After a full day of touring the Highland Brewery Company and touring two farms, we were still not finished. That evening, we were once again taken by bus to downtown Asheville for a tour of Asheville’s Independent restaurant scene. We were taken in small groups to visit several of these wonderful establishments. I’m glad we had the chance to experience so many flavors and cultures. Here’s a look at my top three restaurants.
The first restaurant on our stop was Posana Cafe. It’s an upscale casual farm-to-table restaurant featuring a locally inspired seasonal menu of contemporary American cuisine. We were greeted by the owner who is also the head chef, Peter Pollay. He took us through the main dining area and into a private dining room. He gave us a summary of his background and how he ended up in Asheville. He explained the passion behind his cooking and the reason his restaurant is gluten free. You would never know it was gluten free unless someone told you. We were served several items, but, my favorite was the fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, pickled peppers and smoked tomato vinaigrette. Peter was so informative and answered all of our questions. I would definitely go back to his restaurant. I would like to try the Lobster Mac and Cheese. It’s made with Ricotta gnocchi, Maine lobster, chives and aged cheddar.
The next stop was at Chai Pani, Indian street food. This is not a cuisine that I am very familiar with. I would not have chosen this type of restaurant, but, I never knew what I was missing! The atmosphere was very laid back and more of a local vibe. You know, if the locals are there, it must be good. The moment you walk in, the curry based aromas hit your senses and you can’t wait to try the food. Chai Pani, is owned by Meherwan Irani and his wife, Molly. Meherwan,who, is also the head chef, came over to talk with us about his establishment. He was very friendly and inviting. I felt like I was in someone’s home for dinner. He talked with us about his menu and the featured items known as Chaat,which means, tasty bites. Chaat is described as spicy, sweet, tangy, brightly flavored Indian street snacks. Tasty, they were! We were served three different foods that were all good. My favorite was the Chicken Pakora. Ashley Farms chicken seasoned with kashmiri spices in a curried chickpea batter. Just enough heat for my Cajun palate! Very wonderful and different experience worth going back for.
My top pick of the night was the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. What a way to end the evening. Coffee, wine and chocolate, are my most favorite things. This place had all three! I was in heaven. We were greeted by the owner, Jael Rattigan, and taken to a private dining room where we were served an assortment of chocolates, raspberries and sparkling wine. I cannot describe how decadent the chocolates were. If you love chocolate like I do, you have to place an online order to try it for yourself. While we were enjoying our chocolates, Jael told us about her and her Husband Dan’s fascinating story and how French Broad Chocolates came to be. She gave us an insight into their journey, struggles and passion for creating something unique. You can read more about their story on their website. I could have listened to her talk all night. She was the person that has inspired me the most from the entire trip!
I am so glad that I was able to participate in such a wonderful event. Thank you again to Food blog Forum and all of the sponsors. I am looking forward to going back to Asheville in the future. For the final segment about the trip, I will be using the one pound chocolate bar that was given to us by Jael from French Broad Chocolates, to make chocolate molten lava cakes. Check back for the recipe.