Monday, June 4, 2012

Asheville

One of the many street musician acts downtown. And cute dogs, too.
We spent the Memorial Day holiday weekend in Asheville, North Carolina, which has now earned a permanent place in my list of favorite US cities. What makes it so special? Well, it's got a lot of things I like, such as:
  • a very walkable, interesting downtown
  • a vibrant music and arts scene
  • a wide variety of wonderful independent restaurants
  • a huge local food culture
  • several independent coffeehouses
  • lots of old hippies
  • lots of young hippies
  • mountains
  • history
  • a very cool independent bookstore (Malaprop's)
  • an awesome shoe store (Tops for Shoes
Pack Square
Downtown has some 40 restaurants, most of them independent. We wanted to try all of them, but alas, that was not possible (besides, it gives us another reason to go back). We had yummy coffee and pastries at the Old Europe Patisserie on Friday, and on Saturday we sampled a most excellent Indian buffet at Mela, fabulous chocolates from The Chocolate Fetish, and a fine breakfast-for-dinner at Early Girl Eatery. Please visit these websites to see the amazing menus . . . and visit these businesses when you're in Asheville!

View of downtown Asheville from the Grove Park Inn.
We also had a special BIRTHDAY meal in the Biltmore Village area at Rezaz Restaurant & Wine Bar, also known as Rezaz Mediterranean. Our dinner of grilled romaine salad, spring pea gnocchi, North Carolina trout (for S) and filet mignon (for moi) was followed by a shared slice of this lovely confection:

O.M.G. that's raspberry sorbet on top and port wine reduction on the side.
Another highlight of our Asheville-fest was seeing our friends A&M from Indy as they and their girls passed through on their way south for a family vacation. We met them on our first night, and shared a few hours together, including a meal at that Carolina institution known as FATZ.

Two full and two half days in Asheville, and no, we didn't go to the Biltmore Estate. Both of us have been before (although many, many years ago). Hopefully, we'll be making many more trips to Asheville, so we can do Biltmore some other time.

But we did take an interesting side trip. Come back in a few days if you want to read about that. :)