Upon our arrival in Asheville on Thursday, we started the trip off right with a late lunch at Tupelo Honey Cafe. We decided to try the south Asheville location, which was easier to reach by car (we went straight from our drive from Raleigh) and also much larger than the downtown location. Our waitress was super helpful and sold me on the vegan black bean burger. She made sure that the aioli was left off and gave me extra avocado dressing instead, and added some avocado on the burger for good measure. I had the kale and carrot salad on the side, which was dressed perfectly and was quite tasty. Oh, and she brought me sourdough toast so that I could enjoy their homemade blueberry jam since I couldn't have the complimentary biscuit.
After napping and showering at the hotel, we wandered the city and stopped in the park for a free concert and...a dance off! We eventually made our way to Rosetta's Kitchen, a cute vegetarian (mostly vegan) restaurant on Lexington. We opted to eat in the "outdoor" section, which had a roof but the front section was open to the street. It proved to be a good decision, as we were treated to live music toward the end of our dinner. We started with the vegan queso dip and chips, paired with a local IPA - a perfect summer snack! I enjoyed the Korean barbecue tofu, which was just slightly spicy and a little sweet. It was paired with brown rice and kale for a simple but delicious meal. Heather opted for the peanut version of the tofu, which was also delicious. I give Rosetta's Kitchen a thumbs up for casual vegetarian dining.
On Friday morning, we tried Green Sage, which would become our go-to place for breakfast. Less than half a mile from our hotel with plenty of vegan options (and places to sit), Green Sage was the perfect way to fuel ourselves for a day of hiking. On day one, I enjoyed tofu scramble, root hash, vegan "soysage", and a vegan biscuit with Earth Balance. Though the biscuit was a little dry, the breakfast was a win in my book, especially since it came with a flag that said, "dairy free."
Friday evening began our brewery tour. We started at Thirsty Monk for a beer and a snack. I opted for the coconut porter, which was an excellent choice. I tried my best to sip and enjoy, but it was so smooth and delicious, it was difficult to do so! Since I hadn't eaten since breakfast, I also enjoyed grilled pita and homemade hummus, which was big on cumin and taste. Next, we went to High Wire Brewing, where I went with the more refreshing choice and got the IPA. The beer and atmosphere were great - dogs lounged on the floor, customers played old school Nintendo games, and the US Women's soccer team played on the big screen. We ended the evening at Lexington Ave Brewery. My brown ale was good, but my meal was not. The only vegan option was an Ethiopian dish made with lentils and tomatoes. It should be good in theory, but it was so salty I could not enjoy it.
We tried to go to the Over Easy Cafe on Saturday morning for breakfast, but the wait was so long, we ended up at Green Sage again. I decided to try the tofu wrap, which had the same tofu scramble, hash, and soysage, but also had spinach. And hot sauce, of course, added by me. I decided to try the iced latte, which was a good choice - it had the perfect amount of soy milk and was deliciously refreshing.
We started Saturday evening at Wicked Weed Brewery. Since we were not eating dinner, we went downstairs for beer and snacks. We joined others at a long wooden table and ordered sea salt and vinegar popcorn, boiled peanuts, and homemade chips - perfect beer snacks! I ordered the blueberry chipotle stout, which did not really taste like blueberries, but did have a bit of a kick to it. Regardless of its lack of blueberry flavor, it was delicious. Fueled for a mile or so walk, we made our way to Plant for our 8:00 reservation. Plant is an upscale vegan restaurant featuring mostly small plates, similar to Vedge in Philly. We decided to share three different things. The fried plantains with sour cream, scall'antro, and hot sauce were amazing, definitely my favorite dish. The Caesar salad was okay. I liked the addition of the smashed avocado, and the "bacon" was delicious. However, I did not love the dressing, which didn't seem Caesar-like at all to me, and the roasted carrots were strange - I didn't even realize they were carrots until I looked back at the menu. The cornbread was good - served with a yummy Romesco sauce, grilled green onions, and hazelnuts, it was an interesting new twist to an old favorite. The bread was also not overly sweet, which I appreciated. And then there was dessert. The cannoli was awesome, with a delicious orange flavor to it. The candied fennel ice cream was good, though I didn't really taste the fennel. The blackout pie was good, but a little too rich for my taste. I didn't like the ice cream it came with (salted macadamia nut) as much at the ice cream that came with the cannoli. Overall, I enjoyed the experience and the food, though it's definitely an every once and awhile kind of place, being somewhat fancier than most vegan/vegetarian restaurants.
On Sunday we got to Over Easy early and opted to sit outside so that we wouldn't have to wait long for a table. I ordered one vegan ginger spice pancake - excellent - and a side of maple chipotle tempeh, which was amazing and possibly the best tempeh I have ever eaten. Sunday dinner was at Laughing Seed Cafe, my personal favorite restaurant in Asheville. We started with the jalepeno onion fries, which were perfectly crispy and delicious. I had the burrito for dinner, with spicy tofu and mole sauce. Unfortunately, we were too stuffed for dessert.
Back to Green Sage for a light breakfast on Monday, since we wanted to do an early lunch before leaving town. I had a smoothie made with carrots, cinnamon, banana, almond butter and almond milk. I wasn't sure about carrots in my smoothie, but I was sold after drinking it! We did an early lunch at the downtown location of Tupelo Honey, where I opted for three different sides - blueberry lemon quinoa, shaved brussels sprout salad, and sesame asparagus. It seemed fitting to end our trip at the same restaurant we started it at.
Next Wednesday I leave for Summerfest where lots of eating will happen, and then I am off to Cleveland to start a two week cross country trip. I will have my laptop with me, so I will be blogging from the road!