You guys. Asheville, NC is a fantastic place. We spent last week eating, drinking, and exploring all the city had to offer. And there’s still so much left for next time! I’m going to move the blog to AVL this week to round up everything we did. Back to regularly scheduled DC-fare next week! I hope you enjoy these posts as much as we enjoyed our visit.
We rolled into town at about 2pm on Monday. We couldn’t check into our housing until 3, so we navigated to downtown to kill some time. We grabbed some ice cream at Kilwin’s and wandered. The guy who scooped our ice cream was super friendly, chatty, and had all sorts of recommendations for us. He tipped us off to one of our favorite places, a book store that’s also a wine bar! We checked into our adorable eco-studio out in east Asheville, met the owner, her dog, and her goats, several of which were babies. This ended up being one of the biggest perks of the whole trip! Goats are awesome, ya’ll.
After the dog and goats jumped all over us, we unpacked, cleaned up, and I texted with a friend who recently moved away from AVL for dinner recommendations. I asked for a good pizza spot and she recommended we go to Asheville Brewing Company and check out Ben’s Tune Up afterward. We split a delightful pizza and had a couple of beers at Asheville Brewing. I had the Fire Escape, which was a jalapeño pale ale. Not too spicy, but with great flavor. The lady had the Rolands ESB. This was a perfect start to a week of really amazing beer and excellent food. Our server here also had some excellent recommendations, one of ended up being our very favorite bar in AVL. Chatting with strangers is not something that happens so much in DC, and it’s something I really enjoyed about being back in the south. Ben’s Tune Up is an interesting spot just around the corner. It’s a sort of indoor-outdoor bar that brews their own sake. We sat at the bar and ordered a couple glasses of sake. I had the lemon ginger. It tasted a lot like ginger beer, so of course it was right down my alley. We weren’t feeling the vibe of the bar at the time. This bartender seemed slightly disinterested in us and it was a bar where I feel like I could have used some guidance, so we just had our sake and headed back to the goats. I really liked the space and feel like had the first impression been better, we would have gone back.
On Tuesday, we decided to tackle the River Arts District. It’s a whole neighborhood along the river full of artists galleries and workspaces. Mostly, I was just itchin’ to get to White Duck Taco Shop. I mean, RAD was really fun to wander through, but local artist neighborhoods like that tend to be pretty similar across different cities. It WAS nice to see the vibrant community and chat with the artists. And was tasty to get some tacos! We got there about 10 minutes after they opened and there was already a bit of a line. But we got in and we ordered all sorts of tacos! I ordered the lamb and feta and the fish taco. The lady had the steak and cheese and the thai chicken. My lamb taco was out of this world. After lunch and a morning/afternoon of walking around, we decided to take a driving tour to see some scenery. We followed this route. Up and over mountains, around curvy roads, and just a nice little drive. After our tour, we headed back downtown to the bookstore and champagne bar that the guy at Kilwin’s recommended, Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar. We cozied up on a couch upstairs and enjoyed a couple of mimosas. This is a brilliant idea and I’m not sure why this doesn’t exist in more places. Oh, and it’s dog-friendly! Someone in DC, take note! I will be a regular! We decided to grab dinner at Early Girl Eatery this night. I had a hard time deciding if I wanted breakfast for dinner, but ultimately decided to go as southern as I possibly could. Fried catfish, collard greens, grits, and a biscuit. Boy did it hit the spot. Perfect. I also had a Asheville Brewing Company Rocket Girl Lager, which came in an awesome can. Another tasty beer. The lady had a fried chicken sandwich. After dinner, we had plans to meet up with an old friend of mine (who I hadn’t seen in 6 years!) and her person. We weren’t sure how long it was going to take them to get ready and meet us, so we dipped into Lex 18, a MOONSHINE bar! for a drink to kill time. They ended up getting there more quickly that we expected, so they just joined us there. We posted up at a table in the bar area and enjoyed the atmosphere. There was some low key live music going on, the lights were dim, the drinks were AWESOME, and it was nice to catch up. I had a couple of fruity muddled drinks and the lady had a couple of lemony drinks. And it was awesome. We wrapped up at Lex 18, and headed around the corner to The Social Lounge and Cocktail. They apparently had the best Old Fashioneds in town. The lady enjoyed hers. I honestly don’t remember what I had. I blame the moonshine. We were going to make one more stop, but were in need of sobering up before the drive back to the eco cottage. So the friend and her person took us to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. This was the perfect end to the evening, sobering up place! the lady and I split a brownie and marveled at how busy the place was for 10:30pm on a Tuesday night. The pic below was obviously taken during the day. We made another stop on our trip. It was that good. After chocolates, we said our goodbyes, and headed home for the evening.
On day 3 of the trip, we discovered our very favorite spot in all of AVL, a private club cocktail bar above a popular beer bar. More about that In Pt. 2 of the round up!
Skip to Part 3!