Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fall Excursions

MW has pointed out that I've been failing miserably at my regular posting duties. My excuse is that Rocktober was an extremely busy month for us! So here's a recap for all our fans:

MW took me on a beautiful weekend to the mountains of Asheville to see the comedian Louis CK. As a result, we may have found our future home. We arrived on friday night in time to get a beer and a hummus appetizer at the Asheville Bier Garden before running over to the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.
Louis was hilarious and we had a great time laughing together. I am lucky to have someone to share so many of my interests.

After the show, we stopped by Asheville Brewing Company where we gorged ourselves on gigantic made-to-order pizza slices with fresh toppings. I ordered a Rocket Girl, which was crisp, sweet and a little fruity. Not my usual go to brew, but it was refreshing and enjoyable. The brewery was a little off the beaten path of the friday night crowd but it was perfect for us to sit and talk about the show.

The next morning we slept in a little and woke to a perfect fall day. The leaves were just starting to change, the sky was completely clear, and the weather was crisp- my favorite kind of day!

We spent some time exploring downtown. We were lucky enough to find a cheaper hotel right in the middle of downtown and were able to walk everywhere. It was the weekend of Oktoberfest, so there was quite a crowd milling about downtown. We opted not to participate in Oktoberfest, since there are so many independent breweries in Asheville that we wanted to visit. 

(The Grove Arcade)
We spent a little time walking around the Grove Arcade and even bought some apples from a small market inside. The Grove Arcade was commissioned and built by E.W. Grove (who also built the Grove Park Inn) and was the center of commercial and civic life for over a decade in Western NC. It now houses small shops and local artists. The architecture is stunning and definitely worth some time if you're in the area. 

MW took me to brunch at a lovely small diner called Early Girl Eatery.
We sat at a "community table," a long table in the middle of the dining area where small groups of people can sit together. Since we were on vacation, we started the meal with some mimosas. 

My tummy was bothering me a bit that morning, so instead of having the usual morning goodness, I ordered house-made granola and yogurt with fruit.

MW ordered eggs with fried smashed potatoes covered in a tomato aioli sauce. 
We both had the local pork sausage, which was deliciously spicy without being too rich. 
My granola was good and it filled me up without upsetting my stomach more, but I still felt like I missed out on the eggs and potatoes. Next time!

After lunch we immediately began our tour of the local breweries, starting with LAB (or Lexington Avenue Brewery). Located right downtown, LAB had a cool vibe to it. The entire front wall is made of garage doors, which they had open since it was so nice out. 

I had a sampler to get a taste of all their beers. 

While we were at LAB, my best friend EK called to meet up with us. She lives in Asheville and I (regretfully) do not see her often. We decided to freshen up and meet her at our hotel so she could take us to another brewery. 


EK took us to The Wedge in South/West Asheville. It was a little outside of downtown, and definitely not a place we would have found on our own. But it was by far my favorite brewery we visited. 

It consisted largely of outside space with a few chairs on a patio and some tables in the yard. Inside was just a small bar area with hardly any stools and a bathroom. 

The yard had cool ironwork art

We nabbed a table in the yard and chilled hard for a few hours. 

All the tap handles were cute. 
We stayed until it was dark, catching up with EK and enjoying some pitchers of well-made beer. 
The Wedge was so relaxed and was more our pace than typical packed tight bars on a saturday evening. 

After a while, we got pretty hungry and MW had planned to take me to the well known Asheville staple:  Tupelo Honey Cafe
MW is going to kill me when he reads this, but somehow the pictures I took on my iPhone were lost when I upgraded to iOS5. Total sad face. 

At Tupelo, they serve you outrageously good scratch made biscuits with Tupelo Honey and marmalade to spread as liberally as you desire. This, my friends, is food heaven. I ordered a BBQ plate at the recommendation of our server and it did not disappoint. The BBQ was tender and literally fell apart as it hit my tongue. It wasn't too saucy, either. I hate when bad BBQ is compensated for with too much sauce. It also came with a cob of corn full of butter and parmesan cheese.

I would eat there everyday. The bad part is, they don't take reservations, so wait time for us was 2 hours on a late Saturday night. But it was completely worth the wait and I can't wait to go another time!
We spent the rest of the night catching up with EK as one of her friend's played some music with a small band at Craggie's, another small brewery. It was a lot of fun and the band was great. 

It was hard to leave on Sunday morning, but Sunny Point Cafe made it a little better. I had the house Breakfast Sandwich: "Roasted tomatoes, maple black pepper bacon, a small sharp cheddar cheese omelette, and chipotle aioli served on a buttery croissant  with stone ground chipotle cheese grits." This was the biggest breakfast sandwich I've ever had. And it was out of this world! MW ordered a "mighty good breakfast" with 2 eggs, local sausage, and herb tossed spuds. I was envious of his sausage and he, recognizing this, lovingly shared half of his sausage with me! That's called real love. It was a nice way to end a wonderful trip with a few minutes to spend with each other before getting back to work/homework/life distractions. 

to be continued...