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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Foodie Sunday: Live from Ashville and a delicious giveaway y'all!

By Beth

So my dear readers, this weeks Foodie Sunday is coming live from Asheville North Carolina! Let me tell you…I have eaten so much in the last 5 days and I can’t imagine how I am going to fit another bit into my mouth. But this is a city that’s lives for it’s food and I can’t help it, last night I enjoyed an enormous dinner at a most wonderful restaurant called The Market (freshly foraged local mushrooms anyone!) and I’m already thinking about breakfast. Crazy perhaps, but when you’re in a city where the state foods are fried cheese grits and the most delicious cheddar scallion biscuits that you’ve ever eaten it’s almost impossible to not eat yourself to death. Believe me…I’ve given it the good old fashioned college try because the food here is astonishing!

We arrived on Monday afternoon and are staying until Sunday and are thoroughly enjoying a delightful fall lagniappe in the beautiful condo in Asheville where my brother and sister in law have been staying for several months. They came to beat the hideous heat of the Scottsdale summer and arecompletely sad about leaving. I can see why because Ashville has really grown into itself since the last time I was here. This town is not just the Biltmore anymore, although that grand old bit of Victoriana is still pretty fabulous! There are new restaurants galore and incredible galleries everywhere filledwith folk art and beautiful textiles. I’ve been into at least 5 Indie bookstores including a gorgeous one in the old Grove Park Arcade thatserves food and wine as well as a damn good cup of coffee and there are at least 4 great new chocolate boutiques and candy stores. Last night at a delightful little place called Wexlins, I had the best pecan praline that I’ve ever tasted outside of New Orleans and a bit of fudge that rivaled any chocolate that I’d ever eaten. The smell inside the place was astonishing…warm chocolate, butter and gently burned brown sugar. What else can I say? I would have stayed there all night forsaking home and hearth entirely for just another one of those pralines. They were that good. We’ve really had quite the time of it, starting off each morning with fabulous cheddar biscuits and cappuccino, grazing all afternoon and then finishing the day with a total orgy of Southern fried hospitality!

Somewhere inbetween Monday and Friday I got a hankering for some good old fashioned Southern barbecue. I asked my brother if we could find a place to enjoy a bit of that and passionate foodies that he and my SIL are of course they knew exactly where to go. Down through the River Arts area we drove until we came upon a fairly nondescript looking place, at least until you got inside. 12 Bones barbecue IS the best of it’s kind…with all kinds of offerings from pulled pork , brisket and chicken and literally the most delicious brown sugared/peppered bacon that I’ve ever eaten. Corn pudding, more grits and a healthy helping of collards rounded out that meal and my brown sugar rubbedribs were amazing as well as the bluberry chipotle glazed offerings. What asmell…. I didn’t know that brown sugar , apples ,wood smoke and freshly cured tobacco could do that. It was sublime and delightfully sticky!

So this is my last day here in this delightful place and I’m really going to miss it. Thank goodness for my normal veggie diet…. I’m going to need it! I wouldn’t have traded this experience for anything. Food, Family and Friends, that’s always been my mantra! There are great vegetarian restaurants here in Asheville although to be honest I haven’t tried a one of them. The South’s got its specialties and you know what they say, “When in Rome”! To not eat them would be a bit like passing up clam chowder and fresh lobster in Boston, raw milk brie in France or blackberry pie and chocolate ice cream in Seattle. North Carolina smoked trout on a bagel with creamy local goat cheese and herbs? It would take a stronger woman than me to pass that up. I think that we both know that’s never going to happen so on that note I’m off to another bakery that I saw last night that supposedly has the best pimento cheese to be found anywhere and you know that in these parts them's probably fighting words!

So tell me, what are some of your favorite Southern fried food memories? Throw one into your comments and if you’re chosen you’ll be receiving a very delicious gift! Y'all know that the South loves its condiments and I’m bringing back a few local specialties for you!

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Anonymous Lavanya said...

Thoroughly enjoyed your post, Beth! I haven't tried much Southern food- but I'd love to, at some point (if I can find vegetarian options..)
Those cheddar scallion biscuits sound yummy!

12:12 AM EDT  
Blogger marsha said...

Beth: Your posts are just absolutely stupendous, but this week you outdid yourself. Asheville is my favorite place in the whole world. It's about four hours west of where I live. My favorite southern fried food memories are of my first mother-in-law's fried chicken and the rest of her cooking. Her's was the first regular southern food I had ever eaten that wasn't cooked to death. I would love to participate in the draw! Thank you so much!

9:08 AM EDT  
Anonymous Musette said...

El O is from Tennessee and his love of pulled meat is legendary - and he has passed it on to me. I have 3 favorites: fried corn (my mother, an Ohioan, got it from HER mother, another Ohioan, who got it from some friend who lived in southern Georgia somewhere - see? I knew we'd get to the South, eventually).

Tangy NC vinegar-based BBQ sauce. Deee-vine. Throw that on some pulled pork and go straight to heaven.

Spiced Shrimp. 'nuff said. My Tio Roberto used to make this and serve at room temp in these giant crocks. okay, NOW 'nuff said.

Beth, you have me wanting to ride to Asheville RIGHT NOW! As it's a) raining and b) I'm in IL it prolly won't happen but ......oh, yum!


11:04 AM EDT  
Blogger a.k.a. Warum said...

I feel nostalgic, since I have family in the South as well. My husband is a Southern transplant into the Northwestern soil, and while he is doing very well (and so do I), we both have to grab stuff from down home when we travel. We pack up grits and Duke's Mayo, we can our own pickled peaches (yea, if I am a winner I'll share a recipe -- well, if I am asked, I will share anyway), our friends just recently brought us some North Carolina style BBQ sauce, but it is hard to get some good BBQ here if you're not the one cooking it, sorry, I meant to say fixin' it!

That was a fun post to read. Thanks!

12:56 PM EDT  
Blogger ginamused said...

I'm from Texas, where Tex-Mex and Deep South lie down together. Both are equally important to us. My favorite southern foods would have to be biscuits and gravy, and buttermilk pie. Yum!

1:43 PM EDT  
Blogger ahsumaker said...

I've never been to Asheville but always wanted to, and your post only adds to that. Love fried okra, not sure how authentically southern that is, but I used to get it at a BBQ place. I love okra in all of its forms!

3:23 PM EDT  
Blogger Tammy said...

Okay, now you're making me cry.

I grew up on the GA/NA, border, just south of the Nantahala National Forest; in other word's God's Country. ;)

I guess my all time favorite Southern Fried Food memory is camping deep in the woods along the Tallulah River with my family, eating fish that was fried over a campfire within minutes of being caught. I remember my grandma, who was part Native, always thanking the fish for its sustenance before she killed it.

Her biscuits figure prominently in my food memories, too.

Thanks for a wonderful post!

3:53 PM EDT  
Anonymous sybil said...

Hush puppies! I remember going to Florida as a child and on the long drive down, stopping at some diner and eating hush puppies, which seemed like the height of greasy deliciousness, and nothing like what we had at home.

6:24 AM EDT  
Blogger Katherine said...

Fried chicken, fried okra, fried green tomatoes... too many options to choose from!

7:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Janet said...

Oh, NC bbq is the BEST! I lived in VA for a couple years and before that, had a boyfriend with parents in NC, so we spent a lot of time down south (I'm from the Boston area). The only thing I DIDN'T like was chitlins LOL! Everything else was so damn good. I swear I was a southerner in another life ;-) Anyway, I think discovering savory hushpuppies was amazing. I'd only had the sweet kind up north.

10:52 AM EDT  
Anonymous Maureen said...

diminteOn the way to FLA, we stopped in NC wher I tried gits for the first time...OK, but the bicuits were to die for. In FLA I tried grouper, soft shelled crab and cuban bread(Key West)YUM! In NOLA all the food was divine, but I especially liked the beignets. I know now that these can all be found around Philly now, but 20 years ago not so much.

10:53 AM EDT  
Blogger dremybluz said...

I love shrimp cheese grits and homemade biscuits with cream gravy, fried green tomatoes and slow cooked collard greens with lots of smoky ham hocks. Please enter me in the draw.

12:18 PM EDT  
Blogger Amy K said...

I'm still kicking myself because I lived in Durham for four years and a) never ate NC barbeque and b) never visited Asheville. I knew almost nothing about Southern food (or food in general - I was an unadventurous Midwestern eater) until I began dating my husband, who's from New Orleans. But I guess Louisiana food isn't really your typical Southern fare. As far as fried food goes, it's tough to beat a Louisiana fried shrimp po-boy. Shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico are the best.

2:06 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Visiting relatives in Florida for winter holidays and enjoying Mojitos and especially Key Lime Pie. Neither tastes right up North, but they are heaven down there.

5:57 PM EDT  
Blogger Karin said...

I'm still dreaming about the shrimp and grits I had at Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville. TO DIE FOR!!!!

7:19 AM EDT  
Anonymous Mimi G said...

I've never tried real authentic southern food and would love to ! I'm actually starving right now..........

7:42 PM EDT  
Blogger The Gastronomic Goddess said...

I have to say one of my favorite southern staples are the delish biscuits with thin, deliciously smoked ham
Nestled between the halves. Oh and pimento cheese. And grits. WHO AM I KIDDING I love it all! Haha :-)

5:29 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great description of a wonderful town! My memory of Southern cooking is very old. I moved to Georgia from the North, and people were polite but not friendly. I was very young and pregnant and lonely. One day, the gracious neighbor from across the street came over and said, "If you are going to have a baby, you have to know how to make Georgia biscuits." I had no idea, but she came in and showed me, and sure enough, I learned how to make high, light, fluffy biscuits. Yeah, they had lard in 'em. It was a long time ago. Please do enter me in the draw.

12:15 AM EDT  

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