a bearded, skinny jeaned city

Yesterday I saw more skinny jeans than at a Jonas Bros' concert, more beards and flannel than at a lumber jack's bbq...that's right folks, I was in happening Asheville, NC; met up with my friend Gary the Snail and his friend Ellen, who were kind enough to play tour guides and make sure I saw and tasted lots of the city.The day went something like this:

After breakfast with Mummy Dearest and family we headed to an apple orchard, but man were we under-dressed. The wind whipping through the orchard was too cold for North Carolina! We were all freezing, so we quickly gobbled hot cider and doughnuts and lunch we'd brought along and then left. Fastest orchard visit ever!

I headed to Asheville alone, getting to see remnants of fall colors in the south, and met up with Gary the Snail, Ellen, and some of their friends at Tod's Tasties, where I had the most amazing croissant and coffee ever. The place was packed and the food looked grood...I mean great and good, and I regretted not being hungrier.

The amazing Battery Park Book Exchange--
curse you, Blogger, I can't upright this gorgeous pic!
We meandered around Asheville, stopping in stores to avoid the rain which began and persisted through most the day. My favorite stop was at the BEAUTIFUL Battery Park Book Exchange, where you can peruse over 22,000 used books, or sip an espresso, or sample one of their many wines and a cheese plate! This place combines some of my loves: books, booze, and coffee...and, you can bring your dog in too, apparently Asheville is a very dog friendly place --we saw dogs nearly everywhere! I could have easily stayed in this store for hours, and I have decided once I retire I am moving to Asheville so I can visit OR work here EVERYDAY!! Battery Park's best feature is its maze-like trail through the books where you wander through everything: art, architecture, children's classics to cooking, biographies, the 50 states' history, North Carolina history then Western North Carolina history, the American Presidents, fiction, poetry, plays...and on and on; you walk through twice and realize it's just as wonderful, if not better, the second time around! I lost my friends, then Gary the Snail found me and made me laugh when he said, "I kept just missing you, catching a glimpse of your heel going around a corner."

The menu board, French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Next up was French Broad Chocolate Lounge, where we waited in line forever--it was totally worth it!--for truffles...can you hear me mumbling, "nom nom nom," as I fantasize about eating these again? If you check out their website and click on the about link you can read the story of how this all came to be, it's interesting. Things I loved about this place:
Terrible picture of my AMAZING truffles: L-Vanilla Bourbon,
R-Strawberry Balsamic. BOTH AMAZING!
2. The husband and wife team were not culinarily trained, they self taught and learned from others! WOOT!
3. They keep it local as much as possible.
4. They are Green Restaurant certified.

From here Gary the Snail and I headed out in search of local beer, per my request, agreeing to meet up with Ellen later. Gary took us to the Greenman Brewery for some damn delicious beer and pretzels served with locally made Lusty Monk Mustard, which is freaking amazing! Our bartender told us that the woman who created it used to work at Greenman Brewery until she became too busy with the mustard business, now LMM is sold all over Asheville. And yeah, I have a jar in my suitcase and can't wait to get it home--so many delicious concoctions involving that mustard are storming my brain! I first had a Greenman ESB which was super tasty, then Gary the Snail and I followed up our first beers by splitting a sampler which included their IPA, a Sierra Nevada Headliner, an oatmeal porter and a stout. I love beer, but I really love the darker, thicker stuff, so my favorites were definitely the porter and the stout, but all 4 beers were really good. Would I go back? Heck yeah! Hey Greenman, can you open a branch in Ohio?!

The sampler line up.
Beer led to dinner at the Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company, where we tucked into pizza--I stuck solely to the pizza, since I did have to get myself back to Mummy Dearests later. The pizza was great and warming after being out in the chilly fall rain...didn't I leave Ohio to enjoy some southern sun this week?! The Pizza & Brew Company, also called the Brew & View, shows movies too. I loved the pop culture-y-ness of the place, with it's movie themed menus and decor, and forced Gary the Snail and Ellen to answer questions like, "Favorite 80s movies?" "Favorite 90s movies?" They were good sports. And in no time I was back on the expressway, heading east toward Mummy's and away from that bearded, skinny jeaned city that made me fall in love with it in less than a day. Asheville, I will be back. Promise.
Greenman Brewery


And I shall be moving to Asheville with you. Done and Done.

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