Monday, September 29, 2014

biscuits and beers in asheville, n.c.

Asheville, N.C., is a cool little town. When we visited earlier this month, morning fog yielded to afternoon sun every day, and downtown the Blue Ridge unfolded all around. We were even treated to a nice little rainbow. 
^^Cool rooftops, eh?^^
What did we do before and after the wedding we were there to attend? Why, we ate and ate and drank. Our first stop was brunch at Tupelo Honey Cafe, where farm-fresh Southern fare is served-up at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 
I was enticed by the Golden Tomato Bloody Mary--made from roasted yellow tomatoes and garlic and served up in a 20-ounze mug packed to the gills with enough garnishes to make a side salad. It was wonderful. For brunch, I opted for an Eggs Benedict served overtop the revered Southern biscuit. Jon ordered a hearty bowl of morning grits. Both plates were delicious. 
Oh lordie, thank goodness for stretchy pants, because there was zero chance I was going to leave one little morsel of biscuit on my plate. These biscuits were supreme: the perfect salty/sweet, crumbly/doughy balance. Slab a little of Tupelo's house-made blueberry compote on there and you can find heaven.
Jon and I left Cecile with my in-laws for the weekend (thank you!!), so we were really free to enjoy the town's watering holes. Our favorite? Wicked Weed Brewing on Biltmore Avenue. Oh, how I wanted to helicopter this entire brewery back north. Everything from the people to the vibe and the beer--especially the beer!--was truly awesome. How about franchising, Wicked!? We'll be your best costumers, promise.
^^I can't resist a cheeky sign.^^

Wicked Weed has an upstairs and a downstairs. Both levels are equally cool. Exposed brick and Edison lights fuel that industrial-chic, low-maintenance vibe I love right now. The downstairs opens up to a back patio, which is where we settled down to have a light nosh with our brews. "Pernicious Blonde," a lovely little sour ale, and "Freak of Nature," an imperial IPA with a big crisp finish, were our two favorites from their thirty or so craft brews on draft. 
Finally on our way out of town, we decided to hit Biscuit Head at the urging of a friend. "It's like a little breakfast sandwich on a biscuit," he said. "Best I've ever had." OK, then. Just one more bit of Southern gluttony before heading home, we figured. So we turned into a parking lot surrounded by strips of brick medical buildings. Except for a small sign near the road, the location is rather unassuming. A nice place for a nice little breakfast, we thought. 
Inside, color dominates. So does the smell of sweet biscuits and a gloriously greasy breakfast. We knew this would be just the place to (err) settle our stomachs after a late night out the evening before. We ordered from a list of a dozen or so "biscuits," poured our coffee into a mug from the wall, and sat down. A "little biscuit sandwich" is what we expected to arrive at our table but, oh nooooooo ... 

Holyyyyyyy Moses, those biscuits be BIG. They were gigantic. Bigger than Bogie's head, even! To call what's served on Biscuit Head's platters a "sandwich" is a mighty mistake. Nobody could or would try to eat this Southern masterpiece with their hands, after all. A fork and knife are the only plan of attack for this 60,000-calorie (I'm guestimating) brunch. And this craggy and crunchy masterpiece was positively magnificent. A true treat. 

So there you have it. It's a really good thing I don't live in the true South, because I'm not sure I have the constant willpower to resist all the glorious calories we indulged in that weekend. But thank you, Asheville, for the Southern hospitality ... and for inspiring a juice cleanse upon my arrival home.

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