Thursday, March 19, 2009

Travel Thursdays: Downtown Asheville Dining

Asheville is in Western North Carolina, right in the heart of the Carolina mountains. Scott and I visit at least twice a year, mainly because his grandparents live near Asheville, but also because we just love the area! We have been during all seasons, at Christmas time, Apple Festival, Thanksgiving and the ensuing shopping madness, gorgeous fall leaf season, summer....well, you get the idea.

There's no shortage of restaurants, cafes, coffee houses, and food shops in downtown! Here's our short-list of favorites!

*Bouchon, French bistro.

We discovered Bouchon on our last visit to Asheville, and I was so excited to find this wonderful, authentic French restaurant! French cuisine might scare some away, but give it a try! I had the Beef Burgundy and Scott had the Steak Frites. The Steak Frites was the best I have ever had! Their crepes are also very good and we tried the dessert crepes with strawberries! Located on Lexington Avenue, parking on the street. And, this restaurant is owned by a "real Frenchman"...a plus in my book! The atmosphere is great...sting lights, exposed brick walls, close tables...all give an authentic French cafe flair. The owner also can be seen walking around his restaurant, greeting visitors and his regulars. Tres bien!

Mmmm....dessert crepes!

*The Chocolate Fetish, gourmet chocolate shop

This is a must-do whenever we are in the area...even if we don't spend time downtown, we will drive in and go the the Fetish. They hand-craft European truffles and chocolates right there in their shop. If you look past the sparkling display cases you can catch a glimpse of marble-topped work tables in the back room. My favorite truffle they make is Velvet Sin. It is the absolute best thing you will ever put into your mouth. It tastes sinful and heavenly all at the same time! Others to try are Ancient Pleasures, dark chocolate infused with Cayenne pepper; Wine and Roses, red wine, chocolate with a candied rose petal on top; Dragon's Kiss, infused with a touch of wasabi with sesame seeds sprinkled on top; and Grand Mariner, with a hint of that famous liqueur.
*Salsas Mexican Caribbean, Latin restaurant

We stumbled upon this tiny restaurant for lunch one day while wandering around Asheville. This is not your typical Tex-Mex fare that you might be used to! The ingredients are fresh and colorful and the savory smell is wonderful! They are open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week and are located in Patton Avenue. They make unique salsas in-house; try the Mango and Roasted Pepper! I had the Fire Roasted Chicken Quesadella, the ancho on the side, and it was great! The portions are large too!

*Bistro 1896, American cuisine

We stopped here once for a Sunday brunch with the "kids" (our college group) and everyone loved the food! There was something on the menu for all tastes, from French toast to omelets to shrimp and grits. We had been on a retreat at the near-by Lake Lure area and stopped in downtown on the way back home. I don't remember what I had to eat, but I do remember everyone being happy with their meal! That's pretty good when there's 15 people dining together! The ambiance of the restaurant is laid-back, but not too casual and has an eclectic feel. The walls feature local artists who use the city as their inspiration.
They have a cool lounge area that we waited in before we were seated!

So what about you? Any places that you have discovered? Where do you like to eat when you travel to Asheville?


Greta said...

Mmmm, we ended up going to Salsa's last weekend. It was DE-licious!!

I got the Grilled Adobe Steak Paquetez - yum!

And we had the trio salsa sampler -Avocado Tomatillo, Mango & Roasted Peppers annnnd Pico de Monte.

It's a good thing there isn't one locally b/c I would probably want to eat there every day.

christiejones said...

Salsa's was so yummy! The avocado cilantro dip was my favorite! Your post makes me want to go back!

Mary Jo said...

cool! asheville is near to whrere my grandparents live!

Peyton said...

um. so. i am not commenting bc i have discovered something, i just wanted to say that was a really fun trip. and thats me in the picture. holla.

wv: ussia: 'usher' in british.

june said...

I've always liked the Chocolate Fetish. I am now a big fan of the French Broad Chocolate Lounge too. Their "liquid truffles" are incredible.