Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Land of Sky? More like Land of Great Food
The family and I were in Asheville last week for a conference. The conference allowed ample time for getting out and enjoying that city's culinary delights -- a couple of which were new to us.
Upon the suggestion of a former co-worker, we headed to the River Arts District for some barbecue from 12 Bones. We were told to get there early for lunch (they only do lunch). We tried, but failed. Getting there at roughly noon, we still had to wait in line a half-hour just to get in the building. There were people in line from Atlanta who traveled to A-ville just to sample 12 Bones.
But man, oh man, was it worth the wait. I ordered the barbecue plate, which came with two sides and cornbread. I opted for the jalapeno cheese grits and macaroni and cheese. Being a 12 Bones virgin, I also got a side of three rib just to sample them. That was a mistake - not because they were bad. In fact, they were stupdendous. But it was a mistake to order all that food. I never even got to the cornbread, and didn't finish the sides. Oh, and the plate was just $6, not counting the ribs. It's an amazing amount of food for the price.
My wife, by the way, got the BBQ sandwich with two sides: corn pudding (probably the best thing between the two of us) and sweet potato casserole.
(Note: The barbecue is of the pulled variety, not chopped. However, it favors more Eastern N.C. style than Lexington.)
My one regret? That I didn't buy a 12 Bones t-shirt. (Slogan was something like: "Juicy butts. Sweet racks.")
Oh, and by the time we left at around 1:45, the line outside was still 40-or-so people deep.
Later that night, our last night in Asheville, we waddled our way to downtown for dinner at Tupelo Honey Cafe, a place that was closed for renovations the last time I was in Asheville. We were still stuffed from our earlier pork adventure, but we fought through. And we were so glad we did.
Tupelo Honey describes itself as a "locally owned sole proprietorship, offers old southern favorites with creative twists. It has quickly distinguished itself from other regional restaurants by presenting familiar, creative, comfort fare, healthier options, fresh ingredients, and large portions at a fair price."
They are so right, especially about the price. I ordered the sweet potato pancake (at $4 perhaps the best deal in town). That was all I ordered, and that was all I needed. Even if I hadn't been stuffed from 12 Bones, that pancake would've been plenty. The pancake has "flavored with cinnamon and sweet potatoes, topped with whipped peach butter and spiced pecans." Nice.
We enjoyed our Tupelo Honey experience so much that we seriously considered returning the next day for lunch. (In the end, we were too embarrassed to do that.)
(Tupelo Honey Cafe photo from the restaurant's website)