At the beginning of November my friend, Suz, and I took an extended weekend trip down to Asheville, NC. Our main purpose was to check out the Biltmore Estate, but we also got to go on a ghost tour, check out the tattoo convention, and do just a pinch of vintage shopping as well. Another thing that made me excited about going to Asheville was all of the vegan friendly restaurants listed on Happy Cow. Checking out new-to-me restaurant is one of my favorite parts about traveling.
The first place we checked out after we settled into our Airbnb was Blue Dream Curry House. We arrived at a weird time so the restaurant wasn’t very busy, but we did walk past around dinner time another day and it was packed. The staff were so nice and very attentive. I started with the lemongrass margarita, which was delicious. The curry spice rim was the star of that drink. My second drink a specialty mule and was also very good. For my meal I ordered the Tom Kha soup and added on tempeh. The waiter was able to bring me additional chili oil and their homemade sambal oelek so I could made the soup spicer to my personal taste. This was the most heart warming, spirit renewing bowl of soup I’ve had in a very long time. I know I’m going to crave it next time I’m in need of comfort food and I’m going to be so sad that its multiple states away.
The next morning we went to Gallivant Coffee, a fully vegan bakery and cafe that’s situated in a residential area about a 10-15 minutes drive outside of the downtown area. I started with a Chai Charger, which is exactly what I was in need of after a restless night on the cardboard stiff mattress in our Airbnb. Pictured above is their Lox, Stalk, & Barrel which is a sandwich on your choice of bagel (I went with everything) with carrot lox, olive and caper cream cheese, and pea shoots. This is another item I will crave from now on and be sad about not having access to. I loved this sandwich so much that I ordered a second on to take back to the Airbnb and have for breakfast the next day. I also ordered myself a sweet to take home with me to have later. I picked out a sweet potato pie pop tart, which was divine.
The food at the Biltmore Estate left a much to be desired, but I was deeply appreciative that there were vegan options. We were very busy during the day so lunch was fries and ketchup from a food truck outside of the Amherst building. They were actually quite good and oddly long fries, but obviously nothing exciting about that. We went to Bistro for dinner. We stopped by earlier in the day to confirm if the rigatoni was vegan and the manager confirmed that it indeed was. When we arrived later in the evening the manager remembered us and let me know their soup of the day was also vegan. I was so impressed with his conscientiousness and we could not have asked for a better waiter – he was a true gem. I started my meal with the potato and cauliflower soup which was very good, creamy, and warm. The rigatoni wasn’t the greatest, and perhaps I’m biased because I make so much pasta at home. The basil pistou was lacking seasoning and needed more flavor. The squash was well prepared but the pasta noodles weren’t even al dente, they were hard. I did appreciate the breadcrumb totting for a little extra texture. All in all – not the worst food I’ve ever eaten, but it really sucked to pay $34 for that.
On Saturday we popped out of the tattoo convention for lunch at Rosetta’s Kitchen. I ordered the Nacho Platter and the Buffalo Basket. The nachos could have used a bit of heat but otherwise both items were delicious. The real star of this visit was the house made vegan ranch. That shit was on fire, some of the best vegan ranch I’ve had. It was really dill forward which is my favorite was for ranch to be prepared.
After we got our tattoos we searched for a cocktail bar and found The Clove & Quill. If you weren’t looking really hard for this place you would walk right past it thinking it was an empty, boarded up store front. They do a really good job of keeping the vibe really down low. Once inside you’re greeted by a staff member, IDed, and handed a menu. The setting is plucked straight out of a 1920s speak easy. I’ve seen many bars try to achieve this look but none come as close to authenticity as The Clove & Quill do. For my first drink I chose Humble Pie: Sacred Bond Brandy, Eda Rhyne Amaro Oscura, rhubarb, blueberry, lemon, thyme. This drink was positively delectable. I’ve been dreaming about it since. My second drink was The Final Last Word: Chartreuse V.E.P., Monkey 47 Gin, Leopold Brothers Maraschino Liqueur, Fresh Lime Juice. This one was not very good. I wish I had more time in Asheville just to go back and try even more of the cocktail menu. The staff were also incredibly impressive. They were moving nonstop, but had their shit completely together.
Our final stop of the trip was at Asheville Brewing Company. This was the only place that I had also been to on my previous trip to Asheville. We ordered a vegan pie with artichoke, garlic, and red onion to do so that we could eat and have wine on the deck of our Airbnb (which was stunning). While waiting for our pizza we had a glass of beer and had a wonderful chat with one of the bartenders who informed us more about the area, showed us a video of a bear in his yard, and told us all about his dog Jeffrey. Once we got back to the Airbnb we tore into that pizza and some leftovers from Rosetta’s. It was the perfect meal after a really long day. The pizza stored well in the refrigerator and tasted great cold in the morning the next day.
I cannot stress this enough, ever single person we interacted with in Asheville was so completely pleasant. They are the nicest people I’ve ever met. The people were a big part in making the experience so delightful. I can’t wait to go back again.