Welcome to EAT THIS CITY , your tour of the best restaurants in one of our favorite cities, as chosen by a world-class chef, celebrity, or local hero.
This week, we’re headed back to the Carolinas. South Carolina was so cool last week, that we just jumped one state up to lovely Asheville, North Carolina for this week’s entry. Called the Land of Sky, this city between the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains is progressive, creative, and features some of the best food in the country.
Who better to introduce us to the best cuisine the city has to offer than Katie Button (@chefkatiebutton), a Southern chef who developed her craft working in the kitchens of Ferran Adrià and José Andrés? These days, Button can be found operating as the executive chef and co-owner of Cúrate Bar de Tapas and Nightbell in Asheville. Since opening, she’s received recognition across the globe — including the extreme honor of multiple James Beard nominations. In fact, she was a semi-finalist in both 2012 and 2013 for Rising Star Chef of the Year and a semi-finalist for the Best Chef in America in 2015. And, Food & Wine introduced her as one of their picks for Best New Chef in 2015.
Button’s skills also drew the attention of Williams Sonoma, who invited her to join their Chefs’ Collective, a culinary advisory board made up of innovators in the field. Last year, her first cookbook, Cúrate: Authentic Spanish Food from an American Kitchen, hit the shelves. It’s filled with recipes for home cooks that celebrates her love of Spain and Southern heritage.
Fun Fact: Chef Button was in Paris studying for a Ph.D. in chemical engineering when her cooking hobby blossomed into a full-blown passion. She literally dropped out of school and got a waitressing job in D.C., opting to work her way up through the kitchen. Part of the reason she is such a kick ass culinarian is that she applies that scientific mind to her work, creating mouth-watering, eye pleasing dishes. For real, just check this one out.
We can’t think of a better Asheville representative than Katie Button to give us a tour of the finest eats in the city.
I love this casual West Asheville spot, you can get a great pint of local beer and a pie, The Doctor is my go to pizza, because I will do anything for some spice on my pizza. Plus they have some great salads, and sauteed broccoli sides so that I feel like my daughter gets a little bit of veggie with her pizza.
Here you can get truly authentic tacos. It is located in a strip mall type setting right on a busy road and is cash only, but the tacos are delicious and served in freshly made tortillas.
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Mohinga 🇲🇲 . . . The national dish of Burma. This clear broth soup is a perfect choice if you love ramen, but are looking to change things up. Not to mention the fresh grilled swordfish from @abundantseafood. Yes, tonight is #ramennight and all, but we will keep new soups and noodle dishes coming out at the season changes . . . #ganshanstation #mohinga #burma #grilledswordfish #swordfish #noodles #chickensoup #visitasheville #eeeeeats #avleats #downtownasheville #asheville #828isgreat #ricenoodles #glutenfree #sansgluten
Their menu is inspired by a lot of different Asian regions so you can get a mix of Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, or Laos cuisines. They frequently have unique changing specials, like the mackerel larb I had there recently, which was amazing. For the menu staples, definitely get the brussel sprouts and the dumplings.
Get the Lamb and Beef Shawarma and the Fried Cauliflower. I love it when I can get a big heaping pile of veggies from a food truck, and that is definitely an option at this Lebanese street food spot.
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It finally feels like fall y'all! Come inside and warm up with one of our famous drinking chocolates! Featured here is our Rose, Cardamom, and Pistachio Liquid Truffle. #artisanchocolate #beantobar #beantobarchocolate #liquidtruffle #cardamom #pistachio #fall #fallfeels #autumn #chilly #wnc #asheville #ashevilleeats
This place is amazing. They do their own bean to bar chocolate, and make it with extreme care, but I pop in to the cafe for some truffles, a slice of the best carrot cake in the world and a cup of coffee.
Brian Canapelli the chef at Cucina 24 serves up super creative farmers market inspired Italian cuisine. Opt for the tasting menu, it’s an amazing price, for an amazing journey through some of the best food in the city.
This is the place I take my family for a last minute weeknight dinner out. The menu is always changing, the dishes are all delicious and it has this super casual vibe that makes it a great neighborhood go to spot.
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reservations for plantsgiving are officially open ! and already quickly filing up 😬 .. give us a call to book a table **if you are directed to the voicemail, pease leave a message ! i will call you back, promise. we will return your phone call within 24 hours** that being said, we accept reservations via phone ONLY. no reservations will be accepted online or via email. plantsgiving is our annual benefit dinner for @animalhavenofasheville … a special 3 course prix fixe dinner held on the Wednesday evening prior to Thanksgiving … this year's plantsgiving is on November 22nd. as always, this is a reservation only event and we take reservations on the half hour, from 5-9pm. this is our absolute favorite event of the year — we look forward to seeing you all ! 🖤🖤🖤 #plantsgiving #veganthanksgiving #animalhavenofasheville
This restaurant is actually 100% vegan, and I recently went there with friends and was really impressed. Order the dishes to share like tapas, don’t order them as individual plates, that way you get to try more creations and talk about the food — I think that really makes the experience. And when you can make something taste like it has cream or butter in it, with just the power of nuts, that is clear skill at work.
At this little cafe you can get a bottle of prosecco, the best french style pastries you have ever had in your life that just shatter and crumble to pieces when you take a bite, plus egg dishes like a croque madame or soft boiled egg. It’s a little slice of Paris with a firm grounding in local, seasonal produce and flavors.
Iconic Food of the City
This all day breakfast spot in West Asheville has been around forever, the lines are long but move quickly. When I’m there I order the typical two eggs over easy, grits, bacon and a biscuit, standard diner style breakfast, using local farm products and cooked with care.
Sunny Point helped kickstart the recent West Asheville explosion of restaurants and wonderful community connections.
Odd Culinary Experience
I go here for Elliot Moss’s unusual rotating menu items. Yes he does whole hog barbecue great, but he also takes green beans, dries them out over the smoking pig, and then rehydrates them by cooking them under the drippings of the pig, in his version of a traditional appalachian “leather britches” dish, they are smoky and melt in your mouth. You can also get a healthy portion of pork offal in the hash.
Oh man, the best donuts in the world, hands down are at this spot in Asheville. They have 4 flavors, 3 standard and one that changes with the seasons, get one of each and watch the donuts being made to order right in front of you.
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The weekend is a great time to taste the delicious dining scene in Asheville! Our mouths are watering just looking at these plates of yummy-ness from HomeGrown. 📷: @charlestonfoodiebabe. Use the hashtag #visitasheville for a chance to be featured on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! Check us out at ExploreAsheville.com!
There is nothing like fried chicken on a biscuit smothered in mushroom gravy with a side of pommes frites to cure you of your hangover. It has just enough carb and salt to cure whatever ails you. My other go to dish is the huevos rancheros.
Thank you, Katie Button, for taking us on a culinary tour of Asheville!
Stay tuned for more EAT THIS CITY — where each week we’ll feature a premier chef in a different city sharing their insider eating tips! Missed a week? Check out Charleston, Columbus, Kailua-Kona, Monterey, San Antonio, Louisville, Nashville, Raleigh, San Diego, Cambridge, Hoboken, Hollywood, Return to Miami, Return to Las Vegas, Manhattan, Oakland, Paris, Portland, Tampa, Durham, Toronto, Baltimore, Monterey, Vail, Lexington, Bentonville, San Antonio, Warsaw, Kansas City, NYC, Washington DC, New Orleans, Cleveland, Miami, Seattle, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Sydney, Portland, Chicago, Austin, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, New Orleans, Providence, Memphis, Orange County, Boston, and Detroit.
See you next week!