Asheville & Bryson City Eats & Drinks

by April on October 4, 2015

Tupelo Honey Cafe

Some restaurants get over hyped. Maybe that super blond guy on the Food Network has been there, or a reporter is BFF with the owner and they get a ton of coverage, or it is on a Sex and the City episode and they have three hour lines for the next decade. So when we decided to stop at Tupelo Honey Cafe on the way to Bryson City, I was thinking that it would probably fall into the same category. Arriving for a very late lunch at 2-ish p.m. on the Friday before Labor Day weekend, I was thinking we’d miss the lunch rush but it was still packed. Faced with a 25 minute wait, I was ravenous and instead stalked the bar and was rewarded with seats within five minutes for Kara and myself.

There are a ton of choices on the menu with some familiar names on there too, like Columbia’s own Adluh grits making an appearance. I started out with a housemade lavender limeade which was exquisite. They have several really intriguing flavors on the menu that sound like they’d make a great base for cocktails. Which they also have a lot of great cocktails as well. Kara got the honeysuckle lavender flip which was light on the honeysuckle but still a solid drink.

We thankfully ordered an appetizer because the place never really slowed down the entire time we were there, so our server was hopping the whole time, including making all of the drinks. We chose the fried green tomatoes with a red pepper coulis on a bed of goat cheese Adluh grits. The plate pretty much got licked clean and not just because of straight up hunger. The creamy grits were a good complement to the crunch of the breaded green tomatoes.


For my entree I chose the Venerated Veggie Bowl, which was pretty much the South, in a bowl. From the bottom up, there was Adluh goat cheese grits, sauteed greens, black eyed peas, tons of fried okra, and a delicate vegetable salsa on top. The greens were amazingly tender and savory, as were the black eyed peas and I vacuumed up every one, though I wasn’t able to eat this entire mountain of food. The fried okra bits stayed perfectly crisp the entire time, and though that part of what really filled me up, I kept going on them til I couldn’t. In fact, this whole bowl is so good I’m thinking about buying Tupelo’s cookbook if that recipe is indeed within its pages.


For anyone thinking about going to Tupelo, my advice is to avoid the high traffic times, which is when everyone else is eating. I tried to go here once on a trip through Asheville a few years ago for Sunday brunch and the wait would have turned brunch into a very late lunch. This is definitely one of those “tourist destination” type restaurants, but definitely not an overhyped one as far as the food is concerned, in my opinion. And make sure to get some of their drinks, don’t just stick to water here.

Wicked Weed Brewing

It took a bit of a hike around downtown Asheville to get to Wicked Weed but Kara was up to the challenge with me. We found the brewery and settled downstairs near the bathrooms with amazing smelling hand soap. It was pleasantly crowded for a random drizzly Friday afternoon, with brewery tourists, regular ones, and what I like to think of as a local lady on her laptop chilling and working, mountain-town style. I got the Medora Berry Sour from the Funkatorium and really enjoyed the bright fruit nose and tartiness of this beer, along with the beautiful red coloring.



Nantahala Brewing

Another one of my vacation suggestions, I already talked about Nantahala a little in my first post on Bryson City but wanted to reiterate how much I enjoyed it.

Well-Bred Bakery & Cafe

We stopped at Well-Bred on the way back, as a last lunch before we had to part ways after a wonderful weekend together. Our original plan was to go to another place across the street but with an hour and a half wait time we were like no, no way. Well-Bred had no wait and plenty of tables and options. A cute little bakery in the Biltmore Village, there were coffee drinks, pastries, cakes, cookies, quiches, sandwiches, and an array of salads for a tantalizing choose three plate. I don’t remember a lot about this place except that it reminded me the wonders of the pea salad, which I’ve been obsessed with since. That, the sesame noodles, and the pesto pasta salad rounded out a perfect lunch for me, with two coffees on top. I would 100% recommend again. Much better than that other place with its insane wait times.

And this list of places is just a dent on the scratch of the surface of all of the options available in both mountain towns, but I think we did a great job of finding only good ones to go spend our money since we mostly stayed at the cabin and cooked there the whole weekend.


Are Your Nuts Boiled?

by April on September 18, 2015

Few things divide the Mason-Dixon line so well as boiled peanuts do. If you’re from the South there’s a 98% chance that you love them, and if you grew up in the North, you’re wrong you probably don’t like them and are horrified by the thought of wet nuts.

But boiled peanuts are a perfect snack for when you’re having people over for a long day of fun, like tailgating at football games or even having a viewing party at home, whether or not you ignore the football or are super into it. You can guess which side I fall on.

Raw peanut season is winding down as I found last weekend at the state farmer’s market, because there are only a handful of farmers who still have peanuts and their prices are creeping upwards. But you can find raw ones by the pound online for not much more than you’d buy them for at the market.


There are as many ways to cook boiled peanuts as there are people, but here are a few tips that I follow when making mine (some are from my father in law, who makes some of the best ones I’ve ever had):

  • Soak your peanuts for several hours before boiling (I can never wait that long though!)
  • Use plenty of water to cover the peanuts in the pot, as lots of water will evaporate during boiling
  • Use kosher salt, not iodized, as it keeps the peanuts from getting too dark and gross looking
  • Add the salt at the very end of the boil, after you’ve removed the pot from the heat and let the nuts soak in the brine as they cool down
  • Flavorings are for suckers.

But if you’re not as big a fan of the moist legumes as I am, there are tons of other options for healthy snacks whether you’re tailgating, playing on your phone at a football party, or totally ignoring the game!


A Slow Mountain Weekend in Bryson City

September 9, 2015

For anyone who has been reading me for a few years you’ve probably read about the vacations I take every year with my friends to places like Atlanta, Boston, DC, and Disney World. Those vacations are usually hard hitting trips where we cover as much ground as humanly possible in three to five days. This year we […]

Read the full article →

The End of August, Already

August 27, 2015

I don’t really have a whole lot to say today that’s focused on any one thing, but just wanted to comment on the first bits of autumnal crispness that’s creeping into the air. It’s not plain hot when I open the door to let the dogs out in the morning, it’s more of a pleasant […]

Read the full article →

Conquest is Set Up Right for the Jams

August 16, 2015

I’ve got a special treat as a post today… my husband Patrick went to a show at Conquest Brewing this weekend and commented on how great the space was for music. So I asked him to do a write up on his experience there since he is a connoisseur of music and small bands. I would […]

Read the full article →

Spotted Salamander Cafe: Where The Ladies Lunch

July 14, 2015

Summertime is for taking time off to enjoy the weather, so a few weeks ago I scheduled some time off for yesterday and today for a nice luxurious four-day weekend. Because I spent the actual weekend mostly sleeping for some reason, I made the most of the other two days including lunch at a new […]

Read the full article →

Summer Squash and Potato Spiral Tian

May 19, 2015

You know those recipes you see on Pinterest and think, “Ugh who are these jerks making these things?” After seeing such a recipe of a spiralized tian I finally decided to give it a go to get rid of a bunch of yellow squash before my next Pinckney’s Produce CSA box for the box arrived. […]

Read the full article →

Ingredient Reduction Challenge Results

April 25, 2015

Remember the ingredient reduction challenge I issued for myself a little less than two weeks ago? I’ve finally finished using up the original four items, which were Stubb’s barbecue sauce, bread crumbs, pumpkin soup and one ingredient I totally forgot to mention in the first post- the contents of the bag, canahua. Canahua (pronounced and […]

Read the full article →

Cooking with Benford Brewing’s Southern Tater Ale

April 14, 2015

Let’s discuss a very unlikely place to want to discuss: Lancaster, South Carolina. It’s a place that kind of marks halfway from Columbia to Charlotte for me when I’m on I-77. And that’s about as far as my thinking on Lancaster went until I discovered Benford Brewing by way of a road trip up there […]

Read the full article →

Ingredient Reduction Challenge

April 13, 2015

When the cost of living goes up but the income stays the same, it’s harder to save a dollar than it ever was before. So in these turbulent times, I decided to embark on a little self-challenge to use up some random ingredients from the pantry to make up meals rather than starting from scratch […]

Read the full article →