Hunting for Mussels in Asheville North Carolina

asheville mussels strada italiano

Eating mussels has not always been my favorite thing to do. I remember when I lived in Brooklyn, I would go to Sheepshead Bay on a seafood excursion and enjoy baby scallops, baked clams and more at Randazzo’s; but never mussels or oysters. Time changed, taste buds wandered a little, and I tried my first plate of mussels ever with a bottle of White Wine at Fiore’s, which is now Strada Italiano. SO GOOOOD! This was about 6 years ago and now I pretty much never miss the opportunity for a delicious dish. 

bull and beggar asheville restaurant mussels

After trying dozens of places in the Asheville area, we now have our preferred locations when we are on the hunt for mussels. Here they are:

1. Strada Italiano – this is the best dish that we have found in the area. Out of the 100 times (at least) that we have ordered mussels here, they have hit a home run just about every time. Once we believe they switched suppliers or chefs because the mussels were twice as big and the broth did not taste the same; but it was back to normal the following week.

2. Bull & Beggar – a new spot in town with a tasty menu and great place right near the Wedge Brewery. Their mussels were delicious and worth the trip to the River Arts District.

3. Bouchon – this has been a mussel hot spot for years. In addition to that, they have All You Can Eat mussels on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

4. Avenue M – they are located on the northside of town and we have experienced some great mussels at this place. When we lived out that way, we stopped by here at least once a month for a dish of mussels.

5. Junction – we had high expectations when ordering, and they were met with a delicious bowl of mussels that we devoured too quickly!

6. Mezzaluna – this restaurant is located in Hendersonville NC, about 15 minutes south of Asheville, and their mussels are so yum!




An Amazing Wine Dinner in Asheville!

What do you get when you put Domaine Serene Wines together with the glorious cuisine at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Asheville NC? An amazing wine dinner, so many moments of culinary satisfaction, the pleasure of friends, meeting new people, and great memories added to our lives. WOW! What an evening!!!

It all started when I walked in the doors to Ruth’s Chris in Biltmore Village. I told the hostess that I was here for the wine dinner and she escorted me to the back room. Tony, the manager, handed me a glass of wine as I entered and I proceeded to find a seat. A few moments later, my friend Mackensy walked in, so we decided to go seat hunting together. We got settled and met the folks to our right and left. Great people all around.

After a quick welcome from the Ruth’s Chris Asheville GM Gabe Fore; Special Guest Michelle Farkas of Domaine Serene was introduced, and the courses of wine and food decorated the table in front of us. The conversations quickly changed from common to Ohhh, Ahhh and Ummm. I definitely loved what I tasted and heard.

The Hors D’Oeuvres: Venison Wellington, Goat cheese-stuffed grapes with pistachio crust, Hamachi and Yellow Fin “Dueling” Tuna. Wine: Domaine Serene Rose, NV. Next was the Bisque: Roasted apple, butternut squash. Wine: 2010 Domaine Serene Coeur Blanc.

Main Courses Included: Macadamia-Crusted Mahi-Mahi with Lo mein noodle, togarashi & pineapple beurre blanc, complemented by 2008 Domaine Serene Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir. Smoked Duck Breast with Veal demi, beet cous cous, with a 2009 Domaine Serene “Jerusalem Hill” Pinot Noir. USDA Prime NY Strip with Root Beer & peppercorn reduction, creamy mushroom polenta, coupled with 2009 Domaine Serene Grand Cheval.

Just when we though every taste-bud imaginable had been reached, a Chocolate Creme Brulee with Peppermint bark appeared on the table. The aroma from the Smoky Mountain Coffee Roasters was in a cup to my right calling me.

An Amazing Wine Dinner such as this one at Ruth’s Chris in Asheville NC is usually $75 – $100, and worth every cent. Tremendous! Thank you.




Asheville Foodie News July 2012

And sometimes the YUM seems like it will never end!! Welcome to the July 2012 edition of the Asheville Foodie News. We are going to share some experiences, many of them delicious, that we have had in the past 30 days or so. Get ready to get hungry for some incredible food. Many of these restaurants offer something unique… whether food, staff, atmosphere, drinks, desserts, or a combination of them all.

Meet Lorena of Strada Italiano in downtown Asheville, which is a top choice for authentic Italian food in the heart of our City. In this photo, you will see her having a great time communicating with clients and the local community on Twitter. She actually booked a table for 5 one night while tweeting. They asked for a table, she asked how many and what time, and it was done! Great to see some of our Asheville grown restaurants getting serious about social media and taking it to a new level!

Also read their most recent blog post “Asheville Wine at Strada Italiano

Meet Clingman Cafe in the River Arts District. This wonderful eatery has been a part of the community for many years! The are a little off the beaten path, about 3 minutes from downtown Asheville, but have still proved extremely successful and their food offerings have never let us down. Definitely stop by here for some great breakfast and lunch.

Artisan Catering in North Asheville is another great stop for breakfast and lunch. They became well known years ago when their restaurant was in that little difficult parking lot on Merrimon Ave. They have since evolved to the new space in the line of shops next to the North Asheville Library. Great spot!

And don’t forget the Hop Ice Cream Shop on Merrimon Avenue in North Asheville! So many delicious, creative flavors in one spot. And not to mention that they are one of the top businesses in the area that use social media. Contact @HopIceCream on Twitter and see for yourself.

Stop by The Junction in the River Arts District for a great dinner from a couple that loves food, community and each other! Also see the recent blog post “A Delicious Time at The Junction in Asheville

We had some Shrimp Scampi at Vinnie’s Italian in North Asheville recently. So Delish!!! Thank you. If you are on the Northside of town, check this place out.

OH MY!! The Peaches & Cream pancakes at Over Easy Cafe in downtown Asheville were simply amazing. I never thought I would finish a whole order of pancakes again, until I came in touch with this dish. I will be back so soon!!!

The Steak dinner that Red Stag Grill in Biltmore Village / South Asheville had to offer was AH-MAZING. I stopped by there for a business meeting, got hungry suddenly, ordered a steak and it was all yum from there. Awesome meal and experience. The great server/bartender was named Amber.

During a business networking event we had at Restaurant Solace in downtown Asheville, I ordered the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp and it was so good! I also drank a nice glass of the Craggie Brewing Quad they had on tap.

We stopped by Chef Mo’s in South Asheville and had a great Stuffed Chicken dinner.

When we passed by for dinner at Rezaz in Biltmore Village, we ordered the Paella and it was delicious! Great wine offering as well.

Beef and a bunch of sides, plus Sake! If you have not been to Stone Bowl Korean in South Asheville, you need to stop by and check this place out. They have become one of our favorite Asian food spots in the WNC area.

The Birdhouse Cafe has a wonderful selection of baked goods, and they also have a great breakfast and lunch! They are located right across the street from Asheville High School.

Stopped by Neo Cantina for a business meeting and had some yummy Pork Tacos along with a Hornitos Margarita!

Also see these other great Asheville Foodie posts:

1. “The Asheville Calzone” at Frank’s Roman Pizza

2. “Asheville Burgers & Cheeseburgers” at Burgermeisters

3. “Lunch at Tupelo Honey Cafe South Asheville

4. “Asheville Sushi Review 2012

5. “An Incredible Evening at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Asheville NC

6. “Asheville Barbeque BBQ at Moe’s

7. “The Asheville Produce Food Truck

8. “Woody’s Pizza & Hoagies in Asheville

9. Listen to the Podcast “Meet Gabe Fore of Ruth’s Chris Asheville

Also see the “Asheville Foodie News May June 2012

And the Winners of the “Worst Experience of the Month” go to Chorizo and Copper River Grill. Now both of these places have great food, we have had good experiences at both establishments, and we have bragged and tweeted good things about them many times. But… While we were at Chorizo for brunch, a lady was stomping around taking photos of the place and took photos of my table while I was eating in the process which made me wonder. I saw other patrons whispering about the photography approach without any explanation. I told our server that they did not have permission to use any photos taken of me and she responded that it had to do with the design and colors of the place. I thought “well do it when the place is empty then.” We had an awesome meal. Then when my party was about the leave, we opened the door and were in the process of walking out of the restaurant, this same staff member tried to squeeze through the single doorway at the same time as the person in front of me. The person in my party stopped in her tracks. Then the lady proceeded to push past her and push me against the other door. I walked out and asked the hostess the lady’s name and she responded “Lisa.” She asked me what happened and I told her that “Lisa” had ran us over on our way out. I walked across the street to get into my car and bumped into an old friend and his fiance. We talked for a minute and here “Lisa” comes galloping across the street, in front of all of the seated guests outside, shouting at me that I had bumped into her. I told her that we were the guests, we had a great meal and we were leaving, and she should have been courteous enough to hold the door for us instead of running us over. She threw her hands up in the air, said “Whatever!” and stomped back across the street. I quickly called the owner and he dealt with the situation immediately. As far as Copper River Grill, we walked in and interrupted a guy leaning over the hostess stand talking to the hostess. The lady working the stand asked him to hold on a minute while she sat us. During the next 40 minutes, I watched people come in and get impersonally rushed to the table. While people were leaving, the hostess indirectly shouted “have a good night” and jumped back to her conversation. The floor staff and kitchen were hard at work while all of this was going on, and our meal was good nonetheless. Both of the issues at these 2 restaurants have to do with service and staff, not the food.

Thank you for taking a few minutes to read the Asheville Foodie News July 2012. This town is so YUMMY!!! Please take a moment to comment below on any of these places and/or your foodie experiences in the area.




Asheville Foodie News – April 2012

Great things happening in the Asheville foodie community! The area has become a Mecca of everything from food trucks to fine dining. There are so many restaurants that are constantly evolving, and also new places opening up. Here is some news and reviews for the month of April 2012:

The Mussels at Strada Asheville are simply amazing! We stopped by the other day to see if one of our favorite appetizers in the area had slacked at all, and the answer was NO! They are so delish. Add a glass of wine to go along with them, and WOW! You will be back.

Also see the new article on the Strada Asheville blog called Bread Talks in Asheville North Carolina. On any given day, they have a case of bread that is packed with fresh breads of many different types for you to choose from. Grab & Go!

While roaming around downtown Asheville, we stopped by the Battery Park Book Exchange. They always have fresh snacks and baked goods in case someone gets hungry, and they had this beautiful white cake ready to be eaten, preferably by me! I usually order a bottle of wine when I am here at meetings, checking out the vast selection of books, or playing hide and go seek on the upper maze level.

Rise N Shine Cafe gets lots of LOVE this month as their breakfast offerings, which are offered all day, made a HUGE impression on many of us in the Asheville community. See several great posts about this spot just 3 minutes north of downtown Asheville:

1. Asheville Time to Rise N Shine, and get some breakfast

2. Rising N Shining for an awesome breakfast

3. Rise ‘n Shine Cafe: Living Local

4. Girl VS World: Asheville’s Rise N Shine Cafe

Oh.. if you are in downtown Asheville and looking for some Mexican food, beer, music, cocktails and some good people watching; check out TallGarys who just released a new menu packed out with many refined and new offerings!

And, if you want the BEST White Pizza in Asheville, we highly recommend that you try out Woody’s Pizza & Hoagies on Tunnel Rd in East Asheville, right behind Applebee’s in the Office Depot parking lot. Great food, people, beer, TVs and fun that NEVER breaks the bank. I have heard many people say they wish they had known about this place sooner because it is such good food & value.

While at the Hotel Indigo the other evening, I talked to Brad who was at the counter behind the snack area at the 151 Boutique Bar & Kitchen. He explained to me that all of the snacks, wraps & muffins they sell are made fresh daily and they are organic. Even the pasta they use here is made from scratch! Nice place to stop in a grab a whole meal, or to grab a delicious snack to stay or go. Coffee is very tasty too!

Had a great meal the other day at The Noodle Shop in downtown Asheville also. Take a look at this.. pork, peppers, onions and Jasmine rice. YUM!

And do not, I said DO NOT forget to get some Ice Cream from The Hop located in both North and West Asheville NC!

Asheville’s 10th Annual Dining Our For Life is Thursday April 26, 2012.

Also meet our friend Kevin Schwartz – Asheville Foodie – The Man Himself!

PS… Voting starts May 1st for Asheville to hold the Title of Beer City USA 2012. Please make sure you place your vote for us!!!

Credits: Articles & Photos by @GSocialMedia




Asheville and Pinterest

So the new online craze called Pinterest is taking a good hold of Asheville NC. Lots of people are jumping on board and pinning up photos of the area, their adventures and more.  We started a few boards on http://pinterest.com/askasheville which include a Beer, Foodie, Music, Places to Stay and People board.

The best part of it, for sharing info and sending people to your website, is that you can add a “Pin It” button to your browser. Then when you see a photo you like online, all you have to do is click the button and the Pinning/Sharing box pops right up. Then you post! One of the areas that people do not understand is that if you double click on this Pinterest post, you will be taken to the post where this photo originated from. Great marketing tool and awesome way to share Asheville NC. Happy Pinning!!!

Meet some of our AskAsheville Followers on Pinterest

Also check out Asheville Foodtopia on Pinterest

And if you are interested in social media, please follow Asheville’s GSocialMedia on Pinterest