Asheville

Day Trip: Asheville

Asheville is most definitely one of North Carolina’s jewels.  It’s a hip city with a vibrant downtown, plenty of breweries, tons of culture and shopping, diversity galore and a happening restaurant scene.  Seriously one of my favorite day trips.  Also, my bestie from college lives there so we always have a blast!

The Sights

So much to see and do here, and I didn’t have time in one day to do them all.  I’ll share other fun stuff I’ve done (just not on this particular trip)

Biltmore Estate

If you get a chance at Christmas, you have to go to the Biltmore for a look around.  Here’s the trick: make a reservation at one of the restaurants at night so you can go in a little early and check out all of the beautiful lights!  This was one of my favorite fun things we did!  There is one area, it looks like a patch of woods that has thousands of lights draped from the tree limbs.  There are adirondak chairs in there for relaxing and many people take picnics in (I’m told these lights stay up all year long).  It has to be seen, too cool to talk about.

Food

I thought because I visited on a Sunday I didn’t really need reservations.  I was wrong.  Every place on my wishlist was reserved up on Saturday when I went to plan this last minute jaunt.  So, don’t be me.  Plan your trip so you can get in to the restaurant you want!  But seriously, everywhere is good, so even if you mess up like me, you’ll eat well.

The French Broad Chocolate Lounge

No trip to Asheville is complete without coming to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. It is iconic! We arrived 10 minutes before they opened and were the first in line!

We selected a few items to take home: Marshmallows, chocolate chip cookie and a sticker.

The rest we had at the table to sample and all were very special. We tried the liquid truffle, one in milk chocolate and the other in honey lavender. The word that leaps into my mind is indulgent. They came in espresso cups but even that was too much for one person. It was just so rich! You must at least try these once, though. My daughter liked the flavor of the lavender honey, but not the garnish that sort of ruined the smooth texture. It was pretty though.

The salted caramel cheesecake was amazing! Smooth and creamy with a brownie bottom atop a squiggle of that caramel. And the size really wasn’t overwhelming. Perfect!

We also sampled a pecan tart. The filling was so thick it was almost like treacle, but so good! The crunch from the pecan topping and the crust made this a welcome sweet sticky relief.

If you are in Asheville, make sure you stop by. They truly have something for everyone and you will feel so spoiled! Even if you aren’t hungry, they will pack it to go!

Sake Sushi in Black Mountain

Not reaaaallly in Asheville, but we hit this place on the way home from Asheville while we were doing a little antiquing in Black Mountain.  There’s a cool new community called Cheshire Village that it so cool you should just do a ride by to check it out.  While there, stop at Sake Sushi for some really great Asian food!

We had spicy crab rolls, bento boxes and garden salads with ginger dressing.  We loved the sushi so much!  Small rolls, and perfectly flavored.  The salad was refreshing with real ginger in the dressing.  The bento boxes came with a spring roll, 3 pieces of a California roll, steamed rice and your protein.  We tried Katsu chicken, Katsu fish and Shrimp Teriyaki.  We all agreed that the chicken was best.

Regeneration Station and Junk Recyclers

Do you like repurposed furniture and funky finds?  This place is for YOU!  Huge warehouse full of every kind of houseware, vintage and otherwise that you can think of.  Each booth is as different as can be so you’ll never get bored.  Plus: they let you bring dogs in, so I had just as much fun looking at pooches as I did the cool stuff.  Quirky and funky rules here!

Here’s a cool blurb from their website:

“Tyler Garrison, founder of Junk Recyclers, started a full-service junk removal company focused on salvaging unwanted items and diverting them from the waste stream. Not long after, The Regeneration Station was born as an additional way of minimizing the waste that goes to landfills and contributes to the community in a sustainable way.”

An amazing day trip with lots to see and do.  Visit soon!!

Asheville

Restaurant Review: Early Girl Eatery in Asheville, NC

We had the chance to finally try Early Girl eatery on our weekend trip to Asheville.  I’ve heard many good things about the restaurant and we all enjoyed it very much!

We arrived for lunch and were seated immediately.  The parking lot was full of early voters, so parking was a little tricky, but it worked out for us eventually.

The food was great!  Some at our table got breakfast that is served all day and I got lunch food.  My fried chicken featured 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and was served with green beans and fried squash and zucchini.  Everything was just delicious.  The green beans were fresh, crispy and salty good!  The chicken was amazing and what a generous portion!  The best thing I had was the zucchini and squash.  Just like mama made!

My daughter got the fried chicken sandwich with french fries. The sandwich was huge and the fries were amazing.


My breakfast loving son got the biscuit french toast which was another amazing dish.  Scattered with sweet apples and topped with a whipped cream, it was like a decadent dessert.

The interior of the restaurant is like a mid-century farmhouse.  I loved the vibe!  I can’t wait to visit again!

Asheville · Charlotte · Cornelius · Davidson · Destin · Hickory · Lincolnton · Mooresville · Restaurants · Santa Rosa Beach · Wilmington

Best of Restaurants: Seafood

Seafood dishes remind me of vacation.  We always go somewhere near a beach and the first thing we do is hit our favorite seafood places.  Here are my favorite dishes, some are even inland!

Seafood Risotto from Standard Oyster Company in Hickory, NC

Bouillabaisse Marseillaise at Aix en Provence in Charlotte

Fried Soft Shell Crab from WP Kitchen + Bar in Charlotte

Crispy Oysters at Kindred in Davidson, NC

Raw Oysters at Steamboat Grill 30A

Rock Shrimp at Wasabi in Asheville, NC

Buffalo Shrimp at Big Daddy’s in Mooresville, NC

Fried Crab Claws at The Back Porch in Destin, FL

The Lobster Roll at Lobster Dogs Food Truck in Mooresville

Snapper with summer vegetables and roasted red pepper vinaigrette from Halcyon in Charlotte

Shrimp with Cornbread from Bistro La Bon in Charlotte, NC

Cast Iron NC Trout from Haberdish in Charlotte

Broiled Flounder from Capt’n Pete’s in Lincolnton, NC

Crispy-Skin Organic Salmon by Circa 1922 in Wilmington, NC

Crispy Calamari from Jeffrey’s in Mooresville

Chicken Fried Oysters from Table 31 in Mooresville

Scallops from Barrel and Fork in Cornelius

Asheville · Boone · Charlotte · Davidson · Denver · Gaffney SC · Hickory · Lincolnton · Mooresville · Myrtle Beach · Savannah · Statesville · Troutman

Best of Restaurant Desserts

Chocolate Souffle’ at Aix en Provence in Charlotte

Creme Brulee at Baron’s Steakhouse in Myrtle Beach

Roasted Apple Galette at Kindred in Davidson

Chocolate Layer Cake at Twisted Oak Bar and Grill in Statesville, NC

Rolled Ice Cream at Below Zero in Savannah, GA

Apple Pie Wontons at The Cowfish in Charlotte, NC

S’Mores Trifle at 5 Church in Charlotte, NC

Brownie Sundae at Carolina Cones in Davidson, NC

Crepe Suzette from Crepe Cellar

Milk Chocolate Liquid Truffle from French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Asheville, NC

Pecan Pie a la mode at Alton’s Kitchen and Cocktails in Cornelius, NC

Coconut Cake from Chillfire in Denver, NC

Nutella and Strawberry Crepe from The Crispy Crepe in Charlotte

Apple Cobbler a la mode at Carolina Cafe in Gaffney, SC

Milk Bread Cinnamon Rolls at Kindred in Davidson

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Strawberry Basil Shortbread from Crafted Southern Speakeasy in Lincolnton, NC

Doughnuts from Reigning Doughnuts in Charlotte, NC

Bourbon Brioche Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream from Bistro La Bon in Charlotte

Bread Pudding from The Gamekeeper in Boone, NC

Fritti (dessert calzone) from Salty Caper in Mooresville

Coconut Cake from Highland Avenue in Hickory

Brownie Sundae from Whit’s Custard in Davidson

Triple Chocolate Cake at Pelligrino’s Trattoria in Troutman

Bread Pudding from Bricktop’s in Charlotte

Thicc Pie (Buttermilk Peach Custard) from The Goodyear House in Charlotte

Carrot Cake from Fin & Fino in Charlotte

Asheville · Boone · Charleston SC · Charlotte · Cornelius · Davidson · Destin · Isle of Palms · Lincolnton · Morganton · Rock Hill SC · Savannah · Wilmington

Best of Restaurants: Appetizers

Appetizers are my very favorite part of the meal.  Not a big commitment, you can be adventurous and not break the bank.  Here is a list of my favorites:

Spinach and Artichoke Crostini from Crafted Southern Speakeasy in Lincolnton, NC

Caramelized Gnocchi from Aria Tuscan Grill

Fried Green Tomatoes at Huey’s Southern Eats in Isle of Palms

Mert’s Soul Rolls at Mert’s Heart and Soul in Charlotte

Homemade Lime Tortilla Chips served with Pineapple Mango Salsa from Caterer extraordinaire Food Junkie

Spinach and Artichoke Dip from Food Junkie

Filipino-style Pork Eggrolls with Spicy Apricot Dipping Sauce from Food Junkie

Funghi Repieni at Caruso’s in Mooresville

Peirogies from Twisted Oak Bar and Grill in Statesville, NC

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Manchego Skillet at Tybee Island Social Club in Tybee Island, GA

Warm Pimento Cheese & Jumbo Lump Crab Cake  from Tupelo Honey in Charlotte, NC

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Oysters Rockefeller at the Oak Steakhouse in Charleston, SC

Shrimp Flatbread from 5 Church in Charlotte, NC

Stuffed Portabello Mushroom at Chillfire Grill in Denver, NC

Beggar’s Purse with Cream Cheese and Salmon, Rock Shrimp & Fried Calamari with Vegetables from Wasabi in Asheville

Smoked Tuna Dip from Louisiana Lagniappe

Prime Rib Stuffed Mushrooms from Alton’s Kitchen and Cocktails in Cornelius, NC

Escargot with Lemon and Sweet Pea Risotto from Flatiron Kitchen and Taphouse in Davidson

Crispy Pork Rinds with Pimiento Cheese and Valentina Hot Sauce from Root +Vine in Morganton

Shrimp Cocktail at the Pump House in Rock Hill, SC

Escargot at Gamekeeper in Boone, NC

Deviled Eggs and Millionaire’s Bacon from Bricktop’s in Charlotte

Crab Dip from Circa 1922 in Wilmington, NC

Butter Bean Spread and Marinated Shrimp from Goodyear House in Charlotte