Tag Archives: asheville

Pretzels, Truffles, and Uh-Ohs in Downtown Asheville, NC

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A man dressed in drag. A dog that looked possessed of the devil. A “nun” on a unicycle. A dusting of gothics. A man in a belly shirt. A group of really freaky freaks. A few dozen hippies. Really, the only weird thing missing in the crowd was crazy Lady Gaga in her bizarre egg costume. Yes, I just called her a “thing.”

The only thought in my mind at the moment I saw the street crawling with the above unique individuals was “Uh-Oh, what are we getting ourselves into?” Marc and I unexpectdly stublembed upon this scene when we visited Asheville last weekend. We quickly learned that all of those crazies were out on the streets for the 10th annual Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival (LAAFF). This festival definitely defies cultural norms and festival organizers boast that it attracts individuals from all walks of life. No false advertising there — it is definitely a diverse crowd!

I felt a bit uncomfortable as a yuppy in a crowd of so many crazies. They were all trying super hard to look different in order to draw attention to themselves and there I was grabbing the attention of the crowd by dressing in my yuppy conservative manner that typically makes me blend into crowds.

Unfortunately, I didn’t exactly feel up to wandering the streets amongst a bunch of really different people. I’m sure I missed out on some fun art and great culture, but the festival was the epitome of weird and I just couldn’t get into it. Marc and I quickly made Lexington Avenue Brewery (LAB) our haven. We ordered a beer sampler as I waited for my friend Danielle, who lives in Asheville, to arrive. I was so glad she was joining us since I felt like I needed a local by my side in order to feel a bit more comfortable.

As we waited on her to arrive, we enjoyed some fabulous old world pretzels. If you read our post about Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in Charlotte, NC then you already know that we expect top-notch pretzels. These were uber-pretzels with a perfect, toasty taste. Plump, crispy, and delicious. If we could delight in those pretzels at OMB, I’m pretty sure we’d be weekly visitors.

As if I hadn’t indulged enough, Danielle insisted we go out for a little dessert at French Broad Chocolate Lounge (aka: heaven). We waited in line for 15 minutes and loved inhaling the chocolaty aroma that filled the lounge. I ordered the Flourless Chocolate Truffle Torte and if indulging in that is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Regrettably, I didn’t snap a picture because I went into devour mode the second it landed in front of me. I also thoroughly enjoyed the Chai ice cream Danielle let me sample from her plate. Marc quoted No Strings Attached and proclaimed, “You eat like a baby dinosaur. You don’t even chew.” Not that that’s something to brag about, but it certainly made me laugh because it was true in that moment. I was eating like a baby dinosaur, but at least I limited myself to a slice of cake and didn’t eat a hand full of truffles with it.

I indulged a little too much over the weekend, but the following quote makes me feel better.

“I am not a glutton — I am an explorer of food.” — Erma Bombeck

Where’s your favorite place to get dessert in the Carolinas? I’m always on the lookout for new places to visit. I especially love places that are individually owned and operated!

~ Lyndsi

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There’s Something About Asheville, NC

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Beach or mountains? Mountains every time, baby.

Every time Lyndsi and I visit Asheville, I tell her we should move here. There’s just something magical about this little city nestled between the highest mountains in the Great Smoky Mountains. Asheville feels big enough, but not too big. In other words, it has just enough cosmopolitan vibe to keep you from being bored or feeling limited. There’s a feeling of escape, coziness, and calmness I get when I’m there. It’s a creative energy that has to be due to the surroundings. I’ve always wanted to live in a city in the mountains.

Two things Asheville is known for are its numerous micro-breweries and its hippy/liberal/artsy scene. I guess I could wear my flannel button-up, grab a craft beer, and blend right in! Asheville also has a few nice hotels. If you’re into spas and historic buildings, the Grove Park Inn is your spot. We had dinner there last fall and frankly, weren’t impressed. Perhaps that was in part due to us being seated in the back room of the restaurant, despite having reservations. The inside of the Grove Park Inn feels like a shopping mall, with numerous restaurants and shops. Didn’t like that vibe.

More to our taste is the Grand Bohemian hotel, located in the Biltmore Village area (numerous shops abound, it’s the best part of Asheville outside of downtown). They have an excellent restaurant and bar.

Of course, Asheville’s biggest landmark is the Biltmore Estate. If you love history and/or architecture, it’s a must. Even if you don’t, it’s a must-see. The Vanderbilt’s mountain estate (the fact that Cornelius Vanderbilt chose Asheville for his estate says a lot about the area) is still the largest private residence in the U.S., though now it’s a museum. It’s a thoroughly fascinating tour, but be ready to feel like a full-fledged tourist.

We visit Asheville several times a year (it’s a 1.5-hour drive from Charlotte) and I’m already salivating at visiting during fall.

~ Marc