I’m usually not a huge foodie, but I’ve heard Asheville is known for its eateries and all-around vegetarian friendliness (also microbreweries, but I’m not really a beer drinker). I had to take advantage of it, so unfortunately for my wallet (but lucky for my tastebuds!) I’ve been going out to eat as much as possible. I want to go somewhere different every single time, since I’m only here for three weeks. So far, I’ve been to:
1. Chai Pani–this was on the recommendation of the New York Times’ 36 Hours in Asheville, N.C. article. It’s located in downtown, which meant parking was icky, but it’s really pretty in that area, and it’s nice to walk around. It’s has a cozy atmosphere, the staff was friendly, and the food was pretty good. I had a bhel puri and aloo tikki chaat. I’ll admit, I’ve had better bhel puri, but then again I’m also completely spoiled when it comes to Indian food. The aloo tikki chaat was really tasty, and not too spicy.
2. Wasabi–another downtown restaurant, this one was (rather obviously) a Japanese sushi place. I came here with one of my classmates who is also on externship with me, on the recommendation of our supervising veterinarian. Unfortunately, there weren’t any specials going on, so it wasn’t super cheap, but the wild mushroom+cream cheese and the inari avocado rolls were quite excellent.
3. The French Broad Chocolate Lounge–this was also at our supervisor/teacher’s (Dr. Saxton’s) suggestion, and we came here after the sushi. They have all sorts of chocolate truffles, chocolate drinks, chocolate desserts, coffee, and tea. It’s a nice place to hang out as well. I wanted something a little sweet and a little spicy, so I got the hot chocolate with cinnamon and cayenne ganache. It was thick and rich and delicious. Renee (my classmate) got a coconut macaroon brownie in addition to her hot chocolate, and she graciously let me try a piece. Let’s just say it’s a really good thing I don’t actually live in Asheville, because I’m pretty sure I’d be moving up a weight class or two pretty quickly.
4. Lucky Otter–again, at the suggestion of Dr. Saxton. This place is not in downtown, so parking was easy. It’s a sort of hip little place, with outdoor seating and a somewhat dim interior. The lady at the register taking my order was super helpful since I had never been there before. I got soft tacos (something delicious with pineapple and tofu), and they were HUGE, and came with a side of rice and beans. Somehow I ate it all and I was stuffed all night long.
5. Mela–Dr. Saxton’s suggestion for Indian food. This place was downtown as well, but there’s a parking garage not too far. The ambiance is a little more upscale than Chai Pani, although the total cost was about the same (I went for the lunch buffet + chai). It wasn’t the best Indian food I’d ever had, but it was pretty good and I was happy they had South and North Indian choices (yay for idli and sambhar!). The chai was also pretty damn good–made the real way, with the boiled milk and ginger and cardamom. Starbucks needs to take some serious lessons.