Asheville, North Carolina came as a inspiring and stimulating surprise to my senses. The musical sounds of the city, the smell of the healthy green trees, the sights of design around *and the taste of delicious, unique food refreshed every part of my being. The city is definitely not a place where one can stay hungry. It’s a place you go to not when you are on a diet, but to indulge when you are on vacation.
Not only was there food from various continents in this small downtown, but it was very tasty food from all over the world. On our short vacation there, we were torn for choice. In fact for a fleeting moment of greed, we thought we should have drinks in one place, appetizers at another, dinner at a third and dessert at a fourth.
With Asheville’s hopping bar scene, with live musicians every night, there is very little chance of sleeping at a reasonable hour. Besides, why would you when, every street corner is thriving with local musicians playing some sort of melody for you as well? Drinks, dine and make merry, that’s what we did in Asheville.
We went knowing that in Asheville people love their Indian food. But we were not prepared for this much love and for the food to actually be this good! Three Indian restaurants and one Tibetan one were downtown, not to mention so many other restaurants that also had some Indian appetizer or dish as part of their menu. We ate street food ad drank an inventive Indian cocktail- Jal Jeera Mojito at Chai Pain, where the staff was as excited about the food as we were eating it. There weren’t any Indians serving at Mela, but the staff was very knowledgeable about the food and were happy to working at such a well done Indian restaurant.
We had to eat our share of Southern food and chose the chain, Tupelo Honey, which did not disappoint. After our second helping of biscuit, spoonfuls of grits and fried green tomatoes, we had to take long walks to make room for our next meal.
We had Ukrainian pastries at Old Europe Coffee & Pastries. People seemed happy to have their cheesecake for breakfast, but I am not sure I cared much for the dense corrisant at the bakery. For Mexican we headed over to Salsa’s. I would go back for their margaritas. Dessert was at French Broad Chocolate Lounge, which set me way higher on the weighing scale, than I would like to be at. But I didn’t seem to mind when I was on my sugar high. Vegan ice cream was more popular than many of their regular ice cream flavors.
For breakfast we really enjoyed Green Sage Cafe. It had delicious warm oatmeal and well toasted bread to sustain me until Lunch. Ashwin, of course got his omelet with toast and potato hash. The vibe of the cafe was very low key and seemed more life a cafeteria where morning hikers came to get a cup of coffee and lingered to do some online work. They promoted recycling and composting in keeping with the natural, simplicity of the city.
We also ate at Suwana’s Thai Orchid and Dobra Tea. Both great choices for places to eat and a non alcoholic beverage. If not for tea, stop by Dobra for their cardamon rose cookie. Delish!! The vegetarian restaurant Laughing Seed Cafe also had really good food food choices and drinks. Sitting on the sidewalk, on a warm evening, watching people walk by and enjoying the light breeze of the long spring days was our perfect after hike dinner.
People in Asheville enjoy eating out and have fun while doing it. A cycle from Pubcycle, takes you peddling around town, with a motivated driver as you drink that extra beer, content with the fact that you are burning off those calories. This is just like the Thirsty Peddler we saw at Lexington, KY. The Double Decker bus is huge draw, where you actually get to eat inside a parked bus. Every restaurant in Asheville had interiors that outdid the one before. Most had several tables on their patios which were open to and leaning into the street.
Buzzed on sweet cocktails, bellies full, we managed to get back to the hotel, forcing ourselves to bed, just to be able to enjoy the following day to its full. We sampled a lot of food, but as we drove out, I left Asheville with a silent note, “We are not done with you, my Dear. We will be back!”
More on what to do when you travel to Asheville on www.journalsfromamerica.com