Monday, August 06, 2007

Eating Local--in the mountains of NC

On Saturday, we drove into Asheville just in time for lunch. We parked in the garage and, admiring all the bumper stickers, immediately knew we were in the right place:

We decided to have lunch at a beautiful vegetarian restaurant, Laughing Seed Cafe, with a posted menu that looked so fantastic that we couldn't pass it up.

Even before we were seated, we realized we had made the perfect decision. As we walked to our table, who should we run into but my brother and his girlfriend! They had no idea we'd be in Asheville, and we had no idea they would be. What a wonderful suprise!

As we chatted and caught up a bit, I sipped a basil martini garnished with a cherry tomato. How perfectly seasonal, and utterly delicious as well as beautiful.

The Cuban tempeh sandwich is to die for, as was the watermellon gazpacho. Much of the produce, especially on the daily specials menu, comes from local farms.

We spent the afternoon with my brother while Rebecca attended her friends' wedding. We toured around Asheville and its art-and-fiber scene (more details tomorrow) as well as luxuriated at one of purest time sinks of all time: a great independent bookstore, Malaprop's.

We thoroughly enjoyed our day in Asheville. All my passions seem to be shared by the entire city--even gardening. The planters next to the side of the road are filled with edible and beautiful delights like rainbow chard:

Eventually, we were ready for dinner at another of the city's cool eating establishments, the Early Girl Eatery.

This is a restaurant entirely based on the importance of local food--meaning food grown locally as well as food cooked in a local style. As they say on their website,

The menu relies heavily on the high quality local produce grown in the area by family farms and community-supported agriculture (CSAs). Our cheeses and some of our meats are also produced and raised locally. The menu changes periodically with the seasons, while the specials change daily. This enables us to better utilize the local ingredients available. We believe local food tastes better and sustains a healthy community. Made from scratch is the motto at the Early Girl, and our recipes reflect our background in southern cooking as well as our vast experience with vegetarian fare.

And on the menu:

For dinner, I ordered sweet potato pone, cabbage, and black beans...

...while David had local trout served with a green-tomato/blackberry sauce. Goodness gracious!

My brother ordered pork chops, which came with potatoes as well as a mixture of green and yellow beans.

(Hint: Not in Asheville but drooling nonetheless? Check out Early Girl's free online recipes!)


Mouse said...

When I was scouting the thrift store one day I found and became enamored with a teeshirt from the Early Girl eatery.. I never looked at where it was located! It looks like you had some wonderful food..

Dame Wendy said...

That bumper sticker is perfection! Sounds like a lovely place and a lovely day. :)

meg said...

Asheville is wonderful - The Laughing Seed always has such interesting stuff on the menu. Enjoy your adventures.

Laura Sue said...

Had I known, I could have met you for lunch or dinner! Early Girl is one of my fave places to eat. I live about 10 minutes from downtown--toward Mt. Pisgah.

maggie said...

You know you can't live in Asheville unless you have a bumper sticker - it's the law :)
Malaprops is probably the best way to spend a hot afternoon too.


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