So I’ve recently returned from Asheville, NC. While in Asheville, I spent a great deal of time doing what I like doing on a regular basis, which is eating. Gobs of restaurants are to be found all over the downtown, and, as I’d never been there before, picking where to eat was more or less a shot in the dark.
We ate at a vegetarian place called the Laughing Seed. I was still feeling the slight effects of bloat from a rather average Mexican meal eaten earlier in the day, so I decided to do a “smoothie and sides” kind of meal rather then any actual entree. The smoothie, a mixture of mango, coconut milk and 24379283473 other fruits, was decent enough. Once upon a time I would have deemed it quite excellent. My problem here is that I’ve made entirely too many smoothies to truly appreciate the wonder of a decent smoothie at this point. The thing needs to be damn near magical to wow me these days. This is the dilemma of making your own food: the quality of your home cooking increases, but the experience of eating out diminishes. D’oh!
My sides were a sea vegetable salad and dragon pate. I got them precisely because I had no idea what I’d end up with based on their names. Gotta keep the adventure in my life somehow. The sea vegetable salad was a seaweed salad of ginormous proportions. I don’t think humans were ever intended to ingest that much seaweed in one sitting. Afterward, I started getting paranoid that some whale was gonna come along and eat me, there was that much seaweed. As for the dragon pate, it was … interesting. I realised after the fact that it did not come with anything to actually put it on, so I had to order pita bread separately. Dragon pate consists of shredded carrots, beets, something beanlike, and a gazillion other things I’ve already forgotten. Again, it was interesting. It wasn’t bad, per se, but I wasn’t exactly dying to get the recipe or anything. Especially not after my dragon pate induced diarrhea the next morning, for that matter.
I suspected I would have enjoyed my experience more if I’d gotten something a little more standard (they offered wraps and Indian dishes, a range of stuff really), rather then targeting what sounded oddest. I also felt like the restaurant was trying to be a bit too elite for it’s own good. When we asked the waitress what was in the dragon pate, she listed shoyu as one of the ingredients. Lucky for me, due to excessive Japanese cookbook reading, I knew that was soy sauce. The thing is, even in Japanese restaurants, they don’t call it shoyu, they call it soy sauce. Now, maybe there’s a large contingent of people out there that know full well what shoyu is (and maybe they all visit that restaurant), but the average person that I’ve tended to come across in life does not know that word. Might just be the proletariat in me speaking, but I prefer language that is meant to be understood by the listener.
And speaking of Japanese food, we also got sushi. There is a street there, a glorious street, where there are 3 japanese places all within the same 3-4 block stretch of town. Glorious, indeed. We ate at a place called Wasabi. At first glance, the menu was slightly pricier then what I’m used to. It was totally worth it, though, as the fishes were luscious and the rolls melted in our mouths.
I’d been craving some proper mackerel for awhile now, ever since the “I’ll make my own by hacking up this here fishie!” incident. Mmmm. Tuna was good, as was the eel and avocado roll, as well as the ‘tempura shrimp + cucumber + fish roe + other things I’ve forgotten’ roll. I definitely recommend the place.
No more photos, but I can still throw out a few more recommendations (as well as anti-recommendations). If you go to the Biltmore, don’t bother getting actual food. Just eat junk food and free samples. I got a turkey and swiss pesto wrap (For about $8.50) whose pesto looked disturbingly like ordinary mayonnaise, and whose swiss was in fact simply white american cheese. Quite disappointing, one of the worst wraps I’ve ever had. We took a look at the pizza offered, whose descriptions (and prices) made it sound rather lavish, to see that it was mere ordinary squares of flat and cheesy pizza. I expect to be ripped off a bit at a tourist destination, but I at least expect that what I order will have the promised ingredients. The baked goods were tasty, at least. They also have a variety of sit down restaurants which have the potential to be quite good, but based on that wrap I ate I wouldn’t bet on it.
And on a final note, there is a sweets shop downtown called Kilwin’s, which is magical. The fudge melts in your mouth and the ice cream is delightful (we were offered free samples of both, which I approve of). Also, caffeinated ice cream. The concept is ingenious, I approve heartily!