Some places you would like to go to; others you make a point to. I had read about Jack of the Wood prior to heading to the Carolinas and was dismayed when I learned of its late opening time on the day we planned on passing through town. I was glad when previous plans did not work out and was able to arrange a stop albeit a brief one. It is a good approximation of an Irish pub and I am not generally a big fan of such things outside of the Emerald Isle but this one hits it pretty well as far as atmosphere is concerned. That they brew their own beers only adds to the mix. Lots of wood add to its character, the barman is a character, and the more you drink the more you feel like a character in a JP Donleavy novel. The Gingerman indeed.
Favorite Dish: We had had a big breakfast and had skipped lunch so we were famished by the time we arrived. We literally waited outside the door to get in right when it opened. We both opted for what we figured would be a hearty meal of Sheppard's Pie ($8.95). Though it was quite tasty, it was a little smaller than you might generally expect. Don't get me wrong, the mix of lamb and beer under a great garlic mash was a perfect accompaniment to their ESB and porter, both well made and lowly carbonated English style ales. Actually, we were still so hungry we opted for a cheese platter ($6.95) and their hoppy IPA. After walking around town for an hour we went back for more IPA and wound up splitting a meal of meat pies before hitting the road!
Anntony's Caribbean Cafe is a Carribean restaurant in North Carolina (based in Charlotte) run by immigrants from British Guyana. I wasn't hungry but I had never been to any Caribbean restaurant before. I haven't seen any in Poland. I had no idea what Caribbean food was but tables put outside in front of the restaurant (great for watching people and rare in Asheville and generally USA) as well as reasonable prices encouraged my wife and me to give Anntony's a try. And it was a very good step!
I didn't like colorful and kitchy interior design of Island caffee bar. The other inconvenience was traffic (luckily light) in front of our table, so we decided to eat inside and then drink something outside. But the worst was that I left next charged batteries in a car and couldn't take pictures of food :-(. Well, I asked a friendly and prompt waiter and charged my batteries enough to take at least a few pictures with no flash on the way back to car.
Favorite Dish: As we were not hungry we decided to order only one bowl of black bean soup (great flavour, a bit spicy) and one portion of Cuban roast pork with mango chutney. I never tried it and even didn't understand what "chutney" meant in English but I liked it :-). The meal was served with cornbread and two sides. I had problem which sides to choose as I didn't know some English names in the menu and didn't want those I could understand. So, as usual, I chose the most exotic names which sometimes is risky but I asked a waiter before and managed to understad most of his explanations:
- Callaloo Greens - delicious tumip greens cooked with tomatoes, onion, garlic and fantastic sauce (what was that sauce?)
- Calypso Rice - rice with sauteed cabbage, carrot, garlic, pepper and spices - it tasted good but was a bit too spicy for me, I'd order something else next time.
Jesus, that Cuban roast pork with mango chutney was a heaven and enough large for two not very hungry people! My recommendation.
Together with tropical flavored iced tea (a bit too sweet as for me) and fantastic freshly roasted bean coffee we paid with tax and tip a bit below $20. Great value as for good quality food and central location!
the sunset terrace restaurant is located in the historic grove park inn hotel. obviously the sunset terrace is a great place to have an early dinner and watch the sunset. the sunset terrace offers a three course prixe fixe dinner for $ 30. you can also order off the menue if you so desire. the cuisine is new american and i thought the prixe fixe dinner was a good value. a very nice restaurant to visit when in the asheville area. reservations recommended.
the havana restaurant is a great place to have lunch in downtown asheville. they serve very good cuban cuisine at moderate prices. on my recent visit to asheville i had their cuban sandwich which was just as good as ones i have ordered in miami and tampa. a nice inexpensive place to eat in downtown asheville.
Located in Pack Square, murals show old images of the city 100 years earlier. Jazz was playing on the loudspeaker. Real candles were on the wall surrounded by an ornate bracket. We got there at the perfect time, 5.30 pm. A half an hour later and we maybe would have been able to eat on the cafe outdoors. As the sun was setting, it was fixing to get chilly.
Favorite Dish: For an appetiser, both Mark and I had fried green tomatoes garnished with shrimp, feta cheese, country ham, cream, Cajun spice, in what I call Henri sauce (named after Chef Jamie Henri). For the entree, I had wild mushroom and roasted pepper pasta, containing cremini, shiitake and portabella mushrooms tossed with spinach and sun dried tomatoes in a roasted garlic gorganzola red wine reduction. Mark had ostrich in a cognac demi-glace and a sweet potato puree. The sweet potato puree is the ONLY thing that deterred me from ordering the ostrich dish. Mark and I debated on dessert. I had a flourless chocolate cake- an individual chocolate cake with port wine ice cream and raspberry and orange compote. Mark had bread pudding with honey ice cream and white chocolate creme anglais. The food and ambience were great, but, because they try too hard.
VT member b1bob and I decided to step away from the crowds and visit this little bistro for an early dinner. We arrived just before the crowds started to fill the seats and enjoyed a great meal in this comfortable downtown location. The walls are decorated with historic photos of Asheville and funky murals of the city painted right on the walls. Our waitress, Amber was really professional and friendly.
Favorite Dish: The business card describes the food as "Creative American Cuisine" and I'd have to agree. For an appetizer, we tried the fried green tomatoes served with barbecue shrimp and a great sauce. I had ostrich in a cognac demi-glace with pureed sweet potatoes and steamed vegetables. Ostrich tastes similar to a steak, although it is a much leaner and healthier meat. Mine was served medium rare with peppercorns and was outstanding. Nat had a mushroom pasta that was also really good. For dessert he had a flourless chocolate cake with a port wine ice cream and I had a delicious bread pudding served with honey ice cream and a white chocolate creme anglais.
Before leaving Asheville we didn't want to eat anything but I wanted some good caffee and Urszula some soft drink. We chose Cats and Dawgs, a Casual American Eatery (what a name!) because of tables put outdoors on Page Ave. (good for watching people :-). We had to wait a few minutes for a young and smiling all the time waitress although there were no other consumers. Maybe we should show up inside first.
Well, let me quote our dialogue:
- good afternoon, may I help you? [smile]
- good afternoon, we would like only a large cup of white coffee and a glass of soft drink
- we have delicious Chicago pure Vienna beef hot dogs, they taste like in Chicago, believe me [smile]
- excuse me?
- we also have great Italian beef and Polish sausage, may I ask you where are you from? [smile]
- excuse, we don't want them; we are from Poland
- wow, Holland, that's great, welcome in Asheville; well, I see you are vegetarians, most "Hollanders" are vegetarians; we have wonderful veggie dogs, too! [smile]
- excuse me?
- well, if you prefer we have three-bean salad and coleslaw as well [smile]
- excuse me, we want ONLY a large cup of white coffee and a glass of orange juice with ice, can you understand me?
- all right, but what about our delicious and famous Brunswick stew? [smile]
And so on :-))) Outdoor tables and low or reasonable price are main advantages of this restaurant. We would pay for sure below $20 (with taxes + tip) for 2 meals with drinks.
Favorite Dish: Finally I got my coffee which was quite good but nothing compare to that one in Anntony's Caribbean Cafe. Urszula had orange juice but with no ice.
Well, next time I'd give a try to that Brunswick stew (but what's that? :-) or Italian beef. Add three-bean salad and French fries. I don't like hot dogs (even from Chicago) and I love Polish sausage but original, the ones I tried in the USA tasted awfully and shouldn't be more called Polish. Welcome to Poland for real Polish sausages :-)
This little shop is conveniently located in the Stable Area next to the Biltmore House and offers ice creams, hot chocolade and beverages. Unfortunatelly ice creams are not made on the premises. It's open seasonally: 11.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Favorite Dish: Urszula had large ice-cream (are there any small ones in the USA?) with some addings which was good but not the best one she had in the USA. And as I remember it was also quite expensive.
At first sight I liked rustic interior of this restaurant with renovated horse stalls. It's located in the Stable area next to Biltmore House. I thought that if it was a horse stable, it had been fit for a king. It's open 11.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.
As we were not hungry we first decided not to eat there but to continue our Biltmore adventures. However after an hour or more in the Gardens we decided to give it try and plan what to do next as unexpectadly all my camera batteries were out :-( and we would have to come back to our car. Luckily I had already taken a few pictures of the restaurant before. Surprisingly there were almost no costomers when we finally came. We were seated below semicircular window in a booth which once was a horse stall.
Reading menu we figured out that it's rather expensive reaturant as for us and as in fact we were not hungry we decided to order one portion to share. They stated in the menu that many food products they serve come from Biltmore's farms and gardens. Urszula was joking that they have to use horse meat. Well, our young waiter (a local college student) was prompt, helpful and nice over the average. Thanks boy. He probably still laughs at this horse meat idea of Urszula. I had to explain that we do NOT eat horse meat in Poland :-). Well, there are Polish horse sausages available in some upclass specialty groceries but they are not popular.
Favorite Dish: Thanks to help of our waiter we ordered what was called Stable Café Sampler Platter. It consists of:
- pulled pork barbeque
- bourbon barbeque ribs
- rotisserie chicken.
The portion was quite large as usual in the USA (except of very fancy restaurants) although not the biggest one I saw. For two not very hungry people it was almost enough though.
Originally it was served with coleslaw but as I am not fan of neither mayonnaise nor vinegar I asked to skip them. So we had custom made salad with mysterious and delicious sauce (mainly lemon juice and olive or other vegetable oil I think).
Add what they called Long Branch potatoes. I had to ask what was that. As I undertood well these potatoe thick strips are made like French fries but before they are soaked in cold salted (+ with some other addings, herbs?) water for about an hour, then dried and fred as for potato chips. They were soft and tender, not brown.
The food was HEAVEN! The best was pulled pork barbeque. As the waiter explained it was classic western North Carolina meal, slow-cooked and finished with bourbon barbeque sauce which consists of (among others) onion, garlic and bourbon. You must try it! Oak-smoked pork spareribs glazed with delicious sauce (what was that?) tasted fantastic, too. Chicken was over average as well but not my favourite. I liked our salad but didn't like Long Branch potatoes. Well, they were not that bad but I'd prefer them to be a bit warmer and less salty.
The only inconenience of this restaurant was our bill. We paid almost $30 (with a 20% tip and 7% tax) for a single meal, beer and soft drinks. I just think now that it was good value for great food and service.
Driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway I saw this restaurant and I recognized immediately the kind of family restaurant my wife likes. We stopped to lunch and it was a good idea because the meat was great.
I do not remember what I ate but my wife took a seafood course.
The whole lunch with tip and tax worthed only 16.90$.
The restaurant is at the boundary of three counties. The kitchen is in Avery county but the food is picked up at Burke and the clients are sitting in Avery and McDowell.
Where does Louise pay tax ? In Mc Dowell beacuse the main part of the premises and the parking is on this county.
This small bakery with a few tables put both inside and outside is located in the Stable Area next to the Biltmore Estate. They offer pastries, freshly-baked in the premise, cookies, soft drinks, gourmet coffees and herbal teas. They also make picnic baskets for a gourmet lunch on estate grounds. It's a self-service and fast-service place with no dishes but napkins and plastic cups; open year-round 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
The pastries surely were not cheap ($3 - $4 per one large pastry as I remember well). But I didn't pay as much as I had expected in such touristy place! I've learnt again that in the USA there is no simple rule that food is always extremely expensive in the most touristy places. Well, sometimes it is (Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia is a good example) but quite often not :-). The greedy guys from Williamsburg should learn something from the Biltmore ones, right?
Favorite Dish: I had a blueberry pastry and Urszula had a strawberry one, both fresh-baked and still hot. A must eat! It was HEAVEN! No more words.
After delicious pastries in Bake Shop in the Biltmore Stable Area (see my previous tip) and before visit to Biltmore Gardens we wanted to eat a bit more and something different. There was a nice looking food cart put just by the Bake Shop but it was closed with no information on opening hours. So, just for your information, these food and beverage carts operate seasonally throughout the Biltmore Estate, in larger number on busy days.
They offer fast food like popcorn, beef sandwiches, pretzels etc. (see my next pictures). Not the best food as for me but if in a hurry... It's likely that I would give a try to Grilled Chicken Salad ($6.95) and Root Beer. I don't know what's that :-) but sounds nice and costs $2.00.
Favorite Dish: None. It was closed.
Zambra...the very name means a gypsy dance of celebration! I have eaten at this restaurant many times and am almost always amazed and satisfied. They spent a lot of time and money on the interior which makes you think you are in a Moorish castle (tent?) I dunno. The long, curving stone bar is beautiful. There are large stone columns, small rooms with pillows for parties of 4-6, & high windows that open up to the street. It can be a truly magical place on weekend nights when a spanish or jazz group is playing and the belly dancers are there. Even without entertainment though, the food is the main attraction. Don't go if you are in a hurry, this is a place to spend time.
UPDATE 2008/9 New Year's Eve looks great! I have already made a reservation. Get a spot at the bar before they are all gone.
Favorite Dish: The menu changes often featuring contemporay twists on food from Spain and N. Africa. A starter of Olives with Preserved Lemons is wonderful for a group of 4 or more (its a lot of olives). They also feature Risotto, mussels, bits of various meats and poultry with mysterious and succulent sauces, great salads. They also have hundreds of wine for the connoisseur (a little pricy)....and the tequilas! Specialty drinks are varied and interesting. The beer on tap is reasonably priced. Although I would recommend this restaurant to any size group, I feel it is best enjoyed by 2 people sitting at the bar. You can share each small dish, it is intimate and the service is immaculate. It is close to the music. Additionally, you can meet and talk to people from all over who have come to enjoy that special ambience that is Asheville. P.S. they have late hours at the bar and it's a great place to go after a concert or show for a snack and a drink.
This is a popular and crowded restaurant with a western theme inside. It's a big noisy place especially on the weekend but the food was very good. We had a very good steak for dinner and a tower of onion rings for appetizer.
Favorite Dish: Steaks are very good.
After you've toured the estate, you might want to head over to the Carriage House and grab some ice cream at this little shop. Unfortunately, it's not made on the premises, but it is purchased from a local ice cream maker.