to the parking area and the amount of walking the estate involves you may find that eating on the property is much simpler and a better use of your limited time.

                  When I lived in Asheville I maintained a years pass for the Biltmore property and often brought a picnic. I don't know if they allow it now but I found it a perfect solution. I ate well and it was a great way to break away from the busy areas for a little quiet break.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: meatn3

                    Yes, you can still picnic there. By the lagoon, along the river or on the Antler Village "green" would all be good choices.