Writer’s note: Okayyyy so this vacation actually took place a few months ago (so the weather in Asheville has changed a lot since the time I wrote this). Ah me and my lazy writing. Oh well, I’m still continuing where I left off. Hubs and I are on a mini roadtrip. We’ve already stopped by Orlando, Palm Coast, Jacksonville, Savannah, and had just taken our first impressions of Asheville.
There’s hiking. There’s breweries. There’s art.
But you need your strength to experience all that. You gotta eat, right?
Well, first, We made sure to stay in an AirBnB with a kitchen thus reducing some of our eating costs as well as gaining the ability to gorge on a few familiar dishes of our own making (ah, homemade stir fry is always good). On our initial visit to Harris Teeter (the local grocery store) we stocked up on ways to make homemade cold brew, scrambled eggs, buttery toast… we ate all these while gazing at the surrounding tree-filled hills around our temporary home.
White Duck Taco Shop was my favorite food experience in Asheville. Seriously, there’s so many taco spots in my home state… how is there nothing like White Duck Taco Shop? While creative and unique taco fillings can dangerously teeter on being too touristy or gimmicky, this place blew me away with its unique pairings executed deliciously. Example: their Tofu Banh Mi Taco (yeah, WTH?) That soft tofu somehow contained a lot of roasted flavor which contrasted both in texture and taste to the pickled veggies. My favorite was the Pork Belly Taco– insanely soft pork belly accompanied by the soft crunch of shredded, pickled, watermelon rind. There was also duck roasted in mole sauce and topped with an apple salsa… somehow all these flavors worked great together and at low prices.
Side perk to the White Duck Taco Shop on Roberts: it’s a short stroll to many art studios as well as the famous ‘Good Vibes’ mural– famous because it’s the most visible from a busy highway.
12 Bones had a line going out the door. This casual BBQ restaurant delivered delicious Southern sides and you could further customize your order at the sauce bar in the center. Although I enjoyed the lively atmosphere and staring at the walls totally covered in the pen markings ‘so so was here’ of past guests, ‘que was just okay. Semi-dry. And somehow the plating made each part of my order look lonely with each item segregated to their little corner on the metal plate like positions on a clock.
Stepping outside of 12 Bones was more enjoyable as every wall surrounding the restaurant – pretty much 360 degrees – was covered in colorful and bold murals. Photographers’ hearts rejoice.
High-Five Coffee called to us with their free wifi and plentiful seating. I was thrilled to find a low-lying table with cushions surrounding it– perfect for those who are comfortable sitting cross-legged… like me! (except Hubs isn’t content being in a pretzel shape so we made our way to regular seats shortly after). The baristas were a quick and smiley team. A sign advertising their ‘Red Wedding’ special caught my eye, and soon I was enjoying a cold concoction of sweetened coffee with hints of strawberries inside. Tiny slivers of the fruit decorated the glass. Hubs settled back with a cold brew and together we buried ourselves in work.
During our quest for breweries (a post for another time) we found Oyster House Brewing because it contained many dark beers (which we love). Besides featuring some creative brews – some of them brewed using oysters – all that beer made us hungry. With an obvious seafood-sounding name, we had no doubt their clam chowder would be good… and that deliciously creamy, chunky, and slightly salty soup paired well with our beer.
Although we dined inside a handful of other restaurants, these were our most memorable locations.
Eating around Asheville was a fun and tasty experience, although you can tell this town’s food scene is still trying to grow. For now, it seems most of the town’s self-expression leans in favor of the artists and the brewers… but with the talent already there, I’m positive the food scene will explode in the next few years.
Stay tuned as we continue to explore Asheville including the breweries we visited and the trails we hiked.