Find Part 1 of my Asheville Round up here!
On day 3, we made plans for brunch at Sunny Point with old friend and her person. We got to the neighborhood a few minutes early, so we made a quick stop by Waking Life Cafe. I’m not a coffee snob… I like plenty of cream and sweetener in my coffee, but it was pretty great coffee! And the cafe was in a house. I wish I had been able to just hang out with the laptop there.
I knew I wanted to get to Sunny Point, but also knew it was a popular place with the potential for having to wait. Old friend recommended we go just a little after lunch time on the week day and that it would be fine. And it was. We didn’t wait at all for our table outside on their patio. I had the huevos rancheros and the lady had the breakfast sandwich. The food was excellent- a perfect recovery to the late night. After brunch, we wandered around Sunny Point’s garden. It was huge and made me wish so badly that I had garden space.
Since we were already on that side of town, we decided that Wednesday was the day to explore West Asheville. Most of the places to visit in WAVL are other food places (and we were WAY too stuffed to eat anything else), but we found a couple of gems.
Our first stop was at Harvest Records. Their vinyl selection was absolutely incredible. We could have spent hundreds of dollars on records there. I resisted the urge, but did find a couple I had never seen anywhere else. SO good.
We drove Haywood St and wandered in and out of a couple of little shops. We stumbled upon Urban Orchard Cider Company. Despite still being uncomfortably full from brunch, we decided to stop and hang out for a while. We split a flight of 6 different ciders. They had a few unique ones that we really enjoyed. There was one called Ginger Champagne that the lady really like. They also had a couple that were hopped, which was really interesting. I like the Wit one. There was also a passionfruit one. Pretty great! The space was really cool and modern but also cozy. And the bartender was super friendly and chatty. It was a great surprise find.
After we finished our cider, we walked across the street to check out Wood and Spoon. It was a fun little store with some vintage home goods along with some made by local artists. I found a really cool vintage bottle opener for my dad as a birthday present.
Since it seemed like most of the rest of the things to do were food-related, we decided to revisit West Asheville later in the week and headed downtown to Malaprops. I think Malaprops is the kind of place that is loved by tourists and locals alike. It’s a really fantastic bookstore. I decided to pick up a book they had published, written piece by piece by several different local writers, Naked Came the Leaf Peeper. I haven’t read it yet, but the name caught my eye and it seemed like an interesting souvenir to have.
Before dinner, we retired back to the goats to relax before dinner. Gratuitous Goat Picture in 3, 2, 1…
In order to knock out a brewery and a meal at the same time, we had dinner at Wicked Weed. They were super crazy busy, but luckily we were able to get a seat immediately. We started with an order of boiled peanuts, which neither of us have ever had before. Interesting! As for beer I had the Coolcumber and the lady had the Reticent Saison. Mine was served with a slice of cucumber on it, and it was really excellent. Totally different and refreshing. You could definitely taste the cucumber. For food, I had a trout, pickled shallots, caper aioli, and arugula sandwich and the lady the turkey, grilled peaches, brie, and dijon sandwich. I also decided on a side of curry cauliflower rather than fries. And it was all amazing. I wasn’t expecting a brewpub to have such amazing food, but damn. I’m glad we decided to get food there.
After dinner, we spent some time wandering around downtown and saw some sites. Such as a mini Washington Monument.
We also dipped into Lexington Ave Brewery to grab a beer. We propped ourselves at the bar and I had a honey peach wheat and the lady had a saison. We didn’t stick around long, but I’m glad we did stop in. More delicious beer, still under $5.
Our next stop was when we discovered our most favorite spot on the whole trip, Top of the Monk. It’s a fancy cocktail bar above the beer bar, Thirsty Monk.
Top of the Monk had been recommended to us by 2 locals, so we knew it had to happen. The selling point: with every drink you order, you’re given a key to get a snack out of an old timey post office box.
The reason they do it has something to do with NC’s liquor laws/ serving food, but it was such a neat idea. You also have to be a member to get in. Which basically means you pay a dollar and sign up on the spot. My member card is one of my favorite souvenirs from the trip. Oh yeah, and most importantly: the drinks were fucking amazing. Between the two nights we visited, we put a good dent in the drink list/ specials board. And the lady bartender, Nikki, was incredible and friendly and charming (she mentioned that her father lives in Alexandria and she visits, I told her about some of my DC faves, so I hope to one day run into her here!). We spent a lot of time there that evening, and made a point to return on our last night.
On Thursday, we decided to head east to check out the tiny town of Black Mountain. It was only about a 20 minute drive from where we were staying, so we decided, why not? We decided to get food at Veranda Cafe on recommendation of old friend. We were the youngest people there by at least 30 years, and we had to wait about 10 minutes to be seated, but the food was simple and delicious. After lunch, we wandered in and out of little shops, overheard some conversations that the lady said sounded like a Monty Python skit, and generally soaked up the cuteness and tiny-ness of Black Mountain. We neglected to take any pictures at all.
After lunch, we decided it was time to see some serious scenery, so we hopped onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and just drove. We stopped at every scenic overlook and took one zillion mountain photos. I can never get enough of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Mountains were a huge part of why we decided to vacation in Asheville to begin with.
We drove until we got to Craggy Gardens, which is where we decided to hike the next day. It’s about 18 miles outside of AVL, but it was such a beautiful drive. Ugh, perfection.
On our way back to town, we decided to kill some time before breweries opened by taking a quick swing by Omni Grove Park Inn. I wanted to see the view on the Sunset Terrace.
I would have loved to have sat there all afternoon and sipped on cocktails, but those cocktails were steep even for DC prices and there were some pretty serious storm clouds rollin’ in behind us. Quick trip, now we can say we’ve seen it.
It was more than half way through our trip and we had only been to 3 of the approximately 1 zillion breweries in town, so we went hoppin’. Our first stop was at Greenman Brewing. I had a Jack Gold and the lady had I think, the ESB. We enjoyed them in the covered outdoor patio area.
Just as we were about to leave, it started POURING down rain. The storm clouds from Grove Park Inn found us. It was a quick summer storm and ended just as quick as it started. We stayed relatively dry on the basically one-block walk to Burial Brew Co.
This was another one of our favorite spots. The space was fairly austere and sparse, but there’s something about the vibe there. The lady and I both also loved the design of the logo. I can’t even explain it, there was just an overall feeling we got there that gave us positive vibes. This one also came more highly recommended than most others, and for good reason. The beer was excellent.
The lady had the Coconut Brown and I had something delicious as well, that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of. Whatever, Burial is worth a visit.
After our tiny tour de beer, we headed over for dinner at Tupelo Honey Cafe. I know it’s an Asheville staple, but at this point it just feels so touristy. It came very highly recommended, but I wasn’t 100% sold on actually eating there. Every time we walked by it was just so packed.
Well, I’m certainly glad we did because it was probably the best food we had while we were in AVL. I see why it’s so highly recommended. I had fried catfish with grits and the lady had a veggie melt with cauliflower mash. We split an order of banana pudding for dessert. Sweet baby Jesus was it all delicious. Especially that banana pudding. Just like grandma would make from scratch.
After that amazing dinner, we went back to the few blocks o breweries and met up with another old friend at Twin Leaf Brewery.
This space was rather spacious and airy with huge windows. I had the White Noise. Yet more great beer, under $5. While we were there, I noticed a couple of ladies come in, one of them having a DC Flag tattoo on her arm. I sort of forgot about it until I went up to the bar to cash out and they complemented my shirt. I struck up a conversation with them and discovered that one of them is actually a manager at the Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown. Of course I’d meet someone who works BLOCKS from me while I was 500 miles from home. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen her in there before too. Gotta get there soon to say hello!
ANYWAYS, other old friend gave us some more recommendations for places in West AVL. I’m certainly glad she did, because the two other places we went there during the trip were winners. More about that in Part 3!