Asheville Anniversary Trip

Better late than never, right? Benjamin and I had a short but peaceful weekend getaway to Asheville, NC for our anniversary in May, and we visited some really excellent small businesses while there. With Asheville so close to Greenville, it’s a great day trip destination, and these places are certainly worth visiting.

Corner Kitchen

Nestled right on the cobblestone sidewalks of the Biltmore Village, this home-turned-restaurant is a charming dinner destination. While the atmosphere is cozy and intimate, you’ll find the food to be unexpected and perfectly prepared.

ramen

Unexpected, indeed, to find this mind-blowing bowl of ramen in the cottage-like atmosphere of Corner Kitchen. The broth was rich and flavorful, and the pork belly was perfection itself.

For the thirsty, there is an impressive wine and beer menu, along with many signature cocktails. Corner Kitchen is casual enough for a laid-back lunch, but is certainly special enough for a fancier occasion.

souffle

For dessert: a fresh raspberry souffle with lemon and cream sauce. To DIE for.

 

Malaprop’s Bookstore

You can tell a lot about a town by the quality of its small bookstores, and Malaprop’s Bookstore represents Asheville with good taste and plenty of charm. Something I appreciate in a bookstore: good organization. Malaprop’s offers a wide variety of books, and they’re all labeled and organized. Such a pleasant shopping experience.

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Malaprop’s had an excellent collection of regional books and authors.

Curate

One of the most exciting experiences we had in Asheville was at Curate…and, we got so wrapped up in enjoying the food and atmosphere that we forgot to take photos altogether (face palm). As one of the hottest restaurants in Asheville at the moment, we were lucky to get a table—literally grabbed the last lunch reservation, and we were reserving a week in advance! There’s a reason Curate is so popular, though: the Spanish-style tapas cuisine is not only delicious, but unique and unexpected. We ordered a variety of dishes, from a tomato bruschetta (very simple, but so flavorful), preserved white asparagus with lemon vinaigrette, shrimp with sherry, and fried eggplant with rosemary and honey. It was unbelievably scrumptious, and I would return in a heartbeat (and take pictures, next time!)

French Broad Chocolates

The place I probably wanted to visit the most in Asheville was French Broad Chocolates, the ultimate Mecca for any chocolate lover. They offer hand-crafted chocolates (anything from truffles, chocolate bars, hot cocoa mixes, and more), baked goods, coffees, ice creams, and more. I tried their legendary liquid truffle while there (I can’t describe how decadent and delicious it was), then we returned for a box of truffles, which were an incredible experience.

truffles

Smoked salt, raspberry, strawberry & balsamic, earl grey…just some of the flavors we picked out for our box of truffles. French Broad Chocolates has a wide variety of flavors, including seasonal  themed collections.

There are dozens of other restaurants, bakeries, shops, and more that we could have explored, but we were so pleased with the taste of Asheville we experienced. It’s a beautiful vacation spot with lots of fun activities, not least of which is, of course, the spectacular Biltmore house. Give these spots a try, and let me know how you like them!

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Celebrating one excellent first year of marriage with Benjamin. What a great weekend!

The Lazy Goat – Riverside Dining

I make no claims to be a food writer–I’m not good at taking fancy food photos, I’m not a wine connoisseur, and I have no professional training–but I DO love food and love sharing great restaurants!  Which is why, on the heels of my last post that was primarily discussing restaurants in Charleston, I want to share my favorite Greenville restaurant: The Lazy Goat.

the lazy goat dining

The sunny windows combined with the tabletop candlelight, plus the mismatched wooden chairs, all make The Lazy Goat both elegant and playful.

I’ve tried many items off The Lazy Goat’s menu over the years…the crispy Brussels sprouts with Serrano ham, which will radically change your opinion of sprouts; the Moroccan lamb, deeply earthy and swirled with cool yogurt sauce; the “Lazy Paella,” a piled mound of chicken and seafood over fragrant rice; not to mention their constantly rotating seasonal dishes, which include mouth-watering desserts such as Mexican hot chocolate ice cream with churros (spicy ice cream with crispy doughnut sticks…it’ll knock your socks off) and a lemon-berry cake that tastes of pure summer.

sangria

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve even tasted alcohol, but on my birthday I splurged on a white wine sangria, made with grapefruit juice and Triple Sec.  It was a taste of summer!

Knowing how much I love The Lazy Goat, my husband treated me to a birthday dinner there this past Friday, and I could not have asked for a more enjoyable gift.  My favorite thing at The Lazy Goat is actually an appetizer, and one they’re famous for–fried goat cheese balls, drizzled with vanilla honey and sprinkled with bits of pistachios.  Naturally, we started off with this delicacy, followed by the “Duck, Duck, Goat” pizza.

goat cheese

I could eat these fried goat cheese balls for the rest of my life and never tire of them.  Absolutely addictive.

If, like in my description of the gourmet hamburger at Cru Cafe in Charleston, you think that pizza is a humble choice for a classy restaurant–allow The Lazy Goat to change your mind completely!  The Duck, Duck, Goat pizza–with duck confit, goat cheese, arugula, caramelized onions, and a sour-cherry reduction–has incredible, flavorful finesse all presented in the familiar vehicle we all know and love: pizza.  Each bite was mouthwatering, with a perfectly crispy, chewy crust.

duck duck goat

This is why I could never be a real food writer…I always dig into the food before remembering I’m supposed to take a photo.  The Duck, Duck, Goat pizza was incredible.

The Lazy Goat’s menu items all lean strongly toward Spanish-inspired cuisine (such as their “Graze and Nibble” dishes, which are similar to Spanish tapas), as well as flavors all along the Mediterranean.  In addition to their beautiful and exotic food, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more lovely atmosphere.  Built right alongside the Reedy River, the large windowed walls of The Lazy Goat give you countless views of the beautiful river, as well as pleasant outdoor dining options.

Convinced yet?  Personally, I think the fried goat cheese on its own is reason enough to head over to The Lazy Goat…but don’t take my word for it!  Hop on over and experience an unforgettable meal.