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Asheville Dayhikes and Beer all set, just need Good Food

Hello Asheville Chowies, I'm getting ready for my favorite kind of vacation, involving exclusively hiking, food, and beer. I've read through the board a bit but know nothing and would love some feedback and ideas.

My brother and I, late 40's, will be arriving on a Sunday afternoon and day hiking in the area Monday-Wednesday 12-18 miles/day. Both of us are foodies, but also home-brewers and backyard BBQers and need to find a happy mix of our vices on this trip. Thinking of a dinner first (as long as the beer selection is good), and then a pub or two. We'll probably hit Wicked Weed at least Sunday night after dinner, but the ideal for the evenings after a day of hiking would be a chef-driven restaurant with a thoughtful beer selection (aged?) where we could get a couple or three beers with dinner, and if needed we could hit a pub afterwards for a rare beer or two.

We need one nice meal for Sunday night (like The Admiral or Bull and Beggar), and then for our hiking days anything goes from comfort food to more fine-ish dining (in jeans) as long as the restaurant is run by a chef or a pit-master. I looked at Curate but beer seems to be completely neglected, so unless we can not get food nearly as good somewhere else, we will pass on Curate this trip.

We'll get to hit 12 bones on Thursday lunch before we head out of town, but we'll otherwise be hiking during the days. If there is an exceptional BBQ joint for dinner I will also be eager to try it - exceptional being defined as better than mine :-) .

A place like King James looks perfect on paper, very trendy, but how is the food underneath the fashion? Are there any places in Asheville you could imagine receiving a Michelin Star?

Lastly, breakfast may be in order depending on how early we get started. Are there any innovative but calorie-rich breakfast places that can be recommended?

Thanks a million!

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  1. Did you see this post on King James?:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/962834

    Lots of good breakfast information (and more) in this thread:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/968999

    1 Reply
    1. re: carolinadawg

      I did see that thread on King James, which is why I am on the fence about it. The second link is great for breakfast ideas and dinner ideas. Thanks! Biscuit Head should provide the calories we need!

    2. I understand from my beer snob friends that Thirsty Monk is the place to go for unusual bottles. I'm more about Asheville's own fresh brew on tap, which is found almost everywhere. 12 Bones always has a lot of local beer on tap, and available in 10 oz pours which I appreciate.

      Admiral I could see getting a Michelin Gourmand status, but it's too casual for a star i think. make reservation NOW.

      1. As I posted in the thread referenced below, I loved King James. In fact, I've still been thinking of the meal fondly two weeks later. From reading your post, our tastes sound similar.
        I am also a beer geek. King James beer list is pretty good, not great, but then I can't think of a restaurant in Asheville that have a stellar beer list AND outstanding, creative food. I'd define stellar as 8+ drafts, little or no macro, a good selection of local and well regarded national brands, plus some large format bottles.

        Case in point, I love the Admiral, but they have a pretty limited beer list (Wedge IPA on draft is all). My solution to this conundrum is to prioritize. At meal time, I'll select outstanding food over a strong beer list. Before/after dinner, I'll go to the place with the best beer.

        Keep in mind, most every place in Asheville sells craft beer. I think you have to go to Wedge and Wicked Weed, If you want the best beer selection in town, I'd go to Barleys which I prefer to Thirsty Monk.

        Biscuit Head was an awesome breakfast and a great value.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Tom from Raleigh

          Homegrown for another breakfast perhaps - quick and filling - and good.

          I'd look at Seven Sows too for a dinner. Sounds like it could be up your alley.

          Wicked Weed has good food too if you're tired and hungry.

          1. re: miss piggy

            Thanks for the great info guys. By "rare" beer I mean infrequently brewed, like a triple IPA or barley wine. I agree that local is always best and will be trying as many Asheville brews as I can, and only on tap regardless. I may stop by a bottle shop on our last day though and pick up a case or five of stuff that doesn't easily make it's way to Florida. I'm not worried about the beer because in my experience the first night at a local pub usually leads to new friends willing to share the local secrets.

            And thanks Tom, I'll have to hit Wedge too. Your definition of a "stellar" beer list sounds about right! At a restaurant I have no problem with Blue Moon on the menu as long as the cocktails can compensate, but thankfully I am finding that this mentality is coming to an end and I take it in stride kinda like I do with my racist uncle at Thanksgiving - a relic.

            Biscuit Head and Homegrown for sure, thanks miss piggy. I chuckled when I saw the prices on the menu - literally half the price I pay in Ft Lauderdale for a good breakfast! I hope the owners aren't reading this. Seven Sows does indeed look like a good place to me, the kind of place that probably has beer-cocktails on the menu. Love it.

            It looks like I'll be in Asheville for 6 nights - 4 with just my brother and 2 with our families, eight people altogether. I made reservations for Thursday at The Admiral for 8 people (Saturday in August was a no-go even for just 4), but the others I saw look more sane as far as reservations go and will give me time to think about things some more. I'll be sure to write a trip report and let you know how an outsider feels about Asheville. On paper it looks promising.

            I've spent many summers in NC but have always focused on regional and coastal cuisine (which is what I always look forward to). It is exciting to think about what Asheville may offer.

            Also: Is there a recommended place for good packed lunches early in the morning? If not, of course trail mix is the meal of choice.

            1. re: walker42

              Greenlife Grocery is a small Whole Foods market - good place for bulk trail mix, grab-and-go sandwiches, etc. It's small and feels much more "local" than a giant WF. I think they open at 7a. They have a pretty good breakfast hot bar too actually...

              1. re: miss piggy

                I agree with miss piggy that Greenlife would be a good choice for picnic food. They have a lot of prepared foods. According to their website, Greenlife opens at 7:30am. You might also want to check out Laurey's which opens at 8am Monday through Saturday: http://www.laureysyum.com/

            2. re: miss piggy

              What's the word on Table? It doesn't seem to get mentioned often in Asheville threads, but their menu looks interesting.

          2. If you find that you've hiked longer than you thought you would on one of your hiking days and/or need to stop for a snack. There is a restaurant and a snack bar at Mount Mitchell State park and a restaurant at the Pisgah Inn near Mount Pisgah. They both serve breakfast lunch and dinner. Also, there is a cafe that serves lunch at the Cradle of Forestry, just tell them you're there for lunch to avoid the admission fee or use your America the Beautiful pass or go on Tuesday. The food can be hit or miss, but I've never had anything inedible at any of these restaurants; and the views are lovely from the Pisgah Inn and Mount Mitchell.

            1. Check out Punk Wok on Monday nights at MG Road, Rhubarb and Seven Sows. You must get the steak tartare at The Admiral. If you like dive bars, the Double Crown is a hop, skip and a jump away from The Admiral. I like Limones too. If time permits, don't limit yourself to one stop, go to two or three restaurants a night.