Being good to my word I'll warn you that most of this will be our weekend in NC. If interested read on, if not see you next time. Ed Saxon read.
Before the weekend in Asheville North Carolina, and environs we had a couple of meals here, in Cincinnati, to be with a Granddaughter who was here for an week, and to celebrate our son-in-laws 55th Birthday.
We had lunch at "Teller's in Hyde Park", with the GD, where Marilyn and I split the Iceberg wedge, plenty for two, and also a Florentine Pizza with tomato's, artichoke hearts and grilled onions on a thin Pizza crust. The night before the whole family went to "Primavista"( visited many times) where I had the usual Bombay, Salad and Scampi Regiano( sauteed scampi served with mushrooms and onions over a bed of angle hair). A fine dish but that evening the pasta had not been fully drained, which of course detracted. Marilyn had the veal special. It was a pleasant evening.
Friday morning we drove to Asheville NC to "hook-up" with our New York cousin, who like us is "into glass". It was a studio tour arranged by the Penland School of Arts and Craft and we were interested in visiting some of the artists and their studios, all in the Cumberland Mts in an approximate 25 mile radius of the school. Penland is approximately 50 miles North and East of Asheville.
To fortify ourselves we had dinner the first night( Friday) at "Table", 48 College St. 828-254-8980, almost universally recommended. The restaurant honored our 7:30 reservation, made thru "Open Table" and we were seated promptly although others were waiting. It is a store front on College Street, a main artery downtown, and with hard walls, ceiling and store front windows, and is very noisy. The menu is very interesting based daily on local products and changes, as the availability of items in the market, does. There are no "specials". For a first course I chose NC shrimp, grilled, house made bacon and peach kimchi, much more like a sliced thin spiced peach than as fermented kimchi, all served on local greens. My main course was NC softshell crabs on a goat cheese risotto with a sauce vierge( no one could explain). The server mixed up the order and so all had to wait while he and the kitchen straited it out. Marilyn had the devilled East Fork Chicken, a roast chicken elsewhere, gnocchi alla romano and "heirloom" broccoli, we call it broccoli rabe. Both main courses were $26. I had my usual drink first and shared a glass of Guner-Ventliner. The table shared two desserts a wonderful heavy "stout" Chocolate cake with roasted cherries, a first for me, topped with Carmel ice cream. the other dolce was a fresh peach crumble with praline ice cream. Food very interesting, good and inventive but the service was poor, a general feeling of superciliousness.
The next morning after a stop at a gallery in town and one in the Penland area we evolved a plan to visit 3 glass studios in the afternoon. First lunch at a local, "road food" type place, discovered by us and not Jane and Michael Stern. Ed Saxon, please note."Hillbilly's Grill and Ice Cream', in the front of a nursery( plants not children) is a four table, CLEAN, as the owners stress, white wall board room shared by the ice cream freezer and cash register. The owner, a retired Highway patrol officer, is one of the two cooks, his wife the other. It sits just off State Rt 80 about 7 miles south of Micaville NC, not that you'll ever want to find it. The lunch was surprisingly good, all served in Styrofoam containers. Bar-Be-Qued pulled pork( what else in NC), potato salad, baked beans and cole slaw, all "home made". Three lunches, split among the 4 of us was one lunch too many.
Four stops plus a trip over Mt. Michell, the highest peak in the eastern US, brought us back to our very welcoming Hampton Inn.
Dinner that evening took place at "Rezaz Restaurant' 28 Hendersonville Rd( Biltmore Village), Ashville 828-277-1510, a mixture of Mediterranean, Italian and American dishes. Bombay was less expensive, and a larger pour than the night before, a good start.
My meal was a first course of "spring pea' gnocchi and sweetbreads, in a light pea and white wine sauce, wonderful. Followed by the largest single seafood paella I have ever been served. The kitchen must go thru sacks of rice, nightly, if I am to judge from my serving. The paella contained clams, shrimp, chicken and churuzzo plus peas carrots and baby onions. The rice was so plentiful that the slightly spicy sauce couldn't moisten all. Marilyn chose a Minestrone, which she said was excellent and a pan seared trout on a bed of lentils. Our server was excellent, something that always adds to ones enjoyment and he insisted that we divide a linzer cookie, on him( or the house). He understood working for tips. Another fine meal. After dinner we crossed the street to enter the lobby of the "Grand Bohemian Hotel" a site to see or avoid depending on ones taste.
Sunday, after a visit to the Penland School of Arts and Crafts and several artists both glass and world renowned woven baskets we had our last meal together at the "Creekside Cafe" Rt 226 in Barkersville, NC. Family run and kitchen equipped, as far as I could tell with a chopping block and deep fryer. Almost exclusively fried seafood as signaled by the tarter sauce and cocktail sauce in squeeze containers on the tables.
After our late lunch, about 2:30, the four of us split with the New Yorkers headed East and we towards Cincinnati where we arrived around 10 PM. Full of Art, Crafts, good food and good company.